Top 10 most beautiful castles in FranceBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/top-10-most-beautiful-castles-in-france1
Castles and palaces of France are the best "storytellers" of the rich history of the country. They saw the lives of kings and courtiers, knights. Many of the old pompous structures are now only ruins, but there are also those that have not lost their luster and attract tourists with their rich decoration. The rating of the most beautiful French castles and palaces is presented below.
France is extremely rich in castle architecture. Here you can find ancient ruins that once belonged to noble families, and entire castle complexes, lovingly restored and turned into museums. Let's talk about the top ten most interesting and beautiful castles.
It is located on the island of If of the Friuli archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
Any admirer of Dumas knows about the castle of If, besides, thanks to the numerous film adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo, millions of people know what a terrible dungeon it was. However, according to the surveys conducted, it turned out that most people think that If Castle is a fictional place that never really existed.
But after all, this castle is a prison, which, however, did not immediately become a place of detention, quite a popular attraction in France. The Castle of If is not so far from the shore, as it might seem while reading a book or watching film adaptations, it is only a mile from Marseille. On local boats, you will be taken there or back almost instantly for just ten euros.
Located in the vicinity of Melun.
Of all the famous palaces around Paris that can be visited in one day, the Vaux le Vicomte Castle, built in classical style 46 kilometers southeast of Paris, architecturally looks the most harmonious, aesthetically pleasing and proportionate to a person.
The manor of Vaux-le-Vicomte was built in 1658-1661 specifically for the Viscount of Vaux and Melun Nicolas Fouquet. At that time he was a favorite of the French King Louis XIV. Having received the estate, Nicolas Fouquet forgot about it and remembered it only 15 years later, when he took the post of chief financier of France.
The Vaux-le-Vicomte castle is filled with beautiful frescoes depicting nymphs and divine creatures, the interior of the castle shines with gilding and abounds with works of art that the French army ruthlessly exported from all over the world, and the enterprising Fouquet carefully kept in his estate.
Located in the town of Amboise, department of Endre-et-Loire.
A legendary place in the history of France and a royal residence from the 15th to the 19th centuries, Amboise stands on the banks of the Loire and is reflected in its waters. Its medieval fortifications frame a Renaissance building with cyclopean towers. The former royal residence was declared the heritage of all mankind by UNESCO in 2000.
The castle and the Amboise Garden are associated with the youth of many French kings: Charles VIII was born here, Francis I and the children of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici spent their entire childhood here. Many artists came here at the invitation of their sovereigns. So, Leonardo da Vinci lived in Amboise and spent royal holidays here until his death in 1519. His remains are kept today in the chapel of Saint-Hubert on the castle grounds.
Located in the department of Endre-et-Loire.
Surrounded by an English park, this castle belongs to a select number of Loire castles. Azay-le-Rideau Castle was built by the treasurer of Francis I in 1510 and is considered a masterpiece of the French Renaissance. Some of the ruined parts of the castle have been carefully restored.
Azay-le-Rideau Castle rises above the picturesque bend of the River Endre. The name "Aze" probably comes from Asiacus, the name of the owner of these lands. In the 12th century, the castle belonged to Rideau or Riedel d'Azay, who was known for his violent temper and had the nickname "the devil's child". All his possessions were seized by Henry II Plantagenet, but Philip Augustus returned them to his son Rideau — Hugh, a knight of Touraine, a loyal vassal of the king, who took part in the battle of Bouvines.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the castle supposedly belonged to the Duke of Burgundy. The insult inflicted on the Dauphin, the future Charles VII, and his army caused the fortress to be destroyed in 1418: 354 people were killed, and the village itself was burned and looted, after which the city was named Azay-le-Brule ("burned"). A hundred years later, a castle was built on the site of the fortress, which can still be seen today.
Located in the department of Loire and Cher.
Cheverny, surrounded by a spacious park and magnificent gardens, has belonged to the same family for more than six centuries. Along with other castles of the Loire, it is protected by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Project.
This palace stands out from the rest not only for its architecture (Cheverny is a snow—white castle built in strict symmetry and restrained style), but also for its decoration. The fact is that the mansion throughout its history (it was erected in the 14th century) was owned and, note, remains the owners to this day by one dynasty — the Juro family. Thanks to this continuity and careful attitude, the Cheverny castle has been perfectly preserved (it is considered one of the best palaces in the Loire Valley) — down to the smallest details and household items and interiors dating back to the 14th century.
Excursions to Cheverny are an introduction to the truly French art de vivre. From the armory hall to the children's room, the chic interior and rich furnishings invariably impress the guests of the castle. Cheverny furniture is considered the most luxurious among all the castles of the Loire.
Located in the department of Endre-et-Loire.
The Château de Chenonceau (Chenonceau Castle) is one of the three most popular castles of the Loire Valley and the most beautiful castles in France, nicknamed the "ladies' castle" because it belonged to two of the most influential women in France at that time — Diana de Poitiers, the king's mistress, and Catherine de' Medici. This 16th—century castle is one of the most beloved and visited castles in France, the second most visited after Versailles.
One of the most beloved, famous and visited castles in France, Chenonceau does not belong to the state: it is still privately owned to this day, but its owners, the de Marc family, are absolutely not against the fact that guests can enjoy not only the luxury of the interior decoration of the Chenonceau castle, but also see the beautiful garden and its picturesque surroundings.
Chenonceau is inextricably linked with the name of Diana de Poitiers – governess of the royal son — mistress of the king and, subsequently, his son Henry II. When the young king ascended the throne, he presented the Chenonceau Palace to his beloved. Since then, Chenonceau has been called the "ladies'" castle (château des Dames). Diana took a lot of care about the improvement of the castle: she carried out the redevelopment of the park, on her instructions, architect Philibert Delorme created a project of a stone bridge over the Cher River.
Located in Paris.
The Conciergerie Castle is located in the heart of the French capital, not far from the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. For a long time it served as a home for the monarch, but during the revolution it was converted into a prison. Today, the palace preserves a centuries-old history and is considered one of the key attractions of Paris.
The Conciergerie Castle is part of the Palais de Justice complex, which still houses municipal services, the court, and the prosecutor's office. This complex occupies almost half of the island of Sita. Today the palace is a heterogeneous architectural ensemble with elements built from the XIII to XX centuries.
Located in Loire and Cher.
Chambord is the most recognizable of the castles of France, the emblem of the Loire Valley, an architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance. It was built by order of Francis I, who wanted to be closer to his beloved lady, Countess Turi, who lived nearby.
Francis I, the warlike and spendthrift king of France, was no stranger to art, patronized artists and even took an elderly and famous Leonardo da Vinci out of Italy.
The legendary inventor spent the last years of his life at the court of Francis and died before the construction of Chambord began. But it is generally believed that it was he who influenced the beautiful appearance of the castle at the project stage. At least, in the design of the main staircase, the characteristic features of the genius's creativity are clearly visible.
Located in the suburbs of Paris.
Versailles is a palace and park ensemble in France, the former residence of the French kings in the city of Versailles, now a suburb of Paris; a center of tourism of world importance.
The pearl of French architecture and the magnificent palace of the vain monarch, Versailles was created to emphasize all the greatness of the "sun king", Louis XIV. But for all the luxury there was not a single toilet provided.
Versailles was built under the leadership of Louis XIV since 1661 and became a kind of monument of the era of the "sun king", an artistic and architectural expression of the idea of absolutism. The leading architects are Louis Leveau and Jules Ardouin—Mansard, the creator of the park is Andre Lenotre. The ensemble of Versailles, the largest in Europe, is distinguished by the unique integrity of the concept and the harmony of architectural forms and transformed landscape. Since the end of the 17th century, Versailles has served as a model for the ceremonial country residences of European monarchs and aristocracy, but there are no direct imitations of it.
Located in Normandy, Manche department.
The famous fortress island is located in the north of France, on the border with Brittany. This is one of the most visited attractions in France, and the island itself with its historical buildings is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The island is the only inhabited of the three granite formations of the Bay of Saint-Michel (Mont Saint-Michel, Tomblin and Mont Dol). The city on the island has existed since 709. Currently, it has several dozen inhabitants.
The island is located 285 km west of Paris. Tourists from all over the world are attracted by the picturesque location of the abbey and the surrounding village on a towering cliff near the shore, historical and architectural monuments, as well as tides unique to Europe.