Remember when you were little and would watch movies like Princess Diaries or Ella Enchanted, wondering when it would be your time to find out you actually had a fairytale life… Well, I have yet to find out that I’m related to royalty, but I did discovered some real life fairytale lands! France is one of those countries where the mystical fairy lands still exist and can be found anywhere and everywhere. I have had the luck of visiting several such châteaux that are less than an hour from my french home in the last couple weeks. Sadly, there are no Prince Williams or Princess Kates living in these castles, but they do offer beautiful little picturesque windows into France’s enchanting royal history
Just thought I would give a little introduction to each château that I have visited and a couple pictures to share the magic that exudes from these lovely lands!
#1. Château de Bouthéon: This is the first castle I visited in France!! The beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and castles. They give me lovely sights to see, (and the chance to fulfill my childhood dream of living in fairytale land) and then I take pictures of them in return. While this castle was only built in the 18th century, it was inspired earlier during the Renaissance. The gardens are very extensive, with rose briars covering many little arbors that dot the path to and fro the castle. Further out, there are farmlands with sheep and cows that show just how much of a little community existed around the castle.
This château is in amazing condition after having been restored and recently turned into a museum with a little aquarium of the surrounding regions aquatic life. The aquarium is not exactly what you envision when entering a resplendent castle two centuries old, but it does provide some entertainment.
Enjoyed trancing around the gardens with my lovely friends!
#2. Château de Rochebaron: While my first castle experience brought to reality my dreams of the royal life, the second brought me le château de Rochebaron, a medieval castle built in the 12th century, that remains mostly magnificent ruins! The history of this castle is very old and rambling with a number of noble families moving in and out and taking control of the lands and villages around. And oh what beautiful lands they are! The picture above, is a view of the castle across a grand chasm and up the side of the another hill. The castle rests alone on its hill looking out onto a large valley, a view that is timeless.
Found my long lost prince amongst the ruins!!
#3. Château de la Bastie d’Urfé: Built on the ruins of a monastery from the 11th century, this Renaissance style castle exudes charm and delightfulness. A chapel in the front of the château is modeled after the mythological tales of Neptune and completely made out of shells and coral from the southern coasts. The gardens showoff the lovely famous French shrubs and off to one side there is a very quaint restaurant that offers summer dinners in fairytale land. My host mother says they often have concerts and plays during the summer in the gardens
#4. Château de Rochetailleé: Most recent castle I have visited, this one is a 20 minute ride from my house, or if you hike (as my friends and I did) about a 2 hour hike…. Turns out hiking requires going around several extra mountains that aren’t necessary when driving… I know next to nothing about these lovely ruins except that there is a wonderful view of French forests from them!
If you have always dreamed of living your childhood fairytales, les châteaux de France are something you must take the time to visit!