We took a day trip from Paris and drove 2 hours south to tour some of the best chateaus in the Loire Valley. We went expecting to only have time to see two...but we were so awesome on time, that we saw four instead!!!!
Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?!? Well, then here are about 40,000 for you.....
Known best for its double helix staircase, Chambord was built by King Fancois I in the early 1500s originally as a hunting lodge. It is still surrounded by a moat and hundreds of acres of natural forest. It was the largest chateau that we saw today.
You enter this beautiful chateau by first walking though a long path of towering trees. Like Chambord, it dates back to about the same time as the 1500s It sits on the river Cher, supported by several large pillars, of which some house the kitchens and pantries. It has passed through the hands of several royal owners and undergone several "renovations" as each new owner added something of their own.
Amboise is much older than the first two we saw, as it dates back to the 1200s. The town of Amboise sits surrounding the foot of the castle walls. King Francois I also resided here while working on designing Chambord and visiting with his close friend Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in Amboise for the last three years of his life and was buried on the castle's grounds....
Chateau de Clos Lucé
Childhood home of King Fancois I and "next door" to the chateau d'Amboise, this was where Leonardo di Vinci lived the last three years of his life. Therefore, when you visit the chateau you see it as it was when he lived there, and in the basement is a tribute to his masterful inventions that were put together by IBM based upon his detailed plans.