The French territory is overflowing with heritage treasures. Discover some of them with our selection of the 15 most beautiful Castles in France!

France’s castles are not only architectural feats, they also bear witness to the country’s history. Let yourself be transported into the enchanting medieval world of France’s most beautiful châteaux, for a journey back in time.

From Versailles to Peyrepertuse and the majestic Haut-Kœnigsbourg, discover our selection of the 15 most beautiful châteaux in France!

1. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, is one of the most beautiful castles in France

Perched atop its mountain, Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg dominates the Alsace plain. Built in the 15th century, it is definitely one of France’s most emblematic medieval castles. Thanks to its excellent restoration and proximity to Germany and Switzerland, Haut-Kœnigsbourg is Alsace’s leading historical tourist site, with an average of 540,000 visitors every year. Passing through the gates of the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is like setting off on a journey back to the Middle Ages. Weapon collections, reconstructions… you can even take part in a theatrical tour!

2. Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord, an amazing castle

To continue our selection of the most beautiful châteaux in France, let’s head for the Loire Valley! Built in the 16th century on the initiative of François I, the Château de Chambord is without doubt the most imposing of all the Loire Valley châteaux. Indeed, with 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 13 main staircases, the château’s presence and immensity guarantee the respect and wonder of its visitors.

3. Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles is a must see in France

How can we list France’s most beautiful châteaux without mentioning Versailles? Located 20 kilometers southwest of Paris, the Château de Versailles is certainly the country’s most emblematic. The official residence of the Kings of France, the palace itself covers an area of 67,000 square meters! All nestled in a 1,070-hectare park with splendid French gardens. No fewer than 700 rooms, 1,250 fireplaces and 67 staircases characterize the excess and luxury of this rich testament to French history.

4. Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly, a beautiful castle close to Paris

Located in the department of Oise, 40 kilometers north of Paris, the Château de Chantilly is a favorite with art and horse lovers alike. In addition to its two châteaux, the estate also includes the Chantilly racecourse and the Grandes Écuries. Last but not least, the on-site Musée Condé boasts one of the largest collections of ancient paintings in France, after the Louvre.

5. Château d’Ussé

Château d'Ussé

Does the architecture of the Château d’Ussé look familiar? Perhaps you’ve already seen it in a fairy tale. This is the castle that inspired Charles Perrault, author of Sleeping Beauty. Dating back to the 11th century, it is now possible to visit the entire castle, from the cellars to the top of the keep. You’ll discover a timeless world of tapestries, mannequins in period costumes, trompe-l’œil paintings and 17th-century furniture.

6. Saumur castle

Saumur castle

Perched on a hill to the south-east of the town center, the château offers a breathtaking view of the Loire and Saumur’s old town. Originally built in the 10th century under Thibaud I le Tricheur, the Château de Saumur now houses the Musée du Cheval and the Musée de la figurine-jouet. With its two towers and Walt Disney-like architecture, the Château de Saumur defends its place as one of France’s finest!

7. Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Located in the town of the same name in the Seine-et-Marne département, the Château de Fontainebleau is undoubtedly one of the most imposing and beautiful in France. Originally built in the 12th century, it has been home to the kings of France, and was one of Napoleon’s favorite residences. You can even see his throne and crown in the former king’s bedroom.

8. Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Still in Seine-et-Marne, discover the sumptuous Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in the commune of Maincy. A 17th-century masterpiece, it is a fine example of French craftsmanship, and is best known as the inspiration for the famous Château de Versailles. A visit to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte means discovering its Baroque architecture, sumptuously decorated interiors and formal gardens. You can even enjoy a somewhat unusual experience: a candlelight tour offered at dusk on Saturday evenings between June and October!

9. Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Castle, one of my favorite catles in France

Located 30 kilometers east of Tour in the Indre-et-Loire region, the Château de Chenonceau is a pure marvel built in the middle of the Cher River. Connected to the banks by a magnificent bridge, it looks like something out of a fairy tale. Built in the 16th century in a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, it was marked by the presence of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis. This exceptional site is one of the most visited castles in France today.

10. Château d’Amboise

Château d'Amboise

To round off our selection of France’s most beautiful châteaux on the Loire, let’s visit the majestic medieval fortress of Château d’Amboise. Overlooking the Loire Valley, it offers visitors a breathtaking panorama. A site steeped in history, it has served as residence to the Kings of France, and played host to such great artists as Leonardo da Vinci. The vast gardens surrounding the château are also the venue for the annual International Garden Festival. A great time to visit!

11. The Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse

The Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse

The Cathar castles of Occitanie are among the region’s most important historical monuments. Overlooking the village that bears its name, the Château de Peyrepertuse is the epitome of one of the finest Cathar fortresses, both in terms of architecture and grandeur. Indeed, it is said to be as large as Carcassonne, hence its nickname of “Carcassonne Céleste”. From the top of its rocky spur, it served to protect the border with Aragon. A fine example of medieval military architecture.

🔗 Read Also: 14 Best things to do in Carcassonne for first time visitors

12. Château de Bonaguil

Château de Bonaguil

Situated in the Lot-et-Garonne region, on the Lot border and just a stone’s throw from the Dordogne, Château de Bonaguil is definitely one of France’s finest châteaux. A true symbol of medieval military architecture, the building forms an ensemble of gigantic proportions, all remarkably well preserved. In fact, the castle has simply never been attacked! Plunge into the heart of medieval history with a visit to the castle’s keep, grotto and drawbridge.

13. Castelnau castle

Castelnau castle

Situated at Prudhomat in the Lot department, the Castelnau-Bretenoux fortified castle overlooks the valleys from the top of its hill. Built between the 12th and 17th centuries, this imposing red-stone medieval fortress, seat of the Barons de Castelnau family, was designed to withstand the onslaughts of medieval warfare. Finally, Castelnau castle is an undeniable witness to the evolution of castral architecture.

14. Castle and ramparts of the city of Carcassonne

14. Castle and ramparts of the city of Carcassonne

How can we mention France’s most beautiful châteaux without mentioning the city of Carcassonne? The flagship symbol of the Aude department and the Occitanie region, this 3rd-century fortress attracts millions of visitors every year. With its soaring ramparts and ancient drawbridge, this tour will immerse you in an enchanting medieval atmosphere. For an even more fabulous experience, join us in summer for an exceptional sound and light show at Carcassonne’s château comtal.

15. The medieval town of Provins

Provins and its medieval town

To round off our selection of France’s most beautiful châteaux, let’s head for Provins and its medieval city! Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, the city promises to take you back to medieval times. Its Caesar tower, ramparts, tithe barn, museum and Saint-Ayoul priory are just some of the treasures to be discovered, guaranteeing a unique experience.

So, which of these majestic French castles do you think deserves the biggest detour?

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