The royal Chateau de Chambord at Chambord, France, is one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francois I.
In 1792, in the wake of the French Revolution, some of the furnishings were sold and timber removed. For a time the building was left abandoned, though in the 19th century some attempts were made at restoration. During the Second World War, art works from the collections of the Louvre and the chateau de Compiegne were moved to the Chateau de Chambord. The chateau is now open to the public, receiving 700,000 visitors in 2007.
In 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the art collections of the Louvre and Compiegne museums (including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo) were stored at the Chateau de Chambord. An American B-24 Liberator bomber crashed onto the chateau lawn on June, 22nd, 1944. The image of the chateau has been widely used to sell commodities from chocolate to alcohol and from porcelain to alarm clocks; combined with the various written accounts of visitors, this made Chambord one of the best known examples of France’s architectural history. The Château de Chambord was the inspiration for the Beast’s castle in the 1991 animated Disney film Beauty and the Beast.