Seen from a distance, along the broad ride cut through the forest, the towers and pinnacles of the château might have slipped from a Disney fairy tale.  Of course, it’s really the other way round; the lavish, romantic and fanciful châteaux of the Loire valley have been inspiring artists and story tellers for centuries.

 

 

The Château de Chambord, built for François I in the early years of the 16th century, was defended by a series of moats, approached by causeways across the surrounding marshes.   The Renaissance style château itself was designed to impress visitors rather than to repel invaders. François, the last ‘chevalier king of France’,  was the patron of many artists and poets and kept a lavish court.  His châteaux invited the making of legends.

(Click on any photo to view the gallery)