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King François I started the contraction in 1519 but the contraction continued with his son François II and finally completed by Loius XIV.
Chambord conserved the medieval fortress structures while blending with French Renaissance architecture. It has a central donjon with 4 corner towers, 2 wings and a wall enclosing everything. Instead of defensive purposes, these elements are solely for beauty in Chambord.
As a hunting lodge, Chambord is massive, 156 meters in length and 56 meters height featuring 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces and 426 rooms.
“Le Grand Escalier”, the central staircase, is defiantly the highlight of the visit.
The staircase is of a “double helix” form where 2 staircases are wound around each other such that people can ascend the 3 floors without ever meeting. Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase but this has not been confirmed.
My humble comment:
Everyone will tell you that Chambord is a must-visit in the Loire Valley.
It is magnificent when we look at the photos. However, once we arrived, we were a bit disappointed as we had too high an expectation. Having said that, the exterior is still impressive. However, be prepared that the interior is kind of empty.
The château is open all year long and the entry fee is 13 euros (full rate, 2017)