Friday, 26 October 2012

Getting in a Twist

You would never guess just by looking at this photo that this was anything more than an unusually large scale spiral staircase. It is, of course, the famous double helix staircase at Chambord, with two separate flights of stairs that coil around one another, so that those on the stairs going up can see others coming down, but mysteriously, they never meet. Seeing the real object, or even setting foot on it and ascending, isn't much help in getting your head around how it works. You need to see a diagram or a model.

10 comments:

Tim said...

Your post yesterday never appeared... until this morning!??? Quoi!?

You said in that you didn't like "Male Fantasy" castles... You've never been to the Neuschwanstein castle which is a complete faaaantasy project... but on a much more refined scale than Shambleabord.

Neuschwanstein was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as an homage to Richard Wagner and as his own personal retreat. I've found a picture of it here.

There are some fantastic rooms... many based round the Ring Cycle.

Now, I can't stand Sham-bored... however, I think I need to visit it just to see this staircase.

Tim said...

There should have been a questing mark after the second paranoid. So that the whole sentence would have said "You've never been to the Neuschwanstein castle....?"

I've just gorn and looked at Wiki's article about the castle... it makes a fascinating read.

Susan said...

Tim: I never said I didn't like 'Male Fantasy' castles... I've never been to Neuschwanstein, but it is iconic amongst castleophiles.

Chambord is well worth a visit on a nice sunny summer day. It is a fabulous creation. Take the whole day and spend most of your time outside in the magnificent park.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Same as Tim here... Your blog yesterday did not appear till this morn!! Never been to either castle, will put Chambord on the list for next summer.

Susan said...

We had a day of really irritating intermittent internet falling down yesterday -- maybe that's the explanation.

chm said...

I had internet problems also here in Virginia.

Thank you for the link. Looking at it you really understand how it works. Isn’t it supposed to be one of Vinci’s great ideas?

I may not be as blunt as Tim, but I agree with him about Chambord. The last time I was really visiting there was more than fifty years ago so my recollection of the interior is somewhat faded. As for that Bavarian castle, Disney didn’t do it any favor. I don’t think I’d like to see it in the flesh. Too much of a fairy tale [pun intended]. What’s more, Wagner is not one of my favorites.

Last word, it takes one to know one! LOL

Tim said...

Having been there in 2006, along with 3000 other 2CV owners, I agree that the gardens are magnificent... but then someone dumped a mix of rubble and icing sugar in the middle! 8-{

Ken Broadhurst said...

Despite what anybody says, I do not see how you can visit the Loire Valley and not see Chambord. It is an amazing bu__ilding to have been built 500 years ago.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Susan, the other thing about that double-helix staircase that I've always heard and read is that it's a staircase where the people on one stair canNOT easily see each other. That's the opposite of what you said in your post.

I think of the film "Up the Down Staircase" and wonder if in the Renaissance they used one of the two main Chambord staircases for ascending and the other only for descending.

Susan said...

Ken: the English language Michelin guide says: ' The stonework at the centre and around the outside is pierced by many openings so that you can see from one flight to the other.' And that is certainly my memory of it -- that you can see other people on the staircase, but you don't meet them.