The most iconic chateaus in France

Chenonceau, photo by Aschaf

One of the most memorable things about France are the countless chateaus scattered throughout the country. French chateaus seem to be the closest thing to a fairytale castle you can get, and they are enveloped in an aura of mystery and history both. These beautiful chateaus are not just for decoration, they are a symbol of France’s rich history, and some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Although there are close to several thousand chateaus in the country, some of them are so well-known that you can recognize them instantly, so here’s a list of the most iconic chateaus in France.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, Seine-et-Marne Department

Vaux-le-Vicomte is a Baroque chateau built in the 17th century for Louis XIV’s famous superintendent of finances, Nicolas Fouquet. It is one of the most elaborate Baroque castles in France, and it is characteristic of the flamboyant style characteristic of Louis XIV. The grounds of the castle, also Baroque, are simply breath-taking.

Château de Chenonceau, Indre-et-Loire Department

Château de Chenonceau is one of the most incredible looking castles in the Loire Valley, built sometimes in the 11th century. The building you can see now differs quite a bit from its original early-Medieval version. The chateau is built on the banks of the River Cher, and there’s a beautiful arched bridge connecting the chateau to the river (called Pont Diane, in honor of Diane de Poitiers, who commissioned the bridge). The chateau is furnished in medieval style, and has some amazing castle grounds.

Château de Pierrefonds, Oise Department

photo by jonathanjonl

The elegant shape of the Château de Pierrefonds sprawls on the edge of the Forest of Compiègne, one of the largest forests in France. The chateau was built in the 14th century, so it has elements of medieval defensive castles, but it underwent some major changes in the 19th century, so from the outside the castle looks medieval, while its interiors are furnished in 18-19th century styles.

Château de Chambord, Loir-et-Cher Department

Château de Chambord is not only the most iconic chateau in France, but also in the world – thanks to its unforgettable Renaissance style that blends French and Italian architecture. It is the largest castle in the Loire Valley and it was built as a hunting lodge for the kings of France, and even now it has a huge game reserved where deers and other animals roam freely.

Château d’Ussé, Indre-et-Loire Department

photo by flo21

Château d’Ussé really looks like a fairy tale castle, or at least one that has inspired quite a few fairy tales. It is located on the outskirts of the Forest of Chinon, and it has one of the most amazing terraced gardens you will ever see. The parterre terrace, as it is called, is perfect for a stroll and it offers some great views of the chateau.

 

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