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The historical and cultural richness of France is expressed by its castles. For centuries, lords and kings have built castles for their glory and comfort.

Today, I love to discover them. Many tourists share this passion. If this is your case, read my selection of the 20 most beautiful castles in France and I’m sure you’ll quickly want to visit the ones you don’t know.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles | Source: Cassio Kendi /
Palace of Versailles

Built in 1682 for Louis XIV, this castle is one of the most famous in the world.

The Palace of Versailles is famous for its Baroque architecture, formal gardens and opulent great halls. Visitors can explore the royal apartments, the chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the Council of War room and much more.

The castle gardens are also beautiful. The Neptune fountain, the water basins, the flower beds and the statues are examples of the baroque art in the gardens.

The best is to visit the Palace of Versailles and the annexes such as the stables, the Salle du Jeu de Paume and the Domaine de Trianon.

A full tour takes two days, but in just one day you will leave with many memories.

Exact address : Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles

Year of construction: 1634

Number of visitors per year: 7 000 000


Castle of Chambord

Chambord Castle
Chambord Castle

Located in the Loire Valley, Chambord Castle is the largest castle in the region.

It was built in the 16th century for Francis I and is famous for its double helix roof.

If the castle contains few historical objects, it is well complemented by the temporary exhibitions, a collection dedicated to the royal and presidential hunts, and its magnificent environment. Between the canal and the forest, beautiful walks await you.

Exact address : 41250 Chambord

Year of construction: 1519

Number of visitors per year: 1,050,000

Our article on Chambord.


Castle of Chenonceau

Chenonceau Castle
Chenonceau Castle

Also located in the Loire Valley, Chenonceau Castle is one of the most famous and most photographed castles in France.

Its architecture, which spans the Cher River, is exceptional. Such a view is unique.

Visitors learn about the history of the castle, which has been the residence of several famous women, including Catherine de Medici. The royal apartments, the French gardens, the labyrinth and the chapel are places to see.

Exact address : 37150 Chenonceaux (yes, there is an “x” in the name of the town, but not in the name of the castle !)

Year of construction: 1513

Number of visitors per year: 800 000


Castle of Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau Castle
Fontainebleau Castle

Located 60 km from Paris, this 16th-century castle was once the residence of the royal family. It was built for François I.

The castle is famous for its large deer gallery, its chapel and its gardens. Visitors can explore the royal apartments, which range chronologically from those of the last kings of France to Napoleon.

The gardens of Fontainebleau are also a delight, with groves, ponds and marble statues. The Grand Canal on the other side of the road offers a beautiful walk.

But, personally, it is the chapel that impresses me the most in the Château de Fontainebleau.

Exact address : Place Charles de Gaulle – 77300 Fontainebleau

Year of construction: 12th century (renovated until the 19th century)

Number of visitors per year: 540 000

Our article on Fontainebleau.


Castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle
Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle | Source: Strikernia /

This 17th-century baroque castle was built for Nicolas Fouquet, who was the minister of finance of Louis XIV.

The greatest artists of the time participated in its construction: Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, André Le Nôtre, Michel Villedo.

Exact address : 77950 Maincy

Year of construction: 1656

Number of visitors per year: 320 000


Castle of Compiègne

Castle of Compiègne
Castle of Compiègne | Source: Pack-Shot /

The Château de Compiègne is a magnificent palace located in the city of Compiègne, in northern France. It was originally built as a royal residence for Louis XV and was used by some of his successors, including the emperors Napoleon I and Napoleon III.

It is particularly known for its Theater, one of the most beautiful examples of Italian theater in Europe.

Exact address : Place du Général de Gaulle – 60200 Compiègne

Year of construction: 1490

Number of visitors per year: 85 000


Pierrefonds Castle

Pierrefonds Castle
Pierrefonds Castle

Pierrefonds Castle is a medieval fortress.

It is famous for its neo-Gothic architecture, as well as for its fascinating history. It was built in the 12th century and has been owned by many kings and lords over the centuries. During the Hundred Years War, the castle was damaged and remained abandoned for several centuries.

It was rebuilt in the 19th century by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The latter used the original medieval drawings to recreate the appearance of the fortress.

Exact address : Rue Viollet le Duc – 60350 Pierrefonds

Year of construction: 1407

Number of visitors per year: 146 000


Amboise Castle

Amboise Castle
Amboise Castle

The Château d’Amboise is a royal castle located in the city of Amboise. It was built in the 15th century and has been the residence of several French kings, including Charles VIII, Francis I and Louis XIV.

The castle offers a breathtaking view of the Loire Valley.

Leonardo da Vinci died in this castle and was buried in the chapel of St. Hubert.

Exact address : Mnt de l’Emir Abd el Kader – 37400 Amboise

Year of construction: renovated in 1495

Number of visitors per year: 510 000


Castle of Blois

Castle of Blois
Castle of Blois

The Château de Blois has been used by several kings of France, including Louis XII, François I and Henri III.

The royal apartments, the octagonal chapel, the Salle des États, the Cour de la Cheminée and the gardens, notably the Jardin du Roy, the Jardin de la Duchesse d’Étampes and the Jardin de la Reine Mère, are to be discovered.

The Château de Blois is known to have been the site of a number of historical events, including the assassination of the Duke of Guise in the Salle des États.

Exact address : 6 Place du Château – 41000 Blois

Year of construction: 12th century

Number of visitors per year: 220 000


Castle of Azay-le-Rideau

Azay-le-Rideau Castle
Azay-le-Rideau Castle | Source: FMilano_Photography /

The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is a Renaissance castle. It was built in the 16th century on the banks of the Indre River, at the request of Gilles Berthelot, a local nobleman.

Visitors can explore the period furniture, tapestries and artworks that adorn the richly decorated rooms. The castle also boasts beautiful formal gardens that stretch over 8 hectares.

Exact address : 19 rue Balzac – 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

Year of construction: 1518

Number of visitors per year: 280 000


Castle of Saumur

Saumur Castle
Saumur Castle

Built on a hill, overlooking the Loire Valley and the city of Saumur itself, this castle dates from the 10th century.

The towers and ramparts of the Château de Saumur are magnificent. Its interior houses the Cavalry Museum. The latter exhibits a large collection of saddles, uniforms and firearms.

Exact address : Esplanade Hubert Landais – 49400 Saumur

Year of construction : 10th century

Number of visitors per year: 110 000


Castle of Villandry

Villandry Castle
Villandry Castle | Source: FMilano_Photography /

The Château de Villandry was built in the 16th century for Jean Le Breton.

Several rooms in the Louis XII style are beloved by visitors. The music room is particularly remarkable, with painted ceilings and tapestries that tell the story of David and Bathsheba.

Exact address : 3 Rue principale – 37510 Villandry

Year of construction: 1536

Number of visitors per year: 335 000


Loches Castle

Loches Castle
Loches Castle

The Castle of Loches was the residence of Henry II and Richard the Lionheart.

It owes its beauty to its well-preserved medieval architecture and its many fascinating aspects of history, such as the Lamb’s Tower and the Round Tower.

The Château de Loches is also known for having been the place where Joan of Arc was detained for several months before her departure for Rouen where she was sentenced to be burned at the stake in 1431.

Exact address : 5 place Charles VII – 37600 Loches

Year of construction : 10th century

Number of visitors per year: 30 000


Castle of Montsoreau

Montsoreau Castle

The Château de Montsoreau is a fort built in the 16th century on the bank of the Loire. This fortress is known to be the only one built directly on the river.

Among the highlights of the visit, I mention the banqueting room which offers a spectacular view, with walls covered with white stucco and the painted ceiling “Apotheosis of Louis XIV”.

Exact address : Passage du Marquis de, Pass. de Geoffre – 49730 Montsoreau

Year of construction: 1443

Number of visitors per year: 30 000


Castle of Chinon

Chinon Castle
Chinon Castle

The Château de Chinon is known as an important place in French history. Francis I was crowned king there and it was there that Joan of Arc convinced Charles VII of the prophecies she had received from the Catholic Saints.

Another important event in the history of the Château de Chinon was the meeting between Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus, which marked the beginning of the Third Crusade.

Exact address : 2 rue du Château – 37500 Chinon

Year of construction : 10th century

Number of visitors per year: 50 000


Castle of Langeais

Langeais Castle
Langeais Castle

The Château de Langeais is a formidable medieval castle located in Langeais, Touraine. It was built in the 10th century on the banks of the Loire River and was one of the largest fortresses of the Middle Ages.

The castle is known for its vast towers and its courtyard surrounded by ramparts.

It has hosted several important events in French history such as a famous tournament that took place in 1491 between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII, or the opposition between Francis I and Louise of Savoy who asked for more autonomy for her territory.

Exact address : Pl. Pierre de Brosse – 37130 Langeais

Year of construction : end of 10th century

Number of visitors per year: 100 000


Castle of Rambouillet

Rambouillet Castle
Rambouillet Castle

The site is home to an impressive architectural variety: round towers, ramparts, dungeons and sumptuous rooms. The Throne Room is one of the most interesting rooms in the castle and overlooks a charming formal garden.

This fortress may have served as a refuge for members of the royal family during the First French Empire.

Exact address : Place du Château – 78120 Rambouillet

Year of construction: 1374

Number of visitors per year: 46 000


Castle of Cheverny

Cheverny Castle
Cheverny Castle | Source: Jean-Marc Pierard /

The Château de Cheverny is a large 17th-century castle built by Henri Hurault, the 4th Count of Cheverny.

In addition to visiting the castle’s rooms, you can discover a museum dedicated to local history. The latter includes historical objects, including the original armor of Henri Hurault preserved since 1632.

Exact address : Avenue du Château – 41700 Cheverny

Year of construction: 1624

Number of visitors per year: 350 000


Castle of Valençay

Valençay Castle
Valençay Castle

The Château de Valençay belonged to the Estompes family, then to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand who is better known under the title of Prince de Talleyrand.

The lush gardens of the castle are a must-see attraction. They offer visitors a quiet place to stroll and admire the variety of colorful flowers.

Exact address : 2 rue de Blois – 36600 Valençay

Year of construction : 10th century

Number of visitors per year: 45 000


Maintenon Castle

Maintenon Castle
Maintenon Castle | Source: Elena Ska /

As its name seems to indicate, this castle hosted Madame de Maintenon, second wife of King Louis XIV and a very influential woman of her time.

The small apartments and the large luxurious apartments are a pleasure to visit. Between the salons, the rooms, the billiard room, the library in the Second Empire style and the vast gallery of paintings, the visit is rich.

Exact address : Pl. Aristide Briand – 28130 Maintenon

Year of construction : 17th century

Number of visitors per year: 40 000


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!