Chateau de Bonaguil

Located in the Lot-et-Garonne department of south-west France, Bonaguil was the last of the great fortified castles to be constructed in France. It is built in an impressive location on a high rocky spur between two rivers (the Thèze and the Lémance). Hence the name of the castle, which comes from the French 'bonne aiguille' - good needle.

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Chateau de Castelnau

Castelnau castle stands in an enviable hilltop location with lovely views across the rolling countryside in all directions, and is one of the most impressive sites in the region.

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Chateau de Chillon

OK I shouldn't include Chateau de Chillon because it is a few kilometres outside France, but in my defence it is easy to visit if you are near Lake Geneva, in the Rhone-Alps region on the border with Switzerland - and it is a very impressive castle. It is a classified Historic Monument.

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Chateau de Val

This fairy-tale castle dates from the 15th century and is located in the 'Parc des Volcans' region of Auvergne in south-central France, next to (and surrounded by, for it is on an island) an attractive lake. But the castle once stood on a hilltop, with fine views across the valley below! It was between 1942 and 1952 that the dam of Bort-les-Orgues was constructed, and the valley filled with water.

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Chateau de Foix

Dating back to the 10th century, the chateau de Foix is in the Ariege department of the Midi-Pyrenees. It sits high on a rocky spur, overlooking the valley and town below. There had been an earlier Benedictine monastery in the same location.

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Chateau Gaillard

An extraordinary feat, Chateau Gaillard was built in just one year - 1196/7 - for English King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart). Richard died from a wound during the course of the construction. The location is ideal for defensive purposes, being raised on a rocky spur high above the River seine (and the village of Les Andelys).

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Chateau de Moncontour

The structure of the donjon is the result of four phases of work between the 11th and 14th century. The original structure of the tower took place under the direction of the duke d’Anjou, Foulque III, in the 11th century and was built of limestone. It was built on the top of a hill surrounded by impassable marshes which provided a view of some ‘…seven leagues…. Later concerns were raised over the deflection of the exterior angle of construction.

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Chateau de Najac

On a rocky outcrop overlooking the village of Najac, and a great deal of the surrounding countryside, the location was chosen for its key defensive position over the valley of the Aveyron.

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Chateau de Rochefoucauld

Located to the north-east of Angouleme in the Charente, Rochefoucauld sits on a rocky spur above the Tardoire River and the town of the same name.

Remarkably the castle has been owned by the same family for its entire history (since 980).

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Chateau de Tarascon

On the banks of the Rhone River, Tarascon is quite a foreboding sight, with strong walls barely pierced to let the light in. The wall and towers are the same height ading further to the solid appearance.

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Tours de Merle

Deep in the heart of the southern Correze countryside, the Tours de Merle are the remains of various medieval chateaux and associated buildings beautifully situated in a deep wooded valley.

Although now largely ruined, there is plenty to explore and enjoy and a visit is highly recommended - there are various highlights to enjoy, and the opportunity to enjoy a picnic in a lovely setting.

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Palais des Papes

Neither a chateau (no wine production here!) or a castle, the Pope's Palace in Avignon has been included in this section because of its great importance and interest as a historical monument.!

By 1309 Rome became a violent and unwelcoming city and it became impossible for the incumbent Pope - Pope Clement V - to remain in the city. As a result the Pope and his entourage relocated to Avignon. The 'Pope's palace' was subsequently constructed by Clement V successor, Pope Benedict XII, and further developed by Pope John XXII who had the Old Palace constructed.

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