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Chateau de Chambord

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Why you will love it?

Nothing can give you a better idea of what it meant to be a King than by a visit to the Chateau de Chambord: one of the most recognized chateaus in the world, built to serve as a royal hunting lodge. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

Line 5/10 - Gare d'Austerlitz

Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
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Monday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm

Our Insiders' Article


Believe it or not, Château de Chambord (Chambord castle) was built in the 16th century as a hunting lodge for French King François 1. It is the biggest chateau of the region and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. When visiting Chateau de Chambord, you might find it striking to see it completely empty: it has almost always been the case throughout the centuries as furniture would come in and out following the kings’ visit to the chateau, even if it was only for a few days.


Located 160km to the south of Paris, the best way to reach Chateau de Chambord is by car (2 hour drive). Another option is catching the train to Blois and then a bus to the chateau, which takes roughly the same time. For those who prefer something a little more hassle-free, day-tours visiting multiple chateaus in the Loire Valley can be reserved. These tours usually last for 12 hours and cost around 170 Euros. Our favourite is Paris City Vision.

Parisianist Tip: Spending a night or two in the area is recommended, as there are many beautiful other castles, such as Château de Chenonceau, along the river Loire. There is even a hotel facing the Château de Chambord: the Grand Saint-Michel.


In 1516, the area was chosen to build King François I‘s dream hunting palace: a castle inspired by Italian Renaissance. The King managed to convince Leonardo Da Vinci to come to France but Da Vinci’s implication in the chateau’s design is not confirmed. Who designed the Chateau is a matter of controversy still.


In 1525, construction stops as François I is held captive in Madrid for one year by his great rival Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Upon his return to France, the King decided to abandon the Chambord region (the Chateau de Blois was his residence), preferring the security of the Château de Fontainebleau, closer to Paris. Nevertheless, building resumed in 1526 at which point 1800 workers were employed.

Parisianist Fun Fact: François I only spent a total of 72 nights in the chateau de Chambord in his entire lifetime.


After François I’s death in 1547, the Château was abandoned for nearly a century. It is only in the second half of the 17th century, during the reign of King Louis XIV, that the Château de Chambord is revived. Like most Kings, always wanting to leave their own mark, Louis XIV ordered certain modifications to the Château and once again it served as a hunting lodge and entertainment space a few weeks of the year.


As with most major symbols of the Monarchy in France, Chambord suffered looting and damages during the French Revolution. Its gardens even became grazing field for cattle. Napoleon saved the Château from complete ruin, which then went from one owner to the next and eventually was bought by the French State in 1930.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The chateau served as a hospital during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.


One of our favourite stories is that of German leaders entering the Louvre shortly after France’s occupation during WWII, only to find that all of the masterpieces were…gone! Privy to the possibility of invasion or bombing, 3,690 works of art were hidden at Château de Chambord, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Parisian Fun Fact: An American military airplane almost crashed on the chateau in 1944, and 2 fires damaged the chateau in 1945. After the war, major renovations were made between 1950 and 1975, at which point it became a major tourist attraction.


With its 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 chimneys and 800 sculpted capitals, the Chateau de Chambord is truly a Renaissance architectural masterpiece. Its beauty inspired Disney’s classical movie Beauty and the Beast. Although massive fire places can be seen, the large rooms were very difficult to heat. Life on long term basis here was therefore impractical.

Parisianist Fun Fact: food, furniture and decorations would be brought in by 2000 people before the King’s arrival, only to be taken away a few days later after his departure.

Da Vinci

One of the highlights of the Château de Chambord is the double helix staircase, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci and located in the middle of the Château’s keep. It would even have been a quadruple helix staircase if architectural plans hadn’t been simplified after the King’s imprisonment. Why is this so interesting you ask? A double helix staircase actually contains two intertwining sets of stairs. This means that persons walking up and down at the same time might never even catch a glance at each other. Yet, the Château still kept a typical castle design: a keep, corner towers and a defense moat. 

Parisianist Fun Fact: Francois I wanted to divert the river Loire to fill the moats of his hunting lodge, but that never happened… thankfully.


220 000 stones were used to build the original Château in the 16th century. Workers did not have a fixed salary, but instead were paid by the stone: they would carve their names on the stones they would carve to keep count. Look closely and you might still see some stones with carved names. Within the Château is a corridor with hunting trophies hanging on the walls. Parisianist Fun Fact: Nothing impressive? Take a closer look at the dates… Some go way back to the 16th century.


We definitely recommend going up on the roof. From here, you will have a panoramic view on the sculptured capitals, as well as surrounding gardens and forests. You might even spot a deer or a wild boar. Don’t forget to look at the roof of the keep. François I wanted the Château de Chambord to look like the skyline of Constantinople.


In order to fully understand the history of the Chateau de Chambord, we recommend the audio guide, available in versions for both children and adults. This will help you discover the mysteries of this enchanting castle. After your visit, we recommend a lunch break at the little village facing the Château. So, leave your present behind and enter the chateau as kings, where a feast awaits. Not a feast of freshly hunted game as in the past, but a feast for your eyes and curiosity.

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