Top 10 Best French Castles in France

France boasts of having some of the most breathtaking and enchanting castles in all of Europe. If you are planning a trip to France and want to experience the fairy-tale-like beauty of these historic structures, we have compiled a list of our top 10 favorite French castles that are sure to leave you spellbound.

Each of these castles exudes a sense of romance and dreaminess that is simply irresistible. Visiting one of these magnificent castles should definitely be on your must-do list during your stay in France. You are bound to be captivated by the grandeur and elegance of these architectural wonders.

Whether you’re interested in the history, culture or just the sheer beauty of these castles, they will provide you with an unforgettable experience. So go ahead, take a look at our list, and get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of these top 10 Best French castles.

1. Versailles

The Palace of Versailles, situated about 20 kilometers southwest of Paris, was originally constructed in 1624 when the region was just a small village. Initially intended as a modest hunting lodge for Louis XIII, the château was later expanded into a full-fledged palace over the course of several years. Thanks to the efforts of Louis XIII’s successor and other subsequent monarchs, the palace grew into one of the largest and most opulent in the world. This allowed for the establishment of a new center for the royal court, fulfilling the king’s desire to create a powerful symbol of absolute monarchy during the Ancien Régime. Today, Versailles is renowned not only for its grandeur as a physical structure but also for its significance as a cultural icon representing a bygone era of absolute monarchy in France.

2. Chateau de Chambord

The Château de Chambord, located in the Loire Valley, is a magnificent castle that stands out as one of the most captivating examples of Renaissance architecture. As the largest château in the region, it is surrounded by the vast expanse of Europe’s largest enclosed wooded park, making it a truly breathtaking sight. Originally built by King Francis I as a hunting lodge where he could be near his mistress, it is now recognized as one of the most fascinating château in the world. Its unique blend of traditional French medieval elements and classical Renaissance features makes it a true masterpiece of French architecture from that period. Visitors are sure to be impressed by the sheer grandeur and beauty of this stunning castle.

3. Chateau de Chenonceau

One of the most renowned and awe-inspiring castles situated in the Loire Valley is a testament to a progressive way of life. Its distinctive architecture, decor, and furnishings, as well as the extensive collections housed within its walls, bear witness to its enlightened history. The chateau is also noteworthy for the remarkable women who have loved, managed, and protected it throughout its storied past.

The Chateau, which was constructed during the 11th century along the banks of the River Cher, has changed hands many times throughout its history. It eventually came into the possession of Diane de Poitiers, King Henry II’s mistress, who saved the château from destruction during the French Revolution. Despite being targeted for demolition by the Revolutionary Guard, Diane de Poitiers managed to preserve it, as it was deemed essential to the region’s commerce and transportation, being the sole bridge across the river for miles around.

4. Chateau de Chantilly

The town of Chantilly, located near Paris, boasts the impressive and historic Château de Chantilly. Comprised of two interconnected buildings, the Petit Château, constructed around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency, and the Grand Château, which was demolished during the French Revolution but reconstructed in the 1870s, this stunning chateau is a sight to behold.

The Château de Chantilly was initially erected between 1528 and 1531 by Pierre Chambiges for Constable Anne de Montmorency. Numerous fascinating historical events from the 17th century are associated with the chateau. Additionally, every other year, the chateau gardens host a breathtaking fireworks competition known as the Nuits de Feu, which attracts visitors from Chantilly, Paris, and beyond. This well-attended event is a highlight of the region.

5. Chateau d’Amboise

The Chateau d’Amboise, is located in the Centre Val de Loire valley in the town of Amboise. The original castle was constructed in the late 9th century on a spur above the River Loire. Later, during the reigns of Kings Charles VIII and François I in the late 15th century, the medieval castle was replaced by a royal residence. However, the chateau fell into decline during the second half of the 16th century and most of the interior buildings were eventually demolished. Nonetheless, some parts of the chateau were preserved and have since been restored, along with the outer defensive circuit of towers and walls.

6. Chateau d’Usse

Ranked 6th among the top 10 French castles to visit, the Chateau d’Usse is a stunning castle located on the edge of the Chinon forest, overlooking the Indre Valley. The castle was originally fortified in the 11th century by the Norman lord of Ussé, Gueldin de Saumur, who surrounded the fort with a palisade on a high terrace. The castle’s dreamy Flamboyant Gothic/Renaissance appearance has earned it the nickname of the Sleeping Beauty castle.

7. Mont Saint-Michel

The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the most picturesque structures in Europe, resembling a city of its own. It was built during the 8th century and is situated on a rocky island off the coast of Normandy, France. Its strategic location, only 600 meters from land, made it easily accessible to pilgrims visiting its abbey during low tide, while also making it defensible against potential attackers who could be stranded or drowned during high tide. The island commune is widely recognized as a French landmark and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. It attracts over 3 million visitors annually.

8. Chateau de Vincennes

When it comes to the top best French castles in France, Chateau de Vincennes is undoubtedly a remarkable sight to behold. This extraordinary castle, which is located in the town of Vincennes, to the east of Paris, and now a suburb of the metropolis, was constructed in the 14th and 17th centuries and served as a French royal residence. Originally built as a hunting lodge for Louis VII in 1150, the castle has a rich history that dates back several centuries.

One of the most striking features of the Chateau de Vincennes is its incredibly spacious and imposing structure. The castle boasts a strong keep, which is adorned with rounded towers, and is surrounded by the thickest of perimeters. The keep is an architectural masterpiece, and its corners are particularly noteworthy for their elegant design and impressive scale.

9. Chateau de Tarascon

When it comes to the top best French castles in France, the Castle of Tarascon is a must-see attraction. Situated on the banks of the Rhone River, this medieval castle is renowned for its exceptional state of preservation, making it one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in France and Europe. Constructed in the 15th century by the Dukes of Anjou, the castle is compact in its design and is completely surrounded by the Rhone River.

As you approach the Castle of Tarascon, you’ll be struck by its imposing appearance. The castle walls are unadorned and barely punctuated by openings for light to filter through. The walls and towers are the same height, which adds to the castle’s solid and imposing appearance. The lush landscape and surrounding water only enhance the castle’s beauty and make it a truly remarkable sight to behold.

Despite its compact design, the Castle of Tarascon boasts a rich history and is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of medieval architects. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating history and culture of France.

10. Chateau de Foix

When it comes to the top best French castles in France, the Castle of Foix is an essential tourist destination, renowned for its rich history and significance as a center of the Cathars. This heavily fortified castle dates back to the Middle Ages, and its origins can be traced back to 987. In 1034, the castle became the capital of the County of Foix, and throughout the medieval period, it played a critical role in military history.

Over the centuries, towers were continuously added to the castle to enhance its defensive capabilities. The two square towers, which were built before the 11th century, served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862. The most recent addition is the round tower, constructed in the 15th century. Today, the castle is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture, and visitors can explore its impressive architecture and learn about its fascinating history.

Despite its formidable appearance, the Castle of Foix is a testament to the creativity and innovation of medieval architects. Its towering walls and impressive defensive capabilities are a reflection of the turbulent times in which it was built. For anyone interested in exploring the history and culture of France, the Castle of Foix is a must-see attraction.


In conclusion, France is home to some of the most fascinating and impressive castles in the world. The castles on this list are considered the top best French castles, and they each offer a unique glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture. From the imposing Castle of Foix to the compact yet stunning Castle of Tarascon and the massive Chateau de Vincennes, each of these castles has its own distinct character and charm.

While there are countless other castles throughout France that are also worth visiting, these top best French castles should definitely be on the must-see list for anyone planning a trip to France. Whether you’re interested in medieval history, military architecture, or simply appreciate the beauty of these stunning structures, these castles are sure to leave a lasting impression.

So if you’re planning a trip to France or know someone who is, be sure to consult this list and include these top best French castles in your itinerary. They offer an unforgettable glimpse into France’s past and are a testament to the country’s enduring cultural heritage.

Leave a Comment