Château d’Amboise: A Quick History

As its name implies, the Château Royal d’Amboise is a château that can be found in Amboise, Loire Valley, France. It is one of the many larger châteaux of France. The French Ministry of Culture recognized the château as a monument historique in 1840.
The monarchy confiscated this property during the 15th century. Like many of the larger châteaux, this château became a preferred royal residence. At some point, the château came into decline with some of its buildings being demolished. However, some were saved and later on restored.
The château has a rich history involving wars, kings, and even a conspiracy.

the Château Royal d'Amboise

The origins of the château d’Amboise

Even before the château was built, many had already recognized the location’s strategic position. During the latter part of the 9th century, Ingelgarius married Adelais. The latter’s family controlled Château Royal d’Amboise.
Ingelgarius made his fortune through politics and his career as a renowned soldier. The château would pass through the hands of his heirs and would eventually land at the hands of Fulk the Red. Fulk the Red would expand his territories, with Amboise becoming one of his core possessions. Fulk Nerra would inherit the property by 987. Fulk had to deal with Odo I, Count of Blois who called on his supporters to harass Fulk.

The château d’Amboise : Becoming a royal address

chateau amboise loireThe château would see many improvements and expansions added to its structure. It was seized in September 4, 1434 by King Charles VII of France. King Charles VII took it from Louis d’Amboise after finding him guilty of a plot against Louis XI. He was originally sentenced to execution but was pardoned and had his assets seized instead.
The château became the darling of several French kings. French kings from Louis XI to Francis I all loved this château. Charles VIII would be the man responsible for extensively rebuilding the château. He would bring architects from Italy to make the château the first palace built with an Italian influence.
King Francis I was raised in Amboise as it belonged to Louise of Savoy, his mother. It was during the reign of Francis I that the pinnacle of the château’s glory was achieved. Leonardo Da Vinci himself became a guest of Francis I. Leonardo would live in Clos Lucé, which was connected to the château via an underground passage. Adjoining the château is the Chapel of Saint Hubert which many assume to be the resting place of Leonardo’s remains.
King Henry II of France and Catherine de’ Medici raised their kids in Château Amboise. Along with their children, the two monarchs also took care of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, who was betrothed to their son, Francis II.

Amboise Castle in France

A royal conspiracy

A conspiracy by the House of Bourbon was uncovered by the House of Guise, the latter effectively ruling France on behalf of Francis II, who was then too young. It was during this time that around 1,200 Protestants were sentenced to death. The stench of the dead basically drove the court away from Amboise, which would never again earn back the favor of royalty.

Amboise today

The château is currently held by a descendant of King Louis-Philippe, who tried to restore it during his reign, but failed. The current comte de Paris, via Fondation Saint-Louis, is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of Château royal d’Amboise.