France is one of the most diverse and stunning countries I have ever visited, therefore it is essential that one of my first posts is about the cultural and spectacular Châteaux found in France.
Obviously there are hundreds of Châteaux in France, so it would be almost impossible to create an interesting blog post, if I have to repeat myself again and again (and also, I just don’t have that much time!)
So, I have carefully narrowed the list down, to my favourite 5 , historically and culturally.
Château de Versailles is situated in the île-de-France region, and is perhaps one of the best know Châteaux in France. It was constructed in 1623, to be used as a hunting lodge for the King Louis XIII, and has since been expanded by other various monarchs; Louis XIV, Louis XVIII, Louis XV. It is still being renovated to this day.
As Versailles was the seat of political power in France from 1682, the Château de Versailles is not only famous for being a building, but also represents the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
The Château de Saumur (inset) is also another of my favourites, it can be found in the heart of Saumur, within the Loire Region, overlooking the River Loire. It was originally built by Theobald I in the 10th century as a fortification against the Normans, however it was destroyed in 1067, leading to the reconstruction in the 12th century.
Along with many other Châteaux in France, the Château de Saumur has been labelled as a monument historique.
Château de Chambord, is built with a renaissance style and is situated in Chambord, unsurprisingly. This Château has never been completed but it was constructed by the French King, King Francis I of France. As well as being the largest Château in the Loire Valley, the Château de Chambord also plays a major piece in French History.
It was practically abandoned, after the sale of its furniture, paintings and even timber, until Napoleon Bonaparte gave it to his subordinate, Louis Alexandre Berthier. Also during WWII, paintings from the French Galleries (Louvre in particular) were sent to the Château de Chambord, to be safety. One of the most well known paintings sent here was the Mona Lisa.
The Château de Chenonceau is also in the Loire Valley and is built with the artchitectural mixture of gothic and renaissance style in mind. It is also one of the most visited Châteaux in France, unsurprising due to its extensive and beautiful gardens, and the river that flows beneath the Château.
It was not built for royal reasons, but in fact for rich people and was passed down through the generations.
Finally, the Château de Pierrefonds has also made it to my quite small (sorry) list. It’s a medieval castle situated in Pierrefonds, Oise Region. The 12th century began the major construction of this Château, however it just began with a small castle, and was extended to a larger one in 1393. Although during Louis XIII’s reign, people attempted to demolish this castle, but gave up eventually, due to the enormity of the task, and therefore, the castle remained abandoned and a ruin for more than two centuries until Napoleon I arrived. From then, the castle has been effectively restored and extended.
In modern times, the Château de Pierrefonds has been used for plenty of filming, such as Camelot in the BBC’s Merlin, and also for Disney’s Wizards of Waverley Place.
There you have it, I hope you have enjoyed it!
Have you been to any of these Châteaux? or are there any that aren’t on my list but they definitely should? just comment below!
– Navigatio Travel