20 Must-See Castles in France

Castles form a substantial percentage of France’s monuments nationaux. Which ones to target while on holiday, however, remains a point of spirited debate. Check out 20 castles that we consider especially must-see.

The P̩rigord, France РPhoto credit

Château de Puyguilhem

24530 Villars

A short drive from Périgueux and Limoges, the grand Château de Puyguilhem was built in the first third of the 16th century.

Limoges City Guide

Where to stay: Inter Hotel Atrium Limoges

Château de Cadillac

Place de la Libération, 33410 Cadillac

Some 35 km from Bordeaux, the former château of the Dukes of Épernonand is one of the first examples of French-style architecture.

Bordeaux City Guide

Where to stay: Château Grand Barrail Hotel & Spa Saint Emilion

Château d’Aulteribe

F-63120 Sermentizon

The Livardois mountains of Auvergne form the backdrop of the fine Château d’Aulteribe.

Clermont-Ferrand City Guide

Where to stay: Mercure Hotel Clermont Ferrand Centre

Château de Villeneuve-Lembron

F-63340 Saint-Germain-Lembron

Villeneuve-Lembron castle is one of the best late medieval landmarks in France.

Where to stay: Best Western Hotel Gergovie Clermont Ferrand

Château de Chareil-Cintrat

F-03140 Chareil-Cintrat

Ancient vineyards surround the glorious Château de Chareil-Cintrat near Vichy.

Where to stay: Château de Champlong Roanne

Château de Carrouges

61320 Carrouges

A marvelous castle compound on the border of Normandy and Maine.

Le Mans City Guide

Where to stay: Château De Vauloge Le Mans

Château de Bussy-Rabutin

F-21150 Bussy-le-Grand

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Discover the fabulous Auxois region and a pre-eminent portrait gallery in Bussy-le-Grand.

Dijon City Guide

Where to stay: Sofitel Dijon La Cloche Hotel

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau

rue Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

A Renaissance masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tours City Guide

Where to stay: Les Molieres Manoir Tours

Château de Bouges

36110 Bouges-le-Château

The Château de Bouges has a beautiful furniture collection and resides in the heart of the Berry region.

Chateauroux City Guide

Where to stay: Best Western Hotel Colbert Chateauroux

Château de Châteaudun

28200 Châteaudun

Gothic and Renaissance architecture come alive at the Château de Châteaudun, between Tours and Chartres.

Orléans City Guide

Where to stay: Hotel Novotel Orleans La Source

Château de Talcy

41370 Talcy

Discover the pretty area of petite Beauce at the 18th century Château de Talcy.

Where to stay: Mercure Orleans Centre Hotel

Château de Fougères

41120 Fougères-sur-Bièvre

A brilliant 15th century castle, 15 km from Blois.

Where to stay: Novotel Hotel Blois

Château de La Motte-Tilly

10400 La Motte-Tilly

Stately and opulent, the Château de La Motte-Tilly is a perfect 18th century castle.

Where to stay: Clarion Collection Hotel Saint Jean Troyes

Château de Champs-sur-Marne

31 rue de Paris, 77420 Champs-sur-Marne

Discover a Neo-Classical gem within 20 km of Paris.

Paris City Guide

Where to stay: Le Meurice Hotel Paris

Château de Maisons

2 avenue Carnot, 78600 Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons is a major point of interest between Paris and Versailles, close to the lush Forest of Saint-Germain.

Paris Suburbs City Guide

Where to stay: Relais & Chateau Cazaudehore La Forestiere Paris Hotel

Château de Vincennes

Avenue de Paris, 94300 Vincennes

A medieval fortress castle par excellence, the Château de Vincennes is just outside Paris.

Where to stay: Adagio Paris Vincennes Hotel

Château de Rambouillet

78120 Rambouillet

The Château de Rambouillet is a castle farm complex that sprawls over 20,000 hectares of woodland between Versailles and Chartres.

Where to stay: Château d’Esclimont Hotel Chartres

Château comtal de la cité de Carcassonne

11000 Carcassonne

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The UNESCO World Heritage city of Carcassonne welcomes over 3 million visitors a year.

Carcassonne City Guide

Where to stay: Relais Royal Hotel Mirepoix

Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux

46130 Prudhomat

Enjoy stellar vistas of the Dordogne valley from a 13th century castle cum art museum.

Where to stay: Grand Hotel Souillac

Château de Pierrefonds

rue Viollet-Le-Duc, 60350 Pierrefonds

The legendary architect Viollet-le-Duc led a grand and ambitious restoration of the medieval Château de Pierrefonds in the mid-19th century.

Where to stay: Best Western Les Beaux Arts Compiegne

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