7 Fairy-tale castles in France

Magical castles in France

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a river on which stood some of the most beautiful castles the world has ever seen.

The faraway land is France and the region is the Loire Valley, where some of the most striking Renaissance-style castles can be found.

The history of the area reaches as far back as the era of Julius Caesar in 52BC and became an important centre of power in France before King Francois moved the capital back to Paris.

Many of the castles were destroyed and looted during the French Revolution and later became military grounds during World War 1 and World War II.

Now they have been returned to their former glory and remain a popular tourist destination, attracting hundreds of thousands of travellers each year.

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If you are planning a trip to France, then make sure you allow some time to wander through the grand chateaux along the Loire River while you’re here. Here are but a few to take your pick from.

Read more: Germany’s most spectacular castles

1. Chenonceau

The old keep at Chanonceau has seen things you could barely imagine. #loire #chanonceau #castle

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The Château de Chenonceau is also known as the lady’s château as it it was given as a gift by King Henry II to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. His wife, Queen Catherine de Medici, was none too happy about it, though, and kicked Diane out of the house as soon as the king died.

2. Ussé

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This is the very château that inspired the writing of the fairy tale classic Sleeping Beauty and also inspired Disney’s interpretation of the castle, too. The medieval towers and renaissance features make it one of the most popular castles in the region.

3. Villandry

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If you love your gardens, then this 1536 château is sure to inspire. The formal gardens that surround the building are geometric manicured lawns and attract more than 300,000 visitors per year.

4. Blois

#blois #chateaublois #loira #france #loire

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Built between the 13th and 17th centuries, the Château de Blois is where Joan of Arc was blessed before her march in 1429. The building has also been home to several kings including Louis XII, Henry III and Henry IV.

5. Chaumont

A 10th-century fortress was initially built on the grounds before it was burnt down and destroyed by Louis XI. The Château de Chaumont was then constructed by the the previous owner Pierre d’Amboise, who was punished for his involvement in an anti-royal protest.

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6. Chambord

Pique-nique à chambord #chateauchambord #chambord #horses #loirevalley #horsebackriding #horsesofinstagram #randoacheval

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Built for Francois I, the Château de Chambord has got to be one of the most opulent representations of renaissance architecture in France. The building took more than 30 years to construct and includes 440 rooms, 84 staircases and 365 fireplaces.

7. Meung-sur-Loire

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Qu'il est beau le château #chateau #loire #sunny

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Occupied by the English during the Hundred Years’ War, much of the original château was destroyed over many years. Now, the three towers remain along with parts of the original building which was built during the 12th century.

Which of these magical châteaux have you visited? Let us know all about it in the comments section below.

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