Most people visit France to indulge in all the glory Paris has to offer. And from world class museums, an incredible dining scene and culture galore, it is certainly a beast in it’s own right. That said, beyond the hustle and bustle of Paris, the French countryside is dotted with magnificent castles. From ancient medieval fortresses to sprawling palace pads, these are the most beautiful castles to visit in France.
7 of the Most Beautiful Castles to Visit in France
1. Mont Saint-Michel
The first and most obvious of France’s most beautiful castles is Mont Saint-Michel. This stunning fortress and medieval village piled high on an island off the coast of Normandy is something straight out of a fairytale. Dating to the 8th century and steeped in lore and legends, there’s much more to it than a pretty face, too.
Planning to visit? Learn more about the incredible Mont Saint-Michel here.
This list just wouldn’t be complete without a nod to France’s most iconic palace complex, Versailles. Dating to 1631, the palace has been home to some of France’s most key historical figures, namely Marie Antoinette. In addition to being absolutely breathtaking, Versailles is loaded with unique attractions such as the Hall of Mirrors and alluring gardens.
3. Chateau de Chambord
In the heart of the idyllic Loire Valley, you’ll find the sprawling castle grounds of Chateau de Chambord. Despite Paris’ hustle and bustle being just two hours away, Chateau de Chambord truly feels like it’s in a world of its own surrounded by dense woods and a vast estate. Constructed in the early 1500s, this castle also holds the title for one of France’s most prized Renaissance masterpieces.
4. Chateau de Roquetaillade
Tucked away in Bordeaux you’ll find Chateau Roquetaillade. With fortifications first being laid over 1,000 years ago, this castle is as rich in history as it is beauty. Even to this day it has been occupied by the same family since the early 1300s and serves as a unique insight into the region’s long and storied history in the Middle Ages.
5. Chateau de Fontainebleau
Just 55 km from the centre of Paris you’ll find the cosy commune of Fontainebleau home to a sprawling castle of the same name. Once Napoleon’s main residence and dating to the 12th century, it is also one of France’s most important castles. Which must be why it’s one of the most visited in the country and has its own status to match.
6. Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg
Spread across a hilltop in Alsace framed by the Vosges mountains, you’ll find a gem of France’s medieval era. As the name suggests, the castle is loaded with French and German history alike and has been a constant witness to rivalry and conflict in the 900 years it’s been standing. Not only are the grounds and history impressive, but the location is simply breathtaking.
7. Chateau d’Angers
Founded in the 9th century and home to some of the most valuable medieval art in the world, Chateau d’Angers is a must visit for history and art lovers alike. One of the most popular finds within the walls is the Apocalypse Tapestry, a rare set of tapestries dating to the 1300s that graphically depict the end of times laid out in the Book of Revelation.