Chateaux of Ile-de-France

Château de Dourdan

The Château de Dourdan was built at the request of Philip Augustus in the 1220s in the place of a wood structure. The castle became the property of Jean de Berry in 1385. It was besieged during the French Wars of Religion. Among some of the notable personages who resided in the castle were Philip IV of France"s daughter-in-law, Joan II, Countess of Burgundy, detained there from 1314 to 1315 in relation to the T ...
Founded: 1220s | Location: Dourdan, France

Château de Sceaux

Château de Sceaux is a grand country house located in a park laid out by André Le Nôtre. It houses the Musée de l’Île-de-France, a museum of local history. The former château was built for Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV"s minister of finance, who purchased the area in 1670. The present château, designed to evoke the style of Louis XIII, dates from the Second Empire. ...
Founded: 1856-1862 | Location: Hauts-de-Seine, France

Château de Ferrières

Château de Ferrières was built between 1855 and 1859 by Baron James de Rothschild. Rothschild ownership of the Château de Ferrières was passed down through the male line according to the rule of primogeniture. It is considered the largest and most luxurious 19th-century château in France. The château was designed by the British architect Joseph Paxton. The inspiration for the design ...
Founded: 1855-1859 | Location: Ferrières-en-Brie, France

Château de Méry

Francois Mathieu Mole (1705-1793), Chairman of the Parliament of Paris, did redesign the Renaissance castle and replant the park, it"s said that it was on the advice of the naturalist Georges-Louis Buffon (1707-1788). Looted during the Revolution, the gardens were redesigned in 1846 by Louis Varé Sulpice (1808-1883). Now owned by the town, the castle park, covering an area of twenty-seven hectares, offers the ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Méry-sur-Oise, France

Château de Louveciennes

Château de Louveciennes is composed of the château itself and the music pavilion. The pavilion sits in the middle of a park that was designed in the 19th century. The château is an approximately cubic construction, of average size and modest appearance, which borders the chemin de la Machine (n° 6), a favourite subject of the Impressionists Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. In 1684, Louis XIV ord ...
Founded: 1684 | Location: Louveciennes, France

Château de Nangis

The Château de Nangis is a modernised castle located in the heart of the town of Nangis. The original name 'La Motte' suggests the motte-and-bailey that indicates the middle-age origin of the place. Fleury (c. 1093-1147), son of the king Philip I of France, is its oldest known lord. In 1245, the castle came into the ownership of the Montmorency family. A well known fortress in 1397, the English inflicted i ...
Founded: 1436 | Location: Nangis, France

Château d'Anet

The Château d'Anet is a château built by Philibert de l'Orme from 1547 to 1552 for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. It was a gift from the king and was built on the former château at the center of the domains of Diane's deceased husband, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet, Marshal of Normandy and Master of the Hunt. The château is especially noted for its exterior, ...
Founded: 1547-1552 | Location: Anet, France

Château de Bagatelle

The Château de Bagatelle is a small neoclassical château with a French landscape garden in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The château is intended for brief stays while hunting in the Bois and it was initially built as a small hunting lodge for the Maréchal d"Estrées in 1720. Bagatelle from the Italian bagattella, means a trifle, or little decorative nothing. In 1775, the Comte d&quo ...
Founded: 1777 | Location: Paris, France

Château de La Roche-Guyon

The present Château de La Roche-Guyon was built in the 12th century, controlling a river crossing of the Seine. In the mid-13th century, a fortified manor house was added below. Guy de La Roche fell at the Battle of Agincourt, and his widow was ousted from the Roche, after six months of siege, in 1419; she preferred to depart rather than accept Henry Plantagenet as her overlord. It came to the Liancourt family with ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: La Roche-Guyon, France

Château de Dampierre

The Château de Dampierre was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1675–1683 for the duc de Chevreuse in French Baroque style. Protected behind fine wrought iron double gates, the main block and its outbuildings, linked by balustrades, are ranged symmetrically around a dry paved and gravelled cour d"honneur (three-sided courtyard). Behind, the central axis is extended between the former parterres, now mown h ...
Founded: 1675-1683 | Location: Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France

Château de Pontchartrain

The estate of current Château de Pontchartrain was mentioned first time around 1325. The original manor was abandoned in the 16th century. Paul Phélypeaux was the king"s counselor in 1610 and the founder of the Pontchartrain branch of the Phélypeaux family, who kept the chateau for two centuries. His son Louis I Phélypeaux had the main building built between 1633 and 1662. Louis II Ph&eacu ...
Founded: 1633-1662 | Location: Jouars-Pontchartrain, France

Château de Brou

Château de Brou was built in the second half of the 17th century by Paul-Esprit Feydeau, the Royal intendant. Important changes were made in the 18th century including the removal of a monumental staircase in the hall to allow to give more room to the bedrooms on the 1st floor. Instead, two staircases were built on the north side at each corner of the two wings of the castle. The dovecote is probably the oldest buil ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Brou-sur-Chantereine, France

Palais Rose

The Palais Rose was built in 1899, inspired by the Grand Trianon in Versailles. The Palais Rose in Vésinet should not be confused with the “other” Palais Rose, which once stood on the Avenue Foch and was razed in the early 1970s. The two buildings did however share a number of features. Both structures were designed around 1900 in the “Grand Trianon” style. The Palais Rose in Vésinet ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Le Vésinet, France

Château de Guermantes

Construction of the Château de Guermantes was undertaken by Claude Viole (died 1638), whose family had possessed the fief of 'Le Chemin' since the mid-16th century. Paulin Pondre (1650-1723) purchased the property in 1698. He engaged Jules Hardouin-Mansart for renovations to the building, completed in 1710, and André Le Nôtre to lay out the garden. Pondre had become one of the most powerful fi ...
Founded: 1698-1710 | Location: Guermantes, France

Château de Chamarande

A fortified château in Chamarande was built in the 16th century, probably for François Hurault, who in 1563 acquired the two seigneuries which make up the present estate and took up residence here. This castle corresponds to the present buildings of the commanderie. After the death of François Hurault in 1613, the château passed to his son Jean, who expanded the estate. However, the châtea ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Chamarande, France

Château de Blandy-les-Tours

The Château de Blandy-les-Tours was mentioned first time in 1216. It belonged to Adam II de Chailly, Viscount of Melun and consisted of a simple manor. The chapel was originally only stone building. In the 14th century, the castle was strongly modified with new fortifications: a moat was dug and a new gate-tower with a drawbridge was included in the enclosing wall. The kings Charles V (1364 - 1380) and Charles VI (1 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Blandy, France

Château de Sigy

Château de Sigy is a modernised castle which dates originally from the 14th century. It was much altered in the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries. Of note are the walls and roofs of the castle and its outbuildings, including two towers, the gardens surrounded by moats and two bridges across the moats. Inside, the central staircase with wooden balusters is beneath a dome. In the north wing, the grand bedroom and the Trud ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sigy, France

Château de Méréville

Château de Méréville is known of its landscape gardens made in the late eighteenth century. The château was first built as a medieval fortress, and then rebuilt on the medieval buildings" remains in 1768 for Jean Delpech. The 1768 phase was provided with modest formal gardens. The château and its park in the French gardening style were bought in 1784 as the last of his country houses ...
Founded: 1768 | Location: Méréville, France

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château built between 1658-1661 for Nicolas Fouquet. It was made for Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and t ...
Founded: 1658-1661 | Location: Maincy, France

Château d'Écouen

The Château d"Écouen was built between 1538 and 1550 by the architect Jean Bullant for Anne de Montmorency, who was made Connétable de France in 1538. Anne de Montmorency had inherited the château in 1515, and his building campaigns were informed by his first-hand experience in overseeing royal works at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Fontainebleau. Anne de Montmorency was a major patron of the a ...
Founded: 1538-1550 | Location: Val-d'Oise, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.