"Château de Chambord: Another Staircase" Chambord Things to Do Tip by von.otter
Chambord Things to Do: 54 reviews and 117 photos
“The park of Chambord has twenty-one miles of circumference, a very sandy, scrubby, melancholy plantation, in which the timber must have been cut many times over and is to-day a mere tangle of brushwood”
— from “A Little Tour In France” 1884 by Henry James
The famous double helix staircase within the donjon of the castle is not the only one to reach the castle’s several levels. Another staircase, facing an interior courtyard, follows a more traditional style for the period; it is open to the out-of-doors.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the kings of France came to Chambord mainly to hunt with hounds, now prohibited within the estate, although it is still the presidential hunting grounds. Chambord was surrounded by a hunting forest for as far as the eye could see when it was first built. François hunted deer, wild boar, smaller game animals and birds. Only the king and his invited guests were allowed to hunt in the forest. There were harsh penalties for those who were caught poaching the game.
The forest immediately outside the castle became a park; sheep grazed on the lawn to keep it tame. Close to the château, the land was drained and streams diverted to create canals and lakes. These supplied water and fish as well as being for recreational use.
Today, the forest/park of Chambord is still very large. At 13,343 acres it is the largest forest/park in Europe. A 105-foot-long wall, with six entrance gates, surrounds it. Twenty-three farms operate within the park. Declared a national nature preserve in 1947, the park is also a laboratory for studying large animals.
The deer/trout season, from mid-September to mid-October, attracts many visitors who want observe the deer from special observation posts in the forest. These watchtowers can be used by the public to observe, and in some cased to photograph, wild animals. Sixteen official drives are organized each year, to regulate the deer population, and the Chambord Game Fair that takes place in June.