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 IX, 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 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 ? They say there are far too too many to count. I couldn’t find an exact number but certainly the number crosses 5000 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). With over 5,000 castles, 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. You can stay in a château. It is very common to spot Chinese couples doing their wedding photo-op in châteaux. Certain châteaux even have a baroque-style evenings planned for you where you get dressed just like in old times to dance in the ball room & witness amazing firework like 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 the concept of gîte, a sort of holiday cottage or vacation rental. Gîtes are also found in proximity to châteaux. That’s a lot of château indulgence.

Here’s Château de Chambord from the winter of 2017 during my visit to Chambord in February. 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 during the weekend. We also visited a vineyard, it’s winery & had wine tasting at the end of the trip before getting back to Paris.

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. I met wonderful people on this journey. That makes Chambord even more special to me.

There it is… !
Let’s go !
Entry to Château de Chambord is embellished by vast gardens as far as you can set your sight
French flag at the entrance signifies it is a National Property of France
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 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.
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 two different 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
The towers of Chambord
French royal gardens welcome you at the castle entry (called Formal Gardens) overseen from the top of château
Canals around the château are man-made from Cosson river
Can you quantify enormity ? Tiny me & huge château… This looks enormous right ?
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
The view, the quiet & solitude would certainly be 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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