Visiting Chambord Castle

Château Chambord: A Magnificent Renaissance Marvel

by and - last updated on 4/18/2024

Is it worth visiting Château de Chambord ?

Travel Tile Absolutely, Château de Chambord is a magnificent Château in the Loire Valley, and a quintessential example of regal grandeur. It is renowned for its stunning Renaissance architecture, intricate double helix staircase, and sprawling grounds. With over 400 rooms and about 60 of those open to the public, this castle is about six times the size of the average castle in the Loire Valley. In addition, you can explore the extensive gardens, park, vineyards and stables. You can easily spend an entire day or even two days. This was our favorite Château in the Loire Valley.

We drove from our base-camp in Amboise via routes D-952 and D-951 to route D-72 - a 52 kilometer drive through some very pretty agricultural areas and frequent vineyards. There are more than one thousand vineyards in the Loire Valley, and most are open to the public, including 400 specially accredited wine cellars.

This route wound its way through the heart of the Loire Valley wine region. Endless rows of meticulously tended vineyards stretched across the rolling hills, their colorful hues contrasting with the red-tiled roofs of quaint villages. This region is renowned for it's Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc wines.

Some of the more notable wineries along this route include Domaine des Pierrettes, Plou & FIls and Vignoble Tévenot. Plou and Fils get wonderful reviews producing Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon, Le Cot, Chardonnay, and Le Chenin. You can visit the Vineyard, and the troglodyte cellars and enjoy a wine tasting for free.

Our Encounter with Château de Chambord   Map

Château de Chambord was among the twelve Châteaux we explored in the Loire Valley. Among them, it stood out as the largest and most awe inspiring. Its sheer size overwhelmed us as we approached, its silhouette rising surrealistically above the surrounding trees. That initial glimpse of the Château remains indelibly etched in our memories. It evoked images of bygone days when guests would have been summoned for grand hunts, with men on horseback armed with bows, spears, and swords. We could almost hear the echoes of their triumphs, accompanied by lavish feasts and celebrations. That’s what I imagined anyway. The list of additional destinations for this trip and articles with information about visiting the Loire Valley and each of the 12 Châteaus we visited are in the Additional Reading About the Loire Valley and Our Trip Itinerary section at the bottom of the page.

Château de Chambord - A Brief History   Map

The building was originally constructed by the king of France, Francis I, and it was intended to be used primarily as a "hunting lodge". It is surrounded by the largest walled and enclosed park in Europe consisting of about 13,500 acres (21 square miles). Construction required over 28 years (approximately between 1519–1547) because the design was altered frequently. In order to create lakes, Francis I wanted to divert the Loire River which was 10 kilometers away. When that wasn’t feasible, he decided to alter the course of the Cosson river, turning it into a straight canal which matched the stately appearance of the Château perfectly.

Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.
Discover the majestic beauty of Chateau Chambord, the largest Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley of France. See photos of Chambord 
    and get the tips and information you need to make your visit a successful one.

Château de Chambord Double Helix Staircase 

One of Chambord's most distinctive features is its intricate and harmonious double-helix staircase. This unique staircase consists of two intertwined spiral staircases that ascend the castle's central core without ever meeting. It is often conjectured that the staircase was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci who was a guest at the nearby Clos Lucé before he died in 1519 which was around the same time that the building of Chambord began. The double helix design may have come from some of his notebooks. For more information about the history of the castle check our links in the “More Info for Château Chambord Section below.

Exploring Château de Chambord 

We love to wander when we visit places. Touring Château Chambord on your own is a wonderful experience. Starting on the ground floor; it is stark in comparison to other floors in the Château and you can easily see the four wings that are part of the architecture of the structure as well as the massive double helix staircase. The first floor (second floor to Americans) has some of the most impressive rooms; the King’s wing with grand bedrooms and a chapel and the second floor is a series of ballrooms that hosted some of the post-hunt parties. Don’t forget to go all the way to the top for the rooftop views of the grounds, canals and surrounding forest. The grounds outside of the building are, perhaps, even more impressive than the inside.

Things to See and Do at Castle Chambord 

Touring The Château and Formal Gardens

The regular entrance ticket allows you to visit the Château and Gardens. You can choose to rent a HistoPad which provides you with an experience of exploring the Château as it was in the 16th century. You can view nine virtual rooms in 3D. The HistoPads also provide architectural and historical insights about what you are seeing. They come in 12 languages and even offer a treasure hunt for children. They are always improving the HistoPad so check out the official website for the most recent information. The link is in our external link section below.

If you are visiting in the summer they do offer a guided tour in english that is one hour long at 11:15 AM each day between July 8th and August 27th. This is an ideal way to get a lot of insight in a short period.

Other things to see and do at Château Chambord

  • View the film Chambord 360 which offers a virtual journey of Chambord from the sky - We didn’t partake in this but it looks like it would be a fun thing to do if you have the time
  • Horse and birds of prey show - This show is a fun and entertaining 45 minute show that whisks you away to the court of Francis I. Birds of prey and horsemanship are central to the show. There is seating at the venue. This would be something fun for the whole family to experience
  • Explore the park by bike. There over 2400 Acres of park to explore in the Grande Promenade circuit. A wonderful way to get the most out of your visit and see more of the grounds
  • Rent an electric boat and take a cruise on the canals.
  • Rent an electric vehicle to get the most out of your visit and save your legs. Ideal for those with young children or for those that have difficulty walking or biking

The Chambord Passport

Site Helpful Tip ImageIf you want to experience all that Château de Chambord offers you can purchase the Chambord Passport. The ticket includes admission to the Château and gardens, the horse and birds of prey show and the HistoPad rental. It also gives you discounts on electric cart, bike, or boat rentals. It also allows you to visit more than once during the year, so you can come back to do something that you weren’t able to do before. See the Chateau Chambord Tickets and Information section below for links to purchase tickets.

View Our Videos of the Loire Valley 

Youtube Video Link

In this video, we'll share insights into the geography of the Loire Valley, the best ways to get there, and top tips for navigating this stunning region including how to pick where to stay and the rules of the road; a detailed review of road signs, toll booth navigation, and parking information. Get ready to plan your dream trip!

Youtube Video Link

Join us on a journey through the heart of France as we explore twelve of the most magnificent castles in the historic Loire Valley. Our video provides an in-depth look at each castle and offers logistical information, including an itinerary with logical base camps for exploring the region to help make your own trip a success.

Plan Your Visit to Château Chambord 

Where is Château de Chambord ?

Château de Chambord is located near the village of Chambord which is about midway between Amboise and Orleans, France. It is about 16 kilometers from Blois, 52 km from Amboise and 56 km from Orleans. In this part of the Loire Valley There are numerous Châteaus to visit in addition to Château de Chambord. Some of the most popular are Château de Cheverny, Château de Chaumont, Château Royal d’Amboise, and Château de Chenoncea.

Can you day trip to Château de Chambord from Paris?

Yes, you can get to Château Chambord by driving, taking a full day bus tour or taking a train from Paris;

  • By Train: the trip from Paris, Austerlitz station to Blois-Chambord will take you approximately 90 minutes or less (note: the time will vary based upon the type of train and the train's route. A TGV will be faster than a TER). Then you can take a shuttle or taxi from the Blois-Chambord station to the Château. This would be a full-day visit. More information will be found at the Chambord official website. You will find the link in the more information section below.
  • By Car: the trip will take about 2 hours (via the A-10 Autoroute). We don't recommend renting and visiting and then returning without seeing other Chateaux in the valley, but it is doable if you are short on time.
  • By Bus tour: Get Your Guide or Viator offers a number of tours from various cities in France. More info can be found on their website.

We spent an entire week visiting the Châteaux in the Loire Valley and recommend renting a car and taking your time and spending at least a week to see it. There are so many Châteaus in the valley that you may as well see as many as you can while you are there. It’s like exploring another world - another Château will be just around the next corner.

We flew into Nantes and rented a car there at the airport. You can rent a car from most of the major cities. If you need a rental car we frequently use Autoeurope Auto Europe Link to rent cars. View our page on renting cars in Europe for more information and our French driving travel tips page for driving in France for more information.

Where should I stay when visiting the Loire Valley?

Good options for places to stay in the Loire Valley while visiting Château Chambord include Blois, Orleans, or Amboise. If you are visiting by train, Blois is the best choice since that is where the train station and shuttles to the Château are located.

During our visit to Chambord we stayed just outside of the village of Amboise in a VRBO. If you are doing a road trip tour of the Loire Valley which we highly recommend, staying in a VRBO is a nice way to experience the Valley and is more cost effective frequently than staying in a hotel. View our Loire Valley Overview page to see our itinerary for visiting 12 Châteaux in the Loire Valley including the base camps that we used to explore the area.

Château Chambord Tickets and Information 

Do They Have Parking at Château de Chambord?

They have a very large parking just west of the entrance. The cost is €6 (cars and motorcycles) for the entire day. Parking is free for disabled persons by presenting the parking ticket with proof of disability. There are several other parking lots, here is a link for a Google Search Page for "parking at Château de Chambord".

Where can I get tickets for Château de Chambord?

There are multiple ticket types and options; Adult prices for entrance to the Château and gardens are currently €16.00 per person. You could also purchase tickets at their entrance office, but you would run the risk that they were not allowing the crowds to get too large. The Château de Chambord passport ticket offers entrance to the major sites as well as discounts for bike, boat or electric vehicle rentals. Entrance tickets can be purchased here.

Where can I get the Château de Chambord Passport?

You can purchase the Chateau de Chambord Passport on the Chambord website.

What are the operating hours of Château de Chambord?

9:00AM to 6:00PM, 7 days per week. Hours and days open may vary, see their website for more details.

Are there restaurants in or near Château de Chambord?

Yes, there are several restaurants, gift shops and a wine shop are just inside the entrance area. There are restaurants in the vicinity, however you will have to drive to get there. The Hotel La Clef des Châteaux - Hotel & Restaurant is 3.5 kilometers from the Château de Chambord. Here is a link to a Google Search Results page for restaurants in or near Château de Chambord.

Additional Photos and Information about Château de Chambord 

 

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