Architecture Chambord Châteaux de la Loire

Double spiral staircase in Chambord – Escalier double révolution à Chambord

photo_128_chambord_staircaseThis magnificent most famous staircase is believed to have been designed for François I by Leonardo da Vinci. It consists of two spirals which cross over each other and lead up to the roof terrace. The double ramp supported by eight square pillars seems to be a single ramp yet the two ramps never cross. A central newel enabled courtesans to see each other from one spiral to the next, but never to cross paths. The staircase could thus accommodate more people than a single ramp.
On attribue cet escalier magnifique à double révolution à Léonard de Vinci. Il est constitué de deux vis qui montent l’une sur l’autre jusqu’aux terrasses. Les deux rampes supportés par huit piliers carrés semblent n’en former qu’une seule et pourtant elles ne se croisent jamais. Un noyau central, ajouré, permettait aux courtisans de s’apercevoir d’une hélice à l’autre sans jamais se croiser. L’escalier pouvait ainsi accueillir plus de courtisans qu’un escalier à simple rampe. 

5 replies on “Double spiral staircase in Chambord – Escalier double révolution à Chambord”

Some people no doubt believe Leonardo designed the staircase, but I think that is stretching the legend a bit. Certainly it is the sort of thing he took an interest in, but he was already dead by the time it was built. I think the most likely scenario is that the design has been influenced by Leonardo or his ideas, but that he probably had no direct input into it. Probably others have interpreted older drawings of his (connected to designs for other buildings) or past discussions with him to create the staircase.

I didn’t realise Leonardo was actually dead by then. I read a wonderful report by Palladio who actually had 4 ramps in the version he described. I need to visit Clos Lucé again. I haven’t been there since my kids were little.

I went there in the dead of winter and apparently the only heat there was was from the fireplaces. While my feet nearly froze off, it was a wonderful tour. That staircase is the highlight I think.

You’ll have to go back when it’s warmer. The chimneys on the roof are my favourites! At least in the winter, you can take a photo without anyone in front of it!

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