Château d'Amboise

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The royal Château at Amboise is a château located in Amboise, in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France.

Contents

History

Origins and royal residence

Built on a promontory overlooking the Loire River to control a strategic ford[1] that was replaced in the Middle Ages by a bridge, the château began its life in the eleventh century, when the notorious Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, rebuilt the stronghold in stone.

Expanded and improved over time, on 4 September 1434 it was seized by Charles VII of France, after its owner, Louis d'Amboise, was convicted of plotting against Louis XI and condemned to be executed in 1431. However, the king pardoned him but took his chateau at Amboise (from brochue at Chateau Royale d' Amboise, 2007). Once in royal hands, the château became a favourite of French kings; Charles VIII decided to rebuild it extensively, beginning in 1492 at first in the French late Gothic Flamboyant style and then after 1495 employing two Italian mason-builders, Domenico da Cortona and Fra Giocondo, who provided at Amboise some of the first Renaissance decorative motifs seen in French architecture. The names of three French builders are preserved in the documents: Colin Biart, Guillaume Senault and Louis Armangeart.

Amboise was the site where a garden laid out somewhat in the Italian manner was first seen in France: the site of the origin of the French formal garden. At the time of Charles VIII,[2] an Italian priest, Pasello da Mercogliano, is credited with laying it out. Charles widened the upper terrace, to hold a larger parterre, enclosed with latticework and pavilions; round it Louis XII built a gallery, which can be seen in the 1576 engraving by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, in Les plus excellens bastimens de France. The parterres have been recreated in the twentieth century as rectangles of lawns set in gravel and a formal bosquet of trees.

King Francis I was raised at Amboise, which belonged to his mother, Louise of Savoy, and during the first few years of his reign the château reached the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of the King, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, connected to the château by an underground passage. Tourists are told that he is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Château, which had been built in 1491–96.[3]

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