September 22, 2018 Chateau de Chambord FR

Well, plans change. We had originally planned to go to Orleans for the day, but last night we discussed spending a few days in the Loire Valley.  When we woke up it was spitting rain and a little windy, The Weather Channel said it was going to improve as the day went on so we decided to skip Orleans, and head to Chateau de Chambord.

Ron plugged a GPS coordinate into the Garmin which was supposed to be for the motorhome parking at the Chateau and we took off.  The Garmin said it was only a 68km drive, and the roads were good.  Right at the end we started to think something was amiss as we suddenly started to get on smaller and smaller roads and this is maybe the largest tourist attraction in the Loire Valley.  At the end the GPS proudly announced we had arrived, but we were looking at a field next to a little village.  Either Ron inputed the coordinates wrong or the coordinates were wrong in the app we use to find places to stay.  Anyway after a little more research we were on our way to the Chateau.

Thirty minutes later we arrived and what a first impression.  The chateau is magnificent in scale.  As we walked up to the entrance Ton said that this must cost a fortune to maintain.  This would become a theme of the day. 

The first view of the Chateau, it really is immense.

The Chateau was originally constructed from 1519 to 1547 by King François I.  It is built in the Renaissance style and has 11 towers on the roof that are supposed to look like Istanbul.

The rear of the chateau from the immense gardens.

While it is really something to look at it is indeed difficult to maintain.  When you watch the movie of the history of the Chateau it goes something like this, François builds it, and then loses interest in it and it deteriorates, another king gives it to someone who spends a fortune on it and then loses interest and it deteriorates, it passes to another owner who spends a fortune etc.  In fact it may be the greatest white elephant in France.

The ceiling on the third floor, the salamander was the symbol of François I.  

It is now maintained by the French National Park Service and they are clearly spending a fortune to restore and maintain it.  Hopefully they will succeed as it is worth keeping.

These gardens were just restored last year.

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