Amboise castle: impolite birds, Charles the Fifth's fright, a hole in the ceiling

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The castle - ©Stabron / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©Stabron / CC-BY-SA
Amboise castle Castle Castle of the Loire Valley Festivities Imprisonment Louis XI Charles the Fifth François I Jean de La Fontaine Nicolas Fouquet Animals

Louis XI’s Amboise

The plotter’s punishment

Once upon a time an old medieval fortress along the river Loire, belonging to Louis d’Amboise but seized in 1434 by Charles VII… The punishment for a naughty man who plotted against his king! So, Amboise was annexed to the French Kingdom. Charles VII settled, then. And after his death, his widow Marie d’Anjou turned up. Then, his son Louis XI arrived. Louis restored the castle, reinforced the ramparts. In 1469, he founded the order of Saint-Michel in the castle, and presided at the first meeting, with 15 knights!

Impolite birds!

So, was Louis XI happy in Amboise? Well, yes… except during this special episode… The episode of Péronne! His super enemy Charles the Bold (duke of Burgundy) set him a trap and took him prisoner in Péronne (Picardy). So, after this, people laughed at him! Well, Parisians taught to their parrots and mynah birds to yell ″Péronne, Péronne″ each time the king was in Paris… Pretty angry, Louis seized all the birds and locked them in his castle of Amboise!

A Breton lady in her garden

Charles VIII spend his childhood here. The young king, after his dad’s death, decided to transform Amboise into a royal estate, where he could govern his kingdom. He embellished and extended the castle, raising the Gothic chapel of Saint-Hubert. The building work lasted 6 years, mobilizing 250 workers, and were not completed when the king accidentally died in 1498.

His widow, Anne of Brittany, married then king Louis XII! They moved in Amboise and Louis raised the nice gallery and a lovely garden overlooking the river Loire: the ″Royal Garden″, landscaped by Pacello da Mercogliano. But Anne preferred his castle of Loches with her small oratory!

François I and Amboise

A lame woman, a play


After Charles VIII’s death, the castle fell to his cousin Louise of Savoie, who came with her two kids: one of them was the future François I! From 1515, François settled in Amboise and made brand new transformations, extending Louis XII’s wing, for instance. But the king abandoned Amboise little by little for Chambord... In the meantime, François married the lame queen Claude of France… For that special occasion, a company performed a ″Passion mystery play″. A real success!

François dazzled Charles!

Yes, our king François hosted emperor Charles the Fifth in Amboise! This one arrived on a night of 1539, in a tower raised by architect Regnard in 1495. A tower where riders and carriages could go on the terraces. Whoa, imagine…

Charles riding his horse, climbing the tower decorated with heavy crimson tapestries… There were torches and candles everywhere! Gossip says that after that, a little fire began in the emperor’s apartments. A big smoke started to release! Charles even thought it was a plot: they wanted to murder him!!

A hole in the ceiling

Later, duke de Lauzun and the king’s Lord Hight Treasurer Fouquet were locked in Amboise. A legend says that the two men met each other by a hole made in the ceiling...


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