Updated: Nov 13, 2021
Visiting the Loire Valley is like a dip in the heart of the History of France and the richness of its world heritage.
Must-see of the Loire Valley Castles. Immense, sumptuous, dazzling, striking,... Adjectives are not lacking. At the edge of the Cosson, in the heart of the Sologne, this jewel of the French Renaissance will illuminate your day.
But what do we really expect from this visit?
For me, it was to see all the magnificence of an architecture built by a king.
Do you know about the history of Chambord ?
It used to be a hunting lodge. Francis 1, on his return from Marignan in 1515, decided to build a castle that would represent the symbol of the French monarchy.
He is surrounded by an Italian architect, who will take over the foundations of Italian Renaissance architecture, and Leonardo da Vinci.
Work began in 1519 (Leonardo da Vinci died two months later)
Francis 1 will never see his castle completed.It will be necessary to wait for the reign of Louis 15 to see the construction completed.
Francis 1 never lived in the chateau de Chambord.
It was mainly his hunting relay (the Chambord estate is also the largest closed forest park in Europe).This castle was also used to represent its power, especially during the visit of Charles 5 in 1539, which made it possible to show its power in Europe.
The Chateau de Chambord inside
You will have understood, the castle is very large.In order to enjoy this visit, I recommend you to spend the day there.
The castle itself has empty rooms and furnished rooms.
You will be surprised when entering the ground floor, to see all this free space of furniture, with in the center, this famous staircase with double revolution.
What the hell is that?
- It’s a staircase (yes!) It’s actually two staircases.
- They were built on the plans of Leonardo da Vinci;
- you don’t meet on these stairs
One part goes up (in a spiral), while another staircase (in the same spiral) goes down.
Stop points allow you to choose your floor.
The whole castle is organized around this staircase.
The must see in the castle :
- the staircase
- the never-ending vows (between the monogram F and the Salamanders, you will be amazed)
- roofs to admire the chimneys and discover the expanse of the Chateau de Chambord gardens
The permanent collection will allow you to learn a little more about the history of the castle and its occupants.
Discover the throne room, but also the collection of carosses on the ground floor, which is impressive!
Chateau de Chambord visit
First of all, know that there is a fee only to enter inside the chateau .It is quite possible to walk in the area with free access. (Parking is however paying)
However, remember that it is mainly the entrances that allow the maintenance and restoration of the castle.The castle gardens are included in the entrance ticket
Free visit of the chateau de chambord
If you are not too historical explanations, and want to discover the castle freely, you can buy only the entrance ticket.
Guided tour of the castle
Lasting 1H30, you will be able to follow your guide and have all the explanations necessary to understand the history and architecture of Chambord.
There is also a more detailed guided tour, lasting 3 hours in a small group.You will then be able to access rooms that are closed to the general public.
Visit with Histopad
If you like explanations and freedom, enjoy the Histopad! You organize your own visit and discover the castle life.
You can buy tickets on line
Events in Chambord
There’s something to please everyone!
We were able to admire the show of birds of prey and horses.
The children were impressed by the costumes, the acrobatics, the beautiful horses and of course the raptors.
Small downside, for my 3 and a half year old daughter who is a little afraid of loud noises, it has sometimes frightened her.
My 6-year-old loved it!
Chambord also offers a vegetable garden that can be visited.
And if you are a fan of different tours, horse and carriage rides are for you!
Finally, in season, the Chateau offers cultural programming that allows you to approach the Chambord in a different way.
Activities around the chateau
The Chambord estate is exciting for all nature lovers!
Take advantage of this opportunity to recharge your batteries and admire the wildlife
Boat rentals, rosalies and bikes
Had you thought of visiting the Domaine de Chambord on a private safari?An experience in immersion with nature, with a certified guide!
Slab of the deer
This is the experience to experience when you want to discover an incredible moment!
Deer slab (mid-September to mid-October)
You will find all the practical information on the Château de Chambord website
Discovery of the castle in hot air balloon
Would you like to discover Chambord from above?
And why not try a hot-air balloon ride?
Accommodation in Chambord ?
You have the choice !
If you opt for an unusual accommodation, you have near the huts perched or a housing in toue cabanée (traditional boat of the Loire)
The Relais de Chambord **** is located in front of the castle.A nice idea to revive his desire for royal stays!
If you prefer to stay in an urban setting, Blois is the nearest town to visit the Chateau de Chambord
On the catering side, you can quite enjoy the very pleasant lawn in front of the Castle for a snack.Picnic areas are also located in the Chambord Forest.
The café d'Orleans is located in the castle.Very convenient if you are visiting during lunch time.A fast food (and delicious!) is offered.
Several points of restoration are also in the immediate vicinity of the castle.
If you are visiting with the children, you can absolutely access the interior with a stroller.Know however that there is no elevator, and that even if the double revolution staircase is wide, Leonardo da Vinci had unfortunately not added an elevator!
What to visit in the surroundings of Chambord ?
Chateau de Chenonceau
Located about fifty kilometers away, the chateau de Chenonceau is one of the monuments of the Loire Valley to visit.With its gallery that spans the Cher, you will be as fascinated by its history as by its architecture.
Chateau de Chenonceau
Visit the town of Blois, stroll along the shops, discover its royal castle overlooking the city.France’s rich cultural heritage is an integral part of the city.The kings of France live there, and a multitude of historical anecdotes will be told during a guided tour.Don’t miss the house of magic either (beautiful memories!)
Information about Blois
A castle yes, but not any castle! If you have always wanted to visit Moulinsart, the one that inspired Herge is the chateau de Cheverny! And the castle gives it back to him, devoting him an exhibition on Tintin. Cheverny also houses a kennel where live a hundred dogs.
Good to know
To visit several castles, check the pass châteaux at Blois Tourist Office.
I will be happy to organize your stay in the Centre region, to visit the castles, make a tasting, visit the cities of the Loire Valley or discover the Loire by bike!
A bientôt !
credits photos Les petits voyages d'Azur
1ère photo : Wix