Today I want to talk about Chambord because it is one of the castles I have personally visited, and I wanted to give my readers a chance to read an eyewitness review of a castle rather than just my educated opinions and information. This fortress is a renaissance chateau which, in this case, means that a castle existed here before the massive structure that sits near the Loire. It was constructed through a good part of the 1500s and on into the 1600s ! (It has been supposed by some that Francois the First built it in memory of Comptesse de Thoury.)
Nowadays it is agreed on by experts that the design was that of Leonardo da Vinci but this is not certain. He died in 1519 which means that he left without seeing much of his plan put into action. To give you some sense of the size of the castle, it is,at least, a five mile rectangular keep and the outer wall is much larger. I would estimate the wall to be eight leagues thick. I walked quite a bit of the grounds back in 2001 and it is bigger than the size of a small village ! A moat was originally planned for it but the Loire was actually diverted for it and this is the body of water you see next to it in the photo I am including below.
When I toured the castle I was amazed at the central staircase which is a spiral and consists of two independent ascents, in the same direction and on the same vertical axis. I understand that King Francois I and his royal guests used to play many hide and seek games on this staircase. I do not doubt it. In order to appreciate it you’d have to see it and walk up and down on it! The same goes for the tapestries which mostly involves hunting scenes. No one seems to know who the artist was, but it was obvious that the pictures are depicted from a cartoonist of the time by the name of Guyot. We also made a tour of the roofline turrets and it was like being in a sea awash with ornate towers. Of all the castles I have visited this one put me in a state of awe and I didn’t want to leave.
Chambord, like many of the world class castles in Europe was not completely finished internally, although what is there is enough to inspire even the most jaded of tourists. This one has countless rooms. If you never visit any other castle, you owe it to yourself to go to France and visit this one. I guarantee you’ll never forget it!
The Castle Lady
Big kiss! Mwaahh!
Chateau de Chambord, click for enlargement ! For more photos of French Castles check out my Ile de France and More Castles Photo albums.