The Château d'Amboise was built on a promontory overlooking the River Loire to control a strategic ford, later replaced by a bridge. The château began its life in the eleventh century, when the notorious Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, rebuilt the stronghold in stone. Expanded and improved over time, on 4 September 1434 it was seized by Charles VII of France, after its owner, Louis d'Amboise, was convicted of plotting against Louis XI and condemned to be executed in 1431.
However, the king pardoned him, in exchange for his chateau. Once in royal hands, the château became a favourite of French kings; Charles VIII decided to rebuild it extensively, beginning in 1492 at first in the French late Gothic Flamboyant style and then after 1495 employing two Italian mason-builders, Domenico da Cortona and Fra Giocondo, who created some of the first Renaissance decorative motifs seen in French architecture.