Château de Rambouillet, facade overlooking the garden and facade overlooking the Grand Canal

Short stories and famous Châteaux in Paris Region

The châteaux of Paris and its region have hundreds of secrets to share. These are the footnotes in history that changed France!
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  3. Short stories and famous Châteaux in Paris Region

Paris Region châteaux have so much to tell that we couldn’t resist the pleasure of sharing their stories with you.

Intrigues, anecdotes, legends … they tell us their secrets. The jealousy of Louis XIV, the love nest of Napoleon and Josephine, the dungeon of Denis Diderot, the deathbed of François I…

From Vaux-le-Vicomte to Rambouillet, passing through Versailles, imagine French History before it is brought to life on your next visit and discover the events not to be missed throughout the year.

The most beautiful châteaux in Paris Region

Paris and its region are full of majestic historic residences. Often several centuries old, witnesses of an era and of an invaluable know-how, they have withstood the test of time to reveal their most intimate secrets.

The château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, a royal inspiration

South of Paris, the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and its attractive French gardens created by the 17th century’s leading artists – architect Louis Le Veau, interior decorator Charles Le Brun and landscape architect André Le Nôtre – was the inspiration for the Château de Versailles. On 1661, Nicolas Fouquet gave a sumptuous reception in honor of Louis XIV. In a fit of jealousy at a show of such splendor, the king had him imprisoned for life. Recapture some of the magic of the famous party of August 17, 1661 with the candlelight evenings.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Your tickets to visit the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Excursion à Fontainebleau et Vaux-le-Vicomte
Day tour to Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte
Art & culture Strolls
A chance to discover two of the region’s most handsome châteaux: Vaux-le-Vicomte, with its classic French gardens, and the majestic Fontainebleau, set in the heart of the forest.

Fontainebleau, the true home of kings

Staying south of Paris, the château de Fontainebleau is a marvel of French art and architecture. Built in the 12th century, it witnessed some extraordinary chapters in French history, from de Middle Ages to the Renaissance. A royal residence for nearly eight centuries, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1981, Napoleon I said it all when he referred to it as “The true home of kings, the house of ages”.

Allée de Maintenon
Château de Fontainebleau

Prepare your visit of the château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau, parc et jardins, le Grand Parterre.
Two Regal Days in Fontainebleau
Strolls Nature & outdoor Art & culture
Majestic, cultural and gourmet – and less than an hour from Paris – Fontainebleau pulls out all the stops. A two-day getaway here offers something for everyone, from families to couples.
Domaine de Courances
Historic gardens around Fontainebleau
Nature & outdoor Strolls
Wandering through these gardens is like walking through time from the 16th to the 17th century!
Grande Galerie de l'évolution Muséum d'histoire naturelle
A long weekend with kids
And what if we told you that Paris is the perfect destination for a family-friendly weekend?

Imperial love nest

To the west of Paris, the château of Malmaison is an elegant residence decorated in the Empire style which was the private home of Napoleon and Joséphine from 1799. After their divorce in 1809, Joséphine withdrew to the house, where she died in 1814. Her passion for botany is well known and the rose garden is a precious witness. A fascinating insight into the private life of the imperial couple.

Château de Malmaison%252C Rueil-Malmaison
Château de Malmaison

All about the château de Malmaison and Napoleon

Château de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison
Relive the Splendours of the First Empire for a Day in Rueil-Malmaison
Art & culture Strolls
Travel back in time and experience Napoleon’s domestic life, his adored Josephine’s exquisite roses, and the banks of the Seine, so beloved by Renoir, in the town of Rueil-Malmaison.
The Invalides, statue of Napoleon, from behind. Paris 2017
The Legend of Napoleon in 10 Mythic Sites
Art & culture
Embark on an imperial voyage in the steps of Napoleon Bonaparte on the occasion of the bicentenary of his death on 5th May 1821. From the Château de Malmaison to the Louvre Museum, discover the man behind the legend through 10 unmissable sites.

Rambouillet, life in a château

Set in the Forest of Rambouillet, west of Paris, this former royal residence set the stage for great names in French history – Francis I, Louis XVI and Napoleon I – and several presidents of the French Republic. It is in the château de Rambouillet that King Francis I died on March 31, 1547, in the tower that bears his name today. In the park, don’t miss Queen Marie-Antoinette’s dairy where she liked to play the farmer’s wife.

Vue des jardins du Château de Rambouillet
Château de Rambouillet

In the footsteps of Alexandre Dumas

A tad megalomaniac, Alexandre Dumas, at the height of his fame, wanted somewhere he could escape the pressures of Parisian life.

To the west of the city, close to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, he had this heaven, the château de Monte-Cristo, built in 1844, and named it after the character in his own novel.

Here, he likes to isolate himself in his study which he nicknamed the castle of If where fishes, monkeys, parrots and even a vulture keep him company!

Have fun finding characters from his novels engraved in the stone walls.

Starting from Alexandre Dumas’ house enjoy a romantic weekend along the Seine taking in the great outdoors and the rich local heritage.

Château de Monte Cristo
Château de Monte-Cristo

Golden exile

Built in an oasis of greenery to the east of Paris, on a bend in the River Marne, the château des Champs-sur-Marne is a gem of Classical architecture which gives a glimpse of the 18th-century art of living. A ride all in charm and elegance, as at the time when the Marquise de Pompadour, loved by King Louis XV but jealous by courtiers, came to take refuge there.

Château de Champs-sur-Marne
Château de Champs-sur-Marne

Versailles, the absolute masterpiece

The epitome of Louis XIV’s sumptuous reign, the château de Versailles is the château of superlatives. From a simple hunting lodge in the 17th century, it became France’s center of power under the Sun King, and has been a museum since the 19th century. Symbol of the disproportion of the emblematic monarch, its construction required 36 000 workers and lasted 53 years, over the 72 years of his reign. Even its park and its magnificent French gardens, which extend over 800 hectares, are absolutely royal!

Chateau de Versailles
Château de Versailles

Things to do at the château de Versailles

Petit Trianon
Domaine de Marie-Antoinette
Art & culture Strolls
The Domaine de Marie-Antoinette or the Domaine de Trianon is Versailles from the perspective of intimacy and country living, from Louis XIV to Charles De Gaulle, including the famous and delightful Queen Marie-Antoinette.
Le Bapteme du Duc de Bordeaux
The Gallery of coaches in Versailles
Unusual Art & culture
Discover one of the largest European collections of coaches and carriages dating back to before the Revolution, and to the Napoleonic and Restoration eras, in the Gallery of Coaches at the Château de Versailles.
Potager du Roi et en arrière plan, la cathédrale Saint Louis de Versailles
King’s Kitchen Garden
Nature & outdoor
Set right beside the Château de Versailles, the remarkable King’s Kitchen Garden – a listed historic monument – maintains its unique charm, to the great delight of horticulturalists.

When architectural beauty encounters beautiful prose

Near the Bois de Vincennes, the château de Vincennes is the largest royal castle still existing in France and keeps one of the highest dojon in Europe with 52m! Neglected by Louis XIV in favor of Versailles, he served as a prison from the sixteenth century. It is here that, censored, Denis Diderot is incarcerated a few months in 1749 and that his friend Jean-Jacques Rousseau visits him.

Cour intérieure du château de Vincennes
Château de Vincennes

Château and cinema

The château de Maisons is the best-preserved work of François Mansart, a pioneer of Classical architecture in France. Symmetry, balance of forms, elegance of roofs, large openings to let the light pass: here reigns the harmony. A gem between Paris and Versailles that has served as a backdrop for many films such as Marie-Antoinette, Vatel or La Reine Margot.

Château de Maisons
Château de Maisons

A fairytale castle

Located between Versailles and Rambouillet, the château de Breteuil and its history are closely intertwined with the history of France, brought to life by wax figures dotted around its rooms. Paintings also set the scene for the tales of Perrault (Puss in Boots and Donkey Skin), friend of the family, just like Marcel Proust, another frequent visitor.

Château de Breteuil
Château de Breteuil

A Renaissance gem

Located to the north of Paris, deep in a forest, the château d’Ecouen is a jewel of French Renaissance architecture. It is now the only French museum entirely devoted to this period, its history and artistic movements, from painting to tapestry. It is one of the most influential personages of the period, Anne de Montmorency, constable and great friend of Francis I, who had it built.

Musée national de la Renaissance - Château d'Écouen

Events not to be missed in Paris Region châteaux

Exhibitions, shows, light displays, fireworks… the châteaux of Paris and its region offer you a year-round series of events not to be missed.

Feu d'artifice dans les jardins du château de Versailles
Until 21/09/2024
The Night Fountains Show
Art & culture Events
Every Saturday evening from June to September, the Night Fountains Show illuminates the magnificent French-style formal gardens of the Palace of Versailles. A magical two and a half hour stroll culminating in a spectacular fireworks display!
Lumières sauvages à Thoiry : tortue illuminée
Thoiry Lumières Sauvages
Until 10 March 2024, the gardens of the Château de Thoiry come alive at nightfall thanks to the 6th edition of Lumières Sauvages. A must-see event in one of the most beautiful castles in Paris and the surrounding region.

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  • Copyright image: © Laurent Gueneau / Centre des monuments nationaux