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Trip To the Loire Valley

My first day trip was to the Loire Valley. We left bright and early from the rue de Rivoli office of Cityrama… I was lucky enough to get one of the best seats upfront on the top.

The rising sun gave a nice illumination to the French countryside.

However, as we were approaching the river Loire, fog settled in…

Well, I kind of liked that, too, photographically speaking…

When the first raindrops appeared, I started to get concerned…

This was our first glimpse of the famous Loire…. totally wrapped in fog…. but at least the rain held off.

Arriving at one of the six gates of CHAMBORD [en.wikipedia.org], the biggest of the chateaux in the Loire Valley. It is totally surrounded by a brick wall, which is 32 kms long, and encompasses an area of 5440 hectares, the size of inner Paris. It is the largest enclosed forest park in Europe and a national game reserve containing many types of animals roaming completely wild here.

King Francis I was 25 years old in 1519 when he initiated the huge enterprise of building a hunting chateau, after reconquering the Italian province of Milan, and being influenced by Italian Renaissance architecture.The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I in part to be near to his mistress the Comtesse de Thoury, Claude Rohan, wife of Julien de Clermont, a member of a very important family of France, whose domaine, the château de Muides, was adjacent.Her arms figure in the carved decor of the château.

The layout is reminiscent of a typical castle with a keep, corner towers, and defended by a moat. Built in Renaissance style, the internal layout is an early example of the French and Italian style of grouping rooms into self-contained suites, a departure from the medieval style of corridor rooms.The massive chateau is composed of a central keep with four immense bastion towers at the corners. The keep also forms part of the front wall of a larger compound with two more large towers. Bases for a possible further two towers are found at the rear, but these were never developed, and remain the same height as the wall. The château features 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases. Four rectangular vaulted hallways on each floor form a cross-shape.
The château was never intended to provide any form of defence from enemies; consequently the walls, towers and partial moat are purely decorative, and even at the time were an anachronism. some elements of the architecture – open windows, loggia, and a vast outdoor area at the top – borrowed from the Italian Renaissance architecture – are less practical in cold and damp northern France.

The next series of pictures show details of the elaborate roofline the chateau is so famous for.
The roofscape of Chambord contrasts with the masses of its masonry and has often been compared with the skyline of a town. It shows eleven kinds of towers and three types of chimneys, without symmetry, framed at the corners by the massive towers. The design parallels are north Italian and Leonardesque.

Leonardo da Vinci came to France in 1516 on the request of Francis I, and he may have helped plan the double spiral staircase in the center of the Keep, which connects the three floors of the chateau. This is how it looks on the top terrace, from the outside.

Top of the double spiral starcase again…

Next we will visit the inside of the chateau…

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    There are 10 comments, add yours!

    • # Juhász Imre

      A tájképek is szépek, de az építmények, a műemlékek csodálatosak. Gyönyörű sorozat!

      2011.04.15 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Paolo Martini

      .... lovely fog effect in n.4...
      n. 12 - 16 are my fav.
      very interesting Agnes...thank you so much for sharing !
      ciao
      :o)

      2011.04.14 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Darlene Foster

      Great shots of this trip and chateau! Personally, I wish the fog had lifted for you, but you can't control the weather.

      2011.04.13 Edited Reply Cancel