Hidden châteaux in the heart of Paris
Category Visit Paris
Tired of the well-trodden Paris tourist trail of the Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame? Did you think that to see a château you had to head off to Fontainebleau, Versailles or Vaux-le-Vicomte? Ask your Hotel Les Tournelles team and they will send you on a voyage of architectural discovery and fascinating historical events, all without leaving Paris!
The châteaux of Paris: a stroll through time and history...
If you’re interested in visiting a château in Paris, you will need to get off the beaten track and discover some less touristy parts of the city, which will in any case give you a much more authentic perspective on the City of Light. Signs installed by the City of Paris will give you all the essential information at the various sites.
Why not start with the intriguing Château des Brouillards (Castle of Mists) in Montmartre? Tucked away in one of the small streets of the Butte, this 18th century folly has many tales to tell. The walls housed a republican club during the French Revolution and inspired many Impressionists, including Eugène Delâtre, Renoir and Warnod, before serving as a meeting place for Parisian intellectuals and artists from Hugo to Cocteau, via Gambetta and Modigliani.
Continue your château quest by visiting the Château des Ternes and its beautiful classically inspired architecture. Its history is linked to that of the French Catholic priest Abbé Pierre, who brought the homeless to live there during the terrible winter of 1954.
Majestic or discreet, the châteaux of Paris are full of surprises
In the heart of the elegant 16th arrondissement, on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, stands the Château de la Muette. Although the current building dates only from the 1920s, it was designed along 18th century lines and is the third château to stand on the site. The first was built by Charles IX for Margaret of Valois, the first wife of Henri IV. It was later completely rebuilt by Louis XV. The current chateau, built by Baron Henri James de Rothschild and surrounded by beautiful French gardens, can be visited during Heritage Days.
Much smaller but utterly enchanting, the Pavillon de l'Ermitage in Ménilmontant is the only structure of the old Duchess of Orleans estate still extant and one of the few Parisian examples of the Regency style. Today, it hosts temporary exhibitions.
In the same district, the 18th century Pavillon Carré de Baudoin has been converted into an interesting cultural centre. There is a dynamic contrast between its elegant spaces and the contemporary works displayed there.
Finally, don’t miss the Château de la Reine Blanche, former residence of the Gobelins family. The oldest of this group of buildings dates from the 15th century. Recently restored to its former glory, it offers a truly fascinating visit.
Your Hotel Les Tournelles always encourages a more authentic discovery of Paris. Why not tour the Parisian châteaux this summer? They will give you a different perspective on the city.
Crédit photo : © Siren-Com - Wikimedia Commons
Hotel Les Tournelles, a 3-star hotel in the heart of the Marais