France is known for its famous castles, or chateaux. Most of the castles were built during the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, although it is true that there are castles that represent all eras and styles. Most of the most spectacular castles in France are found in the beautiful regions of the Loire, Alsace and Occitania, which have a long, deep heritage. Here are some of the most famous and unique castles of France:
Of all of the castles to be found in Loire, one of the most outstanding examples is the Château de Chambord. A wealth of important Renaissance artists participated in its construction, considered the brainchild of the aforementioned King Francis I. Inside the castle, you can’t miss the apartments of Louis XIV, the legendary sun king. It is also worth visiting the Royal Chapel and, of course, its beautiful French style gardens.
The Loire region is also home to other gems such as the Château de Chenonceau. Famous for its arches that stretch over the River Cher, this building is also known as the Ladies’ Castle because of the illustrious figures such as Louise de Lorraine, Catherine de Medici or Diana de Poitiers animated the intense palatial life of this during the heyday of the castle.
Without leaving the Loire region, it is also well worth stopping by Angers to visit its imposing medieval castle. Among its main attractions are the Chapel of St. John the Baptist and, above all, the spectacular tapestry of the Apocalypse. Considered one of the masterpieces of French tapestry, it narrates the Apocalypse according to Saint John through a series of beautifully crafted panels.
Dukes Of Brittany
The Loire river also runs through Nantes, where you can’t miss the castle of the Dukes of Brittany. This fortress is key to understanding France’s past, since it also houses the permanent exhibition of the Nantes History Museum. That collection also takes in some of the episodes that marked the future of the country, such as the expansion of the empire under Napoleon Bonaparte or World War II.
Azay-le-Rideau castle is considered one of the 10 most famous castles in France, and also one of the most elegant. This palace on the Loire, however, is rivaled in its beauty by the nearby castles of Rivau and Villandry. All these castles are also decorated with fine ornamentation that shows us the luxury and of years past, to which their illustrious inhabitants were accustomed.
Vincennes Castle in Paris
Vincennes is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. In addition to the fortress itself, the monumental complex includes the Tower of Homage, separated from the rest of the building, and the Sainte-Chapelle vicennienne: a flamboyant Gothic masterpiece.
One of the best preserved medieval cities in France is Carcassonne, the scene of many legends related to the Cathars, a powerful medieval religious sect. The county castle of Carcassonne occupies pride of place next to the walls of the citadel that surround the entire city. From the towers and battlements of the castle of Carcassonne you can also enjoy extraordinary views of the Aude river.