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Val de Loire's Famous and Colossal Château de Chambord

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I've procrastinated this article for some time now. Everything involving Château de Chambord is massive, including the amount of history on it. So like every research project in school, I avoided it like the plague. But here I am today, throwing in the towel because it's such an incredible place in the Val de Loire, that you all need to know about it (and save it for the bucket list)

I'll give you the less boring textbook version. It's important you know the history because just skimming through the pics really isn't enough on this one. So, let's begin.
Big headed King François I began this project in 1519. My guess is he had little man syndrome because it was a ginormous castle not built for protection, no, but merely to say hey look what I pretty things I can afford. He even had his worst enemy Emperor Charles V stay there as a slap in the face.
It's entirely Renaissance structure, and yet no one is 100% sure who designed it. So if you get asked this on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you better phone Leonardo da Vinci. It's between him, Domenico da Cortona, and Philibert Delorme, who may or may not have contributed to the design.
Sooooo 28 years later, it was still barely complete, the punk died, and it was abandoned for 80 years. More or less the story goes that it eventually was passed down to several people, but because all 440 rooms were so unbareably cold and there was 0 means for food around, no one wanted to stay there. Good job François.
In 1792, the government basically sold anything and everything in the château and left it completely empty. I almost feel bad for this castle it's passed around like a sad little orphan.
The only person until 1820 who cared to do anything with the Chambord was Louis Alexandre Berthier (named Comte de Chambord). They continued rebuilding it, furnishing it, and finally making it livable. Too bad he and his father were soon exiled so that didn't work out too well either.
Very very long story, semi-short is that the government took it over in 1930, and over half a million visitors per year can now snap some photos like me. You can also see the gardens which are incredible in the summer. François I even threw a mote in there for the heck of it.

Here's 3 things that caught my attention while I visited:

1. Double helix
Said to be designed by da Vinci but who really knows. The cool thing is the light atop of 2 winding staircases that some how never meet. You can be walking at the same level as another person right on the opposite side of you and not see them, it's crazy.

2. Bloody shoes
These are the shoes of a woman who found her husband murdered in the castle. Super disgusting but I was fascinated by it.

3. 18th century bedroom
Left as is by the state. This bedroom was furnished and lived in by the final family to own the château, the Duke of Parma.

But the last, final thing you need to know about this castle is that it was the inspiration for Disney's Beauty and the Beast..which by the way was made in 1991 the year I was born. It's a sign I should own this place.

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