Oh, France! Land of gorgeous chateaus and fine food. If you’re heading to France for a vacation, you simply can’t miss visiting some of its historic Chateaux, many of which are over one thousand years old. France has seen more than its fair share of battles, so it’s no wonder the country is home to an abundance of Chateaux and fortified buildings. We’ve selected the 5 best castles in France you simply have to visit. Here are our top picks:
1. Château d’Angers
Chateau d’Angers is over one thousand years old. It was founded in the 9th century, before being expanded to a large fortified castle in the 13th century. It’s located in the stunning Loire Valley and it’s best known for its unbeatable display of medieval artworks and tapestries. The main tapestry, known as the Apocalypse, was created in the 14th century. The castle was used as an armory during the First and Second World War, and it was severely damaged by a Nazi bomb that exploded inside the castle while the castle was being used it as a place for storage. Find a place to stay near to the Chateau d’Angers in the Loire Valley.
2. Château de Roquetaillade
Chateau de Roquetaillade is located in Bordeaux, which is home to chateaus and fine red wine. It’s said that the building of the Roquetaillade started in the 10th century. Today, it has been excellently restored and draws in thousands of visitors each year. The castle has been occupied by the same family since the 12th century, believe it or not. Marvel at the castle with your own eyes and find a place to stay in Bordeaux. Plus — why not pair your visit to the castle with a spot of wine tasting? Check out our article Wine Vacation Destinations: Bordeaux to get inspired.
3. Château de Carcassonne
Carcassonne Castle sits inside a fortified medieval town that’s located on top of a hill in the Languedoc region. It’s known to be one of France’s most impressive fortifications and sits not far from the border with Spain. Due to its location as a historic route through Europe, the area has been occupied for thousands of years and there are parts of the town’s outer wall that date back to the Roman era. The castle fell into disrepair over time, but was restored in the 19th century.
4. Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes is known as one of Europe’s most historically important medieval buildings. It was first constructed in the 13th century as a fortified convent, and it became the home of the Papacy in the 14th century when Rome rebelled against the election of Pope Clement V. It’s known as the largest gothic-style building from the medieval era and draws in thousands of tourists each year.
5. Château de Saumur
Chateau de Saumur looks like something out of a Disney film. With its fairytale-like turrets and position overlooking the river Loire, it’s a truly beautiful destination. The castle was first built as a 10th-century fortress and was added to over time. Today, it is home to a series of small museums and interesting exhibitions.