The most beautiful castles in Provence

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Slide 1 of 16: Even after thousands of years, Provence still has plenty of fortified cities, cobblestone streets, and medieval castles. Some castles have been restored while others are crumbling to ruins. If it has always been your dream to spend a night in a castle, look no further than Provence.Here are 15 castles in Provence that should be at the top of your list the next time you’re in the south of France.
Slide 2 of 16: Built on a rocky outcrop, this 11th-century medieval fortress was virtually impregnable. Following a strong-arm attack in 1630, restorations to the castle combined austerity and classicism. Designed by Le Nôtre, the same French landscaper behind the park of the Palace of Versailles, the castle gardens are considered “the most beautiful in Provence” with its porticos, stream, four ponds, two fountains, terraces, and path lined with plane trees. In 1965, the castle officially opened to the public and was named a historic monument in 1984. Château de la Barben offers daily tours led by a costumed guide plus riddles for children. You can also book a room or suite for the night.Open to the public ($)
Slide 3 of 16: This French fortress was built around 1529 on the tiny island of If off the coast of Marseille. For centuries, the three-hectare (7.5-acre) fortified island’s primary function was a prison. Featured in Alexandre Dumas’ popular novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the castle is one of Marseille’s top tourist destinations, welcoming some 100,000 visitors annually.Open to the public ($)
Slide 4 of 16: This papal residence is the biggest edifice of Gothic architecture in Europe. The popes resided here for close to a century in the 1300s, and six conclaves were held within the walls of this building. Both a fortress and a palace, the Papal Palace has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Attracting almost 650,000 visitors a year, it is one of the 10 most popular monuments in all of France.Open to the public ($)
Slide 5 of 16: Flower lovers will love the botanical gardens at Château de Lauris. While the castle is not open to the public, you can tour the terraced gardens and discover the many plants used for dyeing food and fabrics. The view alone is worth the trip!Gardens and terraces open to the public ($)
Slide 6 of 16: Located in one of the prettiest towns in France, the Château de Lourmarin is a veritable architectural treasure with its medieval wing (built at the end of the 15th century) and its Renaissance wing (dating back to the 16th century). The castle was named a historic monument in 1973 and has a strong penchant for the arts. Serving as both an artist residence and a cultural centre, this historical site hosts concerts, festivals, and conferences throughout the year.Open to the public ($)
Slide 7 of 16: Considered the most beautiful Renaissance residence, this 12th-century castle boasts a spiral staircase, countless rooms, a terrace, and a chapel. The castle was looted during the French Revolution and set afire during World War II, but restorations were started in 1960 by Doctor Mouliérac‑Lamoureux, and continued by the Association des Amis du Château du Barroux, with support from the Vayson de Pradenne family, who still own the property. A travel guide is available.Open to the public ($)
Slide 8 of 16: Once the home of the Marquis de Sade, Luberon’s beloved castle was practically razed to the ground during the French Revolution. In 2001, fashion designer Pierre Cardin bought the château and has since been restoring it with the intention of opening it up to the public. Today, you can explore some of the Marquis de Sade’s apartments and admire Cardin’s private collection of furniture and art. Psst! The view from the terrace is stunning!Open to the public ($)
Slide 9 of 16: The hilltop village of Saumane is home to a fabulous castle that was recently opened to visitors. It was formerly owned by the Abbé de Sade, the uncle and tutor of the famous Marquis de Sade. Be sure to visit this château steeped in history from the Middle Ages, the time of the Popes, to the 20th century.Open to the public ($)
Slide 10 of 16: Built between the 10th and 17th centuries, the castle boasts thousands of years of history and offers a glimpse into the Middle Ages and the Old Regime. The groves, gardens, and terraces add to the charm of this fully restored castle. It is now a private residence, although the owners offer guided tours.Open to the public ($)
Slide 11 of 16: Despite being mainly in decay, this castle is steeped in history. The revolution, a fire, and plundering proved fatal for this medieval castle renowned for having hosted Catherine de’ Medici in 1579. The interior may be destroyed but the Renaissance façade could be a theatre backdrop. The courtyard is open to visitors and still testifies to the castle’s former splendour. Psst! There’s an app that you can download on your smartphone for a 2.0 tour. Don’t miss the earthenware museum and temporary exhibits in the basement.Open to the public ($)
Slide 12 of 16: Repairs were carried out on this 11th-century castle in the 15th, 16th, and 18th centuries before being abandoned. However, in 1974, the ancient fortress was restored by its owner at the time, who turned part of it into a museum. In 1988, the castle was named a historic monument and has since become a major tourist attraction. Today you can visit the vaults, the 16th‑century kitchens, the baroque music parlour, the marquise’s bedroom with its canopy bed, the library, the Louis XIV room, the 17th-century ironworks, and more. The medieval gardens and boxwood maze—designed by Le Nôtre and inspired by Versailles—were finished in 1781 and are worth the detour.Open to the public ($)
Slide 13 of 16: Dating back to A.D. 1000, this historic fortress underwent major restorations from the 16th to the 18th century and is now the largest castle in Provence in terms of surface area. It is a veritable Florentine-inspired palace with reception halls, summer rooms, a cabinet of curiosities, and plaster mouldings that are considered to be the most beautiful in Provence.Open to the public ($)
Slide 14 of 16: The fortified village of Gourdon is perched 758 metres (2,500 feet) above sea level on a rocky crag. The current castle was built in the 12th century on the site of a pre-existing ninth-century fortress and was later restored in the 17th century. In 1950, the village was opened to the public and attracts more than a million tourists annually. Due to the castle being the private residence of a Parisian family who bought it in 2015, only the gardens are now open to the public.Gardens only open to the public ($)
Slide 15 of 16: Even after thousands of years, Provence still has plenty of fortified cities, cobblestone streets, and medieval castles. Some castles have been restored while others are crumbling to ruins. If it has always been your dream to spend a night in a castle, look no further than Provence.Here are 15 castles in Provence that should be at the top of your list the next time you’re in the south of France.
Slide 16 of 16: Set on a rocky cliff, this medieval fort played a major role from Antiquity to the French Revolution, but has since fallen to ruins. However, a local heritage conservation association has made several improvements to the fortress since 1978. Today visitors can learn about life in the Middle Ages through guided tours offered throughout the summer.Open to the public ($)

The most beautiful castles in Provence

Even after thousands of years, Provence still has plenty of fortified cities, cobblestone streets, and medieval castles. Some castles have been restored while others are crumbling to ruins. If it has always been your dream to spend a night in a castle, look no further than Provence.

Here are 15 castles in Provence that should be at the top of your list the next time you’re in the south of France.

Château de la Barben

Built on a rocky outcrop, this 11th-century medieval fortress was virtually impregnable. Following a strong-arm attack in 1630, restorations to the castle combined austerity and classicism. Designed by Le Nôtre, the same French landscaper behind the park of the Palace of Versailles, the castle gardens are considered “the most beautiful in Provence” with its porticos, stream, four ponds, two fountains, terraces, and path lined with plane trees. In 1965, the castle officially opened to the public and was named a historic monument in 1984. Château de la Barben offers daily tours led by a costumed guide plus riddles for children. You can also book a room or suite for the night.

Open to the public ($)

Château d’If

This French fortress was built around 1529 on the tiny island of If off the coast of Marseille. For centuries, the three-hectare (7.5-acre) fortified island’s primary function was a prison. Featured in Alexandre Dumas’ popular novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the castle is one of Marseille’s top tourist destinations, welcoming some 100,000 visitors annually.

Open to the public ($)

The Papal Palace

This papal residence is the biggest edifice of Gothic architecture in Europe. The popes resided here for close to a century in the 1300s, and six conclaves were held within the walls of this building. Both a fortress and a palace, the Papal Palace has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Attracting almost 650,000 visitors a year, it is one of the 10 most popular monuments in all of France.

Open to the public ($)

Château de Lauris

Flower lovers will love the botanical gardens at Château de Lauris. While the castle is not open to the public, you can tour the terraced gardens and discover the many plants used for dyeing food and fabrics. The view alone is worth the trip!

Gardens and terraces open to the public ($)

Château de Lourmarin

Located in one of the prettiest towns in France, the Château de Lourmarin is a veritable architectural treasure with its medieval wing (built at the end of the 15th century) and its Renaissance wing (dating back to the 16th century). The castle was named a historic monument in 1973 and has a strong penchant for the arts. Serving as both an artist residence and a cultural centre, this historical site hosts concerts, festivals, and conferences throughout the year.

Open to the public ($)

Château du Barroux

Considered the most beautiful Renaissance residence, this 12th-century castle boasts a spiral staircase, countless rooms, a terrace, and a chapel. The castle was looted during the French Revolution and set afire during World War II, but restorations were started in 1960 by Doctor Mouliérac‑Lamoureux, and continued by the Association des Amis du Château du Barroux, with support from the Vayson de Pradenne family, who still own the property. A travel guide is available.

Open to the public ($)

Château de Lacoste

Once the home of the Marquis de Sade, Luberon’s beloved castle was practically razed to the ground during the French Revolution. In 2001, fashion designer Pierre Cardin bought the château and has since been restoring it with the intention of opening it up to the public. Today, you can explore some of the Marquis de Sade’s apartments and admire Cardin’s private collection of furniture and art. Psst! The view from the terrace is stunning!

Open to the public ($)

Château de Saumane

The hilltop village of Saumane is home to a fabulous castle that was recently opened to visitors. It was formerly owned by the Abbé de Sade, the uncle and tutor of the famous Marquis de Sade. Be sure to visit this château steeped in history from the Middle Ages, the time of the Popes, to the 20th century.

Open to the public ($)

Château d’Ansouis

Built between the 10th and 17th centuries, the castle boasts thousands of years of history and offers a glimpse into the Middle Ages and the Old Regime. The groves, gardens, and terraces add to the charm of this fully restored castle. It is now a private residence, although the owners offer guided tours.

Open to the public ($)

Château de la Tour-d’Aigues

Despite being mainly in decay, this castle is steeped in history. The revolution, a fire, and plundering proved fatal for this medieval castle renowned for having hosted Catherine de’ Medici in 1579. The interior may be destroyed but the Renaissance façade could be a theatre backdrop. The courtyard is open to visitors and still testifies to the castle’s former splendour. Psst! There’s an app that you can download on your smartphone for a 2.0 tour. Don’t miss the earthenware museum and temporary exhibits in the basement.

Open to the public ($)

Château d’Entrecasteaux

Repairs were carried out on this 11th-century castle in the 15th, 16th, and 18th centuries before being abandoned. However, in 1974, the ancient fortress was restored by its owner at the time, who turned part of it into a museum. In 1988, the castle was named a historic monument and has since become a major tourist attraction. Today you can visit the vaults, the 16th‑century kitchens, the baroque music parlour, the marquise’s bedroom with its canopy bed, the library, the Louis XIV room, the 17th-century ironworks, and more. The medieval gardens and boxwood maze—designed by Le Nôtre and inspired by Versailles—were finished in 1781 and are worth the detour.

Open to the public ($)

Château de La Verdière

Dating back to A.D. 1000, this historic fortress underwent major restorations from the 16th to the 18th century and is now the largest castle in Provence in terms of surface area. It is a veritable Florentine-inspired palace with reception halls, summer rooms, a cabinet of curiosities, and plaster mouldings that are considered to be the most beautiful in Provence.

Open to the public ($)

Château de Gourdon

The fortified village of Gourdon is perched 758 metres (2,500 feet) above sea level on a rocky crag. The current castle was built in the 12th century on the site of a pre-existing ninth-century fortress and was later restored in the 17th century. In 1950, the village was opened to the public and attracts more than a million tourists annually. Due to the castle being the private residence of a Parisian family who bought it in 2015, only the gardens are now open to the public.

Gardens only open to the public ($)

Château des Baux

One of the oldest feudal establishments in all of Europe, this medieval fortified castle—now lying in ruin—is a major Provençal tourist attraction. Dating from the 11th century, it sits on a rocky ridge and some of the rooms are actually carved into the rock. Restorations to this historic landmark began in October 1991. Don’t miss the daily catapult demonstrations given with real projectiles and a medieval trebuchet.

Open to the public ($)

Forteresse de Mornas

Set on a rocky cliff, this medieval fort played a major role from Antiquity to the French Revolution, but has since fallen to ruins. However, a local heritage conservation association has made several improvements to the fortress since 1978. Today visitors can learn about life in the Middle Ages through guided tours offered throughout the summer.

Open to the public ($)

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