Historical town of the Indre-et-Loire department, Amboise is situated on the Loire River bank, in the surroundings of Tours (26km), in the Centre region. This town is one of the most important stops in the Val de Loire area. With 13,000 inhabitants, called the Amboisiens or Ambaciens, the town’s fame is based above all on its amazing castles, but also on Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci died and on the Chanteloup pagoda, among others.
The story of the town is often merged to the Castle’s story. Actually, Amboise’s area was inhabited since the Antiquity, as it is located in a strategic position, along the Loire River. After being populated by the Visigoths until 507, Amboise comes back in history four centuries later, when Louis le Bègue entrusted the town to Suplice I who reinforced it. At the beginning of 1000, Amboise is the best protected area in the whole west of France. In 1434 the town was seized by the royal Family, and from then it was used as their residence.
Charles VIII was educated in Amboise, whence it made it its main residence. He made a lot of improvements and works during all his life. He invited Italian artists, and renowned horticulturists for the gardens. After his death, two generations of Kings (until François I) lived in Amboise and kept on invited famous artists to its development. This is how Leonardo da Vinci used to live in Clos Lucé, invited by François I. Then the Castle was transformed in a luxury jail for important persons and its owners changed several times.
Nowadays, the Castle is run by the Saint Louis foundation which was created by the Prince Henri of Orleans in order to protect all the Orleans house’s historic goods.
Amboise is a very affordable town when we take into account all the assets it boasts. House prices in the town are around €2,075 /sq m, which is very low when we compare it to the national average (€3,197 /sq m), and even to the departmental average (€2,280 /sq m). It can be explained as 58% of dwellings are detached-houses. They are usually not new, and some of them might need to be renovated. However, they can be an excellent investment if you have money to restore them, and then you can sell them may be twice the price.
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Culture, art and historical heritage: as already mentioned, Amboise was inhabited by French Kings during more than three generations. Thanks to their companies and guests, the entire town and the area developed and benefited from the most renowned people in Europe. List of museums and castles would be too long to be exposed here; however here are some interesting ones. The Clos Lucé Castle, former Leonardo da Vinci’s residence, is amazing as much for its beauty in itself as for the museum and expositions it houses; the leather museum where 400 years of leather manufacturing are described; the Valmer Castle, renowned for its amazing parks and gardens designed in a 16th century style, etc.
Tourism: Amboise area is full of interesting activities and places. If you fancy visiting all the castles in one day and without driving then go to the Parc des Mini-Châteaux. It is only 2km from the centre town, and guides are dressed up in period-costume. The Chanteloup Pagoda is an interesting and unique monument that ought to be seen. It is a unique model of what is left from the fashionable Folies at the end of the 18th century. It is a Chinese-esque Louis XVI style monument surrounded with a half-moon lake basin, in a beautiful 14 hectares park. From the top of the pagoda you have a breathtaking view over the Loire valley and the Amboise Royal forest.
Architectural style: Amboise city and castle have been shaped according to the fashionable trends. In both of them you will recognised the following architectural style. The gothic style is present in the Saint-Hubert chapel built between 1491 and 1496, also in most rooms in the castle such as the council room, the guards room, etc. The Renaissance style can be seen through the castle mainly as in the cup-bearer’s room, Henri II’s room. In the surroundings you will also see some troglodytic villages and some amazing mansions and manoirs.
Location – transport links: Amboise is located only at 26km from Tours , which makes it a town easy to reach. Indeed Tours is very well linked to all big French cities, and thanks to its airport, it also has direct connexion with England through Stansted airport.
Farmhouses: outside the town centre you might find this kind of beautiful dwellings. They usually have been restorated and come with a huge garden landscape and a tiled patio. Inside the house you will find a traditional French kitchen, a dining room and a living room with the traditional farm house styled tomette floor tiles and apparent wooden beams. Most of them are two-storey high and have at least two bedrooms. Not to mention the garage and the cellar.
Troglodytic houses: this kind of housing is more common than it seems, and in France you will find it mainly in Anjou, Touraine and Saumurois. They were built during the Middle Ages, and were usually used to extract some stones or materials from the cliff. Nowadays, some of them are a touristic place, others are still used to extract materials, some of them have been transformed into luxury hotets and others, like in Touraine, are inhabited. As expected, they are usually small houses with one or two bedrooms. Some studies have shown that these houses have very good insulation, and besides they are becoming fashionable among ecologists.
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