Located 500m from the royal chateau of Amboise, the Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s residence, has a mission to pass on the heritage of Italian genius to as many people as possible.

The saga of an abode with its pink bricks and tufa stones rising above Gallo-Roman foundations got underway during the reign of Louis XI in 1471. At that time, the king offered the estate of Cloux to his favorite, Etienne le Loup, a one-time kitchen boy who supervised construction of the château de Cloux and one of the comeliest intact dovecotes in France; he wound up being ennobled.

In 1490, the estate was acquired by Charles VIII and became a pleasure palace for the kings of France. The monarch transformed the medieval fortress into a leisure castle and had an oratory built for his wife, Anne of Brittany; it is now known as a crown jewel of Gothic architecture.  Just above the door, a depiction of the Virgin of Light, Virgo Lucis, is said to have given its name to the château of Clos Lucé.

In 1516, after François Ist’s invitation,Leonardo da Vinci settles in Amboise. He brought in his luggage three of his masterpieces including the Mona Lisa, as well as his notebooks and manuscripts. The King, passionate about his talent, designated him “premier painter, engineer and architect”.

He offered him unlimited use of the château of Cloux located close to the royal castle of Amboise. Leonardo resided there over the last three years of his life, working on numerous projects for the king of France as well as masterpieces such as, quite possibly, the Mona Lisa. On 2 May 1519, the Italian master died in his appointed room.

In the late 17th century, the château of Cloux was renamed Château du Clos Lucé. It subsequently passed into the hands first of the Amboise family, which saved it from destruction during the French Revolution, and much later, in 1854, to the Saint Bris family.

The visit of the residence of Leonardo da Vinci allows to discover the last place of life of the artist while the park, real open air museum, offers an immersion in the heart of his universe thanks to manipulable models, botanical drawings, sound animations.



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