Travel to France

Day 3 Sambin - Chambord - Vendôme - Sambin (135 Km.)

(in 35 Km.) Chambord: The royal Château de Chambord is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for François I, who maintained his royal residences at Château de Blois and Château d´Amboise. The original design of the Château de Chambord is attributed to Domenico da Cortona, but was altered considerably during the twenty years of its construction (1519–1539).

Chateau de Chambord

Château de Chambord

The château features 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases. Four rectangular vaulted hallways on each floor form a cross-shape. The castle is a quadrangle within which the tower stands against the north side. The tower was begun in 1519, although French-built, is inspired by Italian architecture facades and horizontal trim. It is topped by a lantern tower decorated around which are deployed terraces. The château also features 128 meters of façade, more than 800 sculpted columns and an elaborately decorated roof.

Chateau de Chambord

Château de Chambord - The double-helix staircase

One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular double-helix open staircase that is the centerpiece of the château. The two helixes ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the château. Around this ladder are communicated four rooms that form a cross and and divided into four parts housing. The tower is surmounted by terraces that offer both the spectacle of its many tall towers topped with slate roof and a magnificent view over the property.

Chateau de Chambord - Louis XIV's ceremonial bedroom

Château de Chambord - Louis XIV´s ceremonial bedroom

A gallery connects the tower with the chapel, begun by Francis I, was not completed by Jules Hardouin Mansart until the order was given by Louis XIV. Extraordinarily large, occupies two floors. Two parts were joined to wall up the north hall, to respect the rules of etiquette that required the royal suite is positioned in the center of the facade. It was occupied successively by Louis XIV, Stanislas Leszczynki and later by the marshal of Saxony. Chambord has never been so inhabited as during the Enlightenment. To evoke the taste of comfort criteria of the time: reduced volumes for the creation of bedrooms, lowered ceilings and large embedded fireplaces from the sixteenth century.

Chateau de Chambord

Château de Chambord

(in 49 Km.) Vendôme: This town, called "Little Venice", looks at the Loir valley. It has retained since the seventeenth century a unique heritage of green space that has earned to be classified as floral village "4 flowers" which won him the Grand Prix of floral for 10 consecutive years. Stand out among its green areas Ronsard Park and Castle Park. The church of La Madeleine (15th century) is surmounted by a stone spire, an indifferent imitation of that of the abbey. The tower of Saint-Martin (16th century) represents the vanished church of that name.

Vendome - The abbey-church of the Holy Trinity Vendome - Tower of Saint-Martin

Vendôme - The abbey-church of the Holy Trinity and tower of Saint-Martin

On the south, it is overlooked by an eminence on which stand ruins of the castle of the counts of Vendôme. The abbey-church of the Holy Trinity (Abbaye de la Trinité) has a fine façade in the florid Gothic style. Abbey buildings of various periods lie round the church, among them the harmonious Romanesque bell tower (twelfth century) of 80 meters in height and the cloister. Inside, the cruise is the only remnant of the eleventh century (note the capitals). The vaults were renovated in the in the thirteenth century in Angevin style. The nave, started in mid-century XIV, was not completed until the early sixteenth century. The presbytery (fourteenth century) keeps stained glass windows and a masonry of the late fifteenth century.

Vendome Vendome

Vendôme - Channels

Other remarkable monuments are: the old gate, the Porte Saint-Georges; its river front is composed of two large crenelated and machicolated towers, connected by a pavilion, and the ancient hospital of Saint-Jacques that afterwards became a college of the Oratorians, then a lycée for boys and that is now occupied by the town administration offices. The charming chapel, in the most florid Gothic style, is preserved. In the garden surrounding, is located the tourism office in an ancient building called l´Orangerie (facing the public library). The town has a well-known archaeological and scientific society, and possesses a library with more than three hundred manuscripts, and a museum, mostly archaeological, in front of which stands a statue of the poet Pierre de Ronsard. There is also a statue of Marshal Rochambeau, born at Vendôme in 1725. Some interesting houses of the 15th and 16th centuries survive.

(in 51 Km.) We returned to Sambin.