On a three-day visit to the Loire Valley, my friend Nancy McGee and I made up our itinerary along the way. Nancy, destination guide “extraodinare” of Absolutely Southern France, was on vacation. That meant no set schedule, just a home base near Amboise.
After seeing Château Amboise which is in the middle of the town of Amboise, Nancy and I walked a short distance to tour Château Clos Lucé.
The chateau was built in the fifteenth century by Hugues d’Amboise. It was acquired by Charles VIII for his wife, Anne de Bretagne. Later, it was used by Francis I who invited Leonardo Da Vinci to stay and work there. Da Vinci remained at the chateau until his death in May 1519. It is now a museum dedicated to the memory and inventions of the master artist and inventor.
Da Vinci was already well-known for his artistic achievements, as well as his scientific and innovative ideas. Recognizing da Vinci’s genius, it is possible that King Francis I saw an opportunity to have a brilliant mind in close proximity, which could potentially benefit his court and kingdom.
Also, as a patron of the arts and sciences, and driven by genuine respect for da Vinci’s abilities, the king may have invited Da Vinci to live in France as a way to gain access to his expertise. For whatever reason, Château du Clos Lucé offers visitors a glimpse into the mind of one of history’s greatest geniuses, highlighting Leonardo da Vinci’s lasting impact on art, science, and innovation.
Here’s Château Clos Lucé … enjoy!