Thursday, 2 October 2014

Chambord: "House!"

On holiday in France we went to see Chambord
a beautiful yet absolutely huge chateau,
a royal palace,
the largest in the Loire Valley.

Chambord wasn't intended as a permanent residence,
Francoise the first only spent a few weeks a year here.
Some holiday home!

Consequently all the furnishings were temporary,
kings and queens of France, didn't travel lightly,
they brought everything with them.

Imagine carting all this stuff around and then unpacking,
hanging curtains,

and draping walls.

They really really didn't travel lightly.

My family is not that familiar with the kings and queens of France,
but helpfully their paintings are labelled.
We've heard of Marie Antoinette,
her reputation precedes her.

Wondering what kings and queens of france got up to
for those few weeks a year in their country residence,
we spotted a few clues in their taste for home decor.
This research is evidenced based,
we have no specialist knowledge of French history,
it's just based on what we saw.



and wild boar,
with ferocious looking hounds.

On the ground floor,
everywhere you look, 
quarry is being savagely attacked by dogs,
in oils and bronze.  

These foxes got off lightly
they look relatively unscathed.

However upstairs,
 more 'genteel' entertainment is on display.

The "National Board Game".

I say 'genteel', we obviously don't know how competitive Marie Antoinette was.
Mind you, I might have let her win, more often than not!

We recognised this game.
We loved the idea of Marie Antoinette playing bingo.
A far cry from a bingo night in the village hall.
How do you say "legs eleven" in French?


Even Marie Antoinette's dog was more 'genteel' in appearance.
That demure face and yellow ribbon,
surely no threat to the wild boar.

Hunting and board games not for us,
we had a great time...

...playing hide 'n' seek in the fireplaces,

...reminded of Dickensian alleyways on the roof terrace,
auditioning for 'Oliver'.

...and marvelling at how this 'upstairs' stone parquet flooring,
'bounced slightly as visitors moved around the room.
Was it going to fall down?

Surely with this magnificent ceiling below, it couldn't.

I couldn't end this blog post  without showing you Chambord's famous
double helix staircase.
Two spiral staircases that intertwine over three floors
yet never meet.

Kind of simple,
but complicated,
especially as they go in the same direction.
It was said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
There's no proof though.

If you're in the area,
do pop in.
Chambord's details are on the website here.


  1. I've been to Chambord -on a school trip 36 years ago. I cannot remember anything about it so thanks for the reminder! We also visited Chenonceau and one I have forgotten. I love your subject matter, it's so original. I shall be back.

    1. Thanks Sue. I can't remember many school trips. However now I'm hosting school trips on HMS Belfast, which I love.


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