Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.
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Leonardo da Vinci Park
Amboise, Centre-Val de Loire, France|vinci-closluce.com|
A short walk from the Amboise’s atmospheric chateau is the atmospheric red brick manor house where Leonardo da Vinci stayed for the last three years of his life, as a guest of the king.
Today the beautifully restored house is dedicated to Leonardo’s talents – not as painter, but as an engineer and inventor of,among other things, the helicopter, armoured tank and swing bridge. It’s an engaging insight into this enigmatic and remarkably talented man.
Getting there & doing it
Clos Luce, in the small town of Amboise, is a ten-minute walk from the Chateau Royal d’Amboise, and is a popular stop on the Loire à Vélo bike route. Amboise is about a 2-hour drive from Paris or TGV train ride.
Guided visits are available in July and August. Visit the website for a free interactive iPhone app.
For food & drink, there are plenty of places to eat in Amboise, such as L’Epicerie. If you’re just after a snack try the La Terrasse creperie and tearoom, or the Table du Moulin in an attractive water mill setting. For something much more unusual, the Auberge du Prieure restaurant (high summer only) recreates historic recipes from the time of Leonardo da Vinci.
When to do it
Open daily, all year round. Interactive outdoor exhibits are installed from mid-March to mid-November. In winter, not all the exhibits are in action and the restaurants are closed, but you may have the park almost to yourself. It’s crowded during the July-August school holidays.
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