Chateau de Chantilly

The castle at Chantilly is just 40 kilometres north of Paris, and a popular day trip from the capital. It has two main parts - the 16th century Small Castle and the 19th century Large Castle, which is a substantial rebuild of an earlier chateau that stood here before the Revolution.

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Chateau de Rambouillet

Unusually among the historical castles of France, Rambouillet plays a role as important now as it did in the past - it is now the summer residence for French presidents, and frequent host to heads of state from other countries.

Dating from the 14th century, at which time it was a manor house, it gained importance as an occasional royal residence, and it was here that King Francois I died in 1547.

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Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The chateau at Vaux-le-Vicomte, 50 km south-east of Paris, is one of the great chateaux of France. Built between 1658 and 1661 it was an important influence on much of the architecture that followed.

One of the radical innovations at Vaux-le-Vicomte was that the building, the gardens, and the interior, were all planned together as one ensemble - an idea that carries through to the most modern of architecture. The architect (Louis le Vau), the interior designer (Charles le Brun) and the landscape architect (André le Notre) worked closely together during all stages of the project. It was the same 'team' that would subsequently work on the Palace at Versailles.

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Chateau de Vincennes

From the 12th century an important manor house stood here, but nothing of that original building remains (except for some parts of wall and tiled flooring uncovered in recent archaeological work). The chateau we now see dates from the 14th century (and 17th century).

Vincennes is one of the most impressive and largest castles in France, and one that has played an important role in the history of France. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was the Royal residence, and several future kings were born at Vincennes.

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