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Chambord or Chenonceau

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Jun 24th, 2014, 12:49 AM
  #1
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Chambord or Chenonceau

Posted a while ago about itinerary, but obviously not a good travel plan. We will be in the Loire Valley for 3 days. I know July horrible crowds, but would like to see either Chambord or Clemenceau.. What is the best time of day to see either in July? My guide book said to avoid both in July. Obviously not an option.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 12:51 AM
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wow, not very good at spell check. Cheneonceau
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Jun 24th, 2014, 12:56 AM
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very embarrassed, Chenonceau
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Jun 24th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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Will you be driving or will you be taking a mini-van tour?

Chenonceau is just south of Amboise while Chambord is about 50-min away from Amboise by car. Chenonceau is cute, Chambord is grand.

One of the mini-van tour companies has a half-day tour of just Chambord and Chenonceau. You'd get 90 minutes in each chateau on your own. If 90 minutes is all right with you then you can see both.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 03:50 AM
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Depending on where you're staying, you might enjoy going late to Chenonceau and staying for the Sound and Light.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 03:52 AM
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They are, as I am sure you know, VERY different in terms of outward appearance. Internally, other than that double spiral staircase, I didn't find it all that interesting. The view from the roof is memorable as is that moat, etc. Certainly worth a visit and assuming you have a car it can be done.

Chenonceau because it stretches across the river and has the gardens, etc., will probably be crowded.

I would get UP and be there when it opens. Yes, I know it is vacation and all that other stuff but how often do you wake up IN the Loire Valley?
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Jun 24th, 2014, 05:32 AM
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Both are worth a visit but Chenonceau is a "not to be missed" in my book. It is graceful and beautifully situated and the gardens are lovely.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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They are entirely different,built with totally different purposes in mind, and it would behoove you to read up on the history of each of them to understand that. That said, Chambord is undergoing extensive renovations this summer, which won't impede a visit there, but could make for less-than-ideal conditions.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Why either and not both if you're renting a car?

Dukey probably meant to say "other than that double spiral staircase, I didn't find CHAMBORD all that interesting" because the double helix staircase is a notable feature of Chambord. That may be fair for some. But Chambord is worth a visit just for the size, panoramic shots of this French Gormenghast, and a trip to the rooftop, which is a whole different experience and worth the extra few quid.

Chenonceau is pretty and the photos are great, but it is actually fairly small and the interior is fairly meh. It's great to stroll around and ooh and aah, but you can blow through the interior in 20 minutes or so and miss little.

So: those are the considerations. Ultimately, the answer should be BOTH and tell your guide book to self-flagellate. You're going to be in the area, why deny yourself one of the two "top" chateaus?

PS: if you're really into seeing "gardens" the chateau to see is Villandry.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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If it's truly either/or, my vote is for Chenonceau. That would still be true even if Chambord wasn't being renovated this summer.

That said, I would agree that "both" is the preferable answer.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 09:20 AM
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Yeah, Chenonceau if there's a tough choice. But Chambord has those awesome guys with tighty-tights on horseback doing fancy medieval stuff in the showcase area outside the château in summertime. Just a footnote....
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Jun 24th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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IME less crowds at Chambord than at a much smaller and yes nicer to many Chenonceau.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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Chambord is the most monumental of all Loire chateaus - dwarfing all others in sheer size - its facade is very imposing but lacks the sheer romance found at Chenonceau, the consensus best and loveliest of all Loire chateaus, lovingly built straddling a languid river.

A historical note - during the Nazi Occupation of France Vichy France began, I read, on the other side of the river and folks used to flea Nazi-occupied France for a marginally safer Vichy France by crossing the river thru Cehnonceau.

Chambord is also farther removed from the favorite Loire bases, like Amboise and Chinon - in fact Chenonceau is only a few miles from Amboise and if into biking the bike ride from Amboise to Chenonceau is only about 15 miles and goes on minor paved roads thru a national forest much of the way (many area hotels provide bikes and rentals are available many places).

Chambord is also isolated - not much around it, which is kind of nice I guess - Chenonceau is in a tiny hamlet called Chenonceaux (yes with an x on the end - unlike the chateau - now someone splain that to me!) - but not much there either.

At Chenonceau check out the voracious huge carp in the chateau's garden ponds - yikes - like monsters when someone throws some food their way!

For folks sans cars Chambord is hard to reach by public transit - some shuttle buses from Blois in season - Chenonceaux has train service from Tours and St-Pierre-des-Corps - meaning that someone could day trip by train from Paris here all by rail for a great day out.

So Chenonceau for most - for me my favorite of all Loire chateaus - Azay-le-Rideau!
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Jun 24th, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Chenonceau was inviting, Chambord was not -- it's been some years, but if you need to get started early (always good advice) stay, literally, across the street at Au Bon Laboreur-- lovely inn w/ restaurant in this tiny hamlet of Chenonceaux(thanks, PalenQ, you're the best).
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Jun 24th, 2014, 03:10 PM
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Hopefully for their sake the French countrysiders only did flee the oncoming Nazis and did not suffer from fleas.

Chambord isn't supposed to be inviting, it's supposed to be overwhelming - it's a statement regarding the power, wealth and greatness of its builder (or original proprietor, actually), Francis I.
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Jun 24th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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Cheneonceau is an amazing place, not to be missed. I spent four days touring chateaus in Loire Valley (stayed in Amboise) and Cheneonceau was the most memorable. However, I did not se Chambord.
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Jun 25th, 2014, 05:55 AM
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Chenonceau and Chenonceaux played a major role in WW2 - according to Wiki:

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Jun 25th, 2014, 06:04 AM
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Definately Chenonceau, no question...both very different, but Chenonceau much more appealing...take an afternoon tour and see the 2!
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Jun 25th, 2014, 06:51 AM
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Can anyone say why there is an "x" on the end of the village but none on the chateau's name - Googling yielded no easy clues.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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Can anyone say why there is an "x" on the end of the village but none on the chateau's name>

Again anyone? Googling is not my friend to find an explanation to this - "eaux" means of course water in French though I do not know if that is related to the word itself in this case.
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