Every castle is called as château in France. However, every château cannot be called as castle. Actually, “château” is a French word which describes those palaces, castles and stately homes which have been scattered across the country. Most of the hottest favorite French castles are located in the serene Loire Valley. But the French county has several great examples of fairytale castles and fortresses of medieval period.
From the symbols of love like Château de Loches to almost restored Cite de Carcassonne, your trip to France is incomplete without visiting the following castles:
10. Chateau de Tarascon
The Castle of Tarascon is located on the shores of Rhone River and it is known for its remarkable preservation. It is one of the best castles in Europe and France built by the Dukes of Anjou during the medieval period of 15th century. Architecture-wise, the castle is well built and it is fully covered by the Rhone River. It is truly a beautiful sight to behold, with implicit walls that are barely pierced to allow natural light to get in. The towers and the wall are well covered by water bodies and lush greens.
9. Chateau de Foix
It is an excessively equipped castle and a major tourist attraction. The Castle de Foix is well known as the heart of the Cathars. It is reported to be built in 987 during the middle ages. The castle fell under the County of Foix during the 1034 and played a vital role in the history of medieval military. Towers were constantly built to form a strong presence during the following centuries. Until 1862, the two square towers were built as a civil and political prison for up to 4 centuries before 11th century. The round tower is the most recent, built in 15th century. The French Ministry of Culture listed the castle as a monument historique, as of 1840.
8. Mont Saint-Michel
It is simply one of the most scenic architectural structures across the Europe. The Mont Saint-Michel is a city within city. Built during 8th century, the Mont Saint-Michel is placed on the rocky island in Normandy off the north coast. It is just 600m from land and is positioned in a very unique way. On low tide, it is easy to access to several pilgrims. The position of the castle makes it very defensible. It is an island commune and one of the most recognized landmarks of France. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as it is visited by over 3 million people every year.
7. Chateau de Vincennes
Chateau de Vincennes is truly a magnificent sight to behold. It is a giant French royal castle located in Vincennes town, towards the east of Paris. It is now a suburb of Paris. Like several other popular castles, it was originally a hunting lodge for Louis VII in the forest of Vincennes. It has truly airy structure which is well adorned with edges and curved towers.
6. Chateau d’Amboise
Located in the Amboise town and falls in the Centre Val de Loire valley, Chateau d’Amboise was built in 9th century on the spur over the Loire River. During the rule of Francois I and Kings Charles VII, this Amboise castle became a royal residence. It fell into decline in 16th century and most of the interiors were demolished. However, some of these buildings survived and restored with the outer circuit of defensive walls and towers.
5. Chateau d’Usse
This beautiful castle is well covered by Chinon forest with the panoramic view of Indre Valley. It was fortified for the first time in 11th century by Gueldin de Saumur, the Norman Seigneur in Usse, who covered the castle with a post on upper terrace. It is well known as the Sleeping Beauty castle due to its dramatic and flamboyant Renaissance/Gothic appearance.
4. Chateau de Chantilly
Located in Chantilly, Paris, the Chateau de Chantilly is the historic landmark of France. It is a stunning castle which is made of two connected monuments – the Grand Chateau which was smashed in French Revolution but restored in 1870s, and the Petit Chateau built for Anne de Montmorency in 1560s.
Originally, it was built from 1528 to 1531 by the Pierre Chambiges for the Constable Anne de Montmorency. Several amazing pieces of 17th century’s period are related to this castle. An amazing fireworks festival known as Nuits de Feu is held in its gardens every two years. It is a well known event which attracts several visitors from Paris and across the world.
3. Chateau de Chambord
Chateau de Chambord is among the most appealing and fascinating palaces and the largest castle located in Loire Valley. Located in the heart of Europe’s leading enclosed wooded park, Chambord is the well designed architectural marvel in Renaissance period. It was built as a hunting lodge for King Francis I in order to stay closer to his mistress. It is among the most renowned chateaus in the world due to its unique French Renaissance design which blends classical Renaissance complex and conventional French medieval structures.
2. Chateau de Chenonceau
It is one of the most stunning and well known castles located in Loire valley. It holds the living epitome of enlightened lifestyle with its unique design, its décor and its furnishings. It has wealth of collections. It was protected, operated and loved by exceptional women who made their own presence in history, when it comes to its fate.
The castle was built on River Cher during the 11th century. It was ruled by many emperors before it was finally handed to King Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers. She saved the palace from obliteration on the French Revoluiton. She preserved it from being ruined as it was important to trade and travel. It was the only bridge spread over miles across the river.
The Palace of Versailles is located around 20 km southwest of Paris, the capital of France. When it was constructed in the year 1624, Versailles was a sleepy village. Currently, it is a rich suburb of the city. The castle was built for Louis XIII to serve as a small hunting lodge in the year 1624. Around 8 years later, the palace is expanded to chateau and it became the heart of new palace. Later on, it was further expanded by his successor. Hence, it became among world’s largest palaces. So, he managed to meet his needs to build a new royal court. It is well known not just for being a building, but also the symbol of ultimate realm of Ancient Regime.