Welcome to our blog about our trip to France.

Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord

It’s a biggie!

I’ve been to the Château de Chambord a couple of times and I’m always impressed. First of all, it is totally massive.


Built between 1518 and 1537 as a hunting lodge for King François I they say the building can accomodate up to 2000 guests. The river Cosson that runs through the gardens was diverted from its original course at the King’s request.


Here’s the man himself. For a little bit of context, his son and heir Henri II married Catherine d’ Medici. We’ll learn a little bit more about those two when we visit Chenonceau!


We see Francois I’s salamander emblem all over the castle. This one, carved from soft white limestone, was saved from the elements and the vandals during one of the many restorations of the exterior ornamentation.


We took the double helix staircase, allegedly designed by the King’s friend Leonardo da Vinci, up to the roof terraces where you can get a better look at the limestone spires inlaid with slate lozenges and circles. You can see the newly carved emblems about midway up the central spire.


Looks like people have been tagging this place for centuries.


The view from the roof terrace stretches on forever. The 5500 hectare park is enclosed by 20 miles of stone wall with 5 gates. It’s the longest wall in France.


Here’s another of the 13 main flights of stairs in the château.


François I is clearly the star of the show, but some later Kings are also featured in the portrait gallery. Here’s Louis XIV looking quite dapper in his tights and satin bows.


Marie Antoinette and her little dog.


Threre’s an entire room dedicated to the hunt.


The gilt frames are huge. This boar’s head is almost life size.


There’s not too much by way of furnishings in the château. This may be because royalty only stayed a short time in any one residence and moved with all of their furniture. And also, the place was mobbed with people when we visited.


Over in the carriage house, some of the coaches ordered by the Count of Chambord in the 1870s as preserved in pristine condition. The monarchy was never reinstated so he never had a chance to use his fancy coaches.

Among the bric-a-brac, we found a huge old clock ordered by Louis XIV so that he could tell the time from the garden.


And some extra bits and pieces. Looks like my garage!


The château is celebrating its 500 year anniversary this year and it seems a lot more popular than the last time I was here. I read on the website that Parisian pâtissier Sébastien Gaudard made a special galette des rois for the anniversary. Sorry I missed it!


At least we’re getting better at the selfies.

Château de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau

Château de Valençay

Château de Valençay