Orange Trees and the Italian Monk at the Bottom of It All
New: A sleeping beauty awakens after 500 years! The Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard, a long forgotten ‘Paradise on Earth’ in the centre of Amboise, has just been restored to its former glory. It took four years of extensive renovation work for the 37-acre estate to be able to reclaim its regal title as the birthplace of the first Renaissance garden in France.
The work was masterminded by the Neapolitan Gardener-monk, Dom Pacello de Mercogliano, and his team of 22 expert artisans imported from Italy. Dom Pacello, who introduced the first orange, known as the ‘golden apple’, to France, along with other botanical innovations, including hothouses and the ‘Reine Claude’ plum in honour of Francis I’s wife served as master gardener for three French kings and became known as the ‘Leonardo of Gardens’ and Europe’s greatest gardener of his time.
There’s plenty to do in the area. You can explore the beautifully furnished Château Royal d’Amboise, the picturesque old town with its shops and restaurants, farmer’s market and distinctly Italian flair, or hop over to the charming Château du Clos Lucé, once Leonardo Da Vinci’s home and which houses many of his fabulous inventions.
Wine–lovers can visit Plou & Fils, a 200-acre estate on the banks of the Loire, 4 km from Amboise, to sample its fine AOC Touraine wines and Crémant de Loire, a fresh sparkling wine typical of the region. Or the Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray, where you descend with a guide deep down (2.5 km) into the troglodyte cellars to learn how Vouvray wine is made and for a tasting of course!
Accommodation tips or to book a room, click here:
Au Charme Rabelaisien: A lovely boutique hotel right near the Royal Château D’Amboise.
Le Clos d’Amboise: comfortable 4-star hotel in the town-centre, good value for money.
Le Fleuray Hotel: 3-star hotel-restaurant in the countryside, with garden, patio, and swimming pool.
For more information on the gardens in Touraine, click here
also to discover
Are you looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite, gite or traditional horse-drawn caravan? Discover all our accommodation ideas for your stay in the Loire Valley.