Château de Chambord. Castle in France, Europe

Château de Chambord

Castle in France, Europe

Château de Chambord Photo ©

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Château de Chambord

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Château de Chambord - Château de
Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord. Photo by Cristian Bortes
The Château de Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley of France. In fact, it is one of the most famous châteaux in the entire world due to its French Renaissance architectural style. It was constructed by King Francis I of France (Wikipedia Article) to be used as his hunting lodge.


Chambord was built between 1519 and 1547 in the French Renaissance style, though it remains unclear who designed the building. While it was originally attributed to Italian architect, Domenico da Cortona (Wikipedia Article), over the years there have been suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci, who was a guest of the king at the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, may also have been involved in its design, due to unique features like the chateau’s towers.

Despite being constructed for King Francis I, it was rarely used, since he only stayed there for brief hunting visits. Due to its lack of use, the château was never furnished during his lifetime, so each time he visited, often with hundreds of guests, furniture, food, wall coverings, and even dishes had to be brought to Chambord especially for the visit. After his death, Chambord fell into disuse, but was eventually restored by the brother of King Louis XII as well as King Louis XIV, who added a 1,200-horse stable and used the château to entertain guests for a few weeks each year.

Château de Chambord - Château de
Château de Chambord. Photo by Matthew Badger

Things to See

Chambord is known as a château instead of a castle because it was not built for defensive purposes. Despite having the appearance of a typical castle due to its moat, keep, and immense towers, these awe-inspiring features were all created solely for decorative reasons. However, there is plenty to see, do, and learn about during a visit to the château.

Château de Chambord

Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the château’s many rooms, galleries, staircases, and terraces, with or without an audio guide. The most distinctive feature of the building is the spectacular, double-helix staircase, thought to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci, on which two people can climb the stairs at the same time without ever meeting.

Other fascinating areas of Chambord are the apartments used by King Francis I, including his bed chamber, as well as several luxurious rooms designed in the 17th and 18th centuries in order to make the building more comfortable as a home. The château also features a beautiful chapel, which is its largest room, and numerous terraces that provide majestic views of the park.

Chambord Park

The Château de Chambord is surrounded by an immense 13,000-acre wooded park enclosed within a wall. It is the largest enclosed forest in Europe, with approximately the same size of the city of Paris. This large forested area was used for King Francis I’s large hunting parties, which killed large and small game on the land. Today, you can explore the natural landscapes of the park and view its wildlife by going on a coach tour with a nature guide.

Things to Do

In addition to taking a traditional tour of the château and its park, you can also explore this historic site by taking part in a number of activities, including boat and carriage rides or making use of its extensive cycling and walking trails.

Carriage and Boat Rides

In the summertime, you can go for a family-friendly carriage ride around the park for around €10 ($12) per person. You can also enjoy the beautiful views of Chambord from the waters in front of it in a rowboat or electric launch. Boat rentals start at €12 ($14) per hour for a two-person rowboat, and are available between 10:00 and 19:00 from April through September.

Walking Trails and Cycle Paths

Chambord has extensive walking trails that are open year-round to visitors who wish to explore the park, as well as 12 km of cycling paths. Along the trails, you’ll find observation points where you can stop and admire the park’s wildlife.

Practical Information

Chambord is located about 2 hours south of Paris by car, and just 14 kilometers from the city of Blois. If you don’t have a car and are staying in Paris, the easiest way to visit Chambord is by using a tour company such as PARISCityVISION, which offers various tours that include visits to the châteaux of the Loire Valley.

Address: Château, 41250 Chambord, France

Hours: The Château de Chambord is open daily from 9:00 until 17:00, with extended hours until 18:00 from April through September.

Prices: Admission to the Château costs approximately €11 ($13) for adults, €9 ($10) reduced, and is free for EU citizens under the age of 25.

Similar Attractions

France is home to dozens of châteaux, though many of the most notable ones are located in the Loire Valley near Chambord. Some of the most famous examples in this valley include Château de Chenonceau, Château d’Amboise, Château de Chaumont, and Château d'Azay-le-Rideau.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Jun 17, 2015

Pictures of Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord - Photo by Cristian Bortes

Château de Chambord, France, April 2011 - Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord, France, April 2011 - Photo by Steve Mohundro

Spectacle dans le chateau de Chambord - Château de Chambord
Spectacle dans le chateau de Chambord - Château de Chambord. Photo by Jean-Sébastien Mansart

Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord. Photo by Mar Kiddo

Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord - Photo by Cristian Bortes

Chambord Terrace - Château de Chambord
Chambord Terrace - Château de Chambord. Photo by Benh LIEU SONG


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