Top 15 Best Castles to Visit in France

18-11-2022 15 1 0 0 Báo lỗi

There's just something unique about France. You know, that je ne sais quoi that everyone talks about. It's a place where romance rules supreme, which shouldn't come as a surprise considering it's the origin of French kissing and has about 40,000 castles dotting its lush landscape. Yes, there should have been exactly that many zeros. There are reportedly 40,000 castles available for your exploration. Sure, seeing them all might take a lifetime, but don't be concerned. We're here to assist you in selecting a select few from the list. Here are the most magnificent French castles you should see on your next trip to this lovely nation.

1 Thu Bui

Chambord Castle

The Loire region is an absolute must-have on any list of the most illustrious castles in France. The Château de Chambord is among the most notable of all the castles that can be found here. Its creation, credited to the aforementioned King Francis I, involved a large number of significant Renaissance artists. The biggest castle in the Loire Valley is Château de Chambord. Despite being only two hours from Paris, it feels incredibly remote because it is surrounded by forests that are home to wild boar and deer. Originally constructed as a hunting lodge for Francis I, the enormous estate has a footprint the size of the French capital.


The original architect is unknown, but it is said that the building was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's sketches and is regarded as one of France's finest Renaissance structures. Though it is best known for its breathtaking exterior, the castle's interior is equally impressive and completely unique, with an undeniable Italian flair. One of its most notable features is the double helix staircase that dominates the center of the keep.

The apartments of Louis XIV, the legendary sun king, are not to be missed inside the castle. It's also worth seeing the Royal Chapel and the beautiful French-style gardens.


The public is welcome to visit this magnificent castle, which is now included in the Loire Valley's list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spend some time in the visitor village near the parking lot to explore, sample some regional wines, and enjoy a snack while admiring the view of this breathtaking location.


Location: Chambord, Centre Val de Loire

Copyright Jose Ignacio Soto
Copyright Jose Ignacio Soto
www.civitatis.com
www.civitatis.com
2 Thu Bui

Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau, located in the heart of the Loire Valley, is one of the most beautiful castles in France, if not Europe. The Renaissance château, built over the Cher River in the 16th century on the site of an old mill, was once a royal residence. Today, you can tour the castle, which looks like something out of a fairy tale, with its pointed towers and turrets, moat, and elegant courtyards. There are many beautifully restored rooms to admire inside, as well as stunning views of the Cher River from the first-floor balcony and a magnificent art collection.


Alongside exquisitely crafted tapestries and furniture from the Renaissance era, there are works of art by Rubens and Tintoretto on display. The history of the château is fascinating. After the king's death in 1559, Chenonceau was taken from his mistress Diane de Poitiers by Queen Catherine de Medici, King Henry II's wife. One of the most recognizable chateaux in the Loire is known for its arches that grace the River Cher.

The Château de Chenonceau and other treasures can be found in the Loire region. This structure is also referred to as the Ladies' Castle and is renowned for its arches that cross the River Cher. The cause? During the castle's heyday, illustrious figures such as Louise de Lorraine, Catherine de Medici, and Diana de Poitiers animated the intense palatial life.

Inside, its large dance hall is a must-see: where court parties used to start in the late afternoon and last all night. Some didn't even finish until the following day!

Two of the estate's magnificent formal gardens reflect the styles of the two previous owners. Chenonceau is a popular tourist destination in France and a must-see when visiting the Loire Valley.

Location: Chenonceaux, Centre Val-de-Loire Region
Castle arches over the Cher river - www.civitatis.com
Castle arches over the Cher river - www.civitatis.com
Copyright Anton Foltin
Copyright Anton Foltin
3 Thu Bui

Palace of Versailles

If you can only see one castle while in France, make it the Palace of Versailles. The Palace of Versailles is located about 20 kilometers southwest of Paris. Versailles was a small village when the château was built in 1624. Today, however, this area is a wealthy Paris suburb. It was once France's seat of power, but it is now a museum showcasing French history.


The home, which Louis XIII originally intended to use as a hunting lodge because the surrounding area was rich in pheasants and wild boars, has undergone numerous renovations to become the epitome of opulence. Before becoming Madame Déficit and being executed, his descendants, including Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, continued to reside there. You can experience Antoinette's lifestyle while keeping your wits about you thanks to the castle's preservation of much of its opulence, including its lavish gardens, which have been meticulously restored to their former splendor.

The château, which was built in the French Baroque style, has 2,300 rooms, a luxurious park, decorative gardens, and a Grand Canal. The most notable part of the palace is the Hall of Mirrors, which connects the King and Queen's apartments and is decorated with over 350 mirrors. It's really impressive!

Location: Versailles
Copyright Aurelie France SF
Copyright Aurelie France SF
en.chateauversailles.fr
en.chateauversailles.fr
4 Thu Bui

Castle of Val

This Castle of Val is not the most famous or visited castle in France, but it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful.


The Castle of Val Auvergne, which was built in the thirteenth century on a rock and is now surrounded by a vast park with an artificial lake, is reminiscent of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. Despite being smaller in stature than many others on this list, it deserves to be on this list for a variety of reasons, including the peculiar surroundings. You're more likely to see beach umbrellas and sailing boats than elaborate gardens and beautifully arranged flower pots! Although this castle is located in the town of "Lanobre," it is currently owned by the nearby community of "Bort-les-Orgues," which is in charge of maintaining the hydraulic dam and the manmade lake. This castle is truly exceptional, and the area is lovely.

The castle itself dates from the 15th century and is one of the region's best-preserved castles. It's a popular destination for families in the area, and it's a great family-friendly castle to visit if you're visiting France with children. Several events are held throughout the year, and children can enjoy free entertainment at any time. Every day of the week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the castle is open to the public.

Location: Lanobre, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region
Tourisme Corrèze
Tourisme Corrèze
Gites de France
Gites de France
5 Thu Bui

Castle Comtal of Carcassonne

Carcassonne Castle is one of France's most famous and beautiful castles. Carcassonne, located one hour from Toulouse airport and 50 minutes from Perpignan airport, is a must-see destination for visitors looking to discover Europe's most beautiful medieval towns and castles. Although it is commonly referred to as "the Castle of Carcassonne," its full name is "Castle Comtal of Carcassonne" (Count's Castle).


Carcassonne, one of France's best-preserved medieval cities, is the setting for many legends about the Cathars, a powerful medieval religious sect. Carcassonne's county castle stands proudly alongside the citadel walls that encircle the entire city, creating a setting that appears to have been plucked straight from a Middle Ages fairy tale. Because of its role as a haven for Cathar heretics, the town was attacked by a crusader army on the pope's orders. Because it is located on the border between France and Spain, the town's location has remained strategically important. Viollet-le-Duc brought the town back to its former splendor in the 19th century after it had fallen into disrepair as a result of the long-lasting peace between France and Spain.


You can also get breathtaking views of the Aude river from the Carcassonne castle's towers and battlements.
It should definitely not be missed if you're in the area on vacation!

Location: Carcassonne, Languedoc Region

Castle and walls of Carcassonne - www.civitatis.com
Castle and walls of Carcassonne - www.civitatis.com
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Copyright Bborriss.6
6 Thu Bui

Azay le Rideau Castle

France's Centre-Val de Loire region is a stunning area known for the Loire Valley Châteaux.


The castle at Azay-le-Rideau is regarded as one of France's top ten most famous and elegant castles. The nearby castles of Rivau and Villandry, however, are more beautiful than this palace on the Loire. Concentrated pure luxury over a short distance!


All of these castles also have exquisite ornamentation that displays the luxury and splendor of earlier times to which their illustrious residents were used.


On an island in the Indre River, the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau was constructed with the help of King Francis the First. To fully comprehend the history of this castle, which was owned by numerous families before being purchased by the French State in 1905, you must visit.

By booking your lodging at the most affordable rate, you can visit this Château, which the author Balzac referred to as a "multi-faceted diamond." Every day of the week, from 9:30 to 18 hours, the castle is open.


Location: Centre Val de Loire Region

The elegance of Azay-le-Rideau - www.civitatis.com
The elegance of Azay-le-Rideau - www.civitatis.com
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Copyright Altitude Drone
7 Thu Bui

Mont Saint-Michel

One of the most beautiful structures in all of Europe. Mont-Saint-Michel is a city in and of itself. It was built in the eighth century on a rocky island off the north coast of France in Normandy. Mont Saint-Michel, a fortress that has stood the test of time, is located about a half mile off the coast of Normandy.


Over the years, everything around and above the original building has been added. The fact that Mont Saint Michel transforms into an island that can only be reached by boat when the tide comes in, however, may be its most distinctive feature. This lovely location has so much to offer, including peaceful gardens, breathtaking views, artist studios, and a wealth of history, that you simply must go there on your next trip to France.

Although it might seem like the most castle-like castle you've ever seen, Mont Saint Michel in coastal Normandy isn't. Its striking appearance, however, served as inspiration for Rapunzel's castle in Tangled. The structure has served many purposes over the years, including serving as a prison and now as a major tourist attraction, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Location: Coast of Normandy
Normandy Tourism
Normandy Tourism
Culture Trip
Culture Trip
8 Thu Bui

Haut-Koenigsbourg

The castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg, located halfway between Strasbourg and Colmar, is one of the most famous in Alsace. Because Alsace borders Germany, the castle has witnessed numerous episodes of conflict between the two countries over the centuries. Its location in a beautiful setting next to the Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park is perhaps its main attraction today. There is no shortage of reasons to visit!


The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is located atop the Vosges mountains in the commune of Orschwiller. Throughout the Middle Ages, its high elevation served as a crucial vantage point for France's rulers. However, following the Thirty Years' War in the 1600s, the castle was abandoned. The 12th-century château's original form has undergone numerous transformations since then. The restoration work carried out by the German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm in the early 20th century gave rise to the fairytale-like version we see today. The Alsace region of France was then a part of Germany, and the emperor wanted to have the castle restored to turn it into a museum of the Middle Ages after realizing its significance.


The castle was restored again in 1993 and now receives over 500,000 visitors each year. Many rooms have been furnished inside the castle, and there is a large collection of weapons and armour, mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries. The castle also has turrets, fortifications, and a watchtower with panoramic views of the Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest.

If you're in the Alsace region of France, Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is a must-see. Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is in Orschwiller, about 26 kilometers from Colmar and 55 kilometers from Strasbourg. Come walk across its drawbridge and take in its slightly iridescent exterior, which is made of pink sandstone.


Location: Alsace

www.civitatis.com
www.civitatis.com
TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
9 Thu Bui

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

Normandy is one of France's most popular tourist destinations. Nantes is a city rich in history as well as a very trendy destination with a diverse cultural offering and numerous events throughout the year.


The Loire river also passes through Nantes, where the Dukes of Brittany's castle is clearly visible. It is situated in the center of Nantes and was constructed in the late Middle Ages by Duke Francis II and his daughter, Anne of Brittany. Due to the fact that it also serves as the permanent home of the Nantes History Museum's exhibition, this fortress is essential to understanding France's past. Additionally, some of the events that shaped the nation's future are included in that collection, such as World War II or Napoleon Bonaparte's imperial expansion.

The so-called water mirror, which is close to Nantes Castle, is another location from which you can capture stunning images of the castle in reflection. Don't forget to explore the castle's interior courtyard, which is free. Your admission to the castle will also grant you access to the city's history museum.

Location: Nantes, Normandy
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany - www.civitatis.com
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany - www.civitatis.com
Copyright Pierre-Olivier
Copyright Pierre-Olivier
10 Thu Bui

Castle Josselin

Josselin castle, located in the town of Josselin in Brittany, is one of the most beautiful castles in France and is only 30 minutes by car from Vannes airport and 1 hour from Rennes airport.


Built in the fifteenth century, it nearly vanished in the seventeenth century due to Richelieu's order to demolish all castles that did not belong to the royal family.


Every day of the week, from 11 to 18, this imposing medieval castle is accessible. Booking flights to Vannes (30 minutes) or Rennes will get you there (1h).

Treat yourself to a relaxing weekend in picturesque surroundings by reserving a room at "Le Domaine de la Ferrière," which is located in the heart of Brittany and is 10 kilometers from the castle of Josselin. Enjoy the gardens and swimming pool, and learn about the restaurant's French culinary specialties.


Location: Josselin, Morbihan

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Copyright Oscity
Chateau de Josselin
Chateau de Josselin
11 Thu Bui

Castle of Ussé

The Château d'Ussé is one of the Loire Valley's most unexpected. This is one of the famous "Châteaux de la Loire," also known as "Sleeping Beauty Castle." It is only 30 kilometers from the Tours airport. It was originally built as a stronghold in the Middle Ages, but over time it evolved into a jewel of Renaissance architecture before becoming a magnificent residential home in the 17th and 18th centuries. The elegance of its architecture, rare furnishings, and the perfection of its gardens make it a national heritage showpiece.


The chapel, the first section of the right wing, and the middle section of the castle were all built in the 16th century under the direction of Charles D'Espinay and Lucrèce de Pons. The castle was turned into a residence, however, in the 17th century thanks to the addition of a charming pavilion created to commemorate the union of the owner's son and King Louis XIV's Controller-General of Finances, the Marquis de Valentinay, and the daughter of Maréchal de Vauban. The King's support allowed the château to be honored and elevated to the rank of marquisate. Le Nôtre's and Vauban's terraced French formal garden provided the finishing touches, transforming the château into a charming home.


Interior decoration, the addition of a neo-gothic gallery, and improvements to the inner eastern façade of the "Cour d'Honneur" continued throughout the 19th century. Chateaubriand frequently visited Ussé and gave his hosts the Lebanon cedars that can still be seen today. Le Château d'Ussé is still a private residence and the home of the Duke of Blacas and his family, who look after this enchanting place with great care.


Location: La Chapelle sur Loire, Central Loire Valley Region

Copyright Vladimir Sazonov
Copyright Vladimir Sazonov
CNN
CNN
12 Thu Bui

Sully-sur-Loire Castle

For lovers of castles, the "Centre Val-de-Loire" region is the place to go. One of France's most stunning castles, Château de Sully-sur-Loire, is only 30 minutes by car from the Loiret airport and 2 hours from Paris.


Despite not being the most popular, it is one of the most stunning. Book your travel and lodging at the lowest price possible for the Tours Val-de-Loire airport. Also reserve your Loire region excursions and activities, such as a "Day Trip from Paris to the Loire Valley Castles and Wines."


Except for Mondays, the castle is open every day of the week. Plan your travels to fly into Paris or Loire Airport (30 minutes by car). The "Hotel La Closeraie" is only 500 meters from the Château de Sully-sur-Loire and features a garden and a terrace.


Location: Sully-sur-Loire, Centre Val de Loire Region

Travel Notes & Beyond
Travel Notes & Beyond
Tourisme Loiret
Tourisme Loiret
13 Thu Bui

Castle des Milandes

Château des Milandes is a stunning Gothic-style castle in the Dordogne region of southwest France. It's an imposing structure made of the area's signature honeycomb stone. The castle dates back to the 1400s, but it is best known for its 1940s owner, celebrated dancer, and singer Josephine Baker.


The Chateau des Milandes is located in the Dordogne department of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, about an hour's drive from Bergerac Dordogne Perigord Airport. This XV-century castle was the home of the Lords of Caumont but has since been owned by various families, including a wealthy industrialist who made a fortune in women's lingerie.


The first person to welcome guests into her castle was Josephine Baker, who wished for it to be a warm location that the general public could enjoy. When you visit the castle, you can get a glimpse into the life of Josephine and her 12 adopted children from all over the world. Her life, including her participation in the resistance movement during World War II, is beautifully commemorated at the château.


The castle is set on lovely grounds, and the gardens are designated as a historic monument. Jules Vacherot, the City of Paris's head gardener, redesigned it into its current grand format in the early 1900s. There are many beautiful birds of prey on the grounds, and they perform a daily demonstration that is quite breathtaking during the summer months.


Location: Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Dordogne

Guide du Périgord
Guide du Périgord
Copyright OSTILL is Franck Camhi
Copyright OSTILL is Franck Camhi
14 Thu Bui

Angers

Explore Château d'Angers, one of the country's oldest castles, for an old-school experience. The castle is home to a Neolithic tomb that, according to the preservation group, dates back to around 4,000 B.C.


The Château d'Angers was established more than a millennium ago by the Counts of Anjou and is situated in the city of Angers, in the famous Loire Valley. It houses an exceptional example of medieval artwork known as the Apocalypse Tapestry. It's not surprising that the location has been inhabited continuously given that it's a strong fortress with breathtaking beauty thanks to its stunning surroundings and interior furnishings, which include the Apocalypse Tapestry. The incredible collection of tapestries that was created in the late 1300s is regarded by art historians as one of the most significant bodies of French pre-Renaissance art. The tapestry, which is over 450 feet long, depicts the Apocalypse as described in the Book of Revelation.

The castle of Angers is also worth seeing for the fantastic panoramic views offered by the battlements and towers, from which you can see the cathedral towers of the city.


Location: Loire Valley, Maine-et-Loire

Château des Briottières
Château des Briottières
GetYourGuide
GetYourGuide
15 Thu Bui

Palace of Fontainebleau

The Château de Fontainebleau is a beautiful castle located 55 kilometers southeast of Paris and is one of the best day trips from the city. The first castle, surrounded by a vast and picturesque forest, was built in the XII century as a hunting retreat for King Louis VII* of France. Since then, the king's successors have spent a great deal of time and money enlarging and embellishing this castle, and it is now one of the largest (and most beautiful) royal castles in France.


The Renaissance and Classicism are the two main architectural eras represented in the current Château de Fontainebleau. The castle is a series of magnificently decorated elegant rooms and grand halls with occasional rustic touches (after all it was a hunting place). The Chapel of the Trinity, the Ballroom, and the Gallery of Francis are the most lavishly decorated areas.


The Grand Parterre, the largest in Europe and King Louis XIV's primary improvement to Fontainebleau, is another highlight of this castle. The gardens here represent the major landscaping trends of their eras and are equally impressive. There are no lines and free admission to Fontainebleau on the first Sunday of every month, excluding the months of July and August, if that isn't enough to convince you to visit this magnificent castle.


The French kings lived in the Palace of Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, continuously from the 12th century until the end of the 19th century, when Napoleon III abdicated and the monarchy came to an end. The palace, which is located to the southeast of Paris in the middle of a vast forest, has more than 1,500 rooms and provides a nearly unparalleled window into 700 long and eventful years of French culture and history.


Location: Fontainebleau

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The New York Times
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Wikipedia


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