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  • Château de Chambord

    Château de Chambord

    The castle's northern façade, from the park. © Hemis.fr

  • Château de Chambord

    Château de Chambord

    The Château de Chambord displays a unique silhouette, with its 156 metre façade, 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces and 800 sculpted capitals. © Hemis.fr

  • Château de Chambord

    Château de Chambord

    It boasts a pleasure garden and a hunting park both listed as Historical Monuments. © Only France

  • Château de Chambord

    Château de Chambord

    The colossal size of Chambord, beyond all human scale, is astounding, like its alchemy of shapes and structures where nothing was left to chance. © Thomas Conté

  • Château de Chambord

    Château de Chambord

    At the heart of Europe's largest enclosed wooded park Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley. © Daniel Jolivet

At the heart of Europe's largest enclosed wooded park (around 19 mi² enclosed by a 20 mile-long wall), Chambord, the dream of a young king and a marvel of the Renaissance period, is the largest château in the Loire Valley. It boasts a pleasure garden and a hunting park both listed as Historical Monuments.

In 1516, François I, king of France since 1515, came back from Italy with Leonardo da Vinci with a desire to create a large structure in the Italian Renaissance style. 

The hunting lodge chosen by François I in 1519 quickly turned into an immense architectural creation with lofty ambitions, a new “wonder of the world” destined to immortalise its creator, François I, the “architect prince”.

This residence bears spectacular testimony to his two passions: hunting and architecture. To discover it, visitors must penetrate a dense and game-filled forest before, at its heart, discovering an architectural gem still that has remained intact. 

Colossal Size

The colossal size of Chambord, beyond all human scale, is astounding, like its alchemy of shapes and structures where nothing was left to chance. The Château de Chambord displays a unique silhouette, with its 156 metre façade, 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces and 800 sculpted capitals.

The geometric clarity of the layout of Chambord, which is based on a central body with square lines in the shape of a Greek cross, like the one of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome built at the same time, the harmony of its proportion and the imaginativeness of the rooftops spiked with turrets, chimneys and breathtaking skylights fill visitors with wonder.

Louis XIV and Molière at Chambord

Chambord had another important king, Louis XIV, who stayed at the castle on many occasions, sometimes accompanied by Molière's Company who would perform comedy-ballets accompanied with music composed by Lully for him. Under his reign, at the end of the 17th century, the chapel was covered and the four apartments in the north hall on the first floor were joined together in a line to create the King's living quarters, thus giving the castle its definitive silhouette.

Do not miss

  • The castle's northern façade, from the park.
  • The Museum of Hunting and Nature.
  • The museum's rich collections: numerous draperies from the 17th century, a few exceptional pieces such as a Savonnerie carpet bearing Louis XV's coat of arms; paintings by Rigaud, Van Loo, Juste d'Egmont, Mignard, Girardet, Largillière, etc.
  • The tapestries: Chambord is one of the most prominent places in France for exhibiting tapestries, thanks to its vast and high-ceilinged rooms.

For more information

Domaine national du château de Chambord