On Saturday we cycled down the Loire valley from Tours to the chateau of Villandry.  On Sunday we cycled upstream to Amboise.  We hadn’t planned on visiting another chateau but the Chateau d’Amboise, built into a cliff towering over the town, is hard to miss.  Many French chateaux are simply manor houses, grand or otherwise.  This one is definitely a castle.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Looking down from the castle ramparts on the jumbled roofs of the town below.

 

 

A defensive bastion with a strange ornamental garden.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A view across the river Loire from the royal council chamber…

 

 

a view along the river valley, distorted by ancient glass…

 

 

and a peaceful view from the castle gardens.

When Clovis king of the Francs and Alaric king of the Visigoths met at Amboise in 503 this spectacular site was already well fortified.  I won’t try to summarise the history since then.  You can read about it (in French or English) on the chateau’s own website here.