We ventured to the outskirts of Paris yesterday to visit some French Chateaus (Castles) and to enjoy wine tasting in the Burgundy region of France. We started our trip with a stop to Chateau de Chambord.
Chateau de Chambord
Building commenced in 1519 and took almost 30 years to complete. It boasts 440 rooms, 284 fireplaces, and 84 staircases. The cost to build the palace was equivalent to 1% of the French Gross Domestic Product! It was fashioned after Italian Renaissance architecture and many believe that Leonardo di Vinci architected many of the rooms.
As you walk around the Chateau, your eyes drift to the King’s church.
From the back entry, you can see the stunning architecture that was built to mimic the Istanbul skyline, with ornate architecture that focuses your attention at the roof.
Once inside the courtyard, you begin to appreciate the size of the Chateau.
Although an architectural marvel, it was not a practical design. The huge number of windows, high ceilings, and open terraces made the Chateau extremely cold in the winter. It was built as a hunting lodge for King François I it was not used a lot because of the extreme cold.
The King’s bedroom includes a viewing area where he would allow a privileged few to watch him awake each morning at 7:30 a.m. Once awake, the most senior of the viewers would dress him. He repeated this each night when preparing for bed.
Chateau de Nitray
Our next stop took us to Chateau de Nitray, another castle that also serves as a winery. We were greeted by the owner of the winery and offered 2 glasses of wine and fresh salmon to nibble on.
The Chateau is small compared to Chambord but doubling as a winery makes this a great place to visit. The owner was incredibly witty and we enjoyed an incredible lunch of roasted chicken, potatoes, tomatoes and apple pie.
After lunch, he gave us a tour of the castle. He said every castle has to have a pigeon coup. The coup was used in earlier days to house thousands of pigeon for food and their eggs. Each cubby hole inside the coup represented an acre of land owned by the castle.
Chateau De Chenonceau
Our final stop was at Chateau De Chenonceau, a castle built on the River Cher in the 16th century. Talk about cool views from inside the castle, the river literally runs underneath it.
The grounds of the castle are just impeccable. They grow all their vegetables on premise and a working restaurant serves daily from the food grown on site.
There are also small houses outside of the castle walls where the workers resided. I think any of us would love to live in one of these cool houses.
We finished our tour of Chateau De Chenonceau by visiting their underground wine cellar where we tasted the fruits of the vine. Spectacular!