Tag Archives: France

Best Châteaux in France

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 


Best places in Saumur 

Well, as I said before in my previous post France – Saumur , I just love France, along with it’s diverse countryside and countless Chateau’s.

So in this post I am going to be naming my favourite places to eat, things to do and best views in the gorgeous town of Saumur.

This historic town is situated between the Loire and Thouet Rivers, as well as being surrounded by some of France’s best wine vineyards. 

I think I will start with a bit of history about this  town; the Chateau de Saumur was built in the 10th century to protect the settlement from Norman Attacks. If you walk alongside the walls, which go down the hill from Rue des Moulins to the town centre, you can still see the arrow slits. 

Saumur was also involved in the Second World War, and was therefore the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940). Once the war had finished, Saumur was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) due to the display of French Patriotism and resistance during the war.

Saumur is also the home of Le Cadre Noir, an equestrian display team, the National Tank Museum and above all, the magnificent Chateau de Saumur. 

For me, the best restaurants were:

  • L’escargot
  • Le Grand Bleu
  • La Bigouden 
  • Saumur 1929

They all showed individuality as well as  delicious and traditional French Cuisine. 

I would honestly recommend walking or cycling along the River Loire, a great bike hire place is Velospot , they have great and friendly service, as well as speaking English. 

Also Kayaking along the River, proved to be very enjoyable as well, we chose Pole Nautique which enabled us to choose where to start our journey and how long we would make it. Here are some options if where to start the kayak:

  • Villebernier
  • Montsoreau
  • Luynes
  • Chouze
  • St. Clement

Here are some activities that I would really reccomend  to see or do:

  • Le Cadre Noir
  • The National Tank Museum 
  • Chateau de Saumur 
  • Mushroom Museum 
  • Notre Dame des Ardillieres 
  • St . Peter Church 
  • Troglodyte Caves

If you want, you can always visit Chateaux close to Saumur, such as in:

  • Chenonceau  
  • Chaumont
  • Chinon
  • Blois 
  • Rivau
  • Amboise

For me, the best views were at the Rue des Moulins. It looks over the River Loire, with a terrific view of the opposite bank.

Have you been to Saumur before? If so, do you have any suggestions or other comments (or perhaps just wanting a little shoutout?). All you have to do is comment below!

Comment below if you have any blog post suggestions.

Thanks for reading ,

– Navigatio Travel

France – Saumur

Well, what can I say? This is without a doubt the reason that France is practically my second home. 

We stayed in a gorgeous house, with fabulous views all over the River Loire, where over the next couple of days, we cycled and walked along it as well as kayaking downstream. I will try and find a link to the house, I really do recommend it. 

I visited this stunning town about two years ago now, so obviously I can’t remember all of the facts that made this trip memorable, but I can remember this: my true disappointment and sadness when I had to leave this little gem of France.

The people here are undoubtedly some of the friendliest type you could ever wish to meet, at every café, restaurant, shop or even on small excursions, or just generally wandering and exploring Saumur, they constantly treat you as if you weren’t a tourist but a local, living there with them in France. The genuine smile I saw so many times a day really lifted and brightened my day, thus improving the holiday overall.

We also visited the wonderful Chateau of Chenonceau, a highlight of the trip, which is situated in Chenonceaux, only 1 hour or so away from Saumur.

It’s bright gardens, river flowing practically beneath the Chateau, and maze will make it a trip for the whole family. 

We also visited the Saumur Chateau on another day, which again was pretty spectacular, compared to British castles. If you visit France, make sure to visit at least one castle; I will do a later post on the best French Chateau’s to visit. 

The Saumur Chateau is not featured in the photo below, but the photo is instead of the Notre-Dame des Ardillieres, a chapel.

On another day, we enjoyed watching Le Cadre Noir, an equestrian display team, and the French Military Academy École Nationale d’Équitation  (where the display is held) is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the World. 

I apologise, I have no photos of this display, due to my attempt to upload photos, but them just not seeming to upload, but here is a link to Le Cadre Noir’s webpage, I advise you to check it out.

Anyway, that is all for now, I think, any questions or comments, please feel free to ask or perhaps to even share this blog post, it’s up to you.

Have you been to this glorious part of France, or are you planning to come to Saumur or the Loire Region? Comment below,

Thanks again and goodbye,

-Navigatio Travel