4 Castles You Should Visit in France

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This weekend I was downloading the remaining of my photos from my trip to Lyon last month and I came across some older photos. They were photos I took during another trip in France a few years ago. I stayed in Paris at the time, but I had the chance to visit some truly amazing castles around Paris. As a little warning – some of these castles are not reachable by public transport, so you’re gonna need to rent a car or find a guided tour. I went with the guided tour option, because it felt a lot more relaxing.

Visiting the castles in France is a unique experience. We had the chance to visit the 4 that I’ll tell you about. But a quick search on Google will reveal a lot more that are worth the trip. It’s a full package of stunning sights, amazing buildings, art and a lot of history!

Palace of Versailles

Getting to Versailles from Paris is rather easy, as you can take the RER C. There’s also the option to take the train from Montparnasse. We took the RER as it was closer to us and it’s also cheap, I think one ticket was around 7 euros.

I would suggest to plan for a day at Versailles, if you want a chance to visit everything. The place is huge and absolutely stunning. We arrived somewhere around 8-9 a.m. and stayed until 3 p.m. and some of the things we visited almost seemed rushed. Of course, for us the main problem was going right “in season”, in July, when it’s super crowded and we spent at least an hour waiting in line to just get in Versaille. No fun. But totally worth it. Once inside, you should definitely check out the chapels and chambers of the main chateau. Careful not to miss the Hall of Mirrors! There’s also the Grand and Petit Trianon and let’s not forget the Queen’s farm.

If you do spend the day here, you have a few food options as there are cafes and restaurants inside the castle. Be prepared for more waiting in line, especially if you visit in season.

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Gardens of Versailles
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Bedroom in Versailles
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Hall of Mirrors

Palace of Fontainebleau

This amazing palace is located 55 km outside of Paris, in the commune Fontainebleau and is one of the largest royal castles in France. It served as a residence for French monarchs, starting with Louis VII, to Napoleon III. Nowadays the castle is a national museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The palace contains more than 1500 rooms and is packed with French history. We visited it with a group and had the chance to have a guide who told us all about about the castle and the monarchs who used to live there. I highly suggest you find a guided tour, or at least get one of the little walkie-talkies to guide you through the palace, so you don’t miss anything. The views both inside and outside of the castle, definitely make the trip worth it. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Palace of Fontainebleau
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Inside Fontainebleau

Château de Chambord

Some consider Chambord the most beautiful castle in France. I think it’s definitely one of the best I’ve seen, but honestly, I’m having a hard time picking “the one”.

There are a lot of option to get to Chambord from Paris. We were on a private guided tour, so I can’t tell you my experience with the shuttle buses or the train, but you can find all the information on the castle’s website.

The castle was built in the 16th century, but it was abandoned after the French Revolution. It is the largest castle on the Loire Valley and the word is, after the Revolution it was reminder of the old regime, of its lavishness, that nobody wanted to associate with. It is in Chambord that the paintings from the Louvre, including the Monalisa were moved during World War II.

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View from Chambord
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Inside Chambord

Château de Blois

The Blois castle is the last of the ones I visited and I think the least known of the four. We couldn’t go inside as it was close on that day. Like the other castles I talked about, Blois served as residence for several monarchs. However, it is also known for something different. Joan D’arc went to Blois in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims, before she left with her army to fight the English army at Orleans.

Blois – Maison de la Magie

Right in front of the Royal Castle Blois, there is the Maison de la Magie – the House of Magic. It is a museum that highlights the life and work of Robert-Houdin, a famous illusionist born in Blois in 1805. It is the only museum in Europe that has collections of magic and permanent performing arts. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth the visit.

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Blois Maison de la Magie
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Chateau de Blois

To be honest, I have a lot more pictures. I actually have around 200 of them. I tried to select at least one from the inside and one from the outside for each place. In some of the castles taking pictures was not an easy task because it was so full of people. I’m gonna try and post more pictures this week on Instagram, so make sure you follow me there, if you want to see more!

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Comments (1)

  • Avatar

    Jyots

    Having visited France once, haven’t really made such a keen observations of all these places! Will pin this as a reference for my next visit! A toute A leure! 🙂

    Reply

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