Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chateau Chambord

I visited yet another chateau last weekend. Chateau Chambord is the largest chateau in Europe. It’s huge! It has 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces, and 426 rooms. Judith, Sayumi, and I kept getting lost inside... Construction was initiated by Francois I when he was only 25 and not yet completed by the time of his death at age 53.

The architecture of the chateau was very innovative for its time; the most notable structure being the double helix staircase at the very center of the keep. It’s thought that Leonardo Da Vinci may have helped design it. Two spiral staircases wind independently around a central column so that when climbing one staircase you can see someone on the other but will never meet them.

Top of the double helix staircase

The chateau was intended as a hunting lodge (a very extravagant one). Francois I never lived at the chateau and only spent 72 days there.

Chambord is surrounded by a 5440 hectare national game reserve which is enclosed by a 32km long wall. It is the largest enclosed forest park in Europe. The animals living within the park are completely wild. Hunting in the park is reserved for the highest politicians of France.

The trip to Chambord was a long day, yet really fun. Judith, Sayumi, and I took a 40min train to Blois, waited an hour, and then took a ~30min bus ride to Chambord. Our bus driver was a female who wore a sundress and heels...nice!

Sayumi, Judith, et moi!

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