Thinking of France, most of us would visualize the iconic Eiffel Tower, deliciously crunchy baguettes, and endless vineyards. Sooner or later; however, a vision of a grand chateau is likely to emerge among these thoughts.
From sprawling walled palaces to steep hilltop chateaus, the landscape of France features some of the most mesmerizing castles in the world. You might recognize a few of these from movies or a travel brochure. These castles are the type that inspires us to think about life when knights and princesses weren’t confined to a storybook’s pages.
So, if you are planning to visit France on your next vacation, here are a few castles you need to incorporate in your itinerary.
1. Chateau de Chambord, Loir-et-Cher
Arguably the most prestigious and beautiful chateau in the Loire, the structure was constructed in the 1500s for King Francis I and featured a distinctive combination of cupolas and turrets on the roof.
The most acclaimed feature of the chateau; however, is a central double-helix staircase, which twists gracefully up three storeys and is lit from above by a skylight. Some historians believe that Leonardo de Vinci had something to do with the design of this helical structure.
Overall, Chateau de Chambord is stunningly majestic structure, and you need to visit these grounds to truly witness the grandeur and legends of aristocracy that emanates from within the high walls.
2. Vaux-le-Vicomte, Seine-et-Marne
This mid-17th-century palace, located southeast of Paris, is visually mind-blowing. The structure is the manifestation of extravagance and tasteful aristocracy, thanks to the collaborative vision of the two great designers from Versailles – Charles Le Brun and André Le Nôtre.
The palace has astonishingly large grounds; so extensive that as many as 18,000 laborers were employed to take care of them.
3. Château de Chenonceau, Indre-et-Loire
One of the most iconic structures from the Renaissance period, the Château de Chenonceau is built on arches straddling the River Cher. After Versailles, the castle is the second most-visited chateau in France.
According to historians, the palace was gifted to Diane de Poitiers from King Henry II. Through the years, the ownership of the structure has gone into the hands of some of the most notable personalities in French history, such as Catherine de’ Medici, Louise de Lorraine, Duc de Vendôme and Louise Dupin.
4. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Bas-Rhin
One of the more disputed figures in French history, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg dominates the landscape in Alsace from the Buntsandstein Rock. The entire structure is made from pink sandstone, which is why it emanates a slightly iridescent hue in the sun.
In history, the palace was ransacked by the Swedes in a war which continued for 30 long years. The chateau structure, as we see now, is from the late 19th-century, almost after 200 years after the War, when Kaiser Wilhelm II oversaw an imaginative and rose-tinted restoration of the chateau.
5. Château de Cheverny, Loir-et-Cher
If you are a lover of Tintin, you may recognize Château de Cheverny as Captain Haddock’s country house – Marlinspike Hall from the comic books.
The château has been with the same family for the past six centuries and features ornate 17th and 18th-century interiors, especially in the apartments.
You can enjoy the guided tour of the castle, which includes a boat trip on the large pond and the kennel, where a hundred hunting dogs of the estate are exercised each day.
Enjoy the Delightful Experience of French Wines and Castles on Your Next Holiday
France seems to offer a seemingly endless supply of mesmerizing castles and fortified towns with rich histories. Throughout history, the country had been the battleground for some of Europe’s most definitive wars, whose remnants can be seen etched into the walls of these picturesque yet robust medieval structures.
So, for your next holiday, take your family to explore the iconic country-scape of France and experience history unfold itself right in front of your eyes. Be sure to take ample time off work for the trip and apply for a visa well advance.
To maximize your travel experience and avoid hassles en-route, you can opt for a Schengen visa and purchase travel insurance against the visa. Having a Schengen visa allows you to seamlessly explore as many as 26 European countries for up to 180 days, without having to re-apply for a visa every time your cross borders.
That being said, reputable insurers such as Tata AIG General Insurance help augment your trip itinerary with travel insurance for Schengen visa so that you can tackle any unplanned hassles on your trip including emergency medical care, cancelled flights, lost baggage, and even passport re-issuance.
Going off on vacation to a country as vibrant as France, you would want to have a clutter-free and receptive mindset to enjoy the magnificence and aristocracy of the French castles better. And, with the right itinerary, your family and travel insurance to save you from hassles, you can be sure to have the time of your life.
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