Are you an appreciator of the fine arts? Or maybe, the historical allure of places sweeps you off your feet every single time. If you are fond of the artistic grandeur of the Renaissance and the impressive elements of medieval times, the city of Paris will amaze you. The City of Love feels like it came directly from a storybook, like a dreamscape known for its vibrant culture, diverse cuisine, scrumptious desserts, and much more. In fact, there are plenty of castles in Paris though not located in the city; they are just a short trip away.
If you wish to explore these architectural marvels and historical places in Paris, take a step back in time and discover some of the most beautiful castles of all time with us.
- Château de Versailles
The Palace of Versailles needs no introduction! As a world heritage site, it is a must-see during your stay in Paris. And believe us, if you have only time to visit just one castle, keep it on your priority list. There are many things to learn about French royalty, so we recommend you get a guide for a better experience. The palace has been the residence of the Kings of France since the 17th century, and some of the most renowned figures in French history, such as Louis XIV, the Sun King, Marie-Antoinette, and Louis XVI, have lived here. After visiting the palace, take an inevitable photo souvenir in the Hall of Mirrors. During the spring and summertime, you can also enjoy musical gardens, specifically, a water show to the rhythm of baroque music.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site was home to 34 kings and two emperors. Its forest was greatly appreciated for hunting by the royal family, and soon it became one of the most ornate castles in France. Its architecture presents a few different classical, medieval, and Renaissance styles. As you plan a trip here, you will have a full day exploring the art galleries, park, chapel, and gardens, making up for a trip of a lifetime.
- Château de Rambouillet
Home not only to the kings, queens, and emperors but also to former French presidents, this medieval fortress has been slowly turned into a stylish residence. Surrounded by marvelous gardens, you can easily visit by renting a bicycle or boat ride. One of the essential must-sees during your visit is the Queen’s Diary, built-in 1785 by Louis XVI for Marie-Antoinette, a neoclassical pavilion translating the pastoral style.
Built-in Renaissance style, the castle in Paris offers many surprises, and its architecture is a true delight for the eyes. Well known amongst art enthusiasts for its painting galleries, it brings together the second most extensive collection of old paintings in France, after that of the Louvre Museum. What makes this place unique is the Grandes Ecuries, one of the most extensive stables in Europe. At the horse museum, you can learn about the unique bond between men and horses through works of art and equestrian equipment. Here, horse riding events and shows are often organized, so you can book tickets in advance if interested.
Initially a hunting lodge in the forest of Vincennes, Château de Vincennes quickly became home to the royal family from the 12th to the 18th century. Following the 18th century, it became the most enormous cavern in Paris, set to protect the capital city. As you step inside the castle, through the stone pontoon going, you will feel like stepping into the medieval period. During your visit, don’t miss the Sainte-Chapelle, a beautiful religious structure, and the dungeon, one of the highest in Europe.
How about visiting castles in Paris that completely immerse you in the atmosphere of pre-historic royal times and bring you back to the heart of the romantic era? We recommend Château de Monte-Cristo Castle for all literature enthusiasts. It was built by Alexandre Dumas in 1844 after the success of his book. While it is smaller and less impressive than other Paris chateaus, it is still full of authenticity and charm. By going through the rooms, you will rediscover the festive ambiance of the banquets, and theatrical and musical staging, where the actors even intervene during the tour to bring the characters of Dumas back to life.
Located just a few hours outside Paris, the Renaissance-era castle Château de Chambord will surely surprise you. Earlier known as a hunting lodge, it was brought to life by King Francois I in the early 1500s. The castle’s interiors boast some of the most stunning works of art, which are truly worthy of the visit, as well as its spectacular gardens, which you can trail for hours.
- Chenonceau CastleMake your way to these lovely castles in Paris for a female-focused getaway. It dates back to the 11th century, but its true history began after it was gifted by Henry II gifted to Diane de Poitiers, his mistress. From there began the long succession of female owners, and more recently, a team of female-led restorers made it truly shine once again. As you head inside, you get to explore the brilliant furnishing and tapestries and outside to enjoy its garden on a lovely sunny day.
- Château de la Roche CourbonBuilt around 1475, the interiors of this Paris chateau contain several furnishings and sculptures from the 17th century. As you visit, don’t miss the castle’s fantastic gardens, also listed as one of the Notable gardens of France. Here you get to uncover some of the oldest secrets of France by exploring every nook. Several ancient artifacts have been found on the site, proving it has likely been inhabited for thousands of years.
Finally, the last entry of our castles near Paris, the medieval masterpiece, is located in the commune of Orschwiller, atop the Vosges mountains. It was rebuilt in the early 20th century to highlight its architectural charms, abandoned after the 30 Years’ War in 1600. Its high altitude location formed an important vantage point for France’s leaders throughout the Middle Ages. Come walk across its drawbridge and immerse in the history of France through its woodland areas, formal gardens, and stellar architectural elements.
So are you ready to dive into French history and go on the tour of castles in Paris? France is home to some of the most beautiful castles, palaces, and châteaus that you can find dotted all over France as a treasure of history. Therefore, we invite Americans to dive deep into the historical culture on their next holiday to Paris. If you are unsure which Paris chateau to visit, this list should give you plenty of suggestions.
Stay tuned for more of our informative blogs on places to visit in Paris and adventures on your next trip. Until then, keep the spirit of exploration alive and going.