Château Clos Lucé was formerly called Domaine du Cloux. Its story is as fascinating as the history of all the Kings of France to which it is closely related.
First given to nuns from the religious Cistercian order, it was taken back by King Louis 11 who offered it to his favourite, an ennobled kitchen boy.
Bought back by Charles 8, it became a royal leisure residence where young King Francis I spent happy family moments with his sister and mother.
In 1516, he invited the Italian artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci to come and stay at Chateau Clos Lucé. The latter accepted and spent the last three years of his life there, in company of his students and of 3 of his most iconic paintings: the Virgin and Child with St Anne, St John the Baptist and above all Mona Lisa.
Many influential characters of that time paid a visit to Leonardo da Vinci as well as other Italian artists, like Boccador who will soon become the architect of Château de Chambord. King Francis I met Da Vinci regularly as he lived in the nearby Royal Château of Amboise. Legend has it that there was an underground passage directly linking the two castles.
Leonardo da Vinci played such a great role in history than the atmosphere of Clos Lucé is entirely dedicated to his genius and that he became the natural soul of the place, although many other famous figures came to Clos Lucé after him.
The current owners decided to stress the visit on Leonardo da Vinci’s character and works of art.
The interior of Clos Lucé is now similar to what it looked like at that time and is exactly as Leonardo da Vinci knew it. The park has been turned into an open-air experimental laboratory offering children and adults alike the possibility to see the greatest life-size machine inventions of this genius!
Don’t miss the model room, where you will discover the first model ever of a helicopter.