I spent a lot of time to prepare my journey around France by train, I was struggling a bit to select which places to visit but with good train connection to each others. I don’t want to spend too much time in the transport.
From Pontorson, Mont St Michel to Blois was around 6 hours by train, to me it was the maximum travel time with two stops to change the trains. Everything was perfectly on-time. I highly appreciated the French railway system!
Château de Blois with the statue of Louis XII, this palace was his favourite royal residence.
My hotel in Blois right in front of the train station, across the street. Small, very cozy and the receptionist, the manager on-duty were so friendly. I was happy that my French was getting better days after days, now I was able to communicate with them in French.
Place du Château, right in front of Château de Blois.
Blois – a small quiet town, famous with many castles along the river Loire – châteaux in the Loire Valley! I stayed in Blois for 2 nights, to visit château de Chambord and château de Chenonceau.
September is no longer the high season, all tourist buses to these castles suspended, there’s another public bus departing at noon, but if taking it, not enough time for me to see both châteaux in one day. I decided to hire a car with driver, it was expensive, but I hope maybe someone could join and share the cost of 140 Euros, unfortunately there was no one, in return the driver, originally from Naples, was nice, very talkative, in a good way!
Château de Chambord – one of many castles in Vallée de la Loire.
Château de Chambord looks much better in brochures or books, in reality, the main facade in long renovation, the facade’s colour, from far distance, not white, neither grey, like dirty-white-fading, very depressing, colour.
156 m of the facade, 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces make it the largest castle.
The sun was very strong and right behind the castle, I didn’t bring sunglass and hat with me, I was standing right in the middle of the road, under the strong sun, I hardly see anything on my camera, at the end I had to cover my head and camera with my scarf, it helped me a little bit.
The Northern facade of Château de Chambord
Back to the magnificent Chambord, especially from the spectacular outside, it has been first built in 16th century by the King of France’s initiative – Francois 1er , who inspired by the architectural styles of the Italian Renaissance, attracting many Italian artists, including Leonardo de Vinci, to work on the Chambord. But the King spent only 72 nights here for hunting during his 32 years on the throne. That explain why the Chambord’s interior was not impressive compared to other châteaux.
The famous French Renaissance rooftops of Château de Chambord and some others in this region inspired Walt Disney to create many fabulous castles in his movies. As said earlier, by the invitation of Francois 1er, Leonardo de Vinci moved here and involved in the building of this château.
A special friendship developed between these two big figures – Italian master and Francois 1er. Leonardo de Vinci spent his last three years in France, and the King of France, one of very few people, was in presence next to the genius master in his last breath. I missed the chance to visit the Italian master’s museum which is not far from Blois.
A close-up shot of one of the rooftops.
The famous staircase in Renaissance style, similar to the one in Château de Blois.
Château de Chambord was a royal lodge only during the hunting season, no any King of France living here for long so only few rooms of total 426 rooms were fully furnished.
The King Room, belonged to Louis XIV
The Queen’s Room or the Blue Bedroom as it’s named.
It should be a playing-cards room.
Surrounding Château de Chambord is the vast park-like-forest for Kings to hunt during certain period of the year, and the canal like a small river. Seeing the green park with the endless alleys, I deadly dreamed to have a bicycle to ride around this amazing place. Looking at those bicyclists that I met in that morning, I would love to come back here one day, to explore the area on my bike, it should be an exciting, adventurous ride.
The bicyclist on his way into one of the endless alleys in the park-like-forest.
1500 ha makes this park the largest in Europe with the castle right in the centre.
and the Cosson, actually one curve of the river, in front of Château de Chambord…
No idea how long is this river but the total area is about 5000 ha!
Only with the bikes you might go around 1000 ha that open to the public in this park.