The largest and most-visited castle among the 300 found in the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord is a grandiose example of French Renaissance architecture. Commissioned by King Francis I in 1519, and part of the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 426-room castle includes a moat and French formal garden.
Commissioned as a royal retreat, the vast Château de Chambord has few rivals in pomp or architecture. Designed primarily by Domenico da Cortona, its roof features ornamental, asymmetrical designs; its towers lack turrets; and its double-helix staircase may originate from Leonardo da Vinci. Venture inside to see it all and visit kitchens, bedchambers, and other grand rooms. The palace sits on sprawing, 13,000-acre (5,260-hectare) grounds with walking trails and one of Europe's largest enclosed nature reserves.
The Château de Chambord is a highlight of any Loire Valley tour, and it features on multi-palace day trips from Paris, as well as private tours. You can also book skip-the-line tickets in advance of your visit to make logistics seamless. Explore the grounds on foot, by bike, horse-drawn carriage, or vehicle, depending on your preferences.
Things to Know Before You Go
- For a taste of what royal château life was like, taste Chambord liqueur—said to be modeled on a spirit drunk at the castle by Louis XIV.
- Extend your visit with a stay at Relais de Chambord, a new hotel next to the castle.
- If you visit in winter, bundle up—the castle is chilly.
- HistoPad tablets, which include maps and augmented reality features, are available to visitors for an additional fee.
- In summer, electric boats in the moat are available to rent.
- Only select areas of the palace and grounds are accessible to wheelchair users, and admission is free for visitors with disabilities.
- Food options are hosted on site, including a cafe and several casual, open-air food trucks and kiosks; you can also bring a picnic.
How to Get There
Château de Chambord is located in the heart of the Loire Valley, roughly two hours south of Paris by car for a 110-mile (178-kilometer) trip—take the A10. The nearest train station to the castle is Gare de Blois-Chambord; taxis and shuttles connect visitors to the castle. Shuttles from Paris and guided day trips make logistics seamless.
When to Get There
The Château de Chambord is open daily from morning until evening, with extended summer hours. The castle is closed annually on January 1, November 30, and December 25.
Annual Events at the Château de Chambord
No matter when you visit, there’s something to discover at Château de Chambord. Come from April to September to see an open-air horse and bird-of-prey show that brings the Renaissance to life. Visit in June and July to experience the annual Chambord Festival, a series of open-air concerts. Or stop by in December to see the castle done up in lights and festive attire.