For a perfect experience of Paris, it is advisable to add at least one of these 7 castles into your itinerary. They do not only reflect the highlights of French architect but also showcases the rich culture through every chamber you will see.
They can be a stunning idea for a day trips in Paris as well :
The Palace of Versailles
Located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kms southwest of Paris, this UNESCO World Heritage site receives visitors from around the world. It’s ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the Hall of Battles, and the royal apartments will take you back to the history of France. The Palace offers a visual history of French architecture from the 17th century to the end of the 18th century, while the impressive parks and gardens will delight you.
The Palace of Fontainebleau
Located 55 kms southeast of Paris, this medieval castle and subsequent palace served as a residence for the French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a sumptuous place to visit. Some of its 1900 rooms are fascinating and get awe inspired by the Hall of Splendours, the ballroom, the throne room, and the private apartments of Napoleon I. This masterpiece of French architecture and art will definitely hypnotise you.
The Château de Chantilly
This historic château located in the town of Chantilly, about 50 kms north of Paris, is one of the finest jewels in the crown of France’s cultural heritage. This majestic castle erected along a stretch of water body, houses remarkable collections of paintings, manuscripts and printed books, constituted by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale. A stroll in the park is simply soothing. You might also want to witness the exceptional equestrian shows of the Grand stables of the castle. This château houses the Musée Condé, which is currently owned by the Institut de France, and is considered to be one of the finest art galleries in France and is open to the public.
The Château de Vincennes
This massive 14th and 17th century French royal fortress, located in Vincennes, an eastern suburb of Paris, is a fine example of medieval architecture. Restored after suffering extensive damage during the Second World War, this fort now houses the historical services of the three French armed forces. The moat, towers, pavilion, covered way, crenels, and dungeon will fascinate you.
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Built between 1658 to 1661, architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect André le Nôtre and painter-decorator Charles Le Brun collaborated together to create this architectural masterpiece. Located 55 kms southeast of Paris in Maincy, this quintessential 17th century French Baroque styled structure is a must visit. The expansive garden stretching nearly 3 km with balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks will definitely impress you.
The Château de Breteuil
Located in an unspoiled environment of the Upper Chevreuse Valley Regional Nature Park, in Choisel, this massive castle was built in the 17th century. Owned by the Breteuil family since 1712, this architectural wonder is situated 35 kms southwest of Paris. Open to the public, this majestic brick and stone building is home to some amazing gold work – the magnificent Teschen Table, known as the “Table of Europe” is not to be missed. On your tour, you will also witness a wealth of exotic furniture, family souvenirs and historic scenes brought to life by wax figures. Leisurely stroll along the magnificent park stretching over 75 hectares around this château, is something you will thoroughly enjoy.
The Château de Pierrefonds
Located on the southeast edge of the Compiègne forest, northeast of Paris, between Villers-Cotterêts and Compiègne, this majestic castle was erected in the late 14th century by Duke Louis of Orléans, which was later taken down in the 17th century and was in ruins when Napoleon III decided to commission architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to rebuild it. Currently managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux, this serves as a major tourist attraction.
Looking for something more extraordinary ?
If you fancy exploring more castles in France, check out the top 10 Castles you should see in Loire Valley