5 OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE PALACES IN FRANCE
France is one country universally agreed to be such a delightful experience for tourists. It is home to the most exquisite of wines and cuisines, the most beautiful of art, and the most majestic of structures. France’s cultural taste for things of beauty is unmatched. This is why it’s no surprise that it adds some of the most impressive palaces in the world to its repertoire.
With over 40,000 castles spread across its cities, there’s definitely a sight for everyone. Luckily for you, we’ve sieved through the bunch and whittled the list down to 5 of the most amazing castles you will ever see in your lifetime. All these castles are tourist attraction centres featured by most unique private tours of France. So, if you’re considering a trip to France anytime soon, here are 5 of the most impressive palaces you may want to stop by:
1. CHATEAU DE CHAMBORD
Built by King Francois I in the 16th century, the Chateau de Chambord is the largest palace in the Loire Valley. Though originally built for the king as a hunting lodge, the Chateau de Chambord is now one of the most stunning pieces of palace architecture in the world today, and one of the most prominent symbols of the Renaissance era.
Located just 2 hours from Paris, the Chateau is surrounded by forests that are home to a flourishing wildlife, giving it this alluring country feeling. The grounds are large and sprawling with gardens through which its visitors can wander and explore for hours. And on the north side of the castle is a river from where one can have such a magnificent view of the edifice.
The best part is, although the sheer artistry of the exterior is so striking, it pales in comparison to the craftsmanship of the interior. The Chateau is home to a most notable double-helix staircase at the center of the keep, extending gracefully up three floors and is lit magnificently from above by a skylight. So it’s no surprise that its architecture was said to be influenced by Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Thousands come to visit the chateau every year, and there’s definitely a place for you here.
2. MONT SAINT-MICHEL
About half a mile off the coast of Normandy sits the majestic island that is Mont Saint-Michel. This fortress rests in the center of a tidal plain, nesting both a monastery and an abbey. This abbey is the crow of the island, dedicated to the archangel Micheal. With a masterful gothic design, walking on the abbey's grounds creates a calming sense of peace and its walls a haunting sense of wonder.
This landmark has stood the test of time, enabling it to have such a rich history. Its birth 一dating back to the 8th century一 was said to be the inspiration of the archangel Michael himself, and it stood uncaptured, and unassailed through the 100-year war. This fortress has now been declared a UNESCO world heritage sight, attracting both locally and from overseas, over three million tourists yearly.
3. PALACE OF VERSAILLES
If you’re an international tourist taking the train from Amsterdam to Paris or from any part of the world, the Palace of Versailles should be one of your first points of contact. Pictures don’t do enough justice to the jaw-dropping beauty of this Palace. Formerly the residence of the french royalty from kings Louis XIV to XVI, the Palace of Versailles was such a majestic composition that it provided a model for the rest of Europe as to what the seat of power should look like for over a century.
What was formerly the hunting lodge of King Louis XII was inherited by his son who began to transform it. Subsequently, several kings succeeded the throne, each adding their own embellishments to the palace. With each generation of kings came new craftsmanship at the hands of the finest painters, sculptors, architects, and landscape artists.
All of these added to the ever-expanding majesty of the great palace. And hundreds of years down the line, the Palace is now a UNESCO world heritage site, visited by millions yearly.
4. CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU
The Chateau de Chenoceau is one of the most elegant palaces of the Loire Chateaux. Its exceptional architecture, combined with its magical setting along the river Cher, and its remarkable history make this palace one of the most interesting places to visit.
Commonly referred to as the “le Chateau des dames” or the “Ladies' chateau”, it hosts some of the most spectacular designs ever to be embellished by women on a french castle. And now, this chateau with its most unique history attracts over 800,000 visitors yearly.
CHATEAU DE FONTAINEBLEU
Located about an hour from Paris, Chateau de Fontainebleau sits in the center of a beautiful forest. It was first set up as a hunting lodge in the 12th century, then subsequent kings took control and modified it to their taste. This blend of tastes makes the Chateau and all its attractions one of the finest products of the french Renaissance era. Boasting of over 1,500 rooms, the Chateau is one of the most exciting castles in the world to explore for tourists.
France is definitely one destination that has something for everybody. If you’re an international tourist, taking the train from Amsterdam to Paris or from any part of the world, then visiting any of these sights guarantees such an incredible experience. An epic adventure awaits!