3 beautiful French castles that you may not know

One of the classic excursions in France is to take a walk through the beautiful castles that are in the Loire Valley. A hundred are still standing, but it seems that there were about 300 before the French Revolution and the events that ultimately determined the birth of modern France.

A classic tour takes you to know Chambord, Chenonceau and Cheverny, some other sum Amboise, but really if you like castles it is best to rent a car and visit them on your own because there are hidden pearls in the French countryside, without tourists, which are wonderful. Today we have three of the least known but no less beautiful Loire castles and recommended.

Chinon castle

This castle is built on the river Vienne and This is where Joan of Arc faced the Dauphin of France Paris being in English hands. It was built by Tybalt I, Count of Bois, and in the XNUMXth century it passed into the hands of the Counts of Anjou, the house to which Henry II of England belonged, who took it from his own brother and gave it its current appearance.

A couple of centuries passed until a French king drove out the English, Felipe II, and after a tough battle of several months, the Castle of Chinon was left in French hands. Strength became a prison in the XNUMXth century but in reality it had housed prisoners since at least the fourteenth century when several Knights Templar were imprisoned behind its walls.

Today this marvel of a castle It is open to the public, has been restored and works within a museum. It is known by the name of Royal Fortress of Chinon y it's about two and a half hours from Paris via the A10 and A85 motorways. Nearby there is a free parking area for buses, cars and bicycles and a kiosk that is open between April and September, every day.

Practical information:

  • the castle is open every day of the year but closes on January 1 and December 25. In winter it opens from 9:30 am to 5 pm and March, April, September and October open from) .30 am to 6 pm. From May 1 to August 31 it does it until 7 pm.
  • An interactive voucher is given with the ticket to move inside without a guide. The visit lasts about 90 minutes.
  • there are also guided tours in French and English that last one hour.
  • If you go with an iPad, different itineraries are offered and four options for people with a disability. This has a price of 3 euros per person on the value of the ticket, although the disabled do not pay it.
  • the entrance costs 8, 50 euros but if you go the calls Queen's Wednesday you pay 11 euros. They take place between July 6 and August 28 and include a royal tennis game, a visit to the queen's painter's studio, and activities with actors that lead you to learn a little about medieval life inside the castle.

Meung Castle

The castle is in Meung-sur-Loire and used to be the residence of the Bishops of Orleans. It had a rather hectic life, with permanent destruction and reconstruction, although the oldest part dates back to the XNUMXth century: a rectangular building with three corner towers because one was destroyed in times of the Hundred Years War.

It was born as a defense building but it changed over time until turned into a little Versailles shortly before the French Revolution. There is a XNUMXth century warehouse, a XNUMXth century spiral staircase, floors of parquet from the XNUMXth century, an old and lavish bath, an XNUMXth century chapel and even a music pavilion said to have been built by Nicolas Le Camus.

Underneath the castle are hidden dungeons, rooms with medieval torture instruments, shelters, cellars and a chapel. Luckily it is open to the public since since 1988 it is a Historical Monument. Nowadays, when visitors go down, they enjoy a music video that allows them to discover that underground life of other times.

Many of the castle rooms are furnished and open for visits so one can see from the fineness of the aristocratic halls to the simplicity of the kitchens, from the servants' attics to that refined and strange bathroom. At the same time around Meung Castle are seven hectares of French-style parks adorned with terraces. The seasoned eye may notice what remains of an earlier English design among bushes and old oak trees.

Meung Castle plans to reopen on February 11, 2017 at 2pm.. Until 26/2 it will open from 2 to 6 pm, closing on Mondays. In March it will open every weekend at the same hours, April, May and June it will open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, July and August it will close at 7 pm and the rest of the months it will return to the hours of 10 am to 6pm. The price is 9 euros.

If you pay 15 you can also enjoy a visit to the nearby castle of Beaugency. Y if you want exclusivity you can pay the Manor Tour at 30 euros per person for small groups, which lasts an hour and a half, two hours and ends with a glass of champagne in the luxurious library. And if you want more a balloon flight, fireworks or a gala.

Castle du Rivau

In the Touraine region is this pretty, charming little castle of the Loire. It looks like a palace and the crown was handed over to a captain, Captain Tolmere, for his war victories. Here Joan of Arc also walked, looking for horses, before the siege of Orleans, knowing the quality of the horses in the area. With this same knowledge, later royal stables were built and in fact, today you can learn about the history of the horses of the French kings here.

The 90s of the XNUMXth century did a lot of good to this French castle because the owners invested a lot of money in its renovation and today both the castle and the stables and the vineyard shine really. The old defensive structure from the XNUMXth century has been converted into a palace with wide windows, chimneys, frescoes and an elegant style.

Around it there are twelve gardens that look like something out of a fairy tale so walking through them is another wonderful experience. There is more of 300 species of roses, the specialty of the family, but also beautiful sculptures.

Useful information

  • You can get to Chinon by train. It is two and a half hours from Paris on the TGV.
  • the usual schedule is from 10 am to 6 or 7 pm. The minimum time of the visit should be an hour and a half.
  • there is a restaurant that is open from March to September and from October 19 to November 2.
  • entrance to the castle, stables and gardens costs 10, 50 euros. The audio guide costs 3 euros. The ticket can be purchased online.
  • there are guided tours of an hour and an hour and a half in several languages, Spanish included.

Of course, these three castles are not the only recommended ones, there are many more. That is why we said at the beginning that it is best to rent a car and go out without time to know these ancient stately lands. Each town hides a castle, whole or in ruins, but always charming.

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