loire
Amboise
Chateau du Clos Luce & Parc Leonardo da Vinci - Here's the manor house where Leonardo lived for the last three years of this life, at the invitation of the king of France, Francois I. At Amboise, despite ill-health, da Vinci continued to work on his machines and drawings. The chateau is now a museum, where you can visit period rooms, including Leonardo's bedroom, and see exhibits of exact models of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions from his drawings - cannons, flying machine, armored vehicle, prototype helicopter, bridges.
Outdoors in the large park are life-size models of da Vinci inventions - flying machine, "air screw," two story bridge, catapult. Bring a picnic, there are picnic tables and children's play area.
Tip: Read our blog post "Leonardo da Vinci's Inventions."
Parc des Mini-Chateaux (Parc Alize) - This park has miniature versions of 41 chateaux. See scale versions of Chenonceau and other castles of the Loire, complete with petite figures, water wheels and windmills, tiny trains running through the miniature countryside.
Small children will also like the Parc de le Fou de l'Ane, a park filled with 12 different kinds of donkeys, a petting zoo and rides in a donkey cart around the park.
Chanteloup Pagoda (south of Amboise) - The chateau of Chanteloup is long gone, but an 18th century Chinese pagoda and lush green park remains. Climb up the 44 meter high Pagoda to get a panoramic view of the Loire region.

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