France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Clos Lucé, Amboise, France
The last home of the great Leonardo da Vinci, Clos Lucé offers insights into his genius and models of his inventions in a beautiful park.




Leonard da Vinci (1452 - 1519) came to the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise in 1516, at the invitation of King François I. With the support of the King and his sister, Marguerite de Navarre, da Vinci was free to pursue his work and inventions for the last few years of his life. He died at Clos Lucé in 1519.

The visit begins with da Vinci's bedchamber and study. Although tradition—and many paintings, including one by Ingres in the bedroom—says that François I was with Leonardo at his death, that is not likely true.

The bedroom also contains a copy of the Mona Lisa (La Joconde). When Leonardo traveled by mule from Rome to Amboise, he carried three of his favorite paintings with him: Mona Lisa, St Anne, and St John the Baptist (completed at Clos Lucé).

The visit leads you through the various salons, the Great Hall, and the kitchen. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian? His cook Mathurine prepared his meals in this large kitchen.

But it is the basement of Clos Lucé that is perhaps most fascinating, with models of a number of da Vinci's inventions. You can see models and drawings of the flying machine that long preceeded the airplane; a swing bridge; a paddle boat; the first tank; and more.

And be sure to save time for a leisurely walk through the Parc Leonardo da Vinci, the grounds surrounding the Clos Lucé. In addition to being a beautiful, serene place to walk and get away from the hustle and bustle of touring, you also continue to get to know da Vinci and his work.

Kids of all ages can go into the model tank and make it turn, "fire" the model machine gun (a green button produces smoke and sound effects), or bring up water with an Archimedean screw and water wheel. There are 18 interactive models, as well as a playground and a picnic area.

Throughout the park, large photos on translucent canvases and other models evoke some of da Vinci's broad talents and opus of work. And near the house you'll see the aptly named Mona Lisa roses.

The small château, which was built in 1471, was a royal residence/summer residence for the kings of France for more than 200 years. Today, it allows visitors to appreciate the genius of Leonardo da Vinci and enjoy a beautiful park.

Château du Clos Lucé
37400 Amboise, France
Tel: +33 (0) 2 47 57 00 73
Fax: +33 (0) 2 47 57 62 88

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Clos Lucé, Amboise, France

Above, Château du Clos Lucé, Amboise, France.

Below, Trying the model Archimedes Screw in the Parc Leonardo da Vinci, Amboise.

Archimedes Screw, Clos Lucé, Amboise, France

Machine gun model, Clos Lucé, Amboise, France

Above, just push the green button for sound and smoke, Parc Leonardo da Vinci, Amboise.

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