2022 – France – Day 6

Tuesday August 30th

We left Bourges and went first to Châteaux de Selles Sur Cher, which was originally built ~950 CE. It was destroyed by Vikings, and again during the religious wars, and probably a couple more times but I don’t recall. Anyway the château itself isn’t super impressive, but that’s okay because the current owners produce some very nice wines. Plus they also have animatronic dinosaurs for the kids, and who doesn’t like dinosaurs?

We met with the winemaker and he taught us how to taste wine. He also talked about his winery’s efforts to limit the amount of sulfur they use. Apparently this is the latest thing in French wine making. One of many benefits of reducing the amount of sulfur is that wine made this way doesn’t give headaches to those who overindulge.

The Châteaux de Selles Sur Cher:

A sitting room in the Châteaux:

A bedroom in the Châteaux:

The Châteaux’s kitchen:

After the wine tasting and some lunch we went to Chambord, a massive estate built by Francis I, beginning in 1519. The château has 77 staircases and 282 chimneys. Like most of France’s greatest edifices it’s currently undergoing refurbishment in preparation for the 2024 Olympics.

Some people seem to think it must have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci, mostly because the central staircase is a spiral. Apparently only da Vinci could have thought of something like that. But it’s also known that Leonardo lived near Chambord at the end of his life. In fact there is a bronze statue of him at Amboise, the nearby city where we stayed on Wednesday night.

Francis I used Chambord chiefly as a hunting lodge. It was passed around to various royals, but apparently only Francis I, his son Henry II, and Louis XIV actually used it as a palace. All of the other residents were of royal blood, but not kings. Those who stayed at Chambord brought their own furniture, and they took it with them when they left. The palace must have looked rather desolate once the royal resident and his entourage departed.

Chambord is now owned by the state. A plaque I read in one of the rooms said that during the summer it was a mosquito infested swamp, and during the winter it was bitter cold. Oh the travails of royalty.

The exterior of Chambourd, complete with scaffolding:

The grounds of Chambourd, as seen from the top floor:

More grounds. As you can see, the landscape is flat flat flat:

A main reception hall at Chambord. Most of the rooms were completely empty, like this one:

A bedroom at Chambourd– one of the few rooms with furnishings:

One of the fully restored royal carriages. They are kept behind a glass wall– look but don’t touch!

The Chambord chapel: