A seemingly limitless supply of picturesque castles and fortified towns with rich histories can be found littered throughout France. As the battleground for many of Europe’s medieval wars, France also has hundreds of the continent’s most impressive and beautiful forts. Check out our guide to ten of the most beautiful of these architectural marvels that are just waiting to be discovered by travelers.
The beautiful hilltop town of Carcassonne is more than just a castle. The beautifully preserved medieval town is a historical gem. One of the major towns in the Languedoc region of France, Carcassone played a key role in the Albigensian Crusade in the early thirteenth century. Its tolerant attitude towards religious diversity, and its role as a haven for Cathar heretics ensured that the town was attacked by a crusader army on the orders of the pope. The location of the town remained strategically important, as it is situated in the frontier region between France and Spain. Neglected due to the long-lasting peace between France and Spain countries, the town was restored to its former glory in the 19th-century by Viollet-le-Duc.