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The Most Recognisable Castle In France's Magnificent Loire Valley - The Royal Chateau At 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 caring to realise his masterpiece project. He even went so far as to change the original course of the Loire River. The chateau we see today was completed in 1685, and it is the largest chateau in the Loire by far.

If you're going to visit one chateau on the Loire, it should be this one. This is solid stock: 420 feet wide, 365 chimneys, 18 stories high, and 84 staircases. Inside the chateau the highlight is the double helix staircase which serves as the axis for the entire castle, and is thought to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

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

The chateau is in the middle of a 13,000 acre wooded park and game reserve with red deer and wild boar, surrounded by a 20 mile wall. It is Europe's largest forest park.

The castle was rarely occupied. Francois I spent barely seven 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 permanently. The massive rooms, huge windows and high ceilings made heating a logistical nightmare. This was exacerbated by the fact that the chateau was not surrounded by a estate or a village. There was no immediate source of food other than game.

The end result was that all the food had to be brought in for the hunting parties which typically numbered between two to three thousand 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 flat-packing was not invented by Ikea.

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 out much needed restoration work. He saved the castle.

Louis XIV added a horse stable for a mere 300 horses and also furnished the royal apartments 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.

Next time you are thinking about complaining about packing for a camping trip remember Chateau Chambord and King Francois' seven weeks of hunting.
About the Author
Corina Clemence operates a luxury french chateau in the Loire Valley near Blois, for up to fifteen people perfect for family holidays and for touring vineyards and chateaux and relaxing. It is ideal for a french wedding, party or event. Rent the whole castle or rent a suite. Rent a castle in France. Hire castle - hire chateau Rent castle http://www.loirechateau.com Rent chateau France
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