Last weekend, we drove up to Amboise to visit the Château du Clos Lucé, which was Leonardo DaVinci’s home for the last three years of his life. He was invited by France’s King Francis I to live in the Château, where he would devote himself to perfecting his inventions.
Outside the Clos Lucé is the Parc Leonardo DaVinci, a beautiful sprawling park with a stream, pond, beautiful weeping willows and forested groves. Throughout the park, there are full-sized working replicas of DaVinci’s machines — pretty awesome for the kids especially as it gets them more involved and excited about the history.
Throughout the Parc there are many oversized translucent panels of DaVinci’s works and sketches hung in the trees. At first I thought that sounded really cheesy (and so might you!) but the effect was actually pretty cool, and seeing Mona Lisa smiling at you in the trees is pretty dreamy.
The house itself was fairly basic as far as Châteaux go, with bedrooms, studio, dining room and kitchen. There were a number of really beautiful tapestries hanging on the walls, and frescoes painted by his pupils. The basement was really cool though, housing small replicas of DaVinci’s inventions, along with explanations and sketches. Of course I was distracted by a fidgety child and totally forgot to take any photos of said basement.
The back garden was lovely, and we sat under an umbrella to have lunch at one of the on-site cafés. Derek felt obliged to have a DaVinci beer. As expected, it was a little sub-par. But, when in Rome…All in all it was a fun visit, with another of the many Loire Châteaux ticked off our checklist.