The Best Castles near Paris

Since Paris is home to some of the most interesting attractions in the world, very few people venture out of the city during their visit. However, France is much more than just Paris.

If you appreciate calmer, more picturesque surroundings, and you are spending more than 2 days in Paris, taking a day trip out can be an excellent way to spend your time and explore more of French culture.

Within a short distance from Paris, there are several magnificent castles of great beauty and historical value that will leave you breathless. This is our list of the most beautiful castles around Paris.

Best 10 Castles near Paris you have to visit

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1. Palace of Versailles

Palace-of-Versailles Castles near Paris

Palace of Versailles is undoubtedly the quintessential French chateaux. Besides being one of the grandest and most luxurious castles in the country, it also has a fascinating history.

Built as a residence for France’s most famous king, Louis XIV, the castle and the garden cover an area of outstanding size. Visitors will find dozens of rooms filled with exquisite furniture and art pieces.

Some of the most impressive parts of the castle are The Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Stables, and the private residence of Queen Marie Antoinette.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: RER line C5 arrives at the Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche train station, which is 10 minutes on foot away from the castle.

From Gare Montparnasse, you can take the train to Versailles Chantiers train station, followed by a 20-minute walk to the palace. From Gare Saint Lazare, you can take the train to Versailles Rive Droite train station, followed by a 15-minute walk to the Palace. The train journey is 30 minutes.

You can also take Versailles Express that goes directly to the palace from the Eiffel Tower, departure at 7.45 am, 9.45 am, and 1.30 pm.

The RATP bus line 171 goes between Pont de Sèvres (terminus of the Paris metro line 9) and the Palace of Versailles. The journey takes 30 minutes.

2. Chateau de Chantilly

Castles near Paris Château-de-Chantilly

The construction on Chateau de Chantilly began in the 14th-century and ended four centuries later. The castle is a magnificent example of the refinement and elegance specific to the Renaissance style.

Besides the beauty of the castle, another point of attraction is its gorgeous location amid vast areas of formal gardens and picturesque villages, dotted by charming lakes and ponds.

This makes Chateau de Chantilly a great respite from the hustle and bustle of Paris. The estate is also home to the largest stables in Europe, and there are many equestrian shows and demonstrations taking place regularly.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: From Gare du Nord, you can take SNCF main lines and get off at Chantilly-Gouvieux.

The journey takes 30 minutes.

Take RER line D and get off at Chantilly-Gouvieux train station. The journey takes 45 minutes.

Take bus no. 15 Senlis direction and get off at Chantilly Eglise Notre-Dame.

Check out: Famous castles to visit in France. 

3. Palace of Fontainebleau

Castles near Paris Palace-of-Fontainebleau

One of the largest castles near Paris, Palace of Fontainebleau is also one of the most famous French landmarks, as it served as a royal residence for French monarchs.

Built in the 12th-century, the castle was expanded continuously over the next eight centuries, which led to an original and bewildering mix of architectural styles, including medieval and Renaissance.

With its large gardens, museums, and art galleries, Chateau de Fontainebleau leaves a great impression on its visitors. The Fontainebleau forest nearby adds even more charm to the setting.

Opening hours and Tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: From Paris Gare de Lyon take Transilien line R to Fontainebleau Avon train station. From here, take Aerial 1 Bus direction Les Lilas which stops two-minutes away from the castle. Total journey takes 1h and 20 minutes.

4. Chateau de Compiègne

Castles near Paris Château-de-Compiègne

Along with Versailles and Fontainebleau, Chateau de Compiègne is one of the most important historic castles near Paris that served for centuries as a royal residence.

Built for King Louis XV, the castle is set in an area of stunning natural beauty, where many French monarchs preferred to spend the summer. Due to its location near the Compiegne Forest, the castle also served as a great base for hunting trips.

Besides the royal apartments open for visitors, the castle is also home today to the Museum of the Second Empire and the National Car Museum.

Opening hours and Tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Free buses to the castles run from Monday to Saturday on Line 1, 2, and 4.

From Gare du Nord, there are several SNCF trains available daily. The train journey can last from 40 minutes to 1h and 20 minutes. The castle is 10 minutes away from the train station.

5. The Palace of Malmaison

Castles near Paris The-Palace-of-Malmaison

Located only 15 kilometres away from the city center, Chateau De Malmaison is one of the best castles outside Paris. This is the former residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

The castle also housed the French Government between 1800 and 1802, and it is also where Napoleon spent his last days in Paris. Although this countryside chateau does not have the grandeur of other, more famous French castles, the beautiful architecture and the quiet surroundings are worth exploring.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Take bus 258 from La Defense metro station. Get off at Le Chateau bus station.

You can also take RER A to Rueil Malmaison, but this will involve a 40-minute walk to the castle.

6. Chateau de Maisons Laffitte

Castles near Paris hateau-de-Maisons-Laffitte

Chateau de Maisons Laffitte was built in the first half of the 17th-century as a residence for the Count of Artois, the brother of King Louis XIV. This is also one of the most stunning castles close to Paris.

Impressed by the sumptuous chateau, the king asked the sculptors and decorators that worked on his brother’s castle to help him build a similar residence, which would become the Versailles.

As a precursor of Versailles, Chateau de Maisons Laffitte is a gorgeous construction of great national significance. Due to its importance, it has been preserved with great care by the French state since the beginning of the 20th-century.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Take RER Line A and get off at Maisons-Laffitte station.

7. Chateau de Pierrefonds

Castles near Paris Château-de-Pierrefonds

Originally, Chateau de Pierrefonds was a castle built in the 14th-century as a residence for the Duke Louis of Orleans. However, this construction was destroyed three centuries later and left in ruins.

Due to the historic value of the place, Napoleon III ordered reconstruction according to the original medieval designs. For this reason, the castle is definitely an intriguing sight.

With several massive towers, today it looks like an imposing fortress. The sumptuous rooms are reminders of the castle’s role as an imperial residence.

Opening hours: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: There is no direct connection from Paris to the castle. You can take the train to Compiegne, then bus 27 to Pierrefonds-Mairie, followed by a short walk to the castle.

8. Chateau de Vincennes

Castles near Paris Château-de-Vincennes

Chateau de Vincennes has tremendous significance in French history. Up until 1682, this fortified castle was the primary residence of the French monarchy, but Louis XIV decided to relocate to Versailles.

For the following three centuries, the castle served as a prison for highly political figures such as the Marquis de Sade. The castle also had a strategic military role, offering protection against invasions and revolutions.

During the Second World War, Chateau de Vincennes was tragically damaged. Today, however, it is fully restored. The most impressive thing about the castle is the 50-meter tall dungeon.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Take metro line 1 and get off at Chateau de Vincennes.

Take RER A line direction Marne la Vallée or Boissy-Saint-Léger and get off at Vincennes train station.

Take bus 46, 56, or 86 to Porte de Vincennes.

9. Chateaux de Champs-Sur-Marne

Castles near Paris Châteaux-de-Champs-Sur-Marne

Chateau de Champs-Sur-Marne is a neoclassical palace built as a summer residence for wealthy members of the French royal administration. It is an example of the 18th-century architecture typical of private estates.

The interiors are sumptuous and include important art pieces and extravagant décor. The collection of furniture includes 900 items. No other castles near Paris are as stunningly decorated.

Many famous French authors such as Diderot, Voltaire and Chateaubriand resided at Vincennes. In 1935, the President of the Republic choose the castle as his official residence.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Take RER A line and get off at Noisiel le Luzard, followed by bus no. 220 direction Bry-Sur-Marne. Get off at Champs bus station. From here, there is a 20-minute walk to the castle.

10. Chateau de Breteuil

Castles near Paris Château-de-Breteuil

Situated at the heart of a national park, Chateau de Breteuil is a historical monument surrounded by remarkable gardens. This chateau near Paris was built as a residence for the family of the Marquis de Breteuil, and it has remained in the family ever since.

Visitors, however, will be delighted to discover that the castle’s grounds host important events and artistic representations, especially of famous French children tales by author Charles Perrault.

The castle is also home to wax figures of famous tale characters such as the Sleeping Beauty or Little Red Riding Hood. This is truly the dream castle in Paris.

Opening hours and tickets: For more information, check here.

How to get there from Paris: Take RER B line and get off at Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, followed by a short journey on the Baladobus. The journey takes around 2h with transfer.

You might also like: Fairytale Castles in the Loire Valley. 

When it comes to castles near Paris, the options abound. In a country which such an impressive history, known as one of the most culturally-rich places on the planet, it is clear that there are many hidden gems to discover.

Exploring the castles near Paris is a great way to know more of France when you’re short on time, so don’t forget to add these magnificent places to your bucket list.


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