Top 10 Must See Chateaux in France
France is renowned across the globe for its culture and history, with palaces, mansions, castles and vineyards galore stretching across the country. From fairytale turrets to imposing fortresses, here are 10 chateaux you must visit on your next French adventure.
1. Mont Saint-Michel
The magical Mont Saint Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the region of Lower Normandy. Perched in the middle of sandbanks on a rocky island, the towering, Gothic style abbey is dedicated to Archangel Michael and was built between the 11th and 16th centuries.
2. Chateau de Chantilly
The Chateau de Chantilly houses one of the best art galleries in France, located in the town of Chantilly. It’s been the backdrop for James Bond movie ‘A View To A Kill’, Pink Floyd performed there and the galleries contain the second largest collection of antique paintings, after the Louvre.
3. Chateau de Vincennes
To the east of Paris, imposing Chateau de Vincennes is one of the best-preserved fortified castles in Europe. The fortress was built between the 14th and 17th centuries, for the purpose of sheltering the royal family, their entire domestic staff and the necessary army contingent.
4. Chateau de Pierrefonds
Straight out of an Arthurian legend, Chateau de Pierrefonds is in the province of Picardy in Northern France. Built by Louis I of Valois, Duke of Orleans, its white stone towers and pointed turrets make it the picture perfect fairytale castle.
5. Chateau de Chaumont
The Chateau Chaumont was once home to Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers and Princess de Broglie. It’s surrounded by extensive, landscaped grounds overlooking the Loire Valley and it now hosts Arts and Nature cultural programmes, highlighting originally showpieces.
6. Chateau de Amboise
The home of several successive Kings of France, Chateau de Amboise is perched on a ridge, overlooking the Loire Valley. Its Renaissance style windows, magnificent towers and chapel housing the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, create an atmosphere of royal grandeur and intrigue.
7. Chateau de Tarascon
Foreboding and austere, Chateau de Tarascon, in Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence, sits on on the banks of the Rhone River like a knight ready to do battle. The 15th century chateau includes a mossy courtyard, views from the roof, an exquisite chapel and a collection of 17th century tapestries.
8. Chateau de Chenonceau
Known as ‘the castle of the six ladies’ and one of the most visited in France, Chateau de Chenonceau, in the Loire Valley is decorated with tapestries and antique paintings, it houses a museum collection of paintings by great masters and it’s surrounded by gardens, a park and a wine estate. You can see Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom and Catherine de’ Medici’s garden.
9. Chateau de Chambord
The largest chateau in the Loire Valley and a marvel of Renaissance architecture, Chateau de Chambord has 426 rooms, 77 staircases and 282 fireplaces, to give you an idea of its immense size! It was constructed by King Francis I of France to serve as a hunting lodge.
France’s most grand, and famous, palace is situated in the suburb of Versailles and was the seat of the royal court from 1682 to 1789. The home of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, Versailles’s breathtaking beauty can be explored all year round.
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