Top 10 most beautiful castles in France
A great number of picturesque castles and fortified towns with rich histories can be found throughout France. France has hundreds of the continent’s most impressive and beautiful castles and forts. Check out ten of the most beautiful of these architectural wonders that are just waiting to be discovered by travelers.
The Ducal Palace of Nevers is a residence castle of the 15th and 16th centuries of counts and dukes of Nevers. In the list of 1840 it is classified as a historical monument.
Considered as the first of the Loire's castles with its wide renaissance facade surrounded by the polygon turrets, it was built on the hill overlooking the center of the old town, the Republic Square and a big park. The palace now houses the town hall.... view details
The Royal Chateau de Blois is located in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orleans.
Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the chateau of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard. It has 564 rooms and 75 staircases and there is a fireplace in each room. There are 100 bedrooms.... view details
The medieval Citadel of Carcassonne is located on a hill on the right bank of the River Aude, in the south-east part of the city proper. Founded during the Gallo-Roman period, the citadel derives its reputation from its 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long double surrounding walls interspersed by 52 towers.
The town of Carcassonne has about 2,500 years of history and has seen the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Crusaders. The citadel was restored at the end of the 19th century and in 1997 it was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.... view details
The Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau was built between 1518 and 1527; this castle is considered one of the foremost examples of early French renaissance architecture.
Set on an island in the middle of the Indre river, this picturesque chateau has become one of the most popular of the chateaux of the Loire valley.... view details
The royal Chateau at Amboise was confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it became a favoured royal residence and was extensively rebuilt. King Charles VIII died at the chateau in 1498 after hitting his head on a door lintel.
The chateau fell into decline from the second half of the 16th century and the majority of the interior buildings were later demolished, but some survived and have been restored, along with the outer defensive circuit of towers and walls. It has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1840.
Leonardo da Vinci is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Chateau, which had been built in 1491-96.... view details
The Castle of Sedan is a grand medieval fortress that dominates the city of Sedan with its impressive stature.
The Castle is one of the largest feudal fortress in Europe; its construction took more than 150 years until it was finally completed. The fortress was originated around 1424 by Eberhard II von der Mark, who built a small manor house with two twin towers. The fortress was further reinforced by his son and completed by Robert II de la Marck (Eberhard grand-grandson) who finished the most important work.
In the first part of the 16th century, the fortifications were modernized: the curtain wall was thickened by an additional 26 metres and a circular terrace with cannon was constructed. The bastions were added in the next century, but unfortunately some of them were destroyed at the end of the 19th century.
Turenne, an illustrious military architect, who became a Marshal of France, was born in the Castle of Sedan in 1611.
An important historic event took place on September 1, 1870: the castle was surrounded by the Prussian army during the Franco-Prussian War and Emperor Napoleon III had to surrender the following day in the small nearby town of Donchery.
The castle today
In the second part of the 20th century, the castle was restored several times. Today it is a great tourist attraction in the Ardennes region; it also houses the office of tourism of the city as well as a 3-star hotel.... view details
The Chateau d'Angers was founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou, and it was expanded to its current size in the 13th century. It is located overhanging the river Maine.
Today, owned by the City of Angers, the massive, austere castle has been converted to a museum housing the oldest and largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world, with the 14th century "Apocalypse Tapestry" as one of its priceless treasures.
As a tribute to its fortitude, the castle has never been taken by any invading force in history. ... view details
The Chateau de Chenonceau spans the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux. It is one of the best-known chateaux of the Loire valley.
The estate of Chenonceau is first mentioned in writing in the 11th century. The current chateau was built in 1514-1522 on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. The bridge over the river was built (1556-1559) to designs by the French Renaissance architect Philibert de l'Orme, and the gallery on the bridge (1570-1576) to designs by Jean Bullant.... view details
The castle of Fontainebleau is one of the biggest royal castles in France; it is located in the town of Fontainebleau, 55 km from Paris.
The Chateau de Fontainebleau can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries. Capetiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orleans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within these walls.
Kings and queens, emperors and empresses have all striven to make their own improvements to the chateau built around the original keep. The estate quickly became a huge palace in which many momentous historical events have been played out.... view details
The royal Chateau de Chambord is one of the most recognizable castles in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France.
Chambord is the largest castle in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who maintained his royal residences at the chateaux of Blois and Amboise. The original design of the Chateau de Chambord is attributed, though with some doubt, to Domenico da Cortona; Leonardo da Vinci may also have been involved.... view details
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