500 years – 2019

In September 1519, the construction of what would become, under the impetus of François I, the most astonishing construction of the French Renaissance began: the Château de Chambord.

Chambord is the most mysterious of the royal palaces, playing with false symmetry and several unknowns. The question of the re-reading of an enigmatic monument and the conservation of a vast estate are combined to celebrate the five centuries since the beginning of the construction.

500 years later, Chambord still arouses admiration and fascination. The objective of these celebrations is to offer the keys to the reading of a Chambord as it was conceived by its founder, François I and the inspiring architect, Leonardo da Vinci. The aim is to show Chambord’s original matrix, one material, the construction, the other immaterial, its symbols, as part of a rich programme of restorations, associated with an exhibition retracing precisely this genesis.

“Contrary to the preconceived idea of the hunting lodge, Chambord was designed as an ideal city. It is the monument and the whole estate that make up this city. Basically, the projects we are carrying out today are part of this idea of utopia at work. “Jean d’Haussonville (Director of the Domaine national de Chambord)

2019 will also mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in Amboise and the birth of Catherine de Médicis. The 500th anniversary of the Renaissance in the Loire Valley will also be celebrated under the aegis of the Centre-Val de Loire Region with Stephane Bern as patron and ambassador.


Chambord is a radically unique work, one of the jewels of the heritage of humanity. Its vocation is symbolic, aesthetic and spiritual. An affirmation of royal power but also an evocation of an ideal city, the monument remains an enigma that has not finished revealing all its secrets. Chambord is a monument of beauty and intelligence, designed by François I and Leonard de Vinci. It is the very expression of the Renaissance and its symbol throughout the world. Chambord is probably to architecture what the Mona Lisa is to painting. Not only because Chambord is the most important civil building of this period, but because its design and symbolism express the idea of perpetual renewal, the life cycle, man’s place in the cosmos and a form of eternity.

From utopia to action: the 9 projects in the field