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Facts about castles/chateaux in France

  • Castles/chateaux (pleural of one castle/chateau) in France number in the tens of thousands.
  • The term 'chateau' is wider than 'castle' and extends from a grand manor house to a royal palace.
  • Chateaux vary between medieval and pre-medieval structures to the popular 17th century castles.
  • Early structures were donjons or towers, often rectangular which housed lords and their families.
  • Medieval castles were often fortified like the still remaining ancient walled city at Carcassonne.
  • During the Middle Ages, French castles transformed from protective to decorative elegant palaces.
  • Chateaux can be in the middle of towns/villages or in the country surrounded by grounds/forrests.
  • Many still existing medieval castles can be found in the north and west of France.
  • Famous Renaissance castles can be found around Paris and in the Loire Valley.
  • The top four most visited castles in France are: Versailles, Chenonceau, Chambord, Fontainebleau.

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