Posted in History, Travel

Around the World: Chateau de Chambord

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Name: Château de Chambord

Place:  Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France

Architects: Domenico da Cortona; Leonardo da Vinci

Date: 1519-1547

Purpose: Originally served as a temporary residence for King Francis I of France

Facts:

  • The Chateau de Chambord consists of 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases.
  • The roof line of the chateau, with its towers, chimneys, and lanterns, resembles a city’s sky line more than a conventional roof, even for that time.

 

The roof of the Château de Chambord with its numerous towers, chimneys and lanterns. Photo via Creative Commons (by Manfred Heyde).
  • Many of the chateau’s features are inspired by Italian architecture, and uncharacteristic of and even unsuitable for French design. The decorative moat, for example, was not for defense purposes, and the open windows and balconies would prove unfitting for the damp climate in northern France. Common features of French architecture, on the other hand, are missing.
  • The chateau was originally built as a hunting lodge for King Francis I, but he only spent about seven weeks there before the palace was abandoned for nearly a century.
  • In later years, leaders such as King Henri II, King Louis XVIII, King Louis XIV (who added a 1,200-horse stable), King Louis XV (who used it as a residence for his father-in-law) and Napolean Bonaparte all made varied use of the palace.
  • Perhaps the most iconic of its features is the double-helix staircase. It is essentially two spirals that ascend three stories without ever meeting. It is said that two people (one going up, the other coming down) will never see each other while climbing the staircase. Some say it was designed by Leonardo da Vinci, though others doubt this claim.
The double-helix staircase. Chateau de Chambord, France. Photo by Bernice Chen (via Great Buildings).

All in all, the Chateau de Chambord is an architectural feat worthy of admiration. It is as historic as it is modern, traditional as it is innovative. A landmark in its own right, and a masterpiece to be recognized and appreciated.

Stay inspired,

Curious by Nature

Sources: Chambord Official Site, Great Buildings
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