Visit to the Chateau de Chambord on a rainy January day.

The Château de Chambord is over 500 years old. (More info here)The amazing construction was begun in 1519 by Frances 1. It is said to be a work of genius. Collaboration between the best French and Italian artists. It is famous for its double helix staircase said to have been designed by Leonardo De Vinci who lived in Amboise at the time. However, there is little or no evidence to prove this, but he was a friend of Frances 1. Leonardo died in 1519 just as it was thought that the construction of the chateau began.   We have been to Chambord a few times but never been inside. It is possible to visit just the grounds for the price of a parking ticket 6€ Having heard of the famous staircase and its reputation for wonderful Christmas decorations we made a visit on a very wet and windy day in January. One approaches the chateau along a very straight 6km road from the village of Bracieux.
The Largest Chateau in France


Our journey was 1h30m. We had travelled through extremely heavy rain then brilliant sunshine with skies of gun metal grey. As we pulled onto the carpark the heavens opened again. We decided to have our sandwich and coffee while the storm passed over.

Fifteen minutes later we donned our coats and hats and made for the ‘accueil’.


Paid our ticket and walked round to the entrance to the chateau to be ‘frisked’ by a security guard.

Enter Chateau de Chambord


First impressions.

It is enormous and the Christmas decorations on this level are delightful.

The famous staircase sits in the middle of the chateau, and it leads to all levels of the buildings. It takes some understanding.

As I understand it there are two staircases, one on top of the other. This allowed ‘staff’ and courtiers to never meet each other going up or down to the different levels. Absolutely fascinating.

Double staircase

We explored the different rooms. Many furnished but not with original pieces. Many authentic pieces have been sourced and the drapes and wallpapers have been reproduced.

On the second floor there are many vaulted rooms. The ceilings are caved with the personal emblem of Frances 1, a salamander. This emblem is well known at Chambord and is found elsewhere where Frances 1 supported many other art projects.

A very old door


How the artisans of the 16th century ever constructed this amazing building over many, many years is beyond belief.

Finally, having worked out just how the staircase worked we descended each on a different one and headed over to the café for a Chocolate Vinnoise. That’s hot chocolate with squirty cream to you and me.



View from Chateau de Chambord


Is Chateau de Chambord worth the visit?

 During the summer there is much to see and do around the chateau. Walk along the canal. 4kms. Hike through the wood. There are 20km of trails. Take a rowboat on the canal. Visit the potager. Taste the wine. Watch the horse and bird of prey show. Enjoy a picnic. Buy your tickets online. Get there early then you will be able to park close to the chateau. Pay for your parking when you arrive. 6€.

In my opinion it is a chateau best suited older children.

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