France is home to a number of magnificent medieval castles. Many of these castles were originally the sites of fortifications built by the Romans in the pre-medieval period. During the medieval period, many of these fortifications became the sites of castles built by the French aristocracy. In all, hundreds of castles were built in France during the medieval period.
The trend was bolstered by the fact that from the Frankish reign to the settlement of Normandy and from Hundred Years’ War to internal turmoil in France, the country remain gripped in warfare in one way or the other throughout the medieval period. Many medieval French castles are extant today.
List of The Best French Medieval Castles
Chateau de Vitre
Chateau de Vitre was originally constructed on top of a rock in the 9th century. The original structure of the castle was made from wood which frequently resulted in demolition due to fire or incendiary attacks from rival barons. Ultimately, the castle was constructed along more durable lines in the 13th century and became an enduring structure in the region. Much of the 13th century construction of the castle is extant to this day.
Chateau de Sedan
Chateau de Sedan was originally constructed as a manor house in Sedan. This construction dates back to the first half of the 15th century. The manor house was subsequently expanded to turn the structure into a more fortified and vast complex.
To this end, terraces were added to the castle and positions for cannons were specific on the terraces to help guard the castle against any potential attacks. The castle later served the role of a military garrison during the 17th century. Today, much of the castle’s structure is extant and it is open to visitors.
Chateau de Murol
Chateau de Murol is a 12th century French castle that is situated on top of a basalt outcrop. The location of the castle and its elevation both proved vital strategic advantages during the medieval period. It was located near a number of important trade routes. Consequently, whoever controlled the castle essentially controlled the trade routes and could keep an eye on any travellers and even intercept them if need be.
A stone keep was added to the original structure of the castle in the 14th century. Towards the end of the medieval period, a large curtain wall was also added to augment the castle’s defences. Much of the castle’s medieval structure is extant today.
Chateau de Chateauneuf
Chateau de Chateauneuf is located in the modern-day French commune of Chateauneuf. The castle was originally the site of the residence of the local lord, built as early as the 12th century. When the Hundred Years’ War commenced between the English and the French, the residence was expanded and fortified so that it became an important fortification structure.
This expansion included the construction of a new stone keep and well. The castle passed from the control of the local lords to that of the Duke of Burgundy in the 15th century. Today most of its medieval structure is extant and the castle is open to visitors.