It may be remote. But it’s a magnet for all castle lovers. Strung along a jagged rocky outcrop in the Dysynni Valley at the foot of Cader Idris, Castell y Bere is especially good at evoking the spirit and atmosphere of Wales’s native castles. Built by Welsh ruler Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) to protect Gwynedd’s southern frontier, construction began in 1221 with the castle remaining in use until 1294. (cadw.gov.wales)
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.