Those looking for a base from which to visit the castles of the Loire Valley can head to Amboise. Located on the Loire River, Amboise is a pedestrian-friendly town with excellent restaurants, plenty of fresh air, green spaces and lots of history.
Overlooking the town is the Château d'Amboise, which dates back to the 15th century and is available for visitors to see. There's also the 18th-century Pagode de Chanteloup, its Chinese architecture almost jarring in this bucolic medieval town, and the clock tower that straddles one of the main streets. Visitors may notice many da Vinci souvenirs for sale; the world-famous artist and inventor lived his last years in Amboise–a fact that is a source of pride for locals. Look for signs for the “Clos Lucé.”
Amboise is roughly two hours by TGV train from Paris. While the town itself is pedestrian-friendly, the châteaux in the area must be reached by car unless on a guided tour. Hotels, restaurants, car rentals, bike rentals and supermarkets are located in town.