Along the river valley of Loire, south of Paris was a favourite region for the French nobility to build their chateaux. There are three royal chateaux in the valley - Chambord, Blois and Amboise. Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years here amongst these chateaux. Chenonceau chateau is one of the prettiest and had a female touch to it. If this is the case then it counterpart is Chambord, a the male chateau. It was built as a hunting lodge and many of its features were derived from traditional fortifications.
In 1515, the young Francis I of France came to the throne. It was under him France was united and strong. It was also the time French Absolute Monarchy began to appear. Chambord is very much his making. The emblems of Francis I were everywhere. It is also a French Renaissance building, incorporating Italian architecture elements like loggias, terrace, pilasters and horizontal mouldings decorating the facades. It is also French too with its massive towers, donjon and very high and steep roofs. Its roof it like a chessboard of towers and also like as a skyline of skyscrapers.
Today around the chateau is a large wildlife park with rich and varied wild life, a sanctuary for large animals. It is also an Unesco Heritage Site.