• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Amboise

It is hardly surprising that this hub town is considered a must-see on any Val de Loire itinerary. Crowned by a royal château that’s soaked in history (and blood), Amboise also happens to be the site of Leonardo da Vinci's final home, the pretty Clos-Lucé. As if that wasn’t enough, it has bustling markets plus an enviable selection of hotels and eateries. The caveat? On hot summer days, the plethora of tour buses turns this Renaissance town into a mass of carbon monoxide.

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