A beautiful day; a little cool but the sun is out.
We traveled out of Paris; it took 2 hours; then southwest to the Loire Valley. This valley has more than 100 castles (chateaux) built from tenth-century to splendid mansions built a thousand years later. This "Garden of France" attracted Kings and nobility for its charm and beauty. At least that's what the guide book says. But really it was a place of refuge during the "100's Year War" with kingdoms fighting over Paris. But after the wars they found they liked the valley for its mild climate and lush forests, so they stayed.
The Chambord Castle sits in the middle of a forest the size of Paris. It was used for hunting boar, deer, fox, and birds; surrounded by a wall. King Francis I had it built from 1519 to 1682. Like all rich people he stayed here very seldom; he just liked to show off his wealth with his various castles. But he also built it to be close to his mistress. I have included pictures of the King and Queen's bed chambers because it's interesting that the preparing for bed and arising was a matter of public interest and there are chairs around the room for visitors to sit. The King would discuss the business of the day as he was dressing.
King Francis I was a close friend of Leonardo d'Vinci. It is rumored that he was one of the architects for the Chateaux. The Double Helix staircase is amazing. It is two staircases winding up around each other to the top floor.
To sum up the Chateaux Henry James wrote "...The towers, cupolas, the gables, the lanterns, the chimneys, look more like the spires of a city than the salient points of a single building."
We ate lunch at the little village near the chateaux; crepes with ham or chicken and cheese; very french.
The bus then followed the Loire River to our next destination, Blois. It is a large city with many places to explore tomorrow.