Restoration of the bell towers

The restoration of the monument is under the direction of the Chatillon Architects agency and François Chatillon, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, in charge of the National Estate of Chambord since 2019.

The purpose of the work is to restore the bell towers of the roofs of the Chambord castle. The roofs concerned are the four lanterns of the keep (Tour Dieudonné, Tour Henri V, Tour François 1er, Tour Caroline du Berry) as well as the lanterns of the Tour Robert de Parme and the Tour de la Chapelle.

The first objective of this project is to secure the Chambord’s frameworks, whose endings are threatened by water leaks. The watertightness of the beams is no longer guaranteed, thus leading to a high risk of ceruse: the mixture of oak tannins, water and lead produces ceruse which seriously attacks the lead roofing and could, in the long term, seriously damage the frameworks.

Apart from a few occasional repairs, no restoration work has been carried out on the lanterns since 1967. The operations are launched in May 2021 and will be completed by the end of 2022. They are placed under the direction of François Chatillon, member of the Academy of Architecture, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments since 2004.

 

The issues

Thanks to an investment of nearly 3.5 million euros, the work on the lanterns of the castle is launched under the direction of François Chatillon in 2021. These had not been restored since the end of the 19th century. The aim of the work is to restore the lanterns on the roofs of the Château de Chambord: the four lanterns of the keep (Dieudonné tower, Henri V tower, François I tower, Caroline de Berry tower) as well as the lanterns of the Robert de Parme tower and the Tour de la Chapelle. Apart from a few occasional repairs, no restoration work has been carried out on the lanterns for over 50 years.

This project responds to two major issues

– Degraded sanitary state

The priority of this project is to secure the Chambord’s frameworks, whose endings are threatened by disorders in the lanterns. The first health assessments carried out on some of the lanterns since the beginning of the project have revealed major differences in the condition of the six lanterns in the château, some of which are more damaged than anticipated. The Caroline de Berry lantern in particular is in a bad structural state with structural elements that, over time, had begun to twist and sag. The interventions foresee the repair of the sanitary disorders in particular the resumption of the assembly defects, the straightening, the consolidation of the bracings, the replacement of the too damaged pieces of wood but also the resumption of the waterproofing of the zinc and slate coverings.

– Restoration and enhancement of Chambord’s original heritage

In order to restore the silhouette of Chambord as close as possible to the original design, the lead ornaments that have disappeared (salamanders, fleur-de-lis, railings, volutes, candelabras and modenatures) will be restored thanks to the intervention of craftsmen with exceptional know-how. They were the magnificent sign of the royal dwelling, the expression of the utopian character of Chambord and the aesthetics of the novels of chivalry that François I loved. Additional historical research has confirmed the presence of dark blue-gray shades on these lead decorations. The application of suitable patinas will allow us to get as close as possible to the original shades.

 

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