Featured image of Chateau de Pierrefonds

Chateau de Pierrefonds- A French Medieval Treasure

LocationOise, Picardy, France (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCentre des Monuments Nationaux
Official WebsiteChateau de Pierrefonds
Rooms AvailableNo

Located in the Commune of Pierrefonds in Picardy, Chateau de Pierrefonds is considered one of France’s most romanticised chateaus. It has the unique defensive military architecture from the Middle Age. Although the Chateau was destroyed and reconstructed several times, it hasn’t lost its initial beauty and uniqueness. Now, it is open to the public to explore.

Chateau de Pierrefonds History

Chateau de Pierrefonds was built in the 12th century. In 1392, almost two centuries later, King Charles VI converted a part of this Chateau, i.e. County of Valois, into a Duchy and gifted it to his brother Louis, Duke of Orleans. The Chateau remained with Louis until his death in 1407. During this period, he hired Jean le Noir, the court architect and rebuilt the Chateau.

In 1617, during the early troubled days of Louis XIII’s reign, the Chateau was besieged by the troops sent by Richelieu, the secretary of state for war. After that, the demolition was started in the Chateau. The exteriors were razed, roofs were destroyed, and holes were made in the curtain walls and towers. The Chateau remained in the same condition for more than two centuries.

In 1810, Napoleon I bought Chateau de Pierrefonds. He accomplished too many changes to the ruined Chateau, but it started getting a lot of attention from the people. It became a “Romantic Ruin” and the centre of attention. Even in 1832, Louis Philippe’s daughter’s marriage was organised in this location. Since 1848, it has been classified as a monument historique by the French Minister of Culture. Meanwhile, the reconstruction work continued on the Chateau.

In 1850, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visited the Chateau. In 1857, he asked Viollet-le-Duc to undertake the current restoration work as the emperor. His work was continued by Maurice Ouadou and then Juste Lisch. In 1861, the restoration project grew in scale as the sovereign wanted to convert Chateau into their imperial residence. Here, the entire restoration plan was turned into the reconstruction and recreation of medieval architecture. However, the work stopped in 1885 because of the lack of money.

The Chateau is now managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.

Chateau de Pierrefonds Architecture

Château de Pierrefonds architecture
Château de Pierrefonds architecture”, by Bert Kaufmann, is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Chateau de Pierrefonds has the beautiful Gothique architectural style. It is a majestic palace that has weathered the whims of Kings for hundreds of years. It has everything you would expect in the magical kingdom. From drawbridges to towers and turrets, this Chateau has everything. It will take you back to the time of fairy tales and legends and allow you to learn a lot about the rich history of France.

The Chateau has eight towers, and each of them is named after famous knights. You can explore them all during your Chateau de Pierrefonds tour. Also, the exhibition ‘Le Bal Das Gisants’ that took place in the magnificent vaulted cellars of the Chateau is a must-explore. It consists of statues commissioned by King Louis Philippe to tribute to French Culture..

The Chateau de Pierrefonds Park offers a great view of the Chateau. It was originally designed by Viollet-le-Duc.

Chateau de Pierrefonds Interiors

The Chateau’s interiors are as magical as its exteriors. You will notice huge decorative rooms and sleeping quarters with unique canopy beds. Also, the Chateau’s walls are embedded with cannon balls and weapons from the Middle Age. The colourful décor and sculptural decorations flow around the Chateau and add more beauty to its interiors.

Chateau de Pierrefonds Tours

During your Chateau tour, you must pay attention to its ramparts that have exceptional dimensions, high curtain walls, a wall-walk built on stone corbels that links the towers and curtain walls, a keep, and a unique entrance with a medieval defence system. The North-west Wing, kitchen wing, chapel, and courtyard are also the must-explores.

You can book Chateau tours based on your preference. You can also explore the Chateau by getting Paris Pass: With 75+ Attractions, Museums and Tours, Paris Museums 4 Days Pass, and Palace of Pierrefonds- Private Trip.

Note: There is No Audio Guide.

The Entrance Ticket to Chateau de Pierrefonds: €8.00 (No extra fees applied on online booking.)

Opening Hours

January 2- April 30: 10 AM to 5:30 PM

May 2- September 4: 9:30 AM to 6 PM

September 5- December 31: 10 AM to 5:30 PM

More Information about Chateau de Pierrefonds

You can book the hotel near the Chateau as per your budget. It is easy to reach this Chateau by walking, bus and train. It takes around 1 hour to reach Chateau de Pierrefonds via Line 657 bus or train and around 1 hour and 43 minutes via Line 658 bus or train.

A total of 17 bus and train services run weekly from Paris to Chateau de Pierrefonds. Always check their availability in advance.  

Chateau de Pierrefonds Facts

  • Chateau de Pierrefonds is one of the famous filming locations, and some movies, including Les Visiteurs, Le Capitan, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Merlin, and The Man in the Iron Mask, were shot in this location.
  • The Cuts of the Chateau were used in Disney’s TV series, Wizards of Waverly Place.
  • It is believed that Walt Disney took his inspiration from the Chateau for Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you visit the castle where Merlin was filmed?

Yes. The Merlin film was shot at Chateau de Pierrefonds, and it is open to the public to explore.

Who lived in Chateau de Pierrefonds?

Chateau de Pierrefonds is a romantic fort in France. It was constructed in the medieval era and restored and altered in the 19th century. Discover more about it.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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Nitesh Kuchhal, an IIM Calcutta graduate, is more than an educator—he's a mentor. With a passion for leadership and entrepreneurship, and travel. He has explored over 20 countries. Beyond teaching, he dives into psychology and discusses social issues. Though he is not a history expert, he enjoys learning about it through books, adding a historical touch to his many interests.

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