Before deciding to limit yourself with only Paris while visiting France, stop here and look at these most outrageous castles, as they can surely tell you much more about culture and are rather interesting, mysterious and for some romantic. This is something awesome, as they are open to the public and you may go and visit those wonderful architectural masterpieces and enjoy all of the fun associated with them. Some of them are now turned into museums, others into hotels, guest houses. Our list will help you to get acquainted to the best ones out of those hundreds and will serve you as a guide for the unforgettable trip to France.
1. Castle of Chinon
It was here in 1429 Joan of Arc met with the crown prince, the future King Charles VII. Since that times the castle became a royal residence: there are the royal apartments and spacious throne room of various kings and queens hidden here. Starting its history back in 954, the castle was being continuously rebuild and developed for around 5 more centuries. After 17th century a new owner Cardinal Richelieu decided to have his own touch to the castle. In pursuit of fashion, he destroyed the interior of the ancient castle and changed the layout. In this reformed forms the castle survived until our days.
2. Château d’Angers
When on the 11th century the French understood that the wooden fortress cannot serve as a reliable protection Geoffroy II ordered to build a more secure large stone castle. The architectural structure of the future castle was rather complex and to make all of it into reality it took them around 2 centuries. The only misfortune of the project is that later on it was partially destroyed by the king Henry and unfortunately we will never get the chance to see it in its unique and original way. Until now, the castle keeps real treasures – six of the seven ancient tapestries on the theme of the Apocalypse.
3. Palace of Fontainebleau
Now this castle is a museum in the palace of Napoleon, where you can see the personal belongings of the famous emperor.This oldest residence for the kings is only around 60 kilometers far from the capital of France- Paris. Starting from the 6th century this place was rather popular of being a rest place for the king together with its tiny house, where the king was staying to go for the hunting. Only 6 more centuries later the place was turned into a permanent castle. This is one of the buildings which was reconstructed and updated upon every single ruler. Later on Louis XIV decided not to move into a more luxurious Versailles.
4. Castle of Blain
While travelling to the famous territory of Brittany, do not forget to have a look at the little medieval castle Blain with 12 round towers. Part of it is built from the stones of the ancient fortress of Le Havre: Olivier de Clisson commander ordered to burn it and to use its materials to build his own castle. Then Blain passed into the hands of the oldest representative of de Rohan family-Breton, who has lived in it before the revolution took place. In turbulent times, the end of XVIII century Blain had been looted and turned into a prison. Today, the castle is constantly hosting various exhibitions.
5. Château de Vincennes
The fortress was built by several generations of rulers, and a couple of centuries later, the castle became a prison for one of them: the most famous prisoner of Vincennes castle was the future King Henry IV. And in the twentieth century, the ancient estate of the French kings became famous as the place of execution Mata Hari. It is built in Bois de Vincennes. Once they were removed from the hunting grounds of the French capital, this is now a suburb of Paris! With the construction of new modern Versailles French rulers no longer interested in all their other possessions. And so in subsequent years the castle was located porcelain factory and a prison.
6. The Langeais
The first stone of the castle in Indre-et-Loire was laid back in the tenth century, but the fortress was destroyed during the Hundred Years’ War. From earlier times the only thing preserved is the facade donjon – the central tower, which is considered to be the oldest stone fortress in France. New History of Langeais starts five centuries later, when it was completely rebuilt. Today guests can plunge into the castle during the Renaissance – in the inner chambers of well preserved historic interiors, Flemish tapestry that time, the famous Turkish carpets with thousands of colors of blue and pink background.
7. The Chambord
In the middle of beautiful forests is the largest hunting chateau in the Loire Chambord, which is performing its function till now. While the fortress was built around the traditional central fortified tower, donjon, Chambord was not built as a fortress. This project is full of architectural excesses and jewelry which make it different from solid medieval castles of boring constructs. Construction has become one of the largest for its time: it consisted of about two thousand workers. It is felt that Leonardo da Vinci helped creating the project, who was then working for the French king.
8. The Versailles
A modest hunting lodge built by order of Louis XIII, in just a couple of decades has been transformed into the next monarch, Louis XIV in a magnificent palace, made in the most modern and fashionable styles – Baroque and Classical. With the construction of Versailles it began a new era in the construction of palaces in France, and throughout Europe. It became a standard suburban residences of European rulers. Since that time, nobody cares about the utility and thick walls – everything is subject to fashion, elegance, and harmony. The new shelter cost almost as much as the royal treasury . On the construction of Versailles had to spend an amount equal to the price at that time- more than ten tons of silver. The residence includes one of the largest parks in Europe, consisting of innumerable flower gardens, greenhouses, decorated with hundreds of sculptures and fountains.
9. The Castle of Brissac
No one would ever hear about this tiny town of Vernon in Upper Normandy, if not elegant Brissac castle, surrounded by beautiful French gardens with cascading fountain. Initially some duke de Belle-Ile ordered to plan a castle in the forest. However, this conqueror did not want to live in unusual conditions, and because Duke switched to the other castle, the construction of a huge beautiful palace was delayed for some time. Castle Brissac never managed to catch up on the scale of the royal apartments, but the new home of the Duke of dignity came to be called “small Versailles”.
10. The Castle of Franconville
Elegant castle in the classical style not far from Saint-Martin-du Tertre built just a half century ago. This primary castle served at the beginning as a hosting house for the luxurious people from all over the Paris. Later on in Franconville opened a hospital for tuberculosis patients, existed in this building until 1992. After that the fortune of this huge palace was left to numerous foundations until now.