We are in the middle of Christmas ! ? Despite the COVID19 context in which we are, it’s possible to admire and visit some castles in the Paris Area that will be decorated and illuminated for the occasion !
Here is a list of the most beautiful castles one hour from Paris that will be open for this Christmas period and where you can discover these magnificent residences and stroll in the most beautiful parks!?
First of all, I present to you the very famous Fontainebleau Castle.
The Fontainebleau Castle is unique in France. This place presents at the same time masterpieces of the Renaissance, the refined interiors of Marie-Antoinette and the «comfortable» installations wanted by Napoleon III and Eugénie. Since 1981, the castle, with its 130-hectare park, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fontainebleau Castle also has one of the largest collections of antique furniture in France, and preserves an exceptional collection of paintings, sculptures and art objects.
COVID News : In accordance with government guidelines to combat the spread of the virus, Fontainebleau Castle is closed until December 18th. The park and gardens remain open, in the usual conditions and the wearing of the Mask mandatory. From 19th December, if the confinement is lifted, until 03rd January 2021, you can visit this magnificent castle and thus attend several thematic tours of the castle.
?At this time of Christmas you can admire the illuminations in the garden of Diane until 18h and the children can deposit their letter to Santa Claus in the mailbox, planned for this purpose or participate in a workshop of construction of the Castle with Legos. Other activities are organized during this period, to book the activities that interest you, go to the Website of Fontainebleau.
Access by public transport :
Take the train from Paris Gare de Lyon (main lines) towards Montargis, Montereau, or Laroche-Migennes, get off at Fontainebleau-Avon station.
Then we’ll go through the Chantilly Castle.
The Chantilly Domain belonged to several princely dynasties that contributed to its development over the centuries and in particular to Henri d’Orléans, duke of Aumale (1822-1897) who had the idea to build this domain.
Thanks to its years of history and its architecture, the Chantilly Domain is one of the most beautiful in France. It consists of the Condé Museum, beautiful parks, but especially Chantilly Castle, which is part of the greatest heritage of the history of France.
Inside this castle, we can find a collection of exceptional paintings that the Duke of Aumale has amassed.
As well as, the game room of Paume, the temporary exhibition of different art paintings. Outside, you can find the giant park and garden by André Le Nôtre.
Information during the Christmas period ?(December 15th to January 10th):
The Chantilly Domain organizes several events ! Max Vauché, artisan chocolate maker, will present 2 extraordinary works: a Christmas tree 2 meters high and a life-size Stag of more than 100 kg in chocolate !
A small traditional Christmas market will be set up as well as several Christmas choirs. Wearing of the Mask mandatory.
A guided tour will take place in the Theatre Library open for the holidays (December 15th-31st).
Workshops will be proposed to learn how to mount the mythical whipped cream.
The show «Alana et la cité d’Opale» will be performed from December 16th, 2020 to March 7th, 2021: Through this initiatory tale, young and old will follow the journey of Alana. She will live amazing adventures that will take her to meet the women of the Opale’s City.
To book the activities that interest you, do not hesitate to consult their Website.
Access by public transport :
From Gare du Nord take the train (25 minutes) and get off at the stop “Chantilly-Gouvieux”.
From the Chantilly train station to the Domain :
By bus: the DUC (Desserte Urbaine Cantilienne), free bus from the city of Chantilly and bus no. 15 towards Senlis. Departure from the bus station, get off at the stop «Chantilly, église Notre-Dame».
Then we will continue towards the Vaux le Vicomte Castle.
The Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle was the scene of significant historical events, including the eviction of Nicolas Fouquet, imprisoned following a crazy trial. Nicolas Fouquet had the idea to build this domain.
Furthermore, he brings together the greatest artists of his time to build the Vaux-le-Vicomte estate. The architect Louis Le Vau, the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun and the gardener-landscape André Le Nôtre, will create in Vaux-le-Vicomte an ensemble whose perfect harmony will inspire the whole of Europe for centuries !
Therefore, the castle is today the most important private property in France classified as historical monuments since its purchase in July 1875 by Alfred Sommier.
Information for the Christmas season ?
The gardens are open and from 16th December, the castle must reopen its doors. On the entire facade of the castle, a monumental projection will be set up. All children up to 17 years old will receive a surprise gift during their visit ! Twice a day a treasure hunt will be held in the gardens to find two golden hazelnuts to win gifts.
The Grand Salon, the castle’s centrepiece, will be decorated with 26,500 lights for a sparkling result ! For more information and to book, visit website of the Vaux le Vicomte’s Castle.
Access Public transport :
Take the train line P (direction Provins) to the Gare de L’Est. Get off at the Verneuil l’Etang train station (1 Train/hour. 35 mins journey)
In addition, we will go through the Breteuil Castle.
The Breteuil Castle was the residence of the Breteuils, family close to the kings of France. They inherit the estate by cousinage in 1712.
The castle is surrounded by French gardens and an English garden, where there is an orangery and a dovecote. The park covers 75 hectares. The castle has been listed as a historic monument since July 23rd, 1973, and its French and English gardens and park are labeled «remarkable garden». Open to the public, it presents sketches related to the life and history of the castle, staged by wax statues made by the Grevin Museum and automata made by Janie and Armand Langlois.
Information for the Christmas season ? :
From December 15th, the castle and the museum will open. Wearing of the mask mandatory. The gardens of the castle are already open to the public. Guided tours of the castle will be organized every day. Bonus : During the Christmas holidays, with the «castle» ticket: a theatrical staging will take place in the dining room where the butler will unveil the Art of Living at Table.
Several scenes of Perrault’s tales will take place in the castle. ? Do not hesitate to visit the Castle’s Website for more information and to book the activities you would like.
Access by public transport : Take the RER B to Saint-Rémy Les Chevreuses. Take the bus from Gare de Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to Mairie 39-13.
Finally, we cannot miss the most famous castle in the world: the Versailles Castle!
This palace was the residence of the Kings of France, the Court and the Royal Government from 1682 to October 1789. The Estate of Versailles has been a World Heritage Site for 30 years. The Versailles Palace is one of the most beautiful achievements of French art in the seventeenth century.
You would like to know more about Versailles, do not hesitate to consult our blog article on Versailles !
COVID News : The Palace and the Estate of Versailles is currently closed, it will reopen on December 15th, subject to government confirmation. The park is open to pedestrians and cyclists (access through the Queen’s gate, the Saint-Antoine’s gate, from 8 am to 5.30 pm). Pedestrian access possible through the Matelots gate on weekends only. Wearing the Mask is mandatory.
For more information and to book, visit the Versailles Palace’s Website.
Access by public transport :
The RER C arrives at Versailles Château Rive Gauche station, 10 mins walk to reach the Castle.
From Paris Montparnasse train station, SNCF trains arrive at Versailles Chantiers train station, a 18-minute walk to the Castle.
From Paris Saint Lazare train station, SNCF trains arrive at Versailles Rive Droite train station, a 17-minute walk to the Castle.
We hope that our article has made you want to visit some castles at Christmas ? ! Do not hesitate to stroll around the region, for a magical moment in this Christmas season !
And as always… Be curious!