French king Francois I (often Francis I in English) commissioned the building of Château de Chambord as a hunting lodge in 1519. Although medieval in structure with a central keep, round bastions at the corners, two wings, two further towers, and an enclosing curtain wall, the execution of the building is Renaissance, a style Francois became familiar with during his campaigns in Italy.

Although intended as a hunting lodge, Château de Chambord became by far the largest chateau in the Loire region. Its extravagant dimensions are 156 m long and up to 56 meter tall. The 426 rooms made do with 282 fireplaces and 77 staircases. Over 800 sculpted columns keep it all together.

Francois I hoped to impress the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the chateau and he did. The emperor visited in 1539 and described Chambord as a summary of what human industry can achieve.

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Forest bathing

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term usually translated into English by « Forest bathing ». It describes the practice of healing through being immersed in nature.
Quarter of a mile from our house lays a narrow path which marks the entrance into the woods. This is the largest private forest of the county, dedicated to hunting and timber cutting.

Everybody knows that going on a walk helps improve your overall health – a good walk is good for your cardiovascular health- Shinrin-yoku has been shown to lower the concentration of cortisol (the stress hormone), as well as pulse rate and blood pressure. Trees release compounds called phytoncides, which you’d inhale during a walk in the woods.
But what matters here is how you set your mind during this walk to make the practice of shinrin-yoku efficient. Lire la suite de « Forest bathing »