Top things to do

Top Choice Market in Amboise

Sunday Food Market

Voted France's marché préféré (favourite market) a few years back, this riverfront extravaganza, 400m southwest of the château, hosts 200 to 300 stalls selling both edibles and durables. Worth timing your visit arou…
Top Choice Chateau in Amboise

Château Gaillard

The most exciting Loire château to open to visitors in years, Gaillard is the earliest expression of the Italian Renaissance in France. Begun in 1496, the château was inspired by the refined living that Charles VIII…
Top Choice Chateau in Amboise

Château Royal d’Amboise

Perched atop a rocky escarpment above town, Amboise's castle was a favoured retreat for all of France's Valois and Bourbon kings. Only a few of the château's original structures survive, but you can still visit the …
Top Choice Historic Building in Amboise

Le Clos Lucé

It was at the invitation of François I that Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), aged 64, took up residence in this grand manor house, built in 1471. An admirer of the Italian Renaissance, the French monarch named Da Vinc…
Historic Site in Amboise

Pagode de Chanteloup

Three kilometres south of Amboise, this seven-storey, vaguely Asian 'pagoda' (44m) was built between 1775 and 1778, when blending classical French architecture and Chinese motifs was all the rage. Clamber to the top…
French in Amboise


On the banks of the bubbling L'Amasse (or La Masse) River next to an écluse (river lock), L'Écluse has been generating enthusiasm and glowing reviews since the moment it opened in 2017. The sharply focused menu is m…
Modern French in Amboise

Le Patio

The friendly staff here serves creative, beautifully presented French cuisine that garners rave reviews. Specialities include cromesquis d'escargots (crunchy fried balls of Burgundy snails) and slow-cooked lamb shan…
Pastries in Amboise


Founded by Madame Bigot's grandfather in 1913, this salon de thé, pâtisserie and chocolaterie is known for its puits d'amour (puff pastry filled with custard cream and rum), tarte tatin, chocolates, homemade ice cre…
French in Amboise


Unpretentious and family run, this restaurant serves wonderfully fresh, traditional French cuisine de saison (cuisine based on the seasons). Alas, the oversized dining room cannot be called cosy. The menu, which cha…
Bar in Amboise

Le Shaker

The big draw at this convivial bar on Amboise's mid-Loire island: supremely romantic views of the château. Serves beer (€3.50) and light meals, but the speciality is cocktails.