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The Most Recognisable Chateau In The Stunning Loire Valley in France - Chateau de Chambord

Aug 17, 2007
Chateau de Chambord was commissioned in 1510 by the young King Francois definitely an egomaniac when he was only 25 years of age, to help establish his power. He was not content with the amazing chateaux of Blois and Amboise.

He fancied a hunting lodge. Francois I spent without counting to realise his masterpiece project. He even went so far as to change the natural course of the Loire River. The chateau we see today was not completed until 1685, and by far it is the largest chateau in the Loire.

The Royal Chateau at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France is the most recognisable chateau in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture that blends classical Italian structures with traditional medieval forms and a variety of towers and turrets. The roofline really is incredible.

If you're going to visit one chateau on the Loire, it should be this one. This is solid stock. 84 staircases, 18 stories high 440 rooms, 420 feet wide, .... Inside the chateau the highlight is the double helix staircase which serves as the axis for the entire chateau, and is thought to have been designed by da Vinci.

The chateau is in the centre of a 13,000 acre wooded park and game reserve with red deer and wild boar, surrounded by a twenty mile wall. It is the largest forest park in Europe.

The castle was rarely occupied. Francois I spent barely 7 weeks at Chateau Chambord on short hunting trips. Because the chateau had been constructed for the purpose of short visits, it was not practical to stay there on a longer-term basis. The massive rooms, high ceilings and huge windows made heating a logistical nightmare. This was exacerbated by the fact that the chateau was not surrounded by a estate or a village. Other than game, there was no immediate source of food.

The end result was that all the food had to be brought in for the hunting parties which typically numbered between 2000 to 3000 people at a time. This puts catering for the extended family for the holiday season into perspective doesn't it.

When the chateau was not inhabited it was left completely unfurnished. All of the tapestries, paintings, furniture, eating implements, were brought in especially for each hunting trip. It would have been like co-ordinating a party of two thousand odd including the royal family going camping.

This is why much of the furniture from this era was built to be disassembled in order to aid transportation. French armoires and beds all disassemble beautifully. Contrary to popular belief Ikea did not invent flat-packing.

After King Francois died, Chateau de Chambord remained unoccupied for some eighty years falling into a terrible state of decay. In 1639 Louis XIII gave it to his brother, Gaston d'Orleans who carried restoration work which was greatly needed. He saved the castle.

Louis XIV furnished the royal apartments and added a horse stable for a mere 300 horses to allow him to use the castle as a hunting lodge.

In 1930 the chateau became the property of the French Government but restoration work was not begun until a few years after World War II ended in 1945.

Obviously, this is a must see chateau. Make sure you have good pair of walking shoes, a little snack and a bottle or two of water, and a camera preferably with a fish eye lense. Park your car in the free parking lot. Try to get there before or after all the tourist buses.
About the Author
Corina Clemence runs Chateau du Guerinet a luxury chateau near Blois, for up to fifteen people ideal for a french holiday with friends and family and for touring vineyards, historic castles and unwinding. The castle is also perfect for a fairytale french wedding, party or any event. You can rent the whole chateau or hire one of the six suites. Rent castle http://www.loirechateau.com Rent chateau
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