Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord

Château de Chambord - Chambord castle.1519. A palace rises up out of the swampy lowlands of the Sologne region, on the edge of a forest filled with wild boar. François I, the young king who had garnered glory in the Battle of Marignan, ordered its construction. The château de Chambord was not intended to be a permanent residence; François I would in fact spend only a few weeks here, leaving it empty of furniture and people after his visits. It was an architectural jewel that the king liked to show to visiting crowned heads and ambassadors as a symbol of his power. Although the château was not completed under François I, it is one of the few buildings of that age that has survived without major modifications to its original design.Work began in September 1519 with the demolition of the old château of the counts of Blois when the foundations for a keep were laid, the only structure initially planned. The work was entrusted to experienced French master masons who had proven their expertise on other royal sites in the Loire Valley. Construction was momentarily halted after François I’s military defeat at Pavie by his rival Charles V and his following captivity in Madrid. Then, in 1526, work began again. The King of France made changes to his original plan, adding two lateral wings to the basic keep, one of which would serve as the king’s own residence. The keep was completed around 1539 and the royal wing (East wing) in 1544. A turret staircase was added to the work and an exterior high walkway to the royal wing in 1545, while the work on the asymmetrical wing (chapel wing) and a low wall encircling the courtyard like in medieval castles continued. François I followed construction closely throughout his reign although he only lived there for a short period of time. In December 1539, he seized his chance and while Charles V was travelling through France he invited him to tour his new palace. The emperor was welcomed with the greatest pomp and while being amazed he declared that he saw in the keep at Chambord a “summary […] of human industry”. Upon François I’s death in 1547, the château had not yet been completely finished. www.chambord.org

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499 26/03/2016 209
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