In the year of 1519, a palace rises up from the heart of the Sologne marshlands…
A dashing young king, François I, has ordered its construction. The château of Chambord is not designed as a permanent residence, and François only stays there for a few weeks. It is a remarkable architectural achievement that the king is proud to show to sovereigns and ambassadors as a symbol of his power engraved in stone.
The château of Chambord is one of the most singular constructions that the Renaissance century has handed down to us. The architecture is a highly ingenious and intelligent blending of traditional aspects of medieval French architecture and features borrowed from the Italian Renaissance. Even though the four massive towers that flank the keep remind us of medieval fortresses, the design of the château and the innovative elements it incorporates are unique.
Header photo courtesy of Domaine National de Chambord © Léonard de Serres
New French style gardens and a park the size of Paris
Visiting Chambord, you are not only visiting a château, you are also breathing the fresh forest air, admiring pure and preserved landscapes, and exploring untold kilometers of hidden pathways. You may even have the opportunity to espy wild animals, and you will be delighted to discover for the first time the French-style gardens imagined under the reign of Louis XIV and brought back to life in 2017. Chambord is the largest wall-enclosed park in France and Europe, and its area (13500 acres) is equivalent to that of Paris proper.
World Heritage since 1981
A truly exceptional work of art, Chambord was classified as a historic monument in 1840, and has been registered on the World Heritage list since 1981.
Since 2000, Chambord has been part of the extended “Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes World Heritage Site”.
“Can you imagine, dear Paul, that ever since I saw Chambord,
I have been asking anyone and everyone:
Have you seen Chambord?”
All photos copyright of Domaine National de Chambord
This is a revised version of an article first published 7 July 2017.