Indicative fees and general information's
Favorite thing: 1. Indicative fees (2009)
Basic entrance: 9,50 € (April to Sept) or 8,50 € (October to March). Free for people less than 18 (with family)
Parking: Car 2 € per day, Camping-car: 5 € / day or 30 € (if more than 7.9meters)
2. Customize your visit
- Overall presentation: 30min, free
- Conducted tour: 1H30, 3-4 €, Every day (flexible hours), limited to 30 persons
more into the Renaissance, architecture, details of the castle with a guide-speaker.
- Deep privileged visit: 3 hours, 6€ a person (weekends and holidays only at 2:00 pm.
Group limited to 18 persons). You will be accompanied by a guide-speaker for the most complete visit of the monument.
- The playful visit for children (French only), 1H30, 3-4 €, 2:15 pm and 4:15 pm (only during the school holidays+...), Group limited to 30 persons, accompagnied by a people of the past. An unusual experience, fascinating.
Warning: visites available in foreign languages during summer period only (English, Spanish, Italian), subject to availability of guides.
3. Audioguide visit
1H30, 4 €
10 available languages: French, English, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian (7 for children)
Contact: Chambord official web site (French)
Fondest memory: I strongly recommend the conducted tour or the deep privileged visit. Missing that is just like having an idea about a movie by just reading the summary on the DVD pack box...
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
A brief historical context
Favorite thing: The royal château of Chambord is the largest castle in the Loire valley, a beautifull masterpiece of the French Renaissance and with some specific jewels.
Original construction phase: 1519-1547
1. For the Kings ... but for few nights (during ~25 years)
Chambord was built in the XVI century by King François I, to
- serve as hunting lodge (!! 440 rooms, 84 staircases)
- be near his mistress (to miss stress?!!!)
- symbolize François I power and wealth
As the castle was not surrounded by a village, all logistic (wall covering, accomodations, furniture, ...) had to be brought with and for the King, numbering up to 1000-2000 people at a time. Mainly for that reason, the castle fall into decay progressivly after the death of François I (1547), and has been renovated later (Kings Louis XIII and XIV).
Ah! So, a pure symbol of the arrogance of the French kings, ... for our pleasure.
3. Nice to know
- Leonardo da Vinci was probably involved in the design (plans, double helical staircasen ...). In 1516, he entered François I' service, who become a close friend and he stayed closed from the royal Chateaux of Amboise and Chambord up to his death (1519)
- In 1939, the art collection of the Louvre (including the Mona Lisa) was stored in Chambord.
Fondest memory: - Coming from the parking and discovering the château was ... wooh!!
- To select a guided tour: we should miss a lot of excellent informations without it
- The amazing roof-line and the double helix open staircase
- The park (1000 hectares of national wildlife reserve)
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Hide and seek
Favorite thing: Chambord was probably best for playing hide and seek for the children of high class gone hunting. There are a multitude ways to get from one place to another, including the spiral staircases, the double one in the middle of the castle and the one in the courtyard, then the corners of the castles with rooms, all makes Chambord a big maze for hide and seek. You can search for somebody for days and can't find him.
Favorite thing: Tapestries were during Renaissance (14-17th centuries) very hip. Every big house was supposed to have such tapestries, as large as possible to show wealth and to decorate the big and tall walls.
Colors fade over decades because of the light, the oldest tapestry in Bayeux and the longest one in Angers (The Apocalypse Tapestry) are therefore protected being shown in a low light setting. This ones in castles are subjected to natural light and it's a wonder they still look colorful like this ones in Chambord's rooms and hallways.
Rich bed chamber
Favorite thing: This is one of the richest decorated bed I've seen in all French castles. Chambord castle has so many rooms (over 400) but a very few are decorated and have wooden floors and ceilings and decorated walls. This one is rich with carpets, chairs and all.
Favorite thing: I was surprised to see such a beautiful and modern pool table. As I later found the first recorded pool table was one of King Louis XI of France in 1470. Chambord was built between 1519-1547 so billiard game was already very popular in France.
Fortresses Became Chateaux (Castles)
Favorite thing: During the 15C it became clear that gunpowder and cannons made coventional fortresses obsolete for defense and safety. By that time, the fortress was serving double-duty as a residence for the feudal head and family(like Blois or Amboise). By the 16C the new warfare made these old structures only useful as homes (palaces) if they could be remodelled or candidates for demolition and recycling of materials. The architecture became decorative and miltary cliches were sometimes retained (towers, curtain walls, moats). Charles VIII (d.1498) brought the Italian Renaissance to France and Francois I brought it to its peak with Chambord. He held court in Amboise and visited as often as he had time for hunting. There is evidence that Leonardo, his hired permanent guest in that town, worked over the plans untill he died. The staircase and Greek Cross floor plan and corner turrets are his type of treatments, and he probably thought of the roof terrace. He was also a builder of canals (and moats). Like all old structures there have been add-ons by subsequent inhabitants, but Chambord is so massive that little could be altered
- Family Travel
The Grounds Are Unusual
Favorite thing: The park around the Chambord is only a little smaller than the forst around Fontainbleau; Francois I loved his hunting as much as war and women. Today it is designated as a National Game Preserve. His original wall, 32 km. long, the longest in France, surronds it and has 6 gates. Only 1/3 of the park is open to the public. The particulars of French management of the flora and fauna in it makes interesting reading. Originally a moat was a protective trench surrounding a fortress wall. Filling it with water made it even better. In order for it to be a sweet smelling thing of beauty in later times, it had to be provided with flowing water. Francois I intended to divert the Loire River (3 miles away) for this purpose but the cost was too great, even for him. So he used a canal from the river Cosson nearby. Part of the moat has been filled in, but there is a mooring near the chateau and (hourly?) boat trips (fee) are offered into the environs.
- Family Travel
From Italy to Chambord
Favorite thing: 2004 is Italy's year at Chambord, and there is a large exposition "From Italy to Cahmbord" between 7 July and 7 October. There are a lot of details of how the italian rennaisance influenced (and started) the one in France
Fondest memory: The architectural details, Codex Leicester, the views from the roof.
Amazing Architecutre from Every Angle
Favorite thing: Chateau de Chambord is an architectural marvel, not only is it huge, you could spend hours just looking at the architectural details; the roof terraces capture miniture Oriental towns, the roof terraces include a forest of tall chimneys, miniature spires, shell-shaped domes and scuptured gables. However, the interior has very few furnishings.
In 1840 Chambord was declared a Historic Monument, in French: "Monument Historique".
Fondest memory: Taking the grand stairway to the upper floors to get a closer look at the unusual architectural details. In this photo it looks as though a whole town is perched on top of the Chateau.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: This interior staircase is really something special. You go up on a different staircase to that which you come down, but they are both in the same place? Confused? So was I when i tried it out....
Fondest memory: Described as a "double-return staircase" this is the axis from which the rest of the chateau was built.
Sink into the history of the region.
Favorite thing: Take the time to read a little about the history before you set off on the tour of Chambord. It helps to understand what you are looking at.
Fondest memory: This is the ceremonial bedchamber of Louis XIV. There are 440 rooms in the chateau.
Favorite thing: When you walk around Chambord, pay particular attention to the materials used and the methods of construction. I'd like to point out here the contrast in both materials and texture.
The incredible shaping and contouring of the slate roof tiles alongside the beautiful shaping of the white stone.
Fondest memory: The shaping achieved with these slate tiles is truly amazing. And it is beautiful as well. I am in awe of the craftsmen who can do this, back in the old days as well as the present time. I'm sure the roof has been retiled but I don't have information on this.
Visit the interior of the Chateau.
Favorite thing: The items in the interior of the Chateau are all exhibits themselves. And in this photo note the unusual red colour of the marble fireplace. Look at the detail of single items and just imagine how they were created and when they were created without the technology of today.
Walk on the walls
Favorite thing: Another interesting fact at Chambord is that you can walk on the high battlements of the castle from the back part to the front part of the castle, having a nice view of the domains.
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