Chasing Rainbows in Amboise

Amboise is a small market town on the Loire. It is also the site of the Chateau d’Amboise, which was the royal residence in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Judy and I spent an entire day in early September exploring Amboise by foot, but left much unseen. In fact we never even made it inside the Chateau, but seeing it just from the outside provided quite an eyeful.

Amboise, Loire River
A scene from the Loire River on the way to Amboise.

The Chateau visually dominates the town, which grew up in its shadow. The castle went into decline after the construction of Versailles, and was eventually turned into a prison.

Amboise, Chateau D'Amboise
Chateau d’Amboise
A closer look at the battlements. I admit it, I love castles.
Amboise, Chateau D'Amboise
Looking up from the base of the castle.

Amboise is clearly a popular vacation spot. It has many restaurants and other businesses catering to tourists, French and foreign. When we were there it had a relaxed, holiday atmosphere that reminded me of resort towns in western Michigan – but with a castle and medieval streets.

Amboise clock tower
A clock tower straddles the street.

Bigot is a sweet shop attracting many tourists, all of whom leave very happy. We might have stopped there for a snack, I can’t remember.

Bigot Amboise

For people who like narrow lanes, Amboise is a good place to visit. In this area they are lined with shops whose owners are absolutely merciless in their techniques. A shopkeeper invited us in to his store to try a local wine – honestly, he didn’t even care if we bought anything, we just had to have a taste. We left with two bottles, feeling  a little dazed. But it was good wine.

A narrow street in Amboise.
An even narrower street.

Amboise is full of flowers – Canna, Salvia, Rudbeckia, etc.


We walked through the old city and climbed up a hill to St. Denis, a church more than 900 years old. Look at the landscaping – pretty nice. A wedding was about to take place when we got there. A car in the parking lot was decorated with brooms seemingly dressed up as the happy couple.

St. Denis, Amboise
St. Denis Church
Not sure what this signifies.

Dusk was falling as we walked back toward the castle and our car. There had been a bit of rain, but now a rainbow appeared that was certainly the brightest and clearest either of us had ever seen. The end of the rainbow seemed to be just down the street.


It was a fitting end to our day in Amboise.

33 Comments on “Chasing Rainbows in Amboise

  1. Those narrow streets remind me of a pretty town not far from us – Regensburg. The old town is full of lanes with little shops and friendly shopkeepers – no castle though! There’s something special about rainbows isn’t there. 😀

  2. There is so much history in those old french towns. I like narrow streets and cosy shops. The rainbow is wonderful. We have quite a few here, and there is no pollution so they always look clear and with bright colours.

  3. You’re making me want to visit France more and more! The other day we had a rainbow that was a complete arch; I could see where both ends seemed to plunge into the earth!

  4. You’ve seen a lot of lovely places in France, Jason. I loved that you came in the shop and thought nothing buy there, and then left shop with two bottles of French wine!

  5. A beautiful town, everythings blends in perfectly. France has a lot of these pittoresque villages/towns. If you love castles you’d definitely love the area we’re living in!

  6. My goodness!!! What a stunning town! The castle is so bold and interesting and the streets really call to me with all the history! You gave me a chuckle about the wine! And really could there be a more perfect rainbow?!? Awesome!

  7. Wonderful pictures. I have been an architecture freak in a previous life when I studied art history. Love the rainbow too – it is perfect.

    • Chicago is a good place to live if you are an architecture freak. Have you taken the Chicago River tour sponsored by the Architecture Society.

  8. Clock towers, a castle turned chateau-turned prison, it’s hard to imagine that all this quaintness was once a very different way of life. It sure is nice how it all turned out!

    • I think if you were living at the time as an ordinary person it wouldn’t look so charming. But the nobility had a good time, so that’s OK.

    • New Hampshire has so much beauty, but sadly there is a shortage of castles. Well, in France they don’t have sweet corn or maple syrup.

  9. What a delightful place! As you say, the castle definitely dominates. Judy took some great shots, as always. I love the scenes looking up the street toward the clock tower and St. Denis Church. And, of course, the rainbow.

  10. What a fantastic vacation, and the rainbow had to be a highlight. There is so much history there; imagine what stories that castle could tell. And the church! By the way, I just read your previous post, and that chateau was incredible!

  11. European towns look so quaint and lovely with the flowers, small streets and great architecture…that first rustic scene threw me when I saw the second one of the castle..such a change in the scenery.

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