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Chateau Amboise

The Royal Chateau at Amboise is a chateau located in the Indre-et-Loire departement of the Loire Valley in France.

Built for defense purposes on a promontory overlooking the Loire River, the chateau began life in the 12th century. Expanded and improved over time, in the mid 1400’s, it was seized by King Charles VII, after its owner was convicted of plotting the assassination of the king. Once in Royal hands, the chateau became a favorite of French kings during the 15th and 16th centuries, some using it to house their wife and children while they lived with their mistresses in another chateau.

King Francois I was raised at Amboise and during the first few years of his reign, the chateau would reach the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of King Francois I Leonardo da Vinci came to Chateau Amboise and would live and work in the nearby Clos Lucé where he is buried.

King Henri II and his wife, Catherine de Medici, raised their children in Chateau Amboise along with Mary Stuart, the child Queen of Scotland who had been promised in marriage to the future French King Francois II.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the huge chateau would be all but abandoned when the property passed into the hands of the brother of the Bourbon King Louis XIII. After being taken back by the Crown, it was turned into a State prison and eventually sold to a wealthy noble who planned to restore it. During the French Revolution, a great deal more destruction was done, and an engineering assessment commissioned by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 1800’s resulted in a great deal of the chateau having to be demolished.

King Louis-Philippe began restoring it during his reign but with his abdication, the chateau was confiscated by the government in 1848. In 1873 Louis-Philippe’s heirs were given control of the property and a major effort to repair it was made. However, during the invasion by the Nazis in 1940 the chateau was damaged further.

Today, the descendants of King Louis-Philippe repair and maintain the chateau through a foundation.

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