The small hamlet of Chambord proudly sits next to the immense forested estate of Sologne which envelops and hides the largest castle of the Loire Valley.

The Chateau de Chambord is superb and truly a royal construction, imposing by its grandeur and graceful by its architecture.

In our Loire Valley itineraries, we give you the unique opportunity to discover this extravagant castle from every angle possible.


the castle of Chambord

Chambord in winter - ©FJFY

The castle of Chambord comes out of the dreams of a young King, Francois I, to build an immense castle, in an Italian Renaissance style, to show his power and wealth to the entire Europe. Coming back from Italy with Leonardo Da Vinci - that he settled in Le Clos Lucé in Amboise, Francois Ist decided to immortalize himself by building a gigantic chateau representing his passion for architecture and hunting.

One of the most surprising architectural aspect of the castle is the double helix staircase designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. Its particularity is that it is possible to go up and down the stairs without ever seeing each other.

Leonardo Da Vinci stair in Chambord

The famous stairs in chambord - ©FJFY

However, this Loire valley castle was unpleasant to live in, almost uninhabitable. It was too big and with an endless number of rooms, stairs and chimneys, the chateau was impossible to heat and you’ll feel that if you visit Chambord on a cold day. At that time, the mosquitos would also invade the whole area that used to be marshes.

Over his whole life, Francois I actually only stayed in the Chateau de Chambord for less than 40 days.

Some figures about Chambord castle:
- The facades are 156 meters long
- There are 77 stairs in the castle and 282 chimneys ! You can actually get on the roofs to enjoy the views and all the Italian style chimneys
- Not less than 800 sculpted capitals. 


Chambord day trip from Paris

Chambord roofs - ©FJFY

Being the largest and most impressive castle in the Loire valley, you will certainly not be alone in this gigantic monument. From 11am until 4pm it is invaded buy buses coming on day trips from Paris...huge mistake! Don't worry, we will suggest several possibilities so you will enjoy the castle of Chambord without the throngs of tourists.

One of Francois I’s passion being la chasse à courre (stag hunting), the Chateau of Chambord is reputed for the hunting parties organized in the surrounding forests. Until President Nicolas Sarkozy abolished the “President Hunting Estates” - which costed a lot to the French taxpayers - Chambord would actually be one of the places French President would come for hunting.

If you wish, we can plan a special visit to see the game: stags, wild boar deers, etc. 

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Leslie
There are not enough superlatives for our experience with Emilie. Prompt correspondence and thorough questions led to the perfect vacation for my family. Her choice of hotels in Paris and Provence were exactly what I would have chosen on my own. Her tour guide recommendations were spot on. The fact that she arranged all of our transfers, train …
Carol
We have just returned from a road trip around France and with Emilie's help, we had one of the best trips we've ever had. We travel extensively and I normally do my own research and bookings because we don't like using formal , organised tours and we were looking for advice on self driving holidays in France. Emilie's attention to detail is …
Judy
I can echo everything that has been said in the previous three reviews. The personalization of this entire trip was incredible and Emilie communicated quickly and completely, both in the planning of the trip and after we were in France. My husband and I were spending four weeks in France in celebration of our 50th anniversary. We were a little …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Mary-Ann & Ruth
From the US
Meeting Emilie in Normandy
Ron
From the US
Cycling in the Loire Valley vineyards
Ginette and Craig
from the US
In Chaumont castle, Loire Valley
Cynthia & Roger
from the US
Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley
Theresa & Bill
From the US
Between the vineyards & the lavenders in Provence
Sally & Mike
From the US
With their hosts in the Loire Valley
Frederick
from Canada
Enjoying some cheese
Sheena & Anna
From the US
In Provence
Phyllis, Gyu & the boys
from Korea
in Nice
Andy
from the US
Enjoying a drink on a brasserie terrace in Paris
Muriel & Michael
from the US
In Utah Beach, Normandy
Scott
From Australia
Making "chou" buns in the Loire Valley

Last Blog Articles