Sights in Château De Chambord
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This huge hunting reserve (the largest in Europe) stretches for 54 sq km around the château, and is reserved solely for the use of high-ranking French government personalities (though somehow it’s difficult to imagine Sarkozy astride a galloping stallion). About 10 sq km of the park is publicly accessible, with trails open to walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders.
It’s great for wildlife-spotting, especially in September and October during the deer mating season. Observation towers dot the park; set out at dawn or dusk to spot stags, boars and red deer.
Hire bikes at a rental kiosk near the embarcadère (jetty) on the River Cosson, where you can also rent boats.…
For full-blown château splendour, you can’t top Chambord, one of the crowning examples of French Renaissance architecture, and by far the largest, grandest and most visited château in the Loire Valley. It’s worth picking up the multilingual audioguide (adult/child version €4/2), if only to avoid getting lost around the endless rooms and corridors.
Begun in 1519 as a weekend hunting lodge by François I, it quickly snowballed into one of the most ambitious (and expensive) architectural projects ever attempted by any French monarch. Though construction was repeatedly halted by financial problems, design setbacks and military commitments (not to mention the kidnapping…