Amazing Castles in France [PHOTOS]

by Christine Cantera on January 30, 2012

by Christine Cantera | January 30th, 2012  

French castles are the all-in-one destination – you’ve got history, art, architecture, and nature (sometimes harnessed, sometimes savage). You can see a couple a day, or pack a picnic and choose one for a daylong trip. And there’s always plenty of room for the kids to run around.

But although there are a over a thousand castles in France, only a handful get the attention – those nearest Paris, and those in the Loire Valley. But what if you’re in another part of France? What if you don’t want to jockey for position with tour groups and busloads of people?

With that in mind, I’ve included some amazing French castles that you may not have heard of – or, sadly, not yet seen. I included my favorite of the “famous” castles, but for the most part, some of these were a revelation to me as well! And as always, to enable you to include them in your next France vacation itinerary, I’ve included some salient facts for each.

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

  • Orschwiller, Alsace
  • Unknown construction date – first mention 1147
  • Nearest major city: Strausbourg
  • Train to: Sélestat, about 3 hours from Paris
  • Website

Château de Chambord

Château-de-Chambord

  • Chambord, Centre
  • Built 1519–1547
  • Nearest major city: Tours
  • Train to: Blois, about 1.5 hours from Paris
  • Website

Château des Baux de Provence

Château des Baux de Provence

  • Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
  • Built in the 10th century
  • Nearest major city: About halfway between Montpellier and Marseille
  • Train to: Arles, about 4 hours from Paris
  • Website

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

  • Fontainebleau, Île-de-France
  • Original construction 12th century; as it is today, 16th century
  • Nearest major city: Paris
  • Train to: Fontainebleau, about 40 minutes
  • Website

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

  • Beynac-et-Cazenac, Dordogne
  • Built in the 12th century
  • Nearest major city: Bordeaux
  • Train to: Bergerac, about 4.5 hours from Paris
  • Website

Château de Montfort

Château de Montfort

  • Vitrac, Dordogne
  • Original construction unknown; after razed in 12th century, rebuilt and added to
  • Nearest major city: Bordeaux
  • Train to: Bergerac, about 4.5 hours from Paris
  • Website

Tours de Merle

Tours de Merle

  • Saint-Geniez-ô-Merle, Limousin
  • Built in the 12th century
  • Nearest major city: Bordeaux
  • Train to: Brive-la-Gaillarde, about 4 hours from Paris
  • Website

Château de Josselin

Château de Josselin

  • Josselin, Brittany
  • Built in the 11th century
  • Nearest major city: Rennes
  • Train to: Josselin, about 3.75 hours from Paris
  • Website

Photos: Fr Antunes, sybarite48, ell brown, o_0, felix388, yanec, Stéfan, Chez Eskay

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