The 3d and 4s photoabsorption spectra of Cr I have been observed by using the synchrotron radiation emitted by the Bonn 500 MeV electron accelerator as the source of background continuum. The resulting spectrum is unexpectedly simple, and this is explained within the spectator electrons approximation. The more intense transitions can be arranged in Rydberg series. A prominent series of transmission windows arises by double excitation. A detailed analysis is presented, supported by some ab initio Hartree-Fock calculations and also by comparison with the semi-empirical calculations of Roth (1970) which include mixing between all the (3d + 4s)$^5$ 4p configurations.