Chateau Chambord | CC-by-SA 4.0 photo by Krzysztof Golik

Visiting Chambord Castle by Public Transit

You now gaze wonderingly at the Château de Chambord, ordered up by King Francis I as a sixteenth century hunting lodge, today often regarded as the single most spectacular of the 300+ castles in France’s Loire Valley. The France tourist will find the château’s 440 rooms (and 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases) on a 13,000 acre park and game reserve, between bustling Thoury (population 423) and Huisseau-sur-Cosson (population 2,297).

Aerial view of the château de Chambord | CC-by-SA-3.0 photo by Elementerre
Aerial view of the Château de Chambord | CC-by-SA-3.0 photo by Elementerre

In short: in the French middle-of-nowhere. Many travel bloggers suggest touring the Loire’s castles by car. I see their point, but managed to visit Chambord by transit without having to hitchhike back to my hotel, and can offer practical tips on how other car-free tourists may do the same.

(I have more to share about playing tourist in France without a car, but will save the rest for a separate post. Château de Chambord was much tougher to visit by transit than any other France attraction seen to date, and rates its own entry.)

() First things first: thank you, Detour Effect, for writing Visiting Castles in the Loire Valley Without a Car. I started with you. You inspired me!

Queens apartment at Chambord castle
Queens apartment at Chambord castle

() The official Chambord site links to an out-of-date bus schedule. The web page you want is:

It’s French-only, confusing, won’t inspire confident warm-fuzzies in potential tourists … but, bottom-line: these are the folks who operate the bus you’ll take. What they say goes.

() Study the page long enough, and you will see that in 2022:

  • You can visit other castles aboard this bus, as described by Detour Effect. I rode it only to Chambord.
  • The bus operates only on some days, marked in blue. I visited on May 25. See the little blue square?
  • The bus departs the Blois-Chambord train station for the castle at 9:15 on all days except Saturday.
  • Your return bus from Château de Chambord depends on your day of travel. I boarded at 14:20, returned to the Blois-Chambord station at 15:25.

() Expect no meaningful signage to guide you at the Blois-Chambord station, and expect to meet no English speakers at the station’s SNCF office. You’re in the sticks.

Gare Blois-Chambord passerelle and boarding spot of bus to Chambord castle
Gare Blois-Chambord passerelle and boarding spot of bus to Chambord castle

() While descending from the rail platform, I had admired a roundy-round bicycle-pedestrian bridge (described elsewhere online in French and in English.) The Chambord castle bus stop is immediately north of this passerelle. If castle-bound, a separate bus stop on Boulevard Daniel Dupuis is a red herring.

() I remember no taxis at the station (in case you were hoping to ignore everything else in this post, and ride a cab to the castle). Sorry.

Boarding bus to Chambord castle at Gare Blois Chambord in France
Boarding bus to Chambord castle at Gare Blois-Chambord in France

() The plush castle bus arrived on schedule, and dropped us off in a bus parking lot on the Chambord castle grounds. Several fellow passengers spoke both French and English, and could confirm So-how-do-we-get-back-to-Blois? particulars with the driver.

() The Chambord castle grounds include cafés, restaurants, hiking trails and, of course, the 440 rooms (and 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases) of the castle itself. There’s a lot to see! … a good thing, as the Rémi bus schedule promised that I wouldn’t be able to board a return bus for the next four and a half hours. The limited travel schedule is the main drawback to visiting the castle by transit.

() The return bus did not motor directly back to Gare Blois-Chambord, but instead first traveled to the stops for two other château: Cheverny and Beauregard. So: thirty-five minutes on the bus to get to the castle in the morning, but an hour and five minutes to return to Gare Blois-Chambord in the afternoon.

In May, 2022, much of the castle exterior was swaddled in that arch-enemy of amateur dSLR wielders the world over: construction scaffolding. I took few exterior shots. For other photos, please see the photo directory.

(Lead photo credit: Krzysztof Golik, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

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