7 Must-See Beautiful Castles Near Paris (And Easy To Get To)

Do you like history, culture and architecture? Are you fond of the artistic grandeur of the renaissance or the impressive aspect of the medieval style? In this case, you are sure to appreciate visiting historical French castles! If you want to discover famous castles near Paris, this list is for you.

 

1) Palace of Fontainebleau

fontainebleau

Palace of Fontainebleau, 77300 Fontainebleau

With a history dating back to the XIIth century, this castle is surely one of the most famous in France. Its construction lasted about 8 centuries and shows many different styles (medieval, renaissance, classical…), for the pleasure and fun of architecture enthusiasts.

From its huge chapels to its spacious gardens, including its museums and art galleries (the castle even has a theater!), you are sure to find something you’ll love.
In addition to that, the castle offers many unusual activities such as carriages and dinghy rides, and even balloon flights!

Another benefit for nature lovers: The Fontainebleau forest is only a few steps away.

Opening hours:
From Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 6pm / Closed every Tuesday
Check the exact opening hours on the official website

Prices:
€11 to enter the castle
Between €14 and €16 for a guided tour
Bonus: you can visit the parks and gardens of the castle every day for free!
Check the updated prices on the official website

How to get there:
1h – Car via A6 (70 km)
40 min – Transilien line R from Gare De Lyon to “Thomery (Fontainebleau)”
Shuttles going directly to the castle from Paris are available everyday
For more information on how to go to the castle, go to the official website

 

 

2) Château de Chantilly

chantilly

Château de Chantilly, 60500 Chantilly

Built from the XIVth to the XVIIIth century, Chantilly is a perfect example of the Renaissance style. This, of course, means that your eyes will sparkle with amazement!

As soon as you arrive, you are welcomed by the statue of Anne de Montmorency riding his trusty steed, guarding the majestic entrance of the fortress. All around the castle, a wide moat and an esplanade give the feeling that this residence dominates the whole area.
A breathtaking view!

One of the strong points of Chantilly would be the Grandes Ecuries. With a 28 meter high dome and the potential to hold 240 horses, they are the biggest stables in all of Europe. Many demonstrations and shows take place there, with the possibility to go behind the scenes and learn about the lifestyle of the horse riders. The Horse Museum is also located in Chantilly; if you are more interested in the history and representation of horses in our civilization, be sure not to miss this unique experience!

Opening hours:
Everyday from 10am to 6pm
Check the exact opening hours on the official website

Rates:
€17 for a tour of the domain
€8 to access the gardens
€17 to visit “Les Grandes Ecuries”
Check the updated prices on the official website

How to get there:
1h – Car via A3 (50 km)
45 min – RER D to “Chantilly-Gouvieux”
25 min – Train from Gare du Nord to “Chantilly-Gouvieux”
For more information on how to get to there, visit this website

 

 

3) Château de Monte-Cristo

montecristo
Credits: Moonik, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

Chemin du hauts des Ormes, 78560 Le Port-Marly

For literature enthusiasts, we recommend this castle that Alexandre Dumas had built in 1844 after the big success of his book “The Three Musketeers”!
While it is smaller and less impressive than the other castles, it is still full of its own charm and authenticity. By going through the rooms of the castle, you can rediscover the festive ambiance of the amazing banquets organized on a regular basis by Alexandre Dumas.

Many types of tours are available: classic guided tours, of course, but also different theatrical and musical stagings where actors intervene during the tour to bring the characters of Dumas or celebrities of his time back to life! It’s like an actual time machine that will completely immerse you in the atmosphere of the castle and bring you back to the heart of the romantic era.

If you go there during the months of February, March or November, you may have the chance to meet a few special characters, represented by comedians for the pleasure of the visitors…

Opening hours:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12:30am then from 2pm to 6pm
Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 6pm
Saturdays, Sundays and some public holidays from 10am to 6pm
Check the exact opening hours on the official website

Prices:
€7 for a tour of the domain and the park (3€ for the park alone)
€8 for a complete guided tour / for the special tour with the comedians
€10 for a tour including the theatrical and musical stagings
Check the updated prices on the official website

How to get there:
45 min – Car via A13 (25 km)
50 min – RER A to Saint-Germain en Laye then Bus 10 to “Les Lampes”
For more information on how to go to the castle, go to the official website

 

 

4) Château de Vincennes

Vincennes
Credits: Selbymay, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

Avenue de Paris, 94300 Vincennes

This incredible fortress with the highest dungeon in all of Europe (more than 50 meters!) stands tall at the entrance of Paris and is surrounded by a 7-meter deep ditch. You can only access it by walking on its stone bridges, which bring back the medieval aspect of the fortified castle.
Inside, the courtyard expands and the dungeon ascends, reflecting the architectural grandeur of the time: a truly remarkable thing to behold!

The castle offers simple guided tours, but also tours accompanied by a talented lecturer from the “Centre des Monuments Nationaux” (a government body which manages historical structures) for those who want to learn a little more about the subject. You will also have the opportunity to climb the 250 steps to the top of the dungeon (good stamina is required!). In addition to that, the site hosts many cultural and artistic events such as medieval reconstitutions or many types of concerts.
Another strong point: the castle is right next to the Parc Floral and the Bois de Vincennes… It is therefore perfect for a family trip!

Opening hours:
Every day from 10am to 5pm

Prices:
€9 for a complete tour (guided tours available for free at certain times)
€15 for a tour with a lecturer
€10 to visit the dungeon

How to get there:
15 min – Métro ligne 1 from Gare de Lyon to Château de Vincennes
20 min – RER A from Gare de Lyon to Vincennes
For any supplementary information concerning the prices, opening hours or how to get to the castle, check the official website

 

 

5) Château de Breteuil

breteuil
Credits: Chateau de Breteuil, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

Château de Breteuil, 78460 Choisel

Located within a national natural park, the château de Breteuil harbors many activities and sceneries which make it a true attraction for children and adults alike! Classified as a historical monument, its gardens are part of the “remarkable gardens of France“.

But that’s not all: in the hopes of creating a magical atmosphere, the castle hosts many representations and interpretations of Charles Perrault’s tales (the famous French author)!
Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, or even Sleeping Beauty… they will all be there in the flesh… and in the wax! Because you can find within the domain many wax sculptures made by the Grevin museum that are used to give life to the stories of our childhood…
So stop hesitating, and come look for Tom Thumb, or go on an adventure in the labyrinth of Cinderella!

Opening hours:
Everyday from 10am to 8pm
Check the exact opening hours on the official website

Prices:
€10,70 for a tour of the gardens and a representation of the tales
€16,80 for a tour of the gardens, the castle, and a representation of the tales
Check the updated prices on the official website

How to get there:
1h – Car via A10
1h – RER B to Saint-Rémy-Lès-Chevreuses, then shuttle “BALADOBUS”
For more information on how to get to the castle, go to this page

 

 

6) Château de Pierrefonds

pierrefonds

Rue Viollet le Duc, 60350 Pierrefonds

The château de Pierrefonds has a very particular style because, like the Palace of Fontainebleau, it went through numerous periods: built by Louis d’Orléans, then destroyed by Louis XIII, then rebuilt by Napoléon III… which makes it a controversial castle! In any case, there is no doubt on one point: it is an impressive fortress. With its eight medieval towers and the sumptuous decorations in its rooms, the castle deserves the title of the imperial residence.

For the visit, you will have the choice between discovering it by yourself, with a guide, or if you thirst for knowledge, you can even attend a special conference to really understand the history of the castle. And if you are looking to relax in a calmer place, plan a stroll in the national forest of Compiègne, right next to the castle! You won’t regret it…

Opening hours:
Everyday from 9:30am to 6pm

Prices:
€8 For a tour by yourself or with a guide
€140 for the special tour-conference
Check the updated prices on the official website

How to get there:
1h30 – Car via A1 (95 km)
1h45 – Train from Gare du Nord to Compiègne, then bus “Oise Mobilité” to the castle
For more information on the opening hours or how to get to the castle, check this website

 

 

7) Palace of Versailles

versailles
Credits: Marc Vassal, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles

We saved the best for last with the world’s biggest castle, the majestic palace of the most famous kings of France: Versailles. With more than 63 hectares inside and 815 hectares of gardens (around 8000 hectares before the French Revolution!), the castle hosts a thousand showrooms for art and culture enthusiasts.

The Versailles experience is incredible: besides the castle, you will have the opportunity to visit the personal residence of Marie-Antoinette, the temporary exhibitions, as well as the musical representations alongside the basins and gardens. But that’s not all! You can also visit The Hall of Mirrors, the Battles Gallery, the Royal Stables… Basically, many incredible places for an unforgettable day!

Opening hours:
From Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 6.30pm

Prices:
€20 for a ticket allowing you complete access to the domain for one day
€25 for a ticket allowing you complete access to the domain for two days
€18 for access to the castle alone

How to get there:
50 min – Car via A13
55 min – RER C to “Gare de Versailles Château Rive Gauche”

For more information:
Opening hours and how to get to the castle
Prices

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