The French Renaissance architecture of the Château de Chambord in Chambord, which combines classical Renaissance architecture with typical French medieval forms, makes it one of the most identifiable châteaux in the world. Francis I, the king of France, built the structure, which was never finished. The biggest castle in the Loire Valley is Chambord, which was constructed as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who also maintained residences at Château de Blois and Amboise. Domenico da Cortona, a Tuscan architect, is credited with creating the château’s initial design; Leonardo da Vinci may have had some impact.
All about the history of Château de Chambord in France
A sign of royal authority
The building of Chambord is a deft fusion of the Italian Renaissance and the French Middle Ages. The symmetry of the structures, how the apertures and corridors were handled, and where the double-revolution staircase was placed were only a few of the incredibly bold ideas centered in Chambord at the time. If we can credit François I for starting the castle construction, Louis XIV saw it through to completion. The Sun King then viewed it as a representation of regal authority and frequently hosted his court there. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, two of Molière’s most popular comedies, were originally performed here and during his rule.
Hunting by King Francis
Contrary to other castles, like Cheverny, Chambord Castle is only very shoddily furnished. It was a temporary home for good reason—the monarch and his court were on the move and shifting residences with the seasons at the time. And let’s not forget that the Château de Chambord was not planned to be a simple dwelling but rather a hunting lodge for François I and his numerous followers, even though the château boasts no fewer than… 430 rooms. Additionally, you may see “La chasse du roi François” in its rooms. This complex was built under Henri IV’s rule in the first quarter of the 17th century, even before the Manufacture des Gobelins was founded. Thanks to this work, you can learn about the hunting methods used at the time.
The bellow of a deer
With a total of 5,440 hectares and a 32-kilometer wall around it, Chambord Park is the largest enclosed forest park in all of Europe. Numerous plant and animal species flourish without restriction, including deer, wild boar, roe deer, and even Corsican mouflons. A remarkably diverse population of birds, numbering more than 150 species, is also present. You may explore this nature reserve in an all-terrain vehicle with a forest guide. You will learn about every part of this vast estate, including the ponds, moors, and, if you’re lucky, a deer or stag. Additionally, you can join a group to see the deer below from a perspective during the good season.
The Architecture of Château de Chambord
In the sixteenth century, châteaux diverged from castle architecture. While they were descendants of castles and had characteristics that were found in them, they lacked robust defenses. A moat and extensive gardens were typical of this era’s châteaux. This design is also present in Chambord.
The design is evocative of a standard castle, complete with a keep, corner towers, and a moat for protection. Built in the Renaissance style, the interior design is an early example of the French and Italian styles, which moved away from the medieval pattern of corridor chambers and instead grouped rooms into self-contained suites. The gigantic château comprises four enormous bastion towers at each corner and a central keep.
The keep also contributes to a bigger compound’s front wall, which includes two larger towers. At the back are the foundations for two further buildings, but they were never built and are now the same height as the wall. The château has 84 staircases, 282 fireplaces, and 440 rooms. Each floor’s four rectangular vaulted passageways create a cross.
The Château de Chambord gardens
After seven months of construction, on March 20, 2017, guests will be able to (re)discover the pleasures of wandering and reflection in the heart of the château’s French formal gardens. The majesty of the monument’s distinctive front will be restored by these gardens, which harmoniously connect the château and forest.
The Cosson, a river that runs east to west across the estate, was Francis I’s top priority when Chambord was built. The unpleasant, swampy landscape that the Cosson’s meandering waters produced surrounding the château “in no way echoed the beauty of the château” (Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, 1576). The king contemplated controlling the river’s course over the entire estate and diverting some water from the nearby Loire to the château. However, none of these initiatives were ever completed. Therefore, there was no plan to build a Renaissance Garden at Chambord during Francis I’s reign.
Illustrations, however, reveal the presence of a tiny garden next to the monument of the Chapel wing that is gated off by a fence. It was probably once a vegetable garden that belonged to a former priory or the Counts of Blois’ château. Finally, a 17th-century diagram depicts remnants of a larger garden that had previously been on the northeastern side but whose shape and purpose are unclear.
Opening hours of the Château de Chambord
- The Park of Castle is open 365 days a year.
- The Chateau de Chambord is open every day of the year except the 1st of January & the 25th of December.
- From October 28 to March 29, the castle is open from 9 am to 5 pm
- From March 30 to October 27, the castle is open from 9 am to 6 pm
The last access is 30 minutes prior to the castle’s shutting.
On 24 and 31 December, the castle is closed at 4 pm.