Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chateau Chambord, France

chateau chambord, france, sunset

chateau chambord, france, staircase

chateau chambord, france, old keys

chateau chambord, france

chateau chambord, france

chateau chambord, france

chateau chambord, france

chateau chambord, france

chateau chambord, france, instagram
via instagram @jessinmalta

chateau chambord, france, sunset, road trip

How not to see France's Chateau Chambord:
  • Don't drive as fast as legally permissible from Spain to France (it's an 8 hour jaunt) to make it to the chateau before closing time (6 pm in September)
  • Don't park in the closest, random lot next to the chateau's entrance and literally run to the ticket counter (public parking lot? private parking lot? someone's driveway? we'll never know...)
  • Don't power walk through the entire castle in 30 minutes

How to see France's Chateau Chambord:
  • If you're an EU resident, bring your ID card - free entrance!
  • Schedule an entire morning or afternoon to explore the castle, its art exhibits, and grounds at a leisurely pace. Perhaps sign up for a guided tour.
  • Stop for coffee at the castle's cafe
  • Rent a boat and row through the castle's moat and/or rent a bicycle and explore the castle's manicured gardens
  • Stick around for sunset (one of two things we got right)
  • Bring a picnic lunch (the other thing we got right)
  • Stop to think I'm at a real castle, yo! and pinch yourself (we did that too)
In all seriousness, Chateau Chambord was a lovely place to spend the night on our drive from Spain to London. A relic of the French Renaissance, it was built as Francois I's hunting lodge. And it boasts no shortage of fun facts: during WWII the Louvre's collection was moved here for safe keeping; also during WWII American B-24 bombers crashed on the chateau's lawn (and locals hid the pilots in their homes!); and in the summer the castle becomes the backdrop for open-air light shows, operas, concerts, and horse shows.

It's also the Loire Valley's largest castle, and was practically deserted when we arrived in early September.

Come back tomorrow to see why there's nothing quite like having the entire lawn of a chateau to yourself.

- Jess

p.s. can't book a trip to see the castle in person?
You can visit virtually through these beautiful panoramas by Columbia University's Art History and Archaeology department.

date: september 6
weather: sunny
distance travelled (bilbao, spain to chambord, france via san sebastian, spain): 764 km/474 mi (8 hours)
distance travelled to date (pisa, italy to chambord, france via nice, avignon, zaragoza and bilbao): 2,589 km/1,608 mi (28 hours)
admission: free for EU residents under 26, €8 for non-EU residents
parked at: our hotel, free


  1. wow, such beautiful pictures! I'll be sure to keep this post in mind if we ever get to visit France's Chateau Chambord!


  2. That looks AMAZING! Plus I love your blue and white stripped sweater!

  3. What an amazing place! I never visited france while I lived in Europe (unbelievable, I know) but I look forward to going back someday to explore it, and this place will definitely make my list of to-visit spots!


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