Chateau tour Stop 4: Chambord

Chambord Travel Blog

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Side entrance to the chateau

Chateau de Chambord is the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, the most visited and the most pictured in travel books. We've all seen pictures of this Chateau - in spring, autumn, winter and summer,  during sunlight, dawn and dusk. We've seen the lake, the various angles of the chateau and the interiors. As I said, this chateau's been whored out for the travel books. And rightly so as well...

This Chateau was built around the early 16th Century with about 2000 workers. This epitomises the very concept of French Renaissance as is seen right from the walkup to the main entry - it's not just huge. It's intricate. So architecturally well done. As I was walking up the side to the front, I was confused - exactly where do I start taking pictures, and how many do I take?! It's stunning.

The front facade

Wait! Go inside and it gets better - the chateau has 4 towers, a three storey keep that the ladies of the manor would use as a viewing gallery, and a corkscrew staircase (double helix) where people ascending and descending at the same time don't cross each other. There were rumours that Leo Da Vinci did the staircase although it's not been confirmed. Everything has been so intricately done with its 2000+ rooms that it's easy to get lost here. I was amazed at the size.

But...but... but... there is the saying about "too much of a good thing". Or in this case, what we call an overkill. The place lives up to its name as one of the most visited chateaus and was crowded with visitors. I know Villandry draws more, but this one was just buzzing with people - which - in that heat was a bit annoying.

I know it's hypocritical of me to be complaining of other tourists, but it's really how I felt. Next, this chateau didn't have that lounge-feeling as other chateaus - whilst some rooms had AC and the whole "quiet homely feel", the other rooms, particularly those on the top floor and around the staircase seemed very ruined and noisy where the tourists' din was pronounced. The variety of this place - from the architecture, to the labyrinth kind of floors and construction, the "musemy" display of women's evening wear and armour, the undefined flow of tourists in the chateau, it was  good initially but after 15 min started to feel like being trapped in a noisy roundabout in Utopia with the traffic lights out of order. Total chaos amidst the finest homage to the Renaissance.
Evening wear on display, very grand
For people who see the pictures below will probably think of me as being a bit ungrateful, or picky, or just having plain bad taste for not appreciating it. But as I said, this was a case of overkill. Nothing more.

The outside portions were brilliant though - one stands close to the towers to see how intricately they're designed, the love and the labour, it's all too apparent. But as I said earlier, the crowd and general meandering of traffic killed the moment. The Jap couple helped me get some good photos, so I'm not complaining there!

We were asked to go back to the carpark by 5pm and we left by 530pm. The chateau is huge! On the way out, you get to see the park adjoining the chateau, it's really really huge. Almost reminded me of Bleinheim Palace in the UK, in terms of park size.

En route back to Tours, they point out various other chateaus to us, but by this time, I was really bored and, shall we say both sunshine-d out, as well as chateau-ed out. I really couldn't care less, infact I slept on the way back. We reached Tours around 6pm, bid our goodbyes and I had the rest of the evening to wander around Tours, my last night here.

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Side entrance to the chateau
Side entrance to the chateau
The front facade
The front facade
Evening wear on display, very grand
Evening wear on display, very grand
The double helix/corkscrew stairca…
The double helix/corkscrew stairc…
Fine examples of the Renaissance a…
Fine examples of the Renaissance …
View from the top storey overlooki…
View from the top storey overlook…
Back of the Chateau
Back of the Chateau
Chambord
photo by: Vikram