Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Visit Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord is arguably one of the most famous Loire Valley Castles and one of the most beautiful castles in France to explore. It is located in the Loire Valley – near the city of Blois – in the French region of Centre-Val-de-Loire. Château de Chambord is relatively easy to visit on a day trip from Paris, or you can combine the visit to this château with other interesting sites nearby on a road trip.
How to get to Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, where to park, how much it costs to enter, and all other useful information can be found in this article.
Best Ways to Visit Château de Chambord from Paris
Château de Chambord, Loire Valley, is of the best castles near Paris, located 175 km south of the French capital. There are three ways to get to Château de Chambord on a day trip from Paris, make it on your own by car, guided tour, or train + bus.
By Train + Bus
Château de Chambord is one of the most beautiful day trips from Paris by train. Trains to Blois leave from Gare d’Austerlitz 3-4 times a day. Count it on taking 1hr 30 min from Paris to Blois by regional train (TER).
In Blois train station, there’s a bus to Chambord (#118 or #02) that goes to Chambord 2 times a day (35 min). From Chambord, it’s a beautiful 13 min walk to the château.
You can buy your tickets for the bus on board, but be sure to buy your train tickets online in advance.
By Guided Tour
This is by far the best option to visit Château de Chambord on a day trip from Paris if you don’t have a car. Sit on the van and enjoy the landscape without having to worry about directions, transfers, or train connections.
There are many Loire Valley tours of all sizes, and they all include Château de Chambord plus one or two more châteaux. Some tours only offer transportation and entrance tickets to the castles whilst other tours also come with lunch and wine tastings.
One really good Loire Valley day tour – consistently rated 5/5 – is this small-group tour by minibus and with English speaking guide that covers Château de Chenonceau, Château d’Amboise, and Château de Chambord with a wine tasting in Amboise. You cannot do better than this on your own by public transportation.
The drive from south of Paris to Château de Chambord takes 1hr 50min via the A10 highway. The worst part of the drive is to leave Paris: once you have left the boulevard Périphérique, half of the job is done!
On-site, there are two car parks with different prices depending on the proximity to the castle. Car park P0 is located 600m from the castle, and it costs 6€/day. Car park P2 is located a little bit further, and it costs 4€/day.
Explore Château de Chambord (and Other Sites) on a Loire Valley Trip
The Loire Valley in Central France is a fantastic area to explore by car. Visit Château de Chambord and other beautiful sites nearby while enjoying good food, wine, and a slower pace of life.
This 5-day Loire Valley Road Trip is one of the most beautiful road trips in France. Drive from Paris to Orléans and then follow this beautiful road trip itinerary to get the most out of the Loire Valley.
La Loire à Vélo is one of the most famous bike routes in France. This unique 800km cycle route along the Loire River explores the Loire Valley Castles – Château de Chambord included – historic towns and villages.
Well connected by trains that accept bicycles, it is possible to join and leave the cycle route at any point.
Château de Châmbord Tickets and Opening Hours
To avoid overcrowding, the château has reduced the number of daily visitors. Today, it is strongly recommended to buy tickets online and in advance.
The full rate to visit the park is 14.5€, while visitors under 18€ old and EU residents aged 18-25 can visit the castle for free.
The Château de Chambord is open every day from 9.00 am to 5 pm (low season) or 6 pm (high season). The visit to the Château de Chambord inside lasts around one hour. The château is closed on 1st January, 30 November, and 25th December.
Château de Chambord History
The Château de Chambord is one of the most impressive castles in France. King François I commissioned this Renaissance-style château to be used as a hunting lodge, a place far from the court’s hustle and bustle to relax, hunt, and have fun with his friends.
The construction started in 1519, and it involved the best French and Italian architects and masons of their time. For the King, this château was a demonstration of his political and cultural power in Europe. Everything in this château has to be bigger and more impressive than the rest of the châteaux.
King François I visited the château only a few times, between 1539 and 1545. During his last stay in 1545, the keep enclosure and royal wing were completed.
François I died in 1547. His successors continued the construction works, and they visited the château occasionally.
In 1930 the French State purchased the monument. Between 1939 and 1945, the château hosted thousands of artworks from the Louvre and other French museums to protect them from the Nazis.
In 1981, Château de Chambord was listed as UNESCO World Heritage. It is also listed as a Historical Monument in France and National Hunting and Wildlife Reserve.
Inside Château de Chambord
The Château de Chambord is an awe-inspiring Renaissance construction. The castle is square in shape, flanked by 4 circular towers. The castle’s beating heart is a central square keep also flanked by 4 circular towers.
Château de Chambord has a ground floor and a first floor. The second floor consists of different terraces with panoramic views.
The most interesting rooms and halls to visit are located in the keep. We recommend starting your visit with the 20-minute audiovisual located on the ground floor, in the first room on your left.
Here’s a peek at our favorite places inside Château de Chambord.
Château de Chambord Interior
Unlike the Palace of Versailles, where all the rooms and halls are magnificent, Château de Chambord’s interior did not impress us. The château has different furnished 17th-century and 18th-century apartments that recall various sojourns of the latest tenants in Chambord.
On the first floor, there are the royal lodgings used by King François I during his last stay in Chambord. There’s also the reconstruction of a small theatre where Molière performed two of his most famous comedies for King Louis XIV and his court.
In the keep, on the first floor, the four rooms surrounding the central staircase are covered by vaulted ceilings decorated with crowned salamanders and the letter ‘F.’ These two symbols were used to glorify Chambord’s first owner, King François I.
Château de Chambord’s Double-Spiral Staircase
The amazing central double-spiral staircase is the main feature inside Château de Chambord. It is said that Leonardo da Vinci was involved in the construction of Château de Chambord, and most probably, he is the author of this staircase.
Chambord’s staircase is located in the center of the keep, and it consists of two twinned flights of stairs twisting and turning, one above the other and around a hollowed central core. This staircase’s particularity is that when two persons use the two different sets of staircases simultaneously, they can see each other but never meet.
Leonardo da Vinci moved from Milan to Amboise in 1516 to work at the orders of King François I until he died in 1519. Today, it is possible to visit Clos de Lucé in Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life.
The terraces on the second floor are one of the best parts of the visit to Chambord. They offer awesome panoramic views of the formal gardens and the forest in the background and also the opportunity to better appreciate many details of the turrets, staircases, and chimneys.
Amongst this forest of Gothic-flamboyant-Renaissance creatures outstands the lantern tower, topped with a fleur-de-Lys royal crown.
Château de Chambord Gardens
The Château de Chambord gardens that we can see today are a reconstruction of the gardens designed by King Louis XVI and his successors.
There’s an English-style garden on the west of the château, free to visit, while the French-style garden is located in the north and east of the château, and it is only accessible to the château visitors.
To build the French-style gardens, the Cosson River was channeled, and the different trees and parterres lay on an elevated terrace.
Stroll through the alleyways and admire the different flowerbeds and manicured lawns. The view of the château from the garden is also beautiful.