Chateaux of Ile-de-France

Château de By

The Château de By is a town museum run by the town of Thomery. The building was purchased in 1859 by the French animal painter Rosa Bonheur, who moved her studio there. Aged 37, she was at the height of her popularity and made the building her home and studio for forty years, with pens for her animals in its park. She rebuilt the chateau to make it comfortable and to add a vast neo-Gothic studio room with the space ...
Founded: 1859 | Location: Thomery, France

Château de Janvry

The Château de Janvry dates back to the 17th century. It is still partially surrounded by watered moats. Its main building includes a primary wing facing west and two attached side wings, the north wing and the south wing. All wings are linked, creating a U-shaped château. The château was built around 1600 and 1650 in the Louis XIII architectural style. It has been part of the Reille family for many cen ...
Founded: 1600-1650 | Location: Janvry, France

Château Louis XIV

The Château Louis XIV is a château constructed between 2008 and 2011 by the property developer Emad Khashoggi"s property development company COGEMAD using traditional craftsmanship techniques and materials. Located between Versailles and Marly-le-Roi on a 23-hectare walled site, the property is surrounded by moats and has a constructed surface area of 7,000 m2, 5,000 m2 of which are living space. The prop ...
Founded: 2008 | Location: Louveciennes, France

Château d'Ambleville

The Château d"Ambleville is a French Renaissance style château located within the regional park of Vexin. The gardens are classified among the Notable Gardens of France. The château was built in the 16th century for the seigneurs of Ambleville and Villarceaux by architect Jean Grappin, on the foundations of a medieval castle on the banks of the Aubette. In the 17th century, the house was acquired b ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Ambleville, France

Château de Breteuil

Château de Breteuil is built on a promontory overlooking the Chevreuse Valley. For most of its existence, the castle has been known as Bévilliers -from latin bis villae (two villas)- which implies that this property would date back to the gallo-roman period. The first estate appears in History as early as 1066 with Guillaume Osbern, the first Breteuil, who was Seneschal to the Duke of Normandy. Guillaume Osb ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Vallée de Chevreuse, France

Château de Monte-Cristo

The Château de Monte-Cristo is a writer"s house museum located in the country home of the writer Alexandre Dumas. The château was built in 1846 by the architect Hippolyte Durand. Dumas named it after one of his most successful novels: The Count of Monte Cristo (1845–1846). Durand also built a writing studio on the grounds, which Dumas named the Château d"If after another setting from the ...
Founded: 1846 | Location: Le Port-Marly, France

Château de Challeau

The Château de Challeau refers to two châteaux in the neighbouring communes of Dormelles and Villecerf. The first Château de Challeau was a fortified building built in the 11th century to 12th century. It has a 6m high and 1.3m thick curtain wall which surrounds an area approximately 30m by 24m, with rounded watchtowers at the corners. Unusually, it did not have a central keep, and internal buildings se ...
Founded: | Location: Villecerf, France

Château de Malmaison

Formerly the residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais (along with the Tuileries), Château de Malmaison was the headquarters of the French government from 1800 to 1802, and Napoleon"s last residence in France at the end of the Hundred Days in 1815. Joséphine de Beauharnais bought the manor house in April 1799 for herself and her husband, General Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Napol&eac ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Rueil-Malmaison, France

Domaine of Villarceaux

The Domaine of Villarceaux is a French château, water garden and park located in the commune of Chaussy. The gardens are located on the site of a medieval castle from the 11th century, built to protect France from the British, who at that time occupied Normandy, the neighboring province. Many vestiges of the medieval fortifications remain in the park. A manor house and French water garden was built there in the 17th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Chaussy, France

Château de Courson

The Château de Courson was built in 1676. Originally the home of the Lamoignon family, the château has been in the same family since the 18th century. Its historic park was laid out in formal style by a pupil of André Le Nôtre in the 18th century. During the 19th century the gardens were twice remodelled, first around 1820 for the Duc de Padoue by the landscaper Berthault, then again around 1860 b ...
Founded: 1676 | Location: Courson-Monteloup, France

Château de Grosbois

Nicolas Harlay de Sancy built a château on the former lands of Saint-Victor abbey at the start of the 17th century. This was still incomplete in 1616, when it was sold to Charles de Valois (1573–1650), count of Auvergne then duke of Angoulême (1619), illegitimate son of Charles IX of France by Marie Touchet. de Valois completed the château around 1640, notably building the enclosing wall (1623) and ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Boissy-Saint-Léger, France

Château de Groussay

The Château de Groussay was built in 1815 by the duchesse de Charest, a daughter of Louise Elisabeth de Croÿ-Havré, marquise de Tourzel, the governess of the royal enfants de France of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The Château was purchased in 1938-39 by the French aesthete Carlos de Beistegui, who enlarged it, with the professional help of Emilio Terry. Cecil Beaton"s inspiration for Henry ...
Founded: 1815 | Location: Montfort-l'Amaury, France

Château de Bourron

The current Château de Bourron dates back to the 16th century, however the castle on the site was mentioned first time in 1367. From 1145 to about 1465, the estate belonged to Denis de Chailly, from the great family of the Viscount of Melun, the most important of all the commanders from the Brie. During this time she joined Joan of Arc to re-conquer France from the British. It then belonged to Charles de Melun, who ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Bourron-Marlotte, France

Château Villette

Château Villette was designed by architect Francois Mansart around 1668 and finished around 1696 by his nephew Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The palace was built for Jean Dyel, the Comte d"Aufflay and Louis XIV"s ambassador to Venice. One of the most significant historical Chateaux in France, Villette is at once both simple and sumptuous with the great octagonal salon in white and blue, the elegant dining room ...
Founded: 1668-1696 | Location: Condécourt, France

Château du Saussay

The château du Saussay is built on the ruins of a 15th-century feudal castle, and is a rare collection of two 18th-century châteaux facing each other at the entrance to a Romantic park surrounded by water. Inside, their reception rooms evoke the lives of their inhabitants. The property of Olivier Le Daim, barber to the French kings from Louis XI to Louis XV, the château was burned by the Spanish during ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Ballancourt-sur-Essonne, France

Château de Mesnil-Voisin

The château de Mesnil-Voisin was built by Michel Villedo in 1632-1635. It has an orangery, kitchens, coachhouses and workshops. At the centre of its communal courtyard a huge dovecote with 3000 niches and a wood-framed roof, and topped by a conical turret - it is rare in having its internal moveable staircase still intact. The course of a canal bordering the rear of the château were entirely removed between 1 ...
Founded: 1632-1635 | Location: Bouray-sur-Juine, France

Château de Farcheville

The Château de Farcheville was built by the Hugues II and Hugues III, Lords of Farcheville and Bouville. The great hall was built in 1291 and the castle chapel was consecrated in 1304. Both father and son were chamberlain to Philip IV of France. The structure possesses a rare northern French example of arched machicolations on buttresses, more characteristic of military architecture in the Languedoc. The castle pass ...
Founded: 1291 | Location: Bouville, France

Château du Verduron

The Château du Verduron owes its original fame to Louis Blouin, who held the prominent position of head valet in the court of Louis XIV of France from 1704 until 1715. Other distinguished owners of the property included Victorien Sardou, the French dramatist and one-time mayor of the Parisian suburb of Marly-le-Roi. The history of this property is rich and complex. In the Middle Ages, the current site of the Ch&aci ...
Founded: 1665 | Location: Marly-le-Roi, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.