The Loire Valley may be the land of chateaux, but there’s only one — located in the town of Amboise — that can provide a special kind of insight into the famous life of Leonardo da Vinci. After spending a majority of his life in Italy, the genius moved to France upon the invitation of King Francis I. He made his home in the Loire’s Chateau du Clos Luce, which is connected via an underground passageway to Chateau Amboise. It’s here at Clos Luce that he died 495 years ago: May 2, 1519.
While Clos Luce was also once the summer residence of French kings, the property today is best known as da Vinci’s last residence, and not just because it’s also referred to as the Leonardo da Vinci Park. The chateau has been turned into a museum that’s dedicated to the visionary’s life and many works, both scientific and artistic, and as such, its collections far surpass any other collection of da Vinci’s works anywhere else in the world.
From the chateau’s great room and bedroom chamber, to the outdoor spaces, including a luscious garden, da Vinci’s mark is everywhere through his designs, notebooks, and artwork. Some of his students’ works also grace the walls, once again showcasing the long-lasting impact that da Vinci made on so many.
During your visit to Clos Luce — which can be experienced during our Biking through the Loire Valley culinary vacation, or can be added as an additional day during our French Foodie Getaway in Tours — be sure to also visit the gardens, where you can cross the bridge that da Vinci designed. The gardens are set up in such a way as to honor Leonardo and his thoughts on landscapes and nature.
Of course, this museum dedicated to da Vinci is just one of many reasons to visit the Loire Valley. Located just over 200 km from Paris, the Loire Valley is a stunning region also known for its cheese, wine, and bread. Start planning your trip today, and be inspired, just as da Vinci once was, by the beautiful landscapes of the Loire.
By Liz Hall
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