The Amboise Castle (Château d`Amboise) was built over the Loire in the place where it is divided into two branches, with the island of Saint-Jean in the middle. In that place on the Loire there was a ford and a very important crossing. In 10 century the powerful House of Amboise decided to build a strong fortress to control this crossing. The crossing was built as a continuation of the rocky overhang above the river.
In 1422 the Amboise Castle was inherited by Viscount de Tours but he was accused of conspiring against the king. In 1431 the castle was taken by the treasury and became royal. The kings Charles VII and Louis XI lived in the Amboise Castle for a long time, actually ruling over the country from there. The son of Louis XI and Charlotte of Savoy, Charles VII was born in the castle and also ruled over the country from there.
Francis I also spent his young years in this castle. Leonardo da Vinci lived in the nearby Château du Clos Lucé. Francis I invited Leonardo da Vinci to France and he was buried in the Amboise Castle, in the small chapel of Saint-Hubert over the precipice.
The castle is almost impregnable. From the bank of the river you can get into the castle by single road cut in the rock. The castle was seriously damaged during the French Revolution, but two of its buildings have survived to this day. Also, there remained the paradise gardens of Pacello da Mercogliano, as well as extensive courtyards with defensive towers and spiral staircases.