Castles and Palaces
Every Castle


CHÂTEAU is the French word for a castle or a large country house.

During most of the Middle Ages, the "CHÂTEAUX " (pl. for château in french) were fortresses, built to provide protected residences for monarchs, nobles, or wealthy individuals.

Beginning in the late 1400's, the châteaux were built as elegant country mansions.

The Château of Chambord (begun in 1519) shows this change from fortress to residence. It has many of the same features as a medieval castle, such as round corner towers and steep roofs.

However, its large windows, which could be entered by an attacking enemy fairly easily, indicate the chateau was not meant to be a defensive structure.

Other well-known châteaux built mainly during the 1500's include those of Fontainebleau and Chenonceau.

Eventually, châteaux were constructions that no longer resembled castles. For example, flat pavilions replaced the round corner towers on these later houses, and the roofs became lower.