The Fairy Tale Castles of France
Do you dream of bygone days when chivalrous knights came dashing to the rescue of fair maidens? Enjoy an enchanted journey through the charming and picturesque French countryside on a trail of romance and magic as you visit some of the most beautiful of the many fairy tale castles of France. There are several thousand castles in France, from the magnificent Renaissance castles of the Loire Valley, to the splendid medieval chateaus of Dordogne, to the precariously perched Cathar castles of Languedoc.
You can enlist the services of a professional private guide in Paris to take you to see the UNESCO World Heritage listed castles west of Paris, or request your guide to take you to the glorious edifices of Avignon. Here are some of the most beautiful and famous castles of France:
This imposing structure was built in the early 1500s and was once the home of Catherine de Medici. Located in the Loire Valley, part of the castle is called the Grand Gallery, which actually forms a bridge across the river. Chenconceau has been beautifully restored to its former glory and is a wonderful place to visit.
One of the most popular castles to visit in France, Chateau Castelnaud was built in the 13th century and stands high on a promontory over the Dordogne River, providing stunning views both from a distance and from atop the castle’s lofty towers. Tour the chateau’s spooky dungeons and dark passageways, enjoy the recreated period rooms and intriguing weapons that include a giant sling shot.
Pope’s Palace of Avignon
This magnificent gothic structure, the Pope’s Palace in Provence, was completed in the 14th century and overlooks the Rhone River. Both the interior and exterior are lavishly decorated and the buildings include some extravagant frescoes displayed in the Papal apartments.
This spectacular castle is located on a rocky promontory high over the River Seine and was built in 1196 for King Richard the Lionheart. Now mostly in ruins, the Chateau Gaillard is special for its historical significance and its tumultuous history.
This medieval fortress is actually an impressive walled town that has been in existence since the tenth century. Its massive walls and fortified towers were sufficient to withstand Edward the Black Prince during the Hundred Years War and was strategically important in protecting the French/Spanish border for centuries.
Surrounded by an impressive moat and lovely formal gardens, this enchanted looking castle is actually comprised of the 16th century Old Castle as well as the 19th century New Castle. The edifice is filled with richly decorated salons featuring ornate carvings, the garden showcases magical fountains and waterfalls, and the art gallery (Musee Conde) displays many important historical paintings.
A breathtakingly beautiful panoramic view awaits from the towers of this magnificent castle that has dominated the countryside in Alsace since the 12th century. Restored during its German ownership during the 19th century, this interesting structure features a donjon as well as a drawbridge.