Discover Chateau de Chambord with kids

Chateau de Chambord, nestled in the heart of the Loire Valley, is one of France’s most iconic and recognizable castles. It’s only a two-hour drive from Paris and offers many family-friendly activities.

It’s the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, and you can easily spend a few hours or even an entire day here, especially when visiting with kids.

chateau de chambord

History of Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord earned its place on France’s inaugural list of historical monuments in 1840 and has proudly held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1981. It’s a testament to the French Renaissance’s grandeur, a masterpiece King Francis I commissioned in the early 16th century. The chateau showcases the famous double-helix staircase, believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

Over the centuries, Chateau de Chambord served various roles, transforming from a royal hunting lodge into a symbol of luxury and power. Surprisingly, King Francis I spent relatively little time here. Upon his demise, the chateau passed into the hands of his son, Henri II.

Chateau de Chambord witnessed many owners over the years, including notable figures such as Louis XIV, Louis VX, and even the deposed king of Poland, Stanislas Leszczyński. It was bestowed as a reward to two Marshals, first to Maurice of Saxony in 1745 and later to Marshal Berthier in 1809, in recognition of their military triumphs.

During the tumultuous period of World War II, Chateau de Chambord assumed a unique role. The Louvre Museum in Paris entrusted Chambord with safeguarding its invaluable art collection against the looming threat of war. Within Chambord’s protective walls, art treasures, including the iconic Mona Lisa, found refuge from the chaos of the conflict.

Exploring Chateau de Chambord with kids

You can easily explore the chateau without having to follow a specific itinerary. You can meander through its captivating interior and always find your way back to its centrepiece—the magnificent double-spiral staircase. For those short on time, consider grabbing a tour plan highlighting the must-see attractions when your visit is limited to an hour.

You can start your visit with a short film on the history and architecture of the castle, complete with English subtitles. From there, explore all the magnificent rooms spread across three floors.

Take advantage of climbing to the rooftop terrace of the castle, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the gardens and the surrounding forest.

Why Château de Chambord Is Perfect for Kids

1. Double-spiral staircase

On the ground floor, you will see and be immediately captivated by the double-helix staircase. This architectural wonder is said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself, and it’s a fascinating structure to explore. Kids can run up and down the two spiral staircases without crossing paths, making it a unique and playful experience.

2. Horse and Bird of Prey Show

Kids of any age will enjoy a 45-minute horse and bird of prey show in the stables despite it being all in French. The performance features horses, costumes and comedy to make it a fun experience. A summary sheet is available in English and other languages to help follow the storyline. You can buy tickets for the show separately for €16 per adult (€12.50 for ages 5–17) or as part of a package with admission to the chateau for €27.50 (a savings compared to separate tickets at €32).

3. “Cassandra The Salamander” puzzle books

The chateau offers two puzzle books for purchase at €4 each, providing children with a fun way to explore the castle and its gardens through questions, games, and riddles. Both books feature Cassandra, the symbolic animal of Francois I.

  • Castle puzzle book (7-12 years): Cassandra guides parents and children through the castle’s must-see locations, challenging them to solve eight puzzles and uncover a mystery word, with a small gift as a reward
  • French garden puzzle book (6-12 years): This puzzle book immerses children in the gardens, teaching them about French garden design and the plant species within Chambord

4. HistoPad Chambord

The HistoPad Chambord, a digital tablet and audio guide, offers a virtual journey through the 16th-century castle, bringing its rooms to life as they appeared during Francois I’s time. Nine rooms are fully recreated in 3D, while others are described through an audio-guided tour. Younger visitors can enjoy a fun treasure hunt as they walk through the chateau searching for missing items. The Histopad is available in 12 languages.

5. Children’s Quarters (“Logis des enfants”)

The ticket price includes a beautiful interactive discovery area for children aged 3 and up. Here, they can experiment, play, wonder and relax, with 16 activities to explore.

For younger children (3-5 years old), there is a curiosity area with early learning activities and a reading corner. There is a sound cabin where they can listen to different sounds of the chateau.

Older children can engage with an impressive life-size portrait of Francois I brought to life using AI, games to understand the double-spiral staircase and more. The children’s room is open daily from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5.30 pm.

6. Fun Workshops

Tailored for children aged 5 to 10, accompanied by parents, these fun workshops enable children to interact with fictional characters from the castle. Among the characters you may encounter are Julien, the master watchmaker, and Gaspard, the bodyguard of Francois I. These visits are 1 hour and 30 minutes long, a manageable timeframe for children. Please note that these visits are scheduled on specific days during school holidays and long weekends, priced at €7 per adult and €5 for ages 5 to 17 (in addition to the entrance fee).

Opening days and hours

Chateau de Chambord welcomes visitors every day of the year except on January 1st, November 27th, and December 25th. The opening hours vary:

  • From January 2nd to March 24th: 9 am to 5 pm (low season)
  • From March 25th to October 29th: 9 am to 6 pm (high season)
  • From October 30th to December 22nd: 9 am to 5 pm (low season)
  • From December 23rd to December 30th: 9 am to 5 pm (Christmas holidays)

Ticket prices and options:

Chateau and gardens

In 2023, the full-rate ticket for the castle and gardens is €16, with a reduced rate of €13.50. Children under 18 years old enjoy free admission to the chateau. Additionally, you can opt for a combined ticket that includes the castle, gardens, and a 45-minute horse and bird of prey show for €27.50. You can book the tickets online on the website of Chateau de Chambord.

Guided tours

Chateau de Chambord offers a 1-hour English-speaking tour for an additional fee of €6 for adults and €3 for visitors aged 5 to 17, with complimentary admission for children under 5. You can book this tour online directly on the website of Chateau de Chambord.

Alternatively, you can also book a guided tour through platforms such as GetYourGuide or Viator. These platforms offer various tour options, including packages that include transportation from Paris and opportunities to visit several castles in the Loire Valley in a single trip.

How to get to Chateau de Chambord from Paris

You can make the trip to Chateau de Chambord as a day trip from Paris.

By car

The chateau is a two-hour drive south of Paris. You’ll find dedicated parking facilities approximately 600 meters from the chateau’s entrance, with a fee of €6.  If you want to hire a car, Rentalcars lets you compare prices of rental cars from your location to Chateau de Chambord.

By train

If you want to travel to Chateau Chambord from Paris by train, head to the Paris Austerlitz station and board the regional train to Blois-Chambord. These trains run regularly, and the journey typically takes around 80 minutes. You can purchase train tickets online in advance by using train ticketing platforms such as TrainlineOmio or by booking directly with SNCF, the French national railway company.

Upon arriving at the Blois-Chambord station, you have several transportation choices to reach Chateau de Chambord:

  • You can take a shuttle to the town of Chambord, followed by a pleasant 15-minute walk to the chateau.
  • Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which typically takes around 25 minutes.
  • If you wish to explore the Loire Valley further, you can also rent a car directly on-site.

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