The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age. After a chequered history, this region reached its heyday in the Renaissance, when Tours rose to become a royal secondary residence and the Valois (a collateral line of the French royal dynasty of the Carpetingians) brought numerous Italian artists and craftsmen to the valley. It was also during this period that the Loire castles that are so famous today, such as Chambord Castle and Montsoreau Castle, were built.
Chambord Castle is certainly the most magnificent castle in France built in the period before Versailles. On the one hand, it was intended to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, but more than that it was a symbol of France’s power and strength. The Emperor Charles V, who visited the castle in 1539, is said to have described it as “the epitome of what human art is capable of producing”.
The castle has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1981 and it is an experience for visitors to immerse themselves in a bygone era.