Visiting the stunning castles and chateaux across the Loire Valley France and beyond is always a must when visiting France. With special events and self-guided tours to allow for a relaxing experience, these family-friendly castles & chateaux in France will surely appeal to all ages.
By Elisa of France Bucket List
The Castle of Carcassonne is located inside the Cité de Carcassonne, in Southern France. The castle is the typical fairytale castle that everybody has in mind, with pointed towers and surrounded by a moat.
The Carcassonne Castle was built in the 12th century, and it was one of the main targets during the Crusades against the Cathars. The visit is self-guided, and you can see the different spaces inside and walk along the 3km of ramparts that protect the Cité.
Sometimes, the castle hosts fun, medieval performances for the kids.
Château de Chambord
By Tegan and Alex of Why Not Walk Travel Guides
No trip through the Loire Valley and its castles is complete without a visit to Château de Chambord. What started as a hunting lodge for King François I in 1519 is today a sprawling estate with exquisitely maintained grounds, an imposing and austere interior, and magnificent double-helix staircases.
Be sure to check out the roof access from the stairs, where you can see sweeping vistas of the Loire Valley. Chambord costs 14,50€ per person to enter, and includes a detailed brochure for a self-guided tour or guided tours offered in French or English.
Château de Chantilly
By Chrysoula Manika
Château de Chantilly lies 50 km north of Paris and is one of the most beautiful castles in France. Highlights include the Princes’ apartments that contain 18th century furniture and the Condé Museum that has a collection of 800 paintings. The Cabinet de Livres is filled with 19,000 volumes, 1,500 manuscripts, and 17,500 other printed works.
On the grounds, there are landscaped English and French-style gardens, a labyrinth, a children’s playground, and a horse museum. There is also the chance to taste Chantilly cream.
Château de Chenonceau
Located in Chenonceaux, France, this beautiful chateaux dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The current building available for visiting was built between 1513 and 1517 by Thomas Boheir and his wife Catherine Broçonnet.
The admissions price of 15.00€ per adult and 12.00€ per child includes a self guided tour map of the property. Inside, discover the many rooms which offer period furniture and artwork from artists like Mino da Fiesole and Veronese. Outside, you can visit the pristine gardens of Catherine de Medici and Diane Poitiers.
During your visit, be sure to check out the chateaux creperie or pack your own lunch and relax in the family friendly picnic areas.
Château de Cheverny
By Martina & Jürgen of Places of Juma
One of the most beautiful castles, which is perfect for a family trip, is the Château de Cheverny. It is located in the famous Loire Valley and attracts with several highlights. This magical castle can also be visited from the inside.
For children, there is the dog feeding at 11:30am daily. The puppies are just the sweetest. The Tintin exhibition is great for children of all ages as well. If the children are between 7 and 14 years old, they can take part in the mystery game!
Château du Haut Koenigsbourg
By Jacquie Hale of Flashpacking Family
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg is an imposing 12th century castle located high up in the Vosges mountains about 60 km southwest of Strasbourg.
It is one of the top tourist attractions in France with over 600,000 visitors annually and is one of the few castles in France that has been significantly restored.
The anticipation builds as you drive along the winding, tree-lined roads up to the castle and then walking around the castle you will feel dwarfed by its size.
There are lots of historical artifacts on display, with the most impressive being the collection of medieval weapons which the kids are bound to love.
Head to the tallest turret for incredible views over the fairy tale villages and vineyards of Alsace.
By Dymphe of Dymabroad
A great and family-friendly castle in France is Château d’Hyères. It is a medieval castle located at the top of Casteou Hill in Hyeres.
The ruins are free to visit, but for just a few euro you can join guided tours. There is a special tour for children during which they can hear all kinds of stories about the castle. This tour is called the Investigation at Hyere’s Castle.
While the castle itself is beautiful, the short walk from the town also lends itself to breathtaking views of the coast. There is a train station in Hyeres and you can get there by train from many other beautiful places in France.
Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard
By Antoine and Marielle of Offbeat Escapades
Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard is a medieval castle, overlooking the beautiful lake of Annecy. This castle is actually where Walt Disney took inspiration for “Sleeping Beauty.” It has been standing for over a 1,000 years and is owned by the same family which bears its name, the Counts de Menthon-Saint-Bernard.
The castle itself has over 105 rooms, decorated with beautiful tapestries, paintings and furniture that have been existing since before the French Revolution.
It is open to the public from April to September. Entrance fees are about 11 euros for adults and 6 euros for children above 5 years old. There are guided tours available daily, for both groups and individuals, but require reservation beforehand.
As it is situated about 10 km away from the main town of Annecy, the best way to get there would be to take a car and drive. Visitors may also opt to take the Bus L052 to get to Menthon St. Bernard, and walk for 30 minutes to reach the castle.
By Leyla of Women on the Road
Clos Lucé, in the town of Amboise in the Loire Valley, is an easy day trip from Paris. More genteel manor than fully fledged chateau, it is the last known residence of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci came to France at the end of his life, and finished the Mona Lisa here.
His studio has been reconstructed in great detail, and many of his inventions have been rebuilt to scale. These inventions now populate the interior and the gardens and can be touched, mounted, and manipulated in the way they were meant to be when Leonardo first invented them.
Château du Rivau
Chateau du Rivau is a spectacular Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley filled with family friendly activities. The castle, built by the Beauvau family, boasts Gothic and Renaissance architecture and furniture. Throughout the castle, you will find hunting art and trophy collections from the Beauvau family.
Included in the admissions price of 11.50€ per person, families receive a Family Booklet outlining the many offerings on property. Children will love to discover the playground which is open all year round, and take part in the garden treasure hunts. There are even costume rentals for children to transform into a knight or princess for the day as they walk around the special fairytale castle.
Château de la Rochefoucauld
By Kat of Wandering Bird
Château de la Rochefoucauld is a beautiful castle perched on top of a hill about 20km from the city of Angoulême.
The Château is still inhabited by the Rochefoucauld family, but you can visit as part of a guided tour several times a day.
Inside, you’ll see several living & sitting rooms, as well as the kitchens and an enormous cave in the basement. But there are two things which make the chateau unique. One is the incredible marble staircase through the heart of the castle (based on a design by Leonardo da Vinci). The other is the library- and the collection of ancient documents- some as old as the French Revolution. The history in that one room is breathtaking.
Parking is plentiful, even if you’re motor homing in France and need extra room. Tours cost £10 and don’t need to be booked in advance.
By Ophelie of Limitless Secrets
In the Loire Valley, castles like Le Chateau d’Usse are a representation of French history and heritage. The castle was first built as a stronghold in the Middle Ages and, due to its prime location, continued to expand. By the 17th century, the castle had become a beautiful residence and was deemed a marquisate by the King. Today, the chateau is privately owned, and open to the public.
On property, visitors can explore the cellars, stables, castle, chapel, and so much more. The cost for adults is 14.00€, but free admission is offered for children 8 years and under. While no guided tours are available, the chateau does have audio tours for you to listen to at your leisure.
A visit to the Knight’s Dungeon is a memorable experience for the whole family. Here, the castle displays scenes from the famous tale, Sleeping Beauty. Children can also take part in the Sleeping Beauty treasure hunt where they are tasked with solving clues throughout the castle.
Additional reporting by Kaitlin Tracy.