9 castles to visit in Ile de France

9 castles to visit in Ile de France

The Ile-de-France is one of the most popular destinations, especially if you are a history buff. The city has everything you need to be amazed if you want to discover its emblematic places. You should know that the many castles in the region constitute a very rich heritage that is particularly worth a visit.

In this article, you will find the top 9 most beautiful castles to visit in the region for an unforgettable stay.

Castles to visit in Ile de France

The visiting castles is part of the activities to prioritize for a stay in Paris. In the region, these large and beautiful residences were built in different eras. Each of them has its own charm and style. Unfortunately, you probably won’t have time to visit them all.

That’s why you need the list of the ones that are really unmissable.



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Located in Seine-et-Marne, the castle of Fontainebleau is known as the home of Kings. From Louis VII to Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, important personalities have stayed here and left their mark. Considered as generally responding to the classical style, the castle has however become a domain with multiple facets because of the successive owners. The architectural diversity that meets there makes the experience unique and captivating. For history buffs, this is the place to find out as much as possible about French royalty.

A family visit is also particularly recommended to make the youngest discover the true values of the region. You should also know that you can find there the last preserved throne room of France.

Fontainebleau Castle - Paris


Of all the castles in the Ile-de-France region that you can visit, Versailles is surely the most famous. Its international fame is simply due to the fact that it is one of the strongest symbols of French royalty. How to pass in Yvelines without making a detour to the castle of Versailles ? The greatest kings of French history, such as Louis XIV, the Sun King who was even at the origin of the castle, have lived there.

Famous for the beauty of its gardens, it is the perfect place to stroll while making magnificent discoveries. Indeed, in the effigy of the monarch who chased the darkness of the world, the domain practically radiates beauty. Traveling to the Ile-de-France without seeing Versailles would be like missing the essential.

Hall of Mirrors - Gardens of Versailles

The castle of Malmaison

In the department of Hauts-de-Seine stands the magnificent castle of Malmaison. A relatively small domain, it has a picturesque history. Famous for having belonged to Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon’s wife, in 1799, the place holds many secrets.

To discover them all, a visit is necessary. Its owner at the time renovated it to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe”. As an example, its name alone is still confusing today. According to some historians, its first name “Maladomus” is due to bad frequentation of the place at its origins.

For all those who want to discover a France rich in heritage and history, not always brilliant, you must go there.

Louvre Palace

Located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, the Louvre Palace is the first residence of the Kings of France. Even today, it is a reminder of the strength and beauty of this monarchy in the very center of an already modern city. Initially, a part of the palace was designed as a place to exhibit the masterpieces of the Crown. Nowadays, it has become the destination par excellence for any true Art lover. You can find there the Mona Lisa of Da Vinci, the Raft of the Medusa or the Venus de Milo.

Not to mention that with its 135 000m² of built surface, it is the largest palace in Europe.

Louvre Museum - Rodin Museum

Saint-Germain-en-Laye Castle

Considered by many Kings as a pleasure castle, the Saint-Germain castle conceals many stories. It is only under François I that this one benefits from a real renovation of renaissance style. Having been his favorite residence, this castle, now the National Archaeology Museum, still reflects all the cultural beauty of yesteryear. Even if at a certain time, the lack of maintenance led to the dilapidation of the place, Napoleon III remedied it.

Leaving its mark in these places, it brings even more originality and beauty. As the castle has strongly marked the history of France, you can’t pass by without visiting it. With your family, as a couple or alone, take advantage of the themed guided tours.


Of all the castles and estates in France, Chantilly has a particularity that whets your curiosity. Indeed, this one conceals real treasures practically intact belonging to Henri d’Orléans. On the other hand, Henri d’Orléans, son of the last French king Louis-Philippe, was famous for his passion for collectors’ items. This makes the estate the second most important collection of ancient paintings after the Louvre. With its princely apartments maintained in the state, you will be plunged back into the France of the XIXth century.

For those who wish to discover something truly authentic, this is the destination to go to. For those who love to read, the estate includes a majestic library, bibliophily being a passion of Henri d’Orléans.

Chantilly Castle - Sully Castle

Castle of Rambouillet

Those who like to get away from the city center to explore the castle of Rambouillet. 45km from Paris, this magnificent domain is composed of various remarkable places to visit. It was originally a royal residence and later, until 2009, was transformed into a presidential residence.

At all times, the castle has been considered as a resting place for various princes and kings. Today, it is still valid for all those who discover the Ile-de-France in a gentle way. The most famous monuments to visit are the Dairy of Queen Marie-Antoinette and the Chaumière aux Coquillages.

Castle of’Ecouen

Better known today as the Museum of the Renaissance, the castle of Ecouen is located in the Val-d’Oise. Today, it is a favorite place for those wishing to admire magnificent tapestries, weapons, sculptures, paintings and many others… However, even if these works of art are magnificent, the castle itself is a true jewel box of beauty. Since its origins, the collection made there by Anne de Montmorency has been qualified as avant-garde. Just 20 km north of Paris, it is a destination that deserves your full attention.

If you’re going to visit the Ile-de-France region, you might as well go through some truly unique places.

Saint-Cloud domain

This place, mostly known today for its magnificent park, was once a place dedicated to sumptuous parties. The particularity of the place is that its main building was razed in 1892. However, you will discover the vestiges of a universe that seems to come out of a real fairy tale.

For nature lovers, the Saint-Cloud estate offers 460 hectares of greenery filled with history. To change of the big imposing and luxurious monuments, this one reminds its visitors to the simplicity. A bike tour in this gigantic park will change your mind for sure. Why not end your discovery of the most beautiful monuments of Ile-de-France with this one to keep the best memories ?