The romance of castles never grows old. You dream of a hideaway in a faraway forest or high over the ocean, a place where you can saunter in a fragrant garden and feel the high quality of life in every cell of your being. You can walk through the old corridors surrounded by walls carrying more stories than they could ever tell. This is not your everyday life, but sometimes escaping to this fairytale is a very good idea.
There are over 40,000 châteaux in France and more than double that number of manors. While many of these are left loveless in ruins like Château Rothschild, which held the famous surrealist-ball, others you can visit for a little tour, and still others you can stay in yourself! Perhaps you won’t be pampered like Marie-Antoinette (or maybe you will be) but you will surely feel right at home in these castles.
This towered-edged little château faces a wooded forest below its hilltop. The 15th-century castle has been in the same family for over a century now and offers almost a romantic runaway atmosphere just two hours from Bordeaux. Within the fields of sunflowers, caressed by sunsets, this might become your new favorite getaway. – rooms start at 80€ (see château on a map here)
Perched on a hilltop, this French Riviera château offers painting- (or Insta-)worthy views. The 13th-century castle is only made better with a bit of Provence charm that has been seducing artists and the creative alike for centuries. Windows look out straight onto the azure sea and sunsets descend across your window. – rooms start at 196€ per night (see château on a map here)
It’s homey, like visiting your grandma in the countryside, with endless orchards and homemade jam. Nestled amidst an olive grove just an hour from Avignon, this châteaux, as you may have guessed, offerers the most scrumptious breakfast that you can enjoy before heading off to the garden, reading room, or pool. – rooms start at 110€ per night (see château on a map here)
This 17th-century castle once belonged to a Polish queen. The current owners of the castle live there with their children and happily host guests in the remaining rooms. The rooms are still preserved in palatial-style, as if a young princess just might run through the halls. – rooms start at 115€ per night (see château on a map here)
Even though château is not part of the name, this place is as much of a rare and exclusive find as it gets. Quite literally, it is set inside of a hand-carved cave with a secret pool. The owner even makes home-cooked dinners. How does that sound for cozy? – rooms start at 128€ per night (see château on a map here)
This five-star repose is a 19th-century château of only 10 rooms. Here you are on a four-acre piece of land in the midst of the historic town of Saumur, famous for its wines, castles, and kings. The grand Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau are just a walk away. – rooms start at 212€ (see château on a map here)
Domaine des Hauts de Loire can compete with any château. With a personal champagne welcome and, of course, a swan lake you’ll be tempted to stay a little bit longer. – rooms start at 250€ per night (see château on a map here)