View Full Version : What are France's 10 most beautiful castles ?

10-03-12, 16:38
There are approximately 40,000 castles, manors, stately homes and palaces in France. It's not everyday one has to select the 10 best of something among an array of 40,000. Yet that's what I am asking you here. Based on your knowledge and experience, what French châteaux would you choose if you had to make a top 10 of the most handsome ones ? If you can't think of 10, or can think or many more, feel free to suggest any number you like. I will compile a poll once I have enough suggestions.

Out top of my head, the most beautiful châteaux would include some of these (alphabetically) :

Azay-le Rideau (http://azay-le-rideau.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/)

Blois (http://www.chateaudeblois.fr/)

Chambord (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=233486)

Chantilly (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=232290)

Chaumont (http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr/index-en.php?page=chateau&cat=3&expandable=1)

Chenonceau (http://www.chenonceau.com/en)

Cheverny (http://www.chateau-cheverny.fr/)

Dampierre (http://www.chateau-de-dampierre.fr/)

Fontainebleau (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=232218)

Fougères (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foug%C3%A8res)

Hautefort (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=233539)

Haut-Koenigsbourg (http://www.haut-koenigsbourg.net/)

Meillant (http://www.chateau-de-meillant.com/)

Pierrefonds (http://www.eupedia.com/france/pierrefonds.shtml)

Ussé (http://www.chateaudusse.fr/)

Valençay (http://www.chateau-valencay.fr/)

Vaux-le-Vicomte (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=232267)

Vitré Castle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Vitr%C3%A9)

That's 18. It's quite hard to decide which eight I should get rid of. It depends on the criteria used to determine beauty. Should it be solely the external architecture, or should we also take the gardens and the interior into account ? What about the natural setting ? Many medieval castles have dramatic settings on top of rocky outcrops or overlooking a river. I wouldn't count that in the beauty of the castle itself though.

Additionally, I only counted here castles that are open to the public. There are plenty of sumptuous castles that are in private hands and completely off-limits. Many others were converted in hotels or are used by wine makers, although I don't think many of them would qualify to make the top 10.

Versailles (http://www.eupedia.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump.cgi?ID=5597) is truly a palace rather than a castle or château. It is hors catégorie (outside the classification) as one would say in French. The Louvre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louvre_Palace) and Compiègne (http://www.musee-chateau-compiegne.fr/) are also palaces. Perhaps Fontainebleau should also be listed as a palace and removed from the ranking.

I rule out Carcassonne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne) as castle it is a fortified city.

11-03-12, 21:16
I really love Blois Castle with that unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance style.

http://www.visit-loire.com/cities-loire/Blois_files/Royal Chateau Blois_1.jpghttp://www.my-home24.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Château_de_Blois-Panorama_of_the_interior_façades-Classic_Renaissance_and_-Gothic_styles-Tango7174.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3146/3064520001_0d49698295_z.jpg?zz=1http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2465/3987046311_06e0ce0ba1_z.jpghttp://www.visite-au-chateau.com/blois/porc-epic.jpg

28-03-12, 07:26
I have made photo lists of the most beautiful French châteaux (http://www.eupedia.com/france/most_beautiful_castles_of_france.shtml) (Renaissance to 19th century), the most beautiful medieval castles (http://www.eupedia.com/france/most_beautiful_medieval_castles_of_france.shtml), and the most beautiful fortified cities (http://www.eupedia.com/france/most_beautiful_fortresses_of_france.shtml) in France.

I will now add a poll. Please vote for your 5 favourite castles or châteaux. Once there are enough votes, we will see what are the 10 most popular ones. Don't hesitate to suggest castles that are not in the list yet.

28-08-13, 08:13
I like Blois Castle very much. It is very beautiful castle. and its design is much superb. I collect its pictures but i did not see it in real. i will visit this castle very soon.

01-09-13, 22:32
I'm from Orleans, so I know very well most of the Castles of this area (Ambroise, Chambord, Cherverny, Blois etc...)

So if you come in France around the Loire the best are Chambord (THE castle of the sleeping beauty) and Cheverny (perhaps little).
But of course if you come and can see just one it's Versailles. If it's just one of the list go to Chambord without a doubt.

Blois not for me. I saw it many times.... Little, dark etc... And the famous stairs are better in Chambord.

PS: When I was kid Chambord was completely empty. It's not like that now.

Cambrius (The Red)
02-09-13, 20:13
There are so many great ones. Chambord is one of my very favourites.

02-09-13, 21:54
My vote goes to Chateau de Chenonceau, also known, I believe, as the Chateau of the Ladies.
Henry II gave the chateau to his mistress Diane de Poitiers but when he died, his wife, Catherine de Medici, took it from Diane and had it for herself.
It is in the small village of Chenonceaux, and sits on the Cher River.

18-02-14, 22:28
I live not far in the Mayenne limit Bretagne.
because I lai visited almost every dish I first Chambord for her crazy architecture, second Vaux le Vicomte (because of its extraordinary gardens and parks), but you can not put in the same categorie the castle of Pierrefonds Lassay or even vincennes that are fortresses .
Bronze for the castle of Blois for his staircase.

02-01-16, 15:35
Tarascon all day long for me

09-08-21, 15:18
nice photos