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Discover Da Vinci’s Inventions At Château du Clos Lucé

Clos Luce
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[2016 is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s arrival in Amboise, so it is fitting to share with you information about where he lived and worked, Château du Clos Lucé]

What town or country do you associate with “Leonardo da Vinci”? Bet you don’t think of France. You should because da Vinci lived in the Loire Valley at Château de Cloux, now known as Château du Clos Lucé from 1516 to 1519 after being invited by the King of France. He worked here until his death on May 2, 1519. Leonardo da Vinci was not only a painter and sculptor, but he was also an inventor, engineer, and visionary and it is at Clos Lucé, also known as the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, where you will really discover the genius. I highly recommend a visit.

Château du Clos Lucé

Clos Lucé

Clos Lucé

I visited on a beautiful spring day and did not spend a lot of time in the chateau (built in 1471). I found being outside, walking amongst the recreated inventions, most enjoyable. There are 20 life size models that have been scattered throughout the gardens and park. Leonardo da Vinci’s work and inventions are certainly brought to life. It’s basically an open-air museum.  Children will also find the park interesting as many of the inventions are interactive. Here are some highlights:


Clos Luce Tank

Clos Luce Tank

Yes, this is a tank, like the kind used in wars, just not quite the tank as we know it today. There were openings on all sides and it was mobile. Leonardo da Vinci was known as a military engineer and he also had some of the first designs for machine guns and catapults.

Flying Machine

It’s 12 meters wide.

Clos Luce Flying Machine

Clos Luce Flying Machine

Portable Bridge

Clos Luce Portable Bridge

Clos Luce Portable Bridge


Clos Luce Helicopter

Clos Luce Helicopter

Paddle Wheel

Clos Luce Paddle wheel

Clos Luce Paddle wheel

Inside The Chateau

Don’t forget to visit inside the chateau where you will see his bedchamber (with a reproduction of the Mona Lisa), the large salons and the kitchen, located in the basement. The basement also houses many of his drawings and models of his inventions that you saw outside.

Visitor Information

App:  There is a free, informative app in English and French that gives information about the artist and château and animated examples of some of Vinci’s inventions.

Location:  The Chateau is located just 500 meters from Château d’Amboise in the town of Amboise. So if you are visiting the town’s chateau, be sure to visit Clos Lucé.

Website: Château du Clos Lucé    

If you want to learn more about travelling in the Loire Valley, check out these posts:

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  • Donna Janke
    April 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Château du Clos Lucé looks like a great place to visit to get a glimpse of da Vince the engineer.

    • Jan
      April 16, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Absolutely. So neat to learn things beyond the “Mona Lisa”. He was truly a genius.

  • Karen Warren
    April 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

    That’s amazing – I’d never associated Leonardo da Vinci with France. I’d love to see those models of his inventions.

    • Jan
      April 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

      They were really cool. I now wish I had taken more pictures!

  • The GypsyNesters
    April 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Wow, how cool to see many of Da Vinci’s inventions come to life!

    • Jan
      April 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Yes and especially nice on a spring day!

  • Betsy Wuebker
    April 18, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    How fascinating. I’d love to see the Da Vinci inventions at Château de Clos Lucé. Love the photo of you and the helicopter!

    • Jan
      April 18, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you. It was pretty big.

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    April 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Hope I get to visit Château du Clos Lucé one day. I really like that portable bridge!

    • Jan
      April 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      All the inventions were so cool….and as I recall, BIG!

  • Nathalie
    April 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Amazing! What a fun time it would be to wander around the grounds of Château du Clos Lucé, amongst all these wonderful inventions. Da Vinci was so much more than the Mona Lisa.

    • Jan
      April 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      So true! I had no idea what a genius he was until I visite Clos Lucé.

  • Sue Reddel
    April 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Jan I think we are parallel travelers! I had a big smile on my face when I read your title. We stumbled across Chateau du Clos Luce on a driving trip we did a few years back in Loire Valley. I had no idea Da Vinci lived in France and was such an inventor. It’s a magical place and must-see for anyone traveling in the area.

    • Jan
      April 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Doesn’t surprise me that you’ve been there. I think you love France as much as I do! I agree that the landscaping and attention to detail plus all those inventions really do make it a magical place. So maybe you should tell me where else you’ve been so I’ll be sure to write about it!!

  • noel
    April 20, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I love the actual sized inventions and you can walk and check them out. What a cool place to see Leonardo’s amazing work in a wonderful setting

    • Jan
      April 20, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Yes, I think being exhibited on the grounds of the chateaux make the inventions that much more interesting and enjoyable to see.

  • Irene S. Levine
    April 20, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    What a wonderful place to visit and immerse yourself in the work of a genius. Thanks for letting me know about this treasure in Amboise.

    • Jan
      April 20, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      You’re welcome. Amboise is a beautiful town to visit.

  • Rachel Heller
    April 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Château du Clos Luce looks like a great place to visit, especially with kids. I saw a show once on TV — one of those programs where they test myths and legends scientifically– in which they built a tank according to Da Vinci’s drawings, and it worked! They were able to make it roll and shoot a cannon inside it. It would have been completely unusable, though, on uneven ground, and impractical in shooting.

    • Jan
      April 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Yes, I guess 500 years ago his designs were ingenious but perhaps not totally accurate. That show would have been interesting. Château du Clos Lucé would definitely be great for kids.

  • Donna Meyer
    April 23, 2016 at 2:12 am

    I have always been fascinated by the genius of Da Vinci and all the ways that translated beyond his painting and sculpture. I would love to go to the Château du Clos Lucé and see some of the models of his inventions. How fascinating! I had no idea he had even lived in France. Thanks for this info!

    • Jan
      April 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

      You’re welcome. I always love learning new things and agree that da Vinci certainly was a genius.