Today we were off to the big daddy of them all, Chambord. Well, as far as châteaux in the Loire are concerned it is. On the way there we would be passing two other châteaux of repute, Chaumont sur Loire and Blois. As our focus was on Chambord the other two would fall into a category I had nicknamed ‘gangster tourism’. You drive by and shoot! With your camera that is.
It wasn’t long and we had reached Chaumont sur Loire but lots of traffic made it hard to find a parking spot. In the end we drove over the river and back along the other side to a really good viewpoint. It was certainly in a commanding position high above the town and looked most impressive.
Moving on, we soon came to Blois. Because we needed to cross the river to drive to Chambord we chose a bridge that presented itself before we reached Blois. That worked out well because we were now opposite the town and château for a quick snap.
Back in the car and it was no time at all and we approached Chambord. The town and château are all part of an old estate complete with beautiful forest. Once we had parked we followed some others past all the nearby cafés and restaurants and around to the front of the château. In some ways it looked a hotch potch of different towers but the overall look was as if from a fairytale.
We elected to do the self guided tour. After paying we made our way through the entry area and into a large courtyard area. Looking up we could gain a closer appreciation of the towers and the building in general.
From there we entered the château proper and right in front of us was the famous double helix staircase.
However we made our way around the rooms on the ground level first before going up. They were beautifully decorated with paintings and tapestries but quite sparsely furnished compared to other châteaux we had visited. As Chambord had been used as a grand hunting lodge in the past many antlered heads were among the items hanging from the walls.
When we were ready to go up a level we entered the staircase from opposite sides so halfway up we could see each other.
At each level we could also go outside and walk around the balconies to have a closer look up at the towers above us.
After looking around at the highest level we made our way down and out of the château. Even as we made our way around different views of the towers presented themselves.
One of the best views was right at the rear where a small boat harbour provided a different foreground to Chambord.
On our return journey we took a different route and drove through a lovely little town with a lesser known château, Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvres, a smaller but wonderfully well kept château. It was a bonus we had not expected.