French Castles are called in French Chateaus. Those are buildings with amazing architecture that could be named fortresses or mansions.
France is probably the country in Europe with the most significant castles built during the golden years of Royalty and the architecture varies according to the region in France and the time they were built.
The most popular with tourists are those in the south of France and the Loire Valley. Since many travelers go mainly to Paris, it is a great idea to take a tour of one or two days to visit these spectacular buildings.
The Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace near Paris
When the palace was built starting in the 1600’s Versailles was just a small village. It has developed into a wealthy suburb of Paris, the Capital of France. It all started with Louis XIII as a hunting lodge and later developed into one of the greatest palaces in Europe by his successor Louis XIV
Because its importance in French History it has become a symbol of France and it became a must visit to all tourists arriving in Paris.
Constructed on the River Cher it has a great bridge crossing the river that during WWII served the French as a fleeing route from German occupied territory to free Vichy. The castle also served as a hospital to Allied forces during the war.
The Chateau de Chambord located in the Loire Valley
This is a French Renaissance building located in the Loire Valley and largest in the Valley. It was built by King Francis I.
It consists of a center building with four towers at the corners.
This immense palace has 440 rooms on an area of a 13,000 acre park. I recommend a visit to this perfect example of what a Loire Valley Castle represents.
It was built during the 12th Century and later remodeled by Napoleon Bonaparte during the 14th Century.
The interiors were renovated on a more modern style, but the exterior remains true to its original construction.
Important details about this castle are that Mary, Queen of Scots was raised here and then promised to marry Francis II.
And that Leonardo de Vinci came to this castle and made it his home.
The Chateau as many others suffered much damage during the French Revolution and much later during World War II.
It is located in Brittany and suffered many damages that were repaired during years of history.
It features a belfry, being one of the three belfries in Bittrany. It served the inhabitants of the town to know the time of day, then allowed only to the clergy and nobility.
Mont St Michel one of the most renowned French Landmarks
This is perhaps one of the most famous French Landmarks known to tourism. It is an impressive tower rising high in the middle of a Bay in the area of the Bay of Biscayne.
Its history remounts to the First Century AD and it was first consecrated to a church of a community of Benedictines
It kept developing during the centuries, and became a prison during the French Revolutions in the 19th Century.
Since then the village of the same name has developed mainly because of the flock of tourists to such an important landmark, bringing more than 3 million tourists a year. In 1979 it was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Chateau de Chantilly on the outskirts of Paris
Located on the outskirts of Paris in the area of Chantilly, it is made of two sections the Grand Chateau and the Petit Chateau.
The Palace was originally built in the beginning of the 1500’s, but the Grand Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution and later rebuilt and refurbished. The claim to fame of this Palace is the event called “Nuits de Feu” a fireworks yearly event of great magnitude attracting visitors from Paris and surrounding areas.
Chateau d'Usse called the Sleeping Beauty Castle one of the French Castles
It is known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle because Disney designed its castle based on this French one. It is located in the Indre-et-Loire département.
Many French Castles are open to the general public not only from the outside but as museums on the interior. Some of them are prepared as hotels where tourists can stay and enjoy the surroundings.
image credits for french castles:
versailles by origonian2012
mt st michel by ines urdaneta
chateau d'usse by manfred heide
chantilly by jebulon
chambord by eleousud
Copyright Tuchman Travel Guide 2012 - 2018