Chateaux Tours - French Castle Visits

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is world famous for its beauty and opulence, and no palace better represents the glory of the court from the time of Louis XIV, the Sun King, to France’s last royal couple, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Versailles has been one of the most visited historic sites in the world since 1661, welcoming foreign travellers, princes, ambassadors, artists, writers and philosophers, architects, and scholars from around the world.

You too can visit this magnificent Chateau created by Le Brun, Le Vau, and Mansart to see the Great State Apartments, Queen's Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Gallery of Battles, and stroll through the Andre Le Notre Gardens, with their Groves & Fountains. An English speaking licensed private guide will provide a unique insight into the greatest achievements in 17th century art and the power of the Bourbon kings.
See Versailles from the Air 

Recommended Visit
▸ Morning visit and local lunch, then afternoon visit to 2 vineyards and overnight Champagne.
▸ When available, behind the scenes private visit / Champagne breakfast

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Throughout its eight centuries of history, Fontainebleau has been constructed, reconstructed, pilfered, abandoned, and refurbished again. Although there is documentation mentioning Fontainebleau from as early as 1137, it was in 1169 that the exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas à Becket, anointed the Chateau de Fontainebleau to the Virgin Mary and Saint Saturnin. The palace became a monastery hospital in 1259, and was transformed during the Renaissance by Francois I into a pre-eminent palace for royalty. The proximity to the capital, the forest and hunting lodges had made Fontainebleau one of the King's favorite locations. 

The Chateau has been a national museum since 1870 and houses the Ecoles d'Art Americaines, a school of art, architecture, and music established by General Pershing during the First World War. Napoleon was a huge force in restoring the chateau after the revolution, during which many of the royal collections were disbanded and sold. Napoleon instructed his architect to transform Fontainebleau into a second residence.
See Fontainebleau from the Air 

Recommended Visit
▸ Combine with Fontainebleau and stay overnight. Morning departure to Champagne with vineyard visits en route and overnight in Champagne.

Vaux le Vicomte

Discover the splendours of Vaux le Vicomte, built by Nicolas Fouquet, the Minister of Finance, who lived a lavish, boisterous lifestyle with a distinguished circle of friends. This did not go unnoticed by a jealous Colbert, who directed French internal affairs at the time and who was a trusted confidant of Louis XIV. Colbert suggested that Fouquet's wealth was inappropriate and disrespectful to the Sun King, as it seemed to exceed even the luxurious lifestyle of the royal court.

Louis XIV showed interest in seeing the renovations at Vaux le Vicomte. To honor the king, Fouquet held what is now known as the most remarkable party of the 17th century in France on August 17, 1661, which included a play by Moliere performed at the edge of the forest and ended with an extraordinary production with rockets and fireworks.

The King was insulted by the attention and applause given to Fouquet for a celebration unlike any other. Thus, the evening became a tragic setting and Foquet's downfall. Within two weeks, he was falsely accused of embezzlement he did not commit, arrested and remained imprisoned until he died 19 years later.
See Vaux le Vicomte from the Air 

Recommended Visit
▸ Morning visit and local lunch, then afternoon visit to 2 vineyards and overnight Champagne.
▸ Combine with Fontainebleau and depart for Champagne in the morning for a full day, returning to Paris or overnight.


Only 35 miles north of Paris, you will arrive at the heart of Royal Picardie to visit the renaissance Chantilly Castle, the world's most beautiful stables in the Living Horse Museum, and the Conde Museum & Portrait Gallery, housing the 2nd most important painting collection in France, with almost 3,000 Old Master drawings and 1,000 Old Master paintings, including important collections from the French Schools (Poussin, Nattier, Watteau, Ingres, Delacroix), as well as masterpieces. The castle also has one of the few "Monkey Rooms" left in the world, as well as furniture commissioned by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI.
See Chantilly from the Air 

Recommended Visit
▸ Depart Champagne at 10am. Lunch and an afternoon to visit the Castle and Living Horse Museum. Overnight stay at one of the local Chateaux hotels before your return flight to the US from CDG (35 min drive).

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