The base of Chaumont's southwest tower with a view of the Loire River below.
Part of Chaumont's fame comes from one of its previous owners, Diane de Poitiers. She was the mistress of King Henri II (son of François I). Henri's wife, Catherine de Médicis (of the famous Florentine de Medici family), was quite jealous of the long-lasting affair, but reportedly suffered in silence.
When Henri was killed in a jousting match in the mid-sixteenth century, his young son became king and Catherine became the regent. She used her new power to boot her former rival Diane out of the Château de Chenonceau (which Henri had given her) and in exchange gave her the castle at Chaumont as compensation. From what I've read, Diane never actually resided at Chaumont, but that's the story.
The castle is a feast for the eyes, both inside and out. Many of the rooms include period furniture, but it's mostly gathered from other places. Royal castles were plundered after the Revolution and not much remains. The last inhabitants of the castle furnished it lavishly in the nineteenth century, but they ended up having to sell the place to the government in 1938.
Oh, and Benjamin Franklin, one of the United States' founding fathers, once stayed here.