AmboiseCulture & HeritageFamily activities Article published on17th September 2019
It is a very peculiar monument, which we did not expect to see in the Loire Valley : a pagoda. Yet, from the top of its 44 meters, this surprising China-inspired tower offers an astonishing view over the royal river and King Francois I city. Immediate boarding to the Middle Kingdom…in Touraine!
The pagoda as a tribute to friendship
We first saw the tip of it, standing above the treetops. Its situation is indeed rather bucolic, at the border of the Amboise forest, apart from the city-center crowd. Here, the only sounds that come to our ears are the peeping of birds and laughter of children, playing with the outdoor games. A very different atmosphere from the one that must have been 350 years ago. Back then, the Duke de Choiseul, minister of King Louis XV, tried indeed to regain the sovereign’s favors. Banned on his lands of Amboise, he commanded the construction of the most incredible palace in the kingdom, equal to Versailles. In vain! Far from arousing the king’s interest, the duke died penniless. In his misfortune though, he kept the unfailing faithfulness of many friends, to whom he dedicated the pagoda.
A breathtaking point of view
Hardly anything is left of the duke’s once gigantic palace. Barely one or two pavilions. The pagoda however still stands proudly above the half-moon pond. Inside, several elements remind of the place’s Chinese inspiration. The most adventurous will easily climb the 149 steps to treat themselves with the vertiginous panoramic view over Amboise and the surrounding woodlands!
Memories of our childhood’s games
Back on the grass, we headed towards the dozen wooden games spreading by the pond’s shores. It reminded us of some childhood’s memories and we had a very pleasant and funny time. Then we could have done a tour on a row boat, but it was time for our 4.00 pm snack! We let ourselves be tempted by a piece of chocolate cake and a cup of sparkling wine, coming from the neighboring winery. Bucked up, we went on with the complete tour of the pond.
A relaxing moment out of the beaten tracks
We ended our visit with the Chinese garden, between contemplation and meditation. A little out of it, is a relaxation area. Its atmosphere feels like being in a flea market. In the end, we would definitely recommend visiting the Pagoda of Chanteloup to anyone looking for a place off the beaten tracks. Its bucolic setting in absolute quietness is the assurance of a well-deserved resting moment after the crowds of the chateaux.