Château de Chambord turns 500 years old this year. It is said to be the largest of the castles in Loire region of France. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. An architectural genius said to be influenced by Leonardo da Vinci but with no records of the land or the architect ever found. Nor did this castle ever become a permanent royal residence.

Its construction began in 1519 under the reign of François I who is said to have lived here only for few weeks & later Louis IV, the Sun King is said to have visited Chambord a few times. Ownership of the castle changed many many hands until it finally ended up as one of French National properties. Find out more As history unfolds

Did you know the French word for castle ~ château ~ is also used for a manor or a vineyard. Hence a French château can be more than just a castle. Have you wondered how many châteaux are there in France ? It is believed there are far too many to count. I couldn’t find an exact number but certainly the number crosses 5,000 as per many accounts.

As you might have realised there’s more to France than just Paris & its world famous Iron Lady (I mean the Eiffel Tower). France is also a land of castles in the backdrop of most beautiful of the landscapes, rivers & hunting grounds. There’s a lot you can do in these castles.

Like you can rent out a château for your wedding or party. You can stay in a château. Chinese couples are seen quite often doing their wedding photo-op in French châteaux. Certain châteaux even have a baroque-style evenings planned for you where you get dressed like in old times. Perhaps a dance in the ball room before witnessing amazing fireworks just the way Louis XIV did. If you prefer something subtle, there’s champagne, macarons, candle-lit estate & baroque music. You will always find a Michelin-star restaurant in such châteaux. France also has a concept of gîte, a sort of holiday cottage or vacation rentals which are also found in proximity of châteaux. That’s a lot of château indulgence.

Here’s Château de Chambord from the winter of 2017 during my visit to Chambord. I discovered this architectural genius during a weekend trip organised by We Discover Paris. We visited the castles of Loire valley in Vendôme, Chambord, Blois & Amboise in 2 days. We also visited a vineyard & had wine tasting at the end of the visit.

Going on such trips has many advantages. When you are new to a place, you need to make new friends. This is a wonderful networking opportunity with people like you who are new to Paris & have come from different countries. You never know you might just find some friends for life. Chambord even more special to me as I made some wonderful friends for life.

There it is… !
Let’s go !
Entry to Château de Chambord is through a vast stretch of gardens
French formal gardens at the chateau entry overseen from the top of château
French flag signifies that it is a French National Property
Gîtes & other structures in the estate of Chambord
Light is the essence of life. No doubt it does wonders with architecture.
The game of light
Just one of the corridors inside the château
Life in a château would have been passing from one corridor to another. Don’t you wonder ?
Unlike Château de Versailles with grandeur & pomp, Chambord has a minimal furniture & decor. A visit to Chambord would be purely architectural.
Da Vinci’s double helix staircase
Interior view of the windows of double helix. The genius double helix situated in the center of the castle is a mystery even today. Two people on each of the staircases can see each other through these windows but they will never cross each other. You have to try it to believe it !
Tower housing the double helix inside
Man-made canals around the château from Cosson river
Can you quantify enormity ? Tiny people look like ants in comparison to this gigantic castle.
Château can be seen beautifully reflecting in the canal right behind it
Certainly would be heavenly to visit in spring when the garden is greener & full of bloom
An artist’s inspiration
Certainly genius !

©Anusha Sakkari | All the images used in the article may be subject to copyright. No reproduction of content or photography allowed without permission.

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