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Not to be missed: architectural treasures

Nicknamed the Builder King, Francis I tore up the rules of architecture that he had inherited. Chambord illustrates the convictions of a king enraptured by Italian aesthetics. He dared to do what no one else did, and his château reveals his greatest acts of architectural audacity.

Chambord was built according to principles of symmetry in line with the Renaissance canons of beauty. But closer examination reveals an unusual feature: its layout has been designed in the form of a Greek cross, something that had until then been reserved for religious architecture. This unique design paved the way for other innovations, such as the double helix staircase which was the most ingenious feature of the château at the time. Although there would appear to be only one staircase, it is in fact composed of two interlocking spirals that never cross. Open sections offer a view from one spiral to the other, creating games of hide and seek that must have delighted many a gallant lover!
 
The staircase leads to the upper levels and includes a landing from which to admire the low coffered vaults, adorned with the symbols of Francis I. The stairs then lead to a large terrace before culminating in the lantern tower which stands at a height of 32 metres. The dome evokes the shape of a church bell tower, except that it is crowned with a fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the kings of France. The interior is bathed in a lattice of light that filters through the many rose windows, and the edifice affords a breath-taking view over the whole estate. 
Accommodation nearby
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