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Chateau des ducs de Bretagne Chateau de France

Which chateau de France you should visit

The “Chateau de France”, is the symbol of the splendidness of the French history. From Versailles to Castelnaud, passing by the “Chateaux of the Loire Valley”, the rich and fantastic culture of castle may sometimes make us confused when it comes to visit a chateau de France. So, this article is aiming to help you to have a clear vision of the chateau de France, in order to help you further to choose the best ones to visit.

Castles of the Loire Valley

loire valley bike tours Chateau de France

Map of the Loire Valley

In France, when we talk about the castles, the first thing that really comes to mind is the “Chateaux of the Loire Valley”. During the hundred years war, the French kings and the English kings opposed each other, and each one of them possessed of a bank of the Loire. Theses kings of different nationalities did the construction of several palaces and military fortresses that eventually became, especially during the Renaissance, the magnificent chateau de France.

The Loire Valley is located in the west of the France, about an hour and a half from Paris (one hour and twenty minutes by train, and one hour fifty by car). The region is reputed for its natural landscape, cultural heritage and the castles which are very worth a visit. If you are passionate about the chateau de France, this place cannot be missed. Not only the famous castles like Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise, Blois, Azay-le-rideau etc., you can also visit the little-famous ones such as Talcy, Menars, Abbaye de la Guiche, Chemery etc. If I write a list of the castles at this point, it will be long and tedious, I would suggest you buy and read a backpacker guide to get a more complete knowing about the Chateaux of the Loire Valley before your visit.

 

Castles in the Paris region

The world-famous chateau de France in the Paris region (in the department Île-de-France) is also unavoidable for a visit, like the Palace of Versailles, the Palace of Fontainebleau, the Vincennes Castle and so on.

The Palace of the Versailles is the most visited one among all the chateau de France, was constructed from 1661 to 1715, by King Louis XIV, in order to appease the rebellion and strengthen his kingship. The palace became since then, a very significant symbol of the greatness of France, which have been attracting people from all over the world to come and look at it with reverence.

Palace of Versallailles, Châteaux de Versailles Chateau de France

The garden of the Palace of Versailles

It is worth mentioning that, the chateau de France in the Paris region usually merges with the stories of French kings. For example, the Vaux le Vicomte Castle, located in the south-east of Paris, its background story is as fantastic as its look. Its builder, Nicolas Fouquet, was the superintendent of finance, imprisoned because of the manipulation of his colleague on the charge of corruption. And his Castle, Vaux le Vicomte, was then sealed and the king Louis XIV seized almost all his property. Also, the king Louis XIV used the Vaux le Vicomte Castle as the model for the design of the Palace of Versailles.

 

The chateau de France in the Paris region are all accessible by public transport, and it takes generally from 20 minutes to less than 1 hour by train. If you don’t have the availability to visit the castles which are outside the Paris region, the castles inside the Paris region are easy to reach and worth to visit, besides, don’t forget to get to know the stories behind these majestic castles.

 

The Castles outside the Paris region

The most famous chateau de France outside the Paris region and the Loire Valley must be the Chateau de Castelnaud, which is in the town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, in Dordogne department. It is a magnificent medieval fortress, offering you an amazing panorama of the Dordogne valley. Classified as historical monument, this fort is entirely dedicated to the great era of the Middle Ages. The fortress shelters a huge number of weapons and armor. The models, the furniture, the machines of war, as well as the numerous restorations of the fort, make of it a museum of war more real than nature. The castle counts more than 200 000 visitors a year.

 

Other chateau de France that I suggest you to visit are :

chateau outside the paris region Chateau de France

Click the picture to see the map

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg in the Alsace region (Key words: medieval, furniture, weapon, rocky spur)

Chateau des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes (Key words: Nantes history, Bretagne history, museum, Gothic-Renaissance)

 

Chateau de Valençay in the Commune of Valençay, the Indre department (Key words: French garden, English park, Renaissance, elegance, art)

Peyrepertuse, in the Commune of Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, the Aude department (Key words: ruined fortress, Cathar castles, rocky spur)

 

 

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Loire Valley map

Amboise

City of Amboise

This peaceful town is a great place to explore as you wander amongst the boutique-filled streets or along the Loire River. Home to two famous castles: Amboise Castle and Clos Lucé Castle. The former which was home to Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, and where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. The latter which was where da Vinci spent his last days.

Amboise

Wikimedia Commons

WHAT TO SEE?

Don’t miss the Clos Lucé Castle where you can discover so much about Leonardo da Vinci and his work as a painter, engineer, and architect. Also don’t miss the Amboise Castle where da Vinci is buried.

On Friday and Sundays there is a fabulous farmers’ market, one of the biggest in the valley. Great place to find some fresh fruits, veggies, and treats.

Explore the town too of course. Walk near the Loire River, wander the streets and stop in the cute boutique shops. Try some good French food and wine at one of the restaurants.

HOW TO EXPERIENCE?

Amboise

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Take you time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of this old, medieval town. Wander at will throughout the streets of Amboise. Enjoy the more calm, slower-paced style of this smaller town.

Also you should try and visit one or both of the castles if possible. They are, after all, so close-by. Become more well-versed in the history and learn about how the Italian Renaissance was brought to the Loire Valley.

You mustn’t miss trying some Loire Valley wine with your meal. This region is known for their fruity and diverse wines.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Hours: N/A. If interested in the castles see their websites.
  • Price: Free to visit the town
  • Access: Train from Paris Montparnasse or Paris Austerlitz to Amboise

 

Additional sightseeings in the Loire Valley

Chenonceau Castle

Clos Lucé Castle

Chenonceau Castle