Top 15 Beautiful Castles to Visit in France
When it comes to visiting France, we all are used to think of endless vineyards, the mighty Eiffel Tower, and crunchy baguettes. But France is also famous across the world for beautiful castles which evoke thoughts and drive imagination of how the life of princesses and knights might have been in the past.
Out of all of the beautiful castles around the world, France has the most romantic and dreamy castles. If you are planning to visit France, you will surely want to visit these castles. Most castle owners turn them into hotels so you can even spend a night in these castles.
So without further ado, have a look at the top 15 most beautiful castles in France and their rich history.
Table of Contents
- 1 Here’s the list of the top castles in France
- 1.1 Chaumont Sur Loire
- 1.2 Château de Chantilly
- 1.3 Château de Chambord
- 1.4 Château de Vitre
- 1.5 Cité de Carcassonne
- 1.6 Château de Roquetaillade
- 1.7 Château du Haut Kœnigsbourg
- 1.8 Château de Villandry
- 1.9 Château de Bonaguil
- 1.10 Château de Vaux le Vicomte
- 1.11 Château de Pierrefonds
- 1.12 Château de Fontainebleau
- 1.13 Château de Chenonceau
- 1.14 Château d’Angers
- 1.15 Château de Cheverny
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Here’s the list of the top castles in France
Chaumont Sur Loire
Founded during the 10th century, this chateau of Loire Valley is the most charismatic castle in this list. Earlier it was being passed to Norman Gelduin, the knight. Later on, he gifted it to his great-granddaughter. Then it was owned by her husband Sulpice d’Amboise as part of the dowry.
For around 500 years, the process of passing it down continued to the Amboise family. Its destruction was ordered by Louis XI when Pierre d’Amboise betrayed him. Charles I d’Amboise rebuilt it in the 15th century. It has been an ancient monument and is now conserved since 1840. Chaumont Chateau has owned the state since the year 1939.
Château de Chantilly
This castle is a simple getaway for the tourists from Paris, and only a few are lucky to make the trip. Enter the castle grounds, and you will be mesmerized by a great scene. The gardens are a true masterpiece, including canals, lakes, manicured lawns, and wooded areas. You should still visit the gardens for some leisure time. Take your time and discover other sections with own flair. From the rustic charm of hamlets and Anglo-Chinese garden to the fairy-tale land of English gardens, there is a lot to stay amazed.
Once you reach the castle, be sure not to confuse it with the stables around. There is a veritable palace for horses in the Great Stables, and they house the whole museum devoted to equestrian activities and form of art. The castle has one of the best art galleries in the country. The former owner of the castle, the Duke of Aumale, has gifted works to Institut de France with the condition that they shouldn’t be removed from the property. He was a keen collector.
Well, Château de Chantilly has a lot to see and do. So, you need to think in advance and spend the whole day getting familiar with one of the best castles in France.
Château de Chambord
One of the most reputed castles in the world, the Loir-et-Cher’s Château de Chambord is the largest castle of Loire Valley and one of the finest complexes in France. At the entrance of the castle, the dazzling white limestone in the estate and complex roof of Renaissance styled castle is reflected across the water at the rear side of the palace. Previously built for King Francis I as a hunting lodge, this beautiful castle has been declared as World Heritage Site as Loire Valley’s part, and it is open for a visit to the public.
You may also want to stroll around the grounds and explore the beautiful castle from the lush greens. You may take a guided tour to visit the inside of the castle, which takes hardly an hour. You must go inside because it is even more stunning from within. Take some time to explore the hamlets around the parking space where you can taste some delicious local wines and have some snacks while taking the beautiful view of the lake.
Château de Vitre
One of the most beautiful castles built in the 11th century in Brittany, Château de Vitre was a wooden fortress and was very vulnerable to fires and also required frequent repairs. It was expanded in the 15th century and added a drawbridge, imposing tower, and a gatehouse. In 1820, the town acquired the castle, and a museum and town hall are also positioned here.
Cité de Carcassonne
Cité de Carcassonne is one of the oldest castles in France, and it has been occupied for around 5000 years. Some of the walls of this castle were built in the 5th century. Most of this castle started to decay during the 17th century, and its renovation fixed most of it by the 19th century. This chateau has been a significant landmark as one of the most loved castles in the southern part of France.
Château de Roquetaillade
The same family has lived in Roquetaillade castle for over 700 years. Since 1956, this castle has been frequented by many people. The production of Graves wines is one of the most attractive things to see, and you can also explore the process of cattle breeding. Owners also greet visitors from time to time.
Château du Haut Kœnigsbourg
The castle of Haut Koenigsbourg has been built to protect its residents against intruders in Orschwiller. It was used since the ‘Middle Ages to the Thirty Years’ War quite a bit and was forbidden since then. Today, it is one of the most frequented historic castles in the country. From 1900 to 1908, it was rebuilt and has become a tourist destination. Over half a million tourists visit this castle in Alsace every year.
Château de Villandry
The Chateau de Villandry has been famous for lush greens. At the castle, King Philip II had a peace treaty in the 14th century with Richard I of England. The castle of Villandry was used as a fortress during the 17th century against attackers.
Château de Bonaguil
Located where Lemance and Theze Rivers meet on a rock, Chateau de Bonaguil is an equipped complex in a semi-ruin state. It was among the last of mighty feudal chateaus before the artillery required a less ostentatious profile.
Currently, it has appeared from the early 1600s and is complete as it seems no commander was crazy enough to send his army over those world-class defenses. They had the endless number of killer holes and new gun ports along with seven drawbridges. It has a dizzying quest in itself with spiral stairways, regal halls, and around the top of keep for peerless vistas.
Château de Vaux le Vicomte
In 1658, this castle started to develop in Maincy. Louis Le Vau designed this castle. Charles Le Brun decorated this castle, and Andre Le Notre was in charge of its landscape designing. , and it marked the beginning of “Louis XIV Style” as it was the first time to see such a great collaboration of everything from the design of the building to the interior and landscape.
Château de Pierrefonds
Located at the north-east of the city of Paris, Pierrefonds castle has been admired well and visited by thousands of tourists every year. It still has some of the defensive architectures from the Middle Ages. Eventually, it started to damage, but it was restored in the 19th century. You can still witness most of the original charm of this castle.
Château de Fontainebleau
The Château de Fontainebleau housed the Emperors and French Kings for over 700 years at the Southeast of Paris. The interior, architecture, grounds, and art are the cross-sections of the history of France. It has got something from each new ruler. This pile was the best residence in the early 1800s.
In the guided tours, you will witness the apartments of Emperor, along with his study where he used to work. Decorated and overseen by Henry II and Francis I in the 1500s, the exclusive Renaissance Rooms are worth for you to enter alone.
Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau is such a magnificent palace since the Renaissance era, and it was built on arches around River Cher. It is undoubtedly the second most visited castle after Versailles. It is alone a unique setting and is also connected to major medieval figures. Diane de Poitiers was the most popular and admired figures of King Henry II, and the king gifted it to this palace.
English audio guide will tell you all the historical facts of this palace before you find a quiet place in the mighty grounds, including a maze, parterres, small farm full of donkeys, and woods for the picnic.
The Château d’Angers is one of the best palaces in South France. This castle started to be built in the 9th century. It is placed at an abandoned Roman settlement. You can also visit the famous Tapestry of the Apocalypse. The tapestries describe the events which are mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. It also has 17 watchtowers built off the black stone. This castle also offers guided tours to the visitors.
Château de Cheverny
If you grew up reading Tintin books in childhood, you might know about Château de Cheverny. Herge selected it as a model for Marlinspike Hall. You will also be amazed by a small exhibition here. For the past six centuries, the castle has been occupied by the same family. It has impressive interiors, especially in the apartments, from the 17th to 18th century.
For your kids, the guided tour covers a ride of tourist train through a landscape designed in the English style, and it also has a large pond to enjoy a boat trip. It further has a kennel where hundreds of hunting dogs train every day. The Orangerie here has been used as a beautiful café.
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- Have you been to any of these castles in France?
- If yes, which ones?
- If not, which ones you’d like to visit one day?
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