France is popularly known for its rich history and culture. It has been blessed with a number of castles or chateaus as they call it. Built in the old times, these castles were home to the kings that lived there in the ancient times. With the change in times and modernization, the castles stand tall even till date and are open to tourists. France also has a number of continent’s most impressive and beautiful forts which have history carved in them. Thus, it is important to go and visit these castles in France when you are on a vacation here.
Let us now take a look at the top 10 beautiful castles in France that you must see.
Top 10 castles in France
- Timings- 10 am to 6 pm Daily.
- Tickets- 8 Euros for adults, 5 Euros for Childrens
The beautiful hill town of Carcassonne is more than just a castle to visit in France. The whole town is a beautiful gem that is preserved well by French. The town some of the best medieval architecture and a lot of history to it. Carcassonne played a major role in Albigensian Crusade in the early 13th century. Also, the location of the town is quite strategically important as it is located on the frontier region between Spain and France.
The most popular Cite de Carcassonne is easily among the most beautiful castles in France. Located in the centre of the city, Cite de Carcassonne is medieval citadel full of tall walls and beautiful architecture. The castle is located on a hill near the banks of River Aude and is something you must not miss while you are here. Thus, Cite de Carcassonne is one of the best Castles in France to visit.
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2. Mont Saint -Michel
- Timings- 9:30 am to 6 pm Daily.
- Tickets- Starting from 10 Euros
Located on the coast of Normandy, Mont Saint Michel is a beautiful castle since ancient times. The whole town of Normandy became the site of an abbey in 9th century and later quickly became a Christian pilgrimage centre. The site now attracts more than three million tourists every year who come to visit this historical town along with the famous Mont Saint Michel.
It is set at a beautiful backdrop of natural beauty making it one of the best castles in France to visit. Also, the tall distinct structure of it makes it look more like a monastery than a castle. Today, you can go visit the place to witness the beauty it hold within its spaces.
3. Palace of Versailles
- Timings- 9 am to 5:30 pm Daily.
- Tickets- Ranging between 15 to 40 Euros
Easily among the most notable castles in France near Paris, Versailles has seen a lot of history. Also, the palace has been the centerpiece of many important events. Regarded as the world’s biggest castle, Versailles is truly a grand masterpiece that you must witness. With more than 63 hectares inside and 815 hectares of gardens outside, the palace is home to a thousand showrooms full of arts and culture.
Initially a hunting lodge, the place became a seat of power for the French monarch Louis XIV. The palace was then designed to praise the glory of the king. While you can stroll around the gardens admiring the natural beauty, the palace has a number of galleries you must visit. While you can visit the personal residence of Marie-Antoinette, you can also see the Battles Gallery, the Royal Stables and the famous Hall of Mirrors- where the First World War and Franco-Prussian War was officially concluded. Thus, in all its entirety, the palace of Versailles is easily among the best castles in France near Paris to visit.
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4. Château de Chambord
- Timings- 9 am to 5 pm Daily.
- Tickets- 13 Euros for adults.
Regarded as the largest castle in Loire Valley, Château de Chambord is definitely a must see while in France. Surrounded by forests, homing boards and deers, the location of the palace is quite remote. The vast area of the palace was originally built as a hunting lodge for Francis I. The whole architecture of the palace is worth seeing with the distinctive French renaissance blending perfectly with French medieval and classical renaissance forms.
It is said that the design of the palace was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings. While there are quite a few things to see inside the palace, the most remarkable one is the double helix staircase which grabs everyone’s attention. Thus, Château de Chambord is one of the best castles in France near Paris.
5. Château de Pierrefonds
- Timings- 9:30 am to 6 pm Daily.
- Tickets- 8 Euros for adults.
Located near the city of Paris, Château de Pierrefonds has a very particular kind of design resembling to that of Palace of Fontainebleau. Also, the castle went through numerous changes over the period of years. With the beautiful eight medieval towers and the sumptuous decorations of the rooms, the castle definitely deserves a visit.
You can visit the caste on your own or take a guide with you through the castle to understand the history better. Also, there are special conferences held in the castle for people are interested in knowing the deep history of it. If you wish to spend some quality time along with visiting the castle, visit the forest of Compiegne. Thus, Chateau de Pierrefond is easily among the best castles in France to visit.
- Timings- 2:30 pm to 5 pm Daily.
- Tickets- 9.50 Euros for adults, 6.50 Euros for Children
Located in the Bordeaux region, Roquetaillade is among the most popular castles in France. The initial fortifications for the castle were laid down by Charlemagne over 1200 years ago. After a few years, the castle was dramatically restored by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Soon after that, it was open to the public since 1956.
The interior of the castle is pretty interesting with a number of art and artefacts. Also, the special part about the castle being the same family living here since the last 700 years. Thus, Roquetaillade is one of the best castles in France to visit.
7. Palace of Fontainebleau
- Timings- 9:30 am to 5 pm Daily.
- Tickets- Starting from 11 Euros for adults.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Palace of Fontainebleau was used by kings of France as their residence from 12th century continuously till the 19th century. Located at the heart of an immense forest to the south-east of Paris, Palace of Fontainebleau is truly a marvel you must not miss.
The Palace as of today contains more than 1500 rooms and offers an unmatched site to the French art and culture. Also, you will witness the grand history of France spanning over the course of 700 years here. The design of the Palace is quite remarkable and huge. Also, the Château de Pierrefonds has its design inspired by this one. Thus, Palace of FOntainebleau is easily among the best castles in France.
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8. Château de Vincennes
- Timings- 10 am to 5 pm Daily.
- Tickets- 9 Euros for a complete tour, 10 Euros for dungeon.
This is the only fortress in Europe with the highest dungeon(more than 50 mts) stands tall at the entry of Paris. Surrounded by the deep ditch, you can access the castle by only walking through the stone bridges which truly brings back medieval aspect of the castle.
When you enter the castle, the courtyard expands the dungeon ascends which is a truly remarkable sight to see. The castle has a number of guided tours which you can go for or you can explore it on your own. Also, you have the opportunity of climbing 250 steps to the top of the dungeon to get a good view of the city around. Apart from visiting the castle and going back into history, you can also visit Parc Floral and Bois de Vincennes which are right next to the castle. Thus, Chateau de Vincennes is among the best castles in France to visit.
9. Château de Joux
- Timings- Opens at 12-12:30 am only on Monday.
- Tickets- 7.50 Euros for adults.
Among the most notable castles in France, Chateau de Joux has a very remarkable structure to it. Initially built as an inconsequential castle out of wood, the complex was later on expanded to a border fort in 1454. The castle was used a prison between 17th to 19th century and served well. The most notable inmate of the castle was Toussaint Louverture who was the leader of Haitian Revolution.
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The castle now stands still and is open to public for visiting. It holds a number of art galleries and museums showcasing different arms and ammunition used at the time of wars along with many rare and unique instruments of war. Thus, Chateau de Joux is one of the best castles in France that you must see.
10. Château de Chantilly
- Timings- 10 am to 6 pm Daily.
- Tickets- Starting from 17 Euros for the tour, 8 Euros for gardens and 17 Eurso for Horse Museum entry.
Built from XIVth to XIIIth century, Chateau de Chantilly is a perfect example of Renaissance architecture. The moment you enter the castle, you are welcomed by the statue of Anne de Montmorency, guarding the entrance. All around the castle, a wide moat is present along with the esplanade giving the feeling of residence dominating the whole area. The architecture of the castle is quite remarkable and worth watching.
One of the major attractions of Chantilly being the 28 meters high dome which has the potential of holding 240 horses. It is the biggest stable in all of Europe making it a must visit while you are here. Also, there is a horse museum in the castle where you can learn about the history of horse breeding and horse riders. Along with that, the castle holds a number of shows and events where people can witness the history of the castle and horse owners through different demos. Thus, Chateau de Chantilly is one of the best castles in France to visit.
France has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. While there other popular places to see and food to eat in France, the above list of castles are a must visit while you are here to witness the rich history and culture of the bygone era.
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