Must See: Château de Chambord

Travel

Seen from above, Château de Chambord is a must see palace in central France.

In central France, the world famous and highly recognizable manor house Château de Chambord has just had a bit of an upgrade. The château’s gardens have recently been renovated and reopened to the public. This impressive home is certainly worth a visit — dare I say, the latest Must See feature? — if only to stroll through the manicured gardens and around the massive building.

Château de Chambord in central France is a Must See castle!

Building Château de Chambord

Situated in Chambord, France, the Château de Chambord was built in the 16th century by King Francis to be a hunting lodge. Construction began in 1519 and was completed 28 years later, in 1547, due to Francis’ death. Stylistically, the building is classic French Renaissance. The building is attributed to the Italian architect Domenico da Cortona. Some question his actual involvement while others believe that Leonardo da Vinci had a hand in the project.

Modern History

When the French Revolution occurred in the late 18th century, Château de Chambord was a casualty. Items were removed and the building partially dismantled. By the following century there was interest in again restoring the château to its former glory. During World War II the château held works of art from Paris’ Louvre and the royal home built by Louis XV, Compiègne’s Château de Compiègne. The castle protected works like the “Mona Lisa” and “Venus de Milo.”

The gardens of Château de Chambord have been recently renovated to return them to their former glory.

The Gardens

The newly renovated gardens surrounding the building were a long time in coming. The 16 acre gardens were originally commissioned by Louis XIV in 1734. The team behind the restoration spent a whopping fourteen years doing historical research to determine a design and plan. Everything had to be correct. Only five acres were touched as part of the project, which took five months to complete. More than 100 people were involved in the renovation. They planted 800 trees and more than 32,000 plants. The resulting garden, in all its French-style glory, speaks for itself.

Visiting

Visitors can tour both the château and the gardens. Both are open year round. However, English language guided tours are only available during the peak summer season. Guided tours are an additional cost.

Although the castle was never meant to be continuously inhabited, today there’s a rotating collection of furnishings inside. With this collection of 45,000 objects, the château comes alive. The public have access to over 60 rooms. But it isn’t just the objects but also the impressive architecture. From a spiral double helix staircase to a rainwater evacuation system. You could get lost for an entire day inside the palace!

The castle itself is situated in the center of the park grounds. The grounds of the property also offer a location for plenty of activities. Visitors can hike, bike or even take a boat ride in the canal surrounding the castle.

If you’re looking to impress, intimidate or show off, a castle or a manor house is certainly the way to do it. Although, you will likely have to deal with tourists all over your lawn. Between the gardens, the history, the architecture or the sheer grandeur, Château de Chambord should definitely be on your Must See list.

Getting There

Château de Chambord is about two hours by car from the French capital. It’s easily accessible if you’re driving.

With the train, the nearest station is Blois Chambord. From there it’s about 25 minutes via shuttle or taxi.

Find out why Château de Chambord, a castle in central France, should be on your Must See Travel Bucketlist at Reverberations.net!

Want to see what other notable locations are on My Must See travel bucket list? Explore previously featured locations!

Photos courtesy the Château de Chambord’s official website. Bottom two photos by Léonard de Serres.

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