A scenic hub from which to discover the UNESCO-listed Châteaux of the Loire Valley, historic Amboise is also well worth exploring. The market town was once frequented by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Joan of Arc, and is best known for its own castle—the Château d’Amboise, former home of King Francis I.
Founded in the Middle Ages, picturesque Amboise—with its medieval houses, striking château, and riverfront location—is a popular stop on Loire Valley tours, including day trips from Paris and multi-day excursions. If you’re there on a weekend, don’t miss the lively Sunday market bustling with locals picking over fresh produce and delicacies.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Château d’Amboise offers some of the best panoramic views of the town.
- Keep an eye out for Amboise’s noteworthy public artworks, including a fountain by Dada artist Max Ernst and a sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Don’t forget your wallet—luxurious Amboise is home to multiple high-end hotels and restaurants.
How to Get There
Amboise is conveniently situated in the heart of the Loire Valley, between the larger cities of Tours and Blois. From Paris, it’s roughly a 2-hour train journey using TGV and TER services (including a connection at Tours’ main station, the Gare de St-Pierre-des-Corps). By car, the trip takes about two and a half hours via the A10.
When to Get There
Amboise is a lovely destination year-round. If you go in summer (high season), though, expect crowds and higher accommodation costs.
Must-Visit Châteaux Near Amboise
Amboise’s own regal castle is the perfect place to begin your Loire Valley experience, but don’t stop there. Check out the Château de Blois (a longtime royal residence), the Château de Chambord (the largest and most opulent of the Loire Valley palaces), the Château de Chenonceau (dramatically spanning the Cher River), and the Château de Cheverny (distinct for its classical architecture). All are within an hour’s drive from Amboise.