Fairytales in France

Tale As Old As Time…

As adults we sometimes forget about how magical it felt the first time we heard a fairytale. The limitless possibilities, the enchanted forests, the princess locked in the tower, awaiting her prince charming, and the castles we could merely dream of living in. Wish upon a star and your dream will come true, as these fairytale castles really do exist, and just across the channel in France. With the release of Beauty and the Beast, we’re sharing with you the most magical castles in France. Let’s begin…


Once upon a time…

Château de Chambord

Surrounded by acres of bewitching woodland filled with wild boar and deer, the Chateau of Chambord is supposedly where the original Beauty and the Beast Disney film got its inspiration. The story goes; one misty day the film’s animator drove up to the castle and knew immediately this was ‘Beast’s castle’.

The immense grandeur of the castle makes it truly fit for a prince; with 84 staircases and 440 rooms, we can just imagine Belle herself getting lost within the castle’s walls! If you have Belle’s same curiosity, see if you can find King François I’s salamander emblem carved into doors and walls throughout the castle.


Photo: TWojtowicz, Flickr

Château de Chenonceau

Not all princesses are damsels in distress. Deep in the Loire Valley near the quaint village Chenonceaux, stands, in all its magnificence, Chateau de Chenonceau, or ‘Chateau des Dames.’ The Castle of Ladies. A history encapsulated by heroines, this castle passed successively between 6 powerful noblewomen, resembling Belle’s strength of manner and disposition, and demonstrating that often a princess does not need a prince. Known as the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’, though the chateau appears gentle, it is in fact strong, forceful and determined. There are no excuses ladies, it’s time to grab that sword and become the heroine of your own fairytale!


Photo: viajareamar_br, Instagram

Château de Chaumont

The classical moment of any fairytale is when the prince and princess fall in love whilst twirling around an opulent ballroom. Whether you were dreaming of the princess’ gown or the size of the banquet, we’ve all had a moment wishing we were there! When looking at the utterly picturesque fortress of Chateau de Chaumont, you can imagine the horse drawn carriages pulling up and dropping off a rich array of party guests. The castle was renowned for hosting grand royal parties for kings and queens from all over Europe. Since the 10th century this castle has stood on this stunning hilltop; think of how many gallant princes’ have met their princesses within these walls, declaring their love to them, and showing their future kingdom of Chaumont that lies beneath them!


Photo: hhanterp, Instagram


The grandiose Carcassonne is the classic setting for a prince fighting his way through magical spells and mysterious creatures to win the heart of his one true love. The high walls of this medieval citadel are renowned for protecting ‘La Cite’ against attacks for hundreds of years. The story goes during the Hundred Years’ War, there was a ‘Black Prince’ who tragically destroyed everything in Ville Basse. Yet his power were not strong enough, and when he turned to the old ‘Cite’ he failed to take hold!

One of our favourite stories behind this magical city is idea that it was the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s The Sleeping Beauty; you can envisage the gallant Prince galloping on his noble steed up to the castle, fighting off whatever the wicked Maleficent’s evil incantations. Anyone who is wishing to unleash their inner knight should definitely stride into battle here.


Photo: Hand Luggage Only

Mont St-Michel

Fairytales don’t always have happy endings, especially when there are villains lurking in the background. The solitary Mont St-Michel rising above the sea with its towering spires seems to be the quintessential dwelling for a wicked witch.

The medieval monastery is unique in that dramatic tidal changes can isolate it entirely, giving it a mysterious atmosphere which at night sends shivers down your spine. Legend has it, the original church on the island was constructed in 709AD by Saint Aubert, who supposedly had ignored instructions from St Michael, the Archangel, to build the church. St Michael, in a rage, used his finger to burn a hole in Aubert’s skull.

Palace of Versailles

The stunning Palace of Versailles in Paris bears a striking resemblance to the bewitching castle in Beauty and The Beast. There are rumours being whispered around the castle that the glass chandeliers featured in the film are replicas of those on display in the palace. The spellbinding Hall of Mirrors added by Louis XIV truly feels like you’ve just fallen into a fairytale. Mirrors are always portrayed as magical throughout fairytales; from asking who is the fairest of them all, to allowing people to see anything they wish. Just walking through this hallway you can a sense the supernatural descending upon you.


Photo: interiors_ku, Instagram

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