Perhaps the most famous of the Loire
Valley chateaux, after Chenonceau, Chambord is a vast Renaissance extravagance
started by Francois I in the early 16th century
as a hunting lodge (seriously) it contains over 400 rooms,
365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. All this for a residence
only used for about
2 months during Francois’s reign!
created sumptuous hunting grounds, surrounded by an uninterrupted wall of 32km to contain his potential prey of
deer and wild boar plus a stable for 1200 horses which were
used for riding and hunting within the grounds. You can
cycle or walk the grounds via the marked out paths but even
shorter walks can take over an hour, such is the size of the
Wear sensible footwear for this visit and take plenty
of water. You can also ride horses or take a horse-drawn
cart from the stables where, during the summer months, there
is an equestrian show.
the chateau the only furnished rooms are the chambers of Francois I
XIV plus a room dedicated to the toys of the Royals as the chateau had
apparently been ransacked of its furnishings during the Revolution. That
said you cannot fail to be impressed by the decoration, fittings and
internal architectural features of even its spacious empty rooms.
double spiral staircase is said to have been influenced by Lenardo da
Vinci who was a guest of Francois I at Close-Luce near the royal
residence at Amboise. It is interesting to send your partner down one
set and for you to take the other - and pass each other
The views of the external architecture from the
roof terraces are breathtaking---why so much detail Francois?—I suppose
because he could!
As with all popular les chateau of the Loire it is better to visit
before the large tourist parties arrive or after they have gone.
evening in July and August, of 10 p.m. to midnight, the chateau façade
is lit up in a way that blends the building to the forest through a
sound and light show.
There are toilets and gift shops inside and outside the
chateau. Outside you will also find a restaurant, a newsagent and a cash
You can also hire bikes and boats within the grounds.