This château is nicknamed the “Château des Dames” because King Henry II gave this castle to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. She commissioned the gorgeous bridge that many people find as the most beautiful thing about the castle.
2. Chateau de Chambord
Built as a hunting lodge for François I, Château de Chambord is one of the finest examples of the Renaissance architecture in France. Took over 30 years to build during the 16th century, it’s one of the most extravagant châteaux with elaborate rooftop of 800 sculpted columns and over 440 rooms and 85 staircases, making it the largest château in the Loire Valley.
3. Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
Built in the reign of King Francois I (where architecture and arts truly flourished during this Renaissance period), Chateau Azay-le-Rideau is a small and charmingly romantic castle with Italian style architecture. It is hard to believe that it was a defensive fortress in times past because of its beauty.
4. Chateau de Chaumont
The Chateau was built in the years between 1465 and 1510 by Charles I and Charles II d’Amboise. The Château de Chaumont was purchased by Catherine de Medici a year after Henry II’s death. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus.
5. Chateau de Chantilly
The Chateau was originally built in around 1528 for the Constable Anne de Montmorency. This beautiful chateau is made up of two attached sections: the Grand Chateau and the Petit Chateau, but the Grand Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution. It was later rebuilt.
6. Chateau de Pierrefonds
Originally built in the 12th century but rebuilt in the 14th century for Louis, Duke of Orléans. Napoléon Bonaparte visited it in 1850 and asked the father of modern restorations, Viollet-le-Duc to restore it to the point of even surpassing its previous grandeur.
7. Chateau d’Usse
The Chateau d’Ussé is where Charles Perrault the author of Sleeping Beauty (La Belle au Bois Dormant) was inspired to use this castle as Sleeping Beauty’s castle and later on in Disney.
8. Chateau de Villandry
For those who have a passion for gardens, then Chateau de Villandry has the most spectacular gardens! Completed in 1536, the chateau was built in a Renaissance style by Jean le Breton, one of François I’s Finance Ministers.
9. Chateau de Blois
Built between the 13th and 17th century, the chateau was the location where the Archbishop of Reims blessed Joan of Arc before her march on Orleans in 1429 and has also served as the residence of many French kings.
10. Chateau de Cheverny
Chateau de Cheverny was built the chateau between 1624 and 1630 by Philippe Hurault. Renowned for its exquisite interior which was renovated in 1768, the chateau holds a large collection of tapestries, furniture and artwork.
11. Chateau de Amboise
Dating back to the 11th century, this was taken by the French King Charles VII in the mid-15th century and became a royal palace. François I based his court here. Leonardo da Vinci came to the chateau and it became both his workplace and his home.
12. Chateau de Chinon
This massive chateau was built in the 12th century. It is known as the castle where Joan of Arc proclaimed that she heard heavenly voices and where she went to meet with the Charles VII, Dauphin of France who resided here from 1427 to 1450.
13. Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire
An imposing medieval fortress built in the 14th century, this castle was later on transformed into a residential chateau by the Duke of Sully.
Voltaire sought shelter here in Château de Sully-sur-Loire during his exile from Paris.
Today the castle hosts a classical music festival every year on June.
14. Chateau de Angers
This castle was first founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou but its current colossal size was added sometime in the 13th century.
Today, the castle has been converted to a museum which houses the oldest and biggest collection of medieval tapestries from all over the world.
15. Mont St. Michael
Mont St Michel, constructed during the 8th century, is located on a rocky island off the north coast of France in Normandy. When the monastery was first constructed, it was connected to the mainland by a land bridge that was covered completely by water during high tide and visible again at low tide.