Castles in France: history and visitor guides

Photo of French castles

Discover many of the best known of the 1000 castles in France, with our guides to their history and visitor information

Alsace

Chateau d'Andlau (Bas-Rhin)

Chateau d'Andlau village

It is the views as much as the castle itself at Chateau Andlau that provide a substantial part of the attraction

See Chateau d'Andlau guide

Chateau de Fleckenstein (Bas-Rhin)

Chateau de Fleckenstein village

The Chateau de Fleckenstein is one of the most imposing ruined castles along the Route des Chateaux in Alsace

See Chateau de Fleckenstein guide

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg (Bas-Rhin)

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg village

The substantial Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg is one of the most visited and most substantial in Alsace, and has a fascinating history - and stunning views

See Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg guide

Aquitaine

Chateau de Beynac (Dordogne)

Chateau de Beynac village

High on a clifftop and beautifully restored, the Chateau de Beynac is our favourite castle in the region

See Chateau de Beynac guide

Chateau de Biron (Dordogne)

Chateau de Biron village

The Chateau de Biron is a perfect way to discover the history and countryside of the southern Dordogne

See Chateau de Biron guide

Chateau de Bonaguil (Lot-et-Garonne)

Chateau de Bonaguil village

The medieval Chateau de Bonaguil, in a lovely woodland setting, is one of our favourite castles in France

See Chateau de Bonaguil guide

Chateau de Bourdeilles (Dordogne)

Chateau de Bourdeilles village

The Chateau de Bourdeilles consists of a medieval defensive castle and a Renaissance castle in the pretty village of Bourdeilles.

See Chateau de Bourdeilles guide

Chateau de Bridoire (Dordogne)

Chateau de Bridoire village

Visit the Chateau de Bridoire, a medieval chateau with lots of games for all the family.

See Chateau de Bridoire guide

Chateau de Castelnaud (Dordogne)

Chateau de Castelnaud village

The extensive Chateau de Castelnaud and the associated Museum of Medieval Weapons are very popular with both adults nd children

See Chateau de Castelnaud guide

Chateau de Commarque (Dordogne)

Chateau de Commarque village

The Chateau de Commarque is an imposing ruined castle that was 'found' in the forest and has now been cleared and opened to the public.

See Chateau de Commarque guide

Chateau de Fenelon (Dordogne)

Chateau de Fenelon village

The chateau de Fenelon is half medieval and half renaissance, and sited in an imposing elevated position in the Dordogne

See Chateau de Fenelon guide

Chateau de Fumel (Lot-et-Garonne)

Chateau de Fumel village

The Chateau de Fumel is not open to the public but a walk through the adjacent gardens can be pleasant in spring

See Chateau de Fumel guide

Chateau de Gavaudun (Lot-et-Garonne)

Chateau de Gavaudun village

Chateau de Gavaudun, a ruined medieval castle, sits high on a rock in the scenic Gavaudun Valley

See Chateau de Gavaudun guide

Chateau de Hautefort (Dordogne)

Chateau de Hautefort village

At Chateau de Hautefort you can see a vey imposing castle and also extensive and carefuly maintaind garden

See Chateau de Hautefort guide

Chateau de Jumilhac (Dordogne)

Chateau de Jumilhac village

The Chateau de Jumilhac is in the northern Dordogn, within the Perigord-Limousin Regional Natural Park

See Chateau de Jumilhac guide

Chateau de Lanquais (Dordogne)

Chateau de Lanquais village

The Chateau de Lanquais - sometimes called the Louvre of the Perigord - combines medieval and renaissance architecture

See Chateau de Lanquais guide

Chateau de Losse (Dordogne)

Chateau de Losse village

Close to Montignac, the Chateau de Losse is an interesting castle that also has very pretty gardens

See Chateau de Losse guide

Chateau de Montfort (Dordogne)

Chateau de Montfort village

Close to Sarlat, the Chateau de Montfort is an imposing setting above the river - but unfortunately not open to the public

See Chateau de Montfort guide

Chateau de Puyguilhem (Dordogne)

Chateau de Puyguilhem village

Extensive renovation work at the Chateau de Puyguilhem has brought a new lease of life to this Renaissance style castle

See Chateau de Puyguilhem guide

Chateau de Puymartin (Dordogne)

Chateau de Puymartin village

The views, the furnishings and the legend of a resident ghost all combine to make Chateau de Puymartin an interesting destination

See Chateau de Puymartin guide

Chateau des Milandes (Dordogne)

Chateau des Milandes village

The beautifully restored Chateau des Milandes, in Renaissance style, is best known for its association with the jazz dancer called Josephine Baker

See Chateau des Milandes guide

Auvergne

Chateau de Val (Cantal)

Chateau de Val village

The Chateau de Val is an impressive medieval castle on the edge of a lake in Cantal

See Chateau de Val guide

Murol (Puy-de-Dome)

Murol village

The highlight of a visit to Murol is the Chateau de Murol that stands high on a rocky mass above the village

See Murol guide

Brittany

Chateau de Dinan (Cotes-d'Armor)

Chateau de Dinan village

Dinan castle is an imposing medieval castle which also has views across the town from the ramparts

See Chateau de Dinan guide

Chateau de Josselin (Morbihan)

Chateau de Josselin village

The Chateau de Josselin has a 1000 year history and includes both medieval and renaissance parts

See Chateau de Josselin guide

Chateau de Pontivy (Morbihan)

Chateau de Pontivy village

The Chateau de Pontivy has dominated the centre of Pontivy in Morbihan since 1485

See Chateau de Pontivy guide

Burgundy

Chateau d'Ancy-le-Franc (Yonne)

Chateau d'Ancy-le-Franc village

The 15th century castle at Ancy-le-Franc was one of the very first renaissance style castles to be built in France

See Chateau d'Ancy-le-Franc guide

Chateau de Tanlay (Yonne)

Chateau de Tanlay village

The frescoes and interior decoration are among the highlights of a visit to the moated Tanlay castle

See Chateau de Tanlay guide

Centre

Chateau de Chamerolles (Loiret)

Chateau de Chamerolles village

The chateau de Chamerolles is an attractive chateau with a pretty Renaissance garden

See Chateau de Chamerolles guide

Franche-Comte

Chateau de Cleron (Doubs)

Chateau de Cleron village

The gardens of the Chateau de Cleron can be seen next to the Loue River in the village of Cleron in Doubs

See Chateau de Cleron guide

Chateau de Joux (Doubs)

Chateau de Joux village

The Chateau de Joux is an imposing clifftop castle with a 1000 year history close to Pontarlier

See Chateau de Joux guide

Languedoc-Roussillon

Chateau d'Aguilar (Aude)

Chateau d'Aguilar village

The Château d'Aguilar is one of the most famous Cathar castles in the south of France

See Chateau d'Aguilar guide

Chateau de Peyrepertuse (Aude)

Chateau de Peyrepertuse village

Visit the Peyrepertuse Castle, the most popular of the Cathar castles found in the south of France

See Chateau de Peyrepertuse guide

Chateau de Puilaurens (Aude)

Chateau de Puilaurens village

Castle Puilaurens is a Cathar castle of France in a beautiful mountain location

See Chateau de Puilaurens guide

Chateau de Queribus (Aude)

Chateau de Queribus village

Castle Quéribus is a famous castle on the summit of a mountain in the south of France used by the Cathars

See Chateau de Queribus guide

Chateau de Termes (Aude)

Chateau de Termes village

Château De Termes is one of the most important Cathar castles in southern France

See Chateau de Termes guide

Chateaux de Lastours (Aude)

Chateaux de Lastours village

The four ruined castles in Lastours, in cathar country, were built in the 13th century

See Chateaux de Lastours guide

Fort de Salses (Pyrenees-Orientales)

Fort de Salses village

The medieval fort of Salses was transformed by Vauban to create a substantial and impregnable fortress

See Fort de Salses guide

Limousin

Tours de Merle (Correze)

Tours de Merle village

The Tours de Merle is a group of medieval castles in ruins in a picturesque setting above a river

See Tours de Merle guide

Loire Valley

Chateau d'Amboise (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau d'Amboise village

The Chateau d'Amboise is a castle with impressive gardens and a lovely view across the rooftops of Amboise

See Chateau d'Amboise guide

Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau village

Not the most luxurious or largest castle in the region, it is the beauty and waterside location that gives the Chateau d'Azay-le Rideau its special charm

See Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau guide

Chateau d'Ussé (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau d'Ussé village

The imposing Chateau d'Usse, next to the Loire, is an imposing medieval-renaissance castle surrounded by gardens and park

See Chateau d'Ussé guide

Chateau de Blois (Loir-et-Cher)

Chateau de Blois village

One of the most impressive of the Loire castles, the Chateau de Blois is best known for its double helix renaissance staircase

See Chateau de Blois guide

Chateau de Chambord (Loir-et-Cher)

Chateau de Chambord village

The largest castle in the Loire Valley, Chateau de Chambord exceeds all expectations with its grandeur - despite being built as a hunting lodge and rarely occupied!

See Chateau de Chambord guide

Chateau de Chaumont (Loir-et-Cher)

Chateau de Chaumont village

The small village of Chaumont-sur-Loire is dominated by the Chateau de Chaumont, one of the largest Loire Valley castles and with a famous annual International Garden Festival

See Chateau de Chaumont guide

Chateau de Chenonceau (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau de Chenonceau village

The perfectly lovely Chateau-de-Chenonceau includes a renaissance gallery across the river and gardens designed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis

See Chateau de Chenonceau guide

Chateau de Cheverny (Loir-et-Cher)

Chateau de Cheverny village

Cheverny Castle is perhaps the most opulently furnished of the Loire castles, and also has very lovely gardens

See Chateau de Cheverny guide

Chateau de Chinon (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau de Chinon village

Château de Chinon retains more medieval elements than most Loire Valley castles

See Chateau de Chinon guide

Chateau de Clos Lucé at Amboise (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau de Clos Lucé at Amboise village

The Chateau de Clos-Lucé was home to Leonardo da Vinci and you can visit the house and also see recreations of many of his inventions

See Chateau de Clos Lucé at Amboise guide

Chateau de Langeais (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau de Langeais village

Château de Langeais is a medieval-renaissance castle with nicely furnished rooms and the oldest castle keep in France

See Chateau de Langeais guide

Chateau de Valencay (Indre)

Chateau de Valencay village

The renaissance style castle and formal gardens make the Chateau de Valencay among the most interesting in the Loire

See Chateau de Valencay guide

Chateau de Villandry (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau de Villandry village

The rooms at Chateau de Villandry can be explored, but it is the world famous French style gardens here that will hold your attention the longest

See Chateau de Villandry guide

Chateau du Rivau (Indre-et-Loire)

Chateau du Rivau village

One of the more modest castles in the region, both the Chateau de Rivau and its associated gardens are very pleasant to explore

See Chateau du Rivau guide

Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard (Indre-et-Loire)

Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard village

The Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard in Amboise is the first Renaissance manor house in France, newly restored and surrounded by lovely gardens

See Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard guide

Midi-Pyrenees

Chateau de Bournazel (Aveyron)

Chateau de Bournazel village

The Chateau de Bournazel is a charming chateau in the renaissance syle, in Aveyron

See Chateau de Bournazel guide

Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux (Lot)

Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux village

The Chateau de Castelnau-Loubressac is an imposing medieval castle built in red stone

See Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux guide

Chateau de Foix (Ariege)

Chateau de Foix village

The chateau de Foix is an impressive medieval castle on a rocky spur in the Ariege valley

See Chateau de Foix guide

Chateau de Najac (Aveyron)

Chateau de Najac village

Najac castle is the impressive ruins of a 13th century castle in Aveyron

See Chateau de Najac guide

Normandy

Chateau de Beaumesnil (Eure)

Chateau de Beaumesnil village

The Chateau de Beaumesnil is a baroque style castle surrounded by park and gardens

See Chateau de Beaumesnil guide

Chateau de Boutemont (Calvados)

Chateau de Boutemont village

Beautiful chateau and gardens in the Calvados department of Normandy

See Chateau de Boutemont guide

Chateau de Harcourt (Eure)

Chateau de Harcourt village

The Chateau de Harcourt in Eure is a medieval castle now restored and surrounded by an impressive arboretum

See Chateau de Harcourt guide

Chateau Gaillard (Eure)

Chateau Gaillard village

The evocative ruins of Chateau Gaillard, built in the 12th century by Richard the Lionheart, are one of the most imposing sites in Normandy

See Chateau Gaillard guide

Paris region

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne)

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne village

The Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne is a beautifully restored 18th century chateau with extensive gardens

See Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne guide

Chateau de Rambouillet (Yvelines)

Chateau de Rambouillet village

Once a Royal castle, the Chateau de Rambouillet is now the summer residence for French presidents

See Chateau de Rambouillet guide

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte (Seine-et-Marne)

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte village

The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte is one of the most important classical style castles in France

See Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte guide

Chateau de Vincennes (Val-de-Marne)

Chateau de Vincennes village

The Chateau de Vincennes has an interesting history as an important royal residence for several centuries and

See Chateau de Vincennes guide

Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne)

Fontainebleau village

The extraordinary decoration of the numerous rooms and royal apartments at Fontainebleau, and the lovely parkland around the house, make it a key monument in Paris

See Fontainebleau guide

Versailles Palace (Yvelines)

Versailles Palace village

A short distance outside central Paris, the Palais de Versailles is an enormous and luxuriously furnished palace, with landscaped gardens to match

See Versailles Palace guide

Pays de la Loire

Chateau d'Angers (Maine-et-Loire)

Chateau d'Angers village

The mighty fortified walls of Chateau d'Angers form an interesting contrast with the more 'beautiful' castles of the Loire region.

See Chateau d'Angers guide

Chateau de Brissac (Maine-et-Loire)

Chateau de Brissac village

The Chateau de Brissac is the tallest castle in France, has more than 200 rooms and extensive parkland to explore!

See Chateau de Brissac guide

Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay (Maine-et-Loire)

Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay village

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is an impressive 15th century castle surrouned by medieval ramparts and furnished n period style

See Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay guide

Chateau de Saumur (Maine-et-Loire)

Chateau de Saumur village

The Chateau de Saumur stands in an impressive location with views across the Loire river

See Chateau de Saumur guide

Chateau de Tiffauges (Vendee)

Chateau de Tiffauges village

The Chateau de Tiffauges is a 12th century castle in Vendee, known for its medieval re-enactments

See Chateau de Tiffauges guide

Chateau du Lude (Sarthe)

Chateau du Lude village

The Chateau de Lude and its lovely gardens are the closest of the Loire Chateaux to Paris

See Chateau du Lude guide

Chateau Plessis-Bourre (Maine-et-Loire)

Chateau Plessis-Bourre village

The most unusual feature of Chateau Plessis-Bourre is the way it combines medieval and renaissance architecture, and has been unchanged for hundreds of years

See Chateau Plessis-Bourre guide

Picardy

Chateau de Chantilly (Oise)

Chateau de Chantilly village

The Chateau de Chantilly is an extensive castle from the 16th-19th centuries, surrounded by extensive gardens and parkland

See Chateau de Chantilly guide

Poitou-Charentes

Chateau de Cherveux (Deux-Sevres)

Chateau de Cherveux village

The Chateau de Cherveux, one of the best preserved 15th century castles in the region, is close to Niort

See Chateau de Cherveux guide

Chateau de la Mercerie (Charente)

Chateau de la Mercerie village

The Chateau de la Mercerie is a manor house with a substantial wing added in the 20th century, and now recently restored

See Chateau de la Mercerie guide

Chateau de La Rochefoucauld (Charente)

Chateau de La Rochefoucauld village

The Chateau de La Rochefoucauld is the most important castle in Charente, with both medieval and renaissance parts to the castle

See Chateau de La Rochefoucauld guide

Provence

Chateau de Lourmarin (Vaucluse)

Chateau de Lourmarin village

The Chateau de Lourmarin is a castle on the edge of the village of the same name, with both medieval and renaissance elements

See Chateau de Lourmarin guide

Chateau de Tarascon (Bouches-du-Rhone)

Chateau de Tarascon village

The Chateau de Tarascon is an imposing 15th century castle on the banks of the Rhone

See Chateau de Tarascon guide

Château des Baux-de-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhone)

Château des Baux-de-Provence village

The Château des Baux-de-Provence is a remarkable ruined castle above the village of Les Baux-de-Provence, with amazing views across the Alpilles

See Château des Baux-de-Provence guide

Papal Palace, Avignon (Vaucluse)

Papal Palace, Avignon village

The Papal Palace in Avignon is the most imposing gothic palace in Europe

See Papal Palace, Avignon guide

See more tourist attractions in France