Archive for December 27th, 2015

December 27, 2015

Chambord a castle made for the Kings of France!

The title I think says it all, Chambord is a dream an illusion , is a castle made for the Kings of France. Where can I begin, this was after many passing by my first visit in a long long time here. The tourist office,

Chambord itself is a town in the departément no 41 of Loir et Cher in the region of Centre-Val de Loire of France. The castle webpage is here,

We arrive just after settling into our  hotel the  night before and early in the morning we left by car following the road D33 right into the back of the castle and the snack souvenirs square.  We chose this hotel, IKAR part of the Inter Hotel chain that I used for business trips here in France too. only 15 kms to château.

We were Lucky to be practically the first ones in the castle and had it all for ourselves from 9h (9am). The tour began with the Church of Saint Louis overlooking the castle on a small hill.  The Church was built in 1666  on the request of king Louis XIV,and was enlarged in 1684. The Church was restored and renovated in the 19C by the Duchess of Berry and the Count of Chambord from 1830 to 1855.  It was the property of the Maison de Bourbon Parma until 1932 when the French government purchased it.

We then, proceeded to walk in the garden a bit and see the Stables of Maréchal de Saxe where equestrian shows are held for most part of the year but not now;

And we finally entered the castle. It was magical to see the arrangement for the Christmas season with nativiy scènes and recreation of many cartoons movies like the beauty and the beast. And the crowds began to arrive.

Very difficult for me to describe this Wonder of our world; my writing are not the best expression but verbal is my forte.  The original stair of François I is magnificent,but first some overall impressions. The castle was begun to be built in 1519 and it has 156 meters long by 56 meters high and 77 stairs, 282 fireplaces, and 426 rooms!!! François I only spent 72 days in Chambord and did not live to see it all completed. He died in 1547; and took his son Henri II as well as Louis XIV who are responsable for making Chambord what it looks today. Some of those who lived here apart from François I were Gaston d’Orléans (brother of Louis XIII), Louis XIV spent here on nine times; Stanislaus Leszczynski exiled king of Poland and Louis XV father in law, Maréchal de Saxe, Duke of Bordeaux, Count of Chambord the Grandson of Charles X received the castle by public subscription in 1821. Finally , the French government took control in 1930.

We follow in libre visit on our own, and continue past the wonderful Christmas scènes of always popular movies into the Keep and staircase right in the center. You visit the coach room with carriages built by the Count of Chambord in 1871 with saddlery by Hérmes of Paris. There is an audiovisual room with a 15 minute film with computer generated images. The first floor you see how people lived in the 16C to 19C; move on to the Chapel completed by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect of Versailles! Continue to the bedrooms of François I and then the State Apartments done by Louis XIV same as in Versailles now decorated in 18C style as per Maréchal de Saxe.

You arrive at the Queen’s apartments occupied by the two wives of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Austria and Madame de Maintenon. You reach the 18C apartments who hardly lived were occupied by visitors such as the exile king of Poland, maréchal de Saxe.  Then the wonderful historical museum of the Count of Chambord that were once his bedrooms. The Count own the castle from 1821 to his death in 1883 but spent only 3 days here. The last of the Bourbon Kings heirs of France called to the throne in 1871 but refuse to adopt the French tricolor flag of the Republic and went into exile. Many items here some belonging to his mother the Duchess of Berry.

Upper floor see the wonderful ornamental ceiling vaults with monograms of François I and his salamander. Here on the second floor you see the hunting tradition of the castle. All kinds of artifacts and Tools used for hunting in the 16C is here displayed. And you can see spectacular views from the castle terraces over the domaine property. The park is 5440 hectares or 54,4 square kms or about 21 sq miles. All surrounded by a wall of 32 kms or about 19.8 miles been the largest enclosed forest park in Europe! with a national game reserve containing many types of animals living completely free. Open to the public there are 800 hectares or about 1 sq mile!!!

And you can say the château started out as an arts presentation place been the first show of Moliére the Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme played in 1670 in front of king Louis XIV. It has more than 4500 objects of arts and furniture to show. A full children program is available ask at front office. Many activities in the property from equestrian shows such as the écuries of maréchal de Saxe, Drama shows, visites in 4X4! rides in horse wagon , boat or bike, walks with guide, and see the English garden done in 1889. A nice boutique store and restaurant on Le Café d’Orléans.

I will give a sample of photos taken to give you an idea, better leave the suspense as when you come here and keep your mouth close ::) It is awesome, so is the Loire, and France !!! Enjoy it. and Happy New Year 2016 to all.

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