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Pays de la Loire

Chambord Castle-Château de Chambord

King François I spent without counting to realize his "Masterpiece" project. He even went as far as to change the natural course of the river. Leonard da Vinci himself may have even participated in its creation. So, hold on...

Chambord Castle

Spiral staircasesJokes aside now, this is serious stuff. If you're going to visit one chateau on the Loire, it should be this one.

This is solid stock. 420 feet wide, 440 rooms, 365 chimneys, 84 staircases.... Inscribed on Unesco's World Heritage Site list. Now, THAT's a chateau.

Obviously, you can't miss this one. Make sure you have good pair of walking shoes, a bottle or two of water, a little snack, and a camera.

Park your car in the parking lot. Try to get there before or after all the tourist buses. Wait until you get inside to go to the bathroom ( it's not free outside the chateau).

Now it's time to buy your tickets. Go toward the entry all the way to the right. Because it is almost invisible to the naked eye, you'll pass right through and won't have to wait behind a whole bus load of tourists. After that, it's smooth sailing.

Another two hundred yards or so and you are inside the chateau. Prepare yourself for the shock. It's simply splendid, beautiful, indescribably beautiful. The problem is that everyone knows it, and not just since the advent of the Internet. There's no way to take a picture without a few "walk-ons" getting in your way.

It takes between 2 and 3 hours
to visit the Chateau

View from the inside of the castle

If there are several of you, separate into two groups. Each group should take one of the two stone spiral staircases and plan to meet on the roof.

You'll run into each other from time to time, but you might not find each other all together at the end.

Very smart Leonardo (da Vinci). Oh yes, I almost forgot, for the toilets... the free ones; they're outside near the Royal door in the courtyard.

Oh yes and another piece of advice from Azurever.com. If possible, try and avoid writing your name or your girlfriend's on the walls. ARGH! . At the moment, the Chinese, Russians, Australians, Papuans, etc. think that it's a pretty funny thing to do. And besides, you can't find your own name anymore!

photos: vaulted, coffered ceiling and the grand staircase, and of course a bunch of people we don't know!

Entrance: visits (with a guide or on your own) cost 40FF (25FF reduced price), free for children 17 and under (yes, that's right.)

Year round attractions:

The Royal Apartments, the Hunting and wildlife art Museum, the Museum of the Count of Chambord, lighting up of the chateau at night.

But also:

-"Les métamorphoses de Chambord", a nocturnal walking show (April through November).

-Boat rides on the Cosson (March to November)

-Equestrian show with period costumes

- Carriage rides (May to September)

Remember to bring enough money for all the "extras"...

The Park.

The park at the Château de Chambord, the largest enclosed forest/park in Europe, has been a hunting reserve since 1947. The 32 km of walls enclose over 5500 hectares. 1500 hectares are accessible to visitors with game observatories (deer, wild boar).

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