Want to visit some French castles? There are many beautiful castles in France, and you can probably travel around the country for ages to visit them all.
So, to make things a bit easier for you, I’ve made this list of 17 Fairytale Castles in France that you should definitely write down on your bucket list!
1. Chateau de Vincennes
This is one of the French castles near Paris that you definitely should visit. It’s an often overlooked Chateau with lots of history dating back to as far as the 14th century.
It was used by French kings for more than 400 years, and it is heavily characterized by its tall keep.
2. Chateau de Chenonceau
When it comes to fairytale castles in France, the Chateau de Chenonceau is one of my favorites. It’s beautifully located next to the Le Cher River, and if you’re lucky you’ll see magical reflections as pictured below.
Chateau de Chenonceau was first mentioned in the 11th century, but the current building was constructed in the 1500s. The architecture is a mix of early Renaissance and late Gothic style.
3. Ducs de Bretagne
This was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany, hence the name Château des ducs de Bretagne. It was built in the early 1200s and was later rebuilt in 1466.
The castle is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture, and it was renovated in the late 1900s and opened up for the public in 2007. It has since become one of the most famous attractions in Nantes.
Of all the fairytale castles in France, this is by far my favorite. Chaumont-sur-Loire is absolutely stunning and could’ve been featured in any Disney movie. It’s one of the most famous chateaux in the Loire Valley, and one of the most beautiful places to visit in France.
The chateau is open for visitors who purchase a ticket.
This castle is located on a hilltop in the heart of Alsace. Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a medieval castle that was constructed already in the 12th century.
It has more than 500 000 visitors per year, and it was rebuilt to its former glory in the early 1900s by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II.
6. Chateau Comtal
Chateau Comtal is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in France. It’s located on a hilltop in Carcassonne and was restored in 1854. The castle was later added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Along with Chaumont-sur-Loire, Pierrefonds is probably one of the most impressive French castles.
It was built between 1393-1407 and still has some of the defensive structures that were characteristic during medieval times, even though the castle had a major restoration in the 19th century.
Pierrefonds is located in the Oise département and has been featured in countless movies such as Les Visiteurs, Le Capitan, Highlander, and The Story of Joan of Arc.
8. Château de Foix
This is one of the oldest castles in France, and it has been fortified for more than 1300 years. Château de Foix is located in the French department of Ariege and has been listed as a historical monument since 1840.
The tourist site is known as the center of Cathars and since 1930, the castle is housing some valuable artifacts displaying the history of Ariege from ancient times.
9. Chateau de Vitre
A medieval castle that was first built of wood, and later reinforced and built as a stone castle in the 11th century by the baron Robert I of Vitré. The Romanesque style has still survived until this day, even though the castle has endured a few sieges throughout history.
Chateau de Vitre is one of the most impressive castles in France.
10. Chateau d’Amboise
This was the residence of French Kings from the 15th century to the 19th century. It is open to the public who purchases a ticket.
11. Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire
This was the seat of the Duke de Sully and is one of the true castles of the Loire Valley. It was built to defend and control the nearby sites.
12. Fort de Salses
Unlike the other castles in France, Fort de Salses is actually a Catalan fortress, even though it’s located in the French Pyrénées-Orientales. It was built by Catalans in the 1400s and was later seized by the French in 1642.
Château de Langeais is yet another beautiful castle in France that is located in the Loire Valley. It was built in the 10th century but was completely destroyed in the Hundred Years’ War.
King Louis XI rebuilt it after the war, and today it’s one of the best-preserved samples of late medieval architecture.
If you want to visit medieval castles in France, then Roquetaillade should be on top of your list. The original fortress that stood here was built already in the 8th century, and for more than 700 years it has been inhabited and owned by the same family.
Roquetaillade was saved during the Hundred Years’ War and the French Revolution, and today visitors can enjoy guided tours.
15. Chateau d’Angers
Perhaps not the most beautiful French castle, but it definitely has an interesting architecture. It was constructed already in the 9th century and was later expanded in the 13th century. Château d’Angers is a historical monument in France and is open to visitors.
This massive castle in Angers is famous for many things, but especially these days for housing the oldest and largest collection of tapestries from medieval times, including the “Apocalypse Tapestry” from the 14th century.
16. Chateau de Montsoreau
A beautiful castle in Renaissance style, and the only to have been built directly in the Loire riverbed. The construction started in 1443, and it wasn’t finished until 1515.
Chateau de Montsoreau has been listed as a historical monument since 1862 and was even featured in Alexandre Dumas novel La Dame de Monsoreau.
17. Fort La Latte
Last but not least of the castles in France, Fort la Latte, a historical castle in Brittany, which is listed as a French historical monument. It was built already in the 14th century and was later fortified in the 17th century.
Castles in France where you can stay overnight
- Chateau de la Treyne
- Chateau de Vallagon
- Domaine de la Tortinière
- Chateau d’Etoges
- Chateau Les Carrasses
- Chateau de Maraval
- Hotel de la cite Carcassonne
Map of the Fairytale Castles in France
Below is a map of the French castles on the list above, as you can see many of them are located quite close to each other, so you can actually visit 1 to 2 castles in France per day.
More about French Castles
Considering the fact that France was a major powerhouse during medieval times, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Many of the castles in France are closed off to the public, and while not everyone owning a chateau these days belong to a noble family, most of them have at some point in time been host to such.
The Loire valley is especially famous for its many châteaux, and if you want to see many castles in France, then you should definitely do a road trip there. The Dordogne region is also famous for being home to many French castles.
Difference between a château and a castle in France
Château is a French word that could roughly translate as a castle, but that doesn’t tell the full meaning of the word. A château could also be a countryside home or palace, and unlike castles, it can be labeled such even though it was never built with the intent of defending its residents.
A castle, on the other hand, is a fortified structure that is built to defend a city, town, or the residents of the castle. All of the castles on my list of fairytale castles in France have been used at some point in time for defending purposes.
To some people, it doesn’t matter if you call it a castle, château or palace, but it’s still good to be aware of the differences to avoid confusion when you’re visiting châteaux, palaces, and castles in France.
What is the largest castle in France?
Château de Chambord is the largest castle in France with a length of 156 meters and a height of 56 meters.
Castles in France near Paris
- Chateau of Vincennes
- Castle of the White Queen
- Chateau d’Écouen
More reading from France
What is your favorite castle in France? Leave a comment below and share!