French Châteaux in Fall Foliage

by olivia hoffman
Château d’Ussé photo by @tom_aero5

Romantic French châteaux take on a special glow when the autumn leaves start revealing their amber hues. From the Loire Valley to the Pyrenees mountains, the fall foliage in France paints the surrounding landscapes with a majestic palette of warm colors.


For a few short weeks from October to November, the mesmerizing sight of the French countryside must not be missed. This week, we took to Instagram to highlight some of the most impressive castles around France, currently boasting a rainbow of seasonal shades.

Prepare to be transported to a royal autumnal paradise à la française

Château de Chambord boasts centuries of grandeur starting from the reign of François I in the 16th century. In autumn, the golden leaves frame the road leading up to the castle – a preview of the opulence awaiting visitors behind the ancient walls.

While more modest in size and architecture, this “petit château” is just as dazzling as any when the morning sunlight hits it just right: “Fire skies, one of those autumn gifts that you have to capture when they happen, even if it means you’ll have to rush with the breakfast trays. It’s cool enough for my breath to billow in the clouds, but not so cold that I miss my coat. We stand together, staring at the sunrise, the trees just starting to colour in its light, their silhouettes turning into leaves and gnarled branches.” – @chateaudelaruche

The vibrant greens of the geometric gardens and myriad of trees framing the sophisticated Château de la Ballue start fading to muted hues in autumn. This dreamy property situated between Brittany and Normandy echoes the auburn colors of the sun setting on the nearby Mont-Saint-Michel.

Astutely situated atop a hill in the Pyrenees, the Château de Gudanes looks out over breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains which ripple into shades of rouge in October. Lovingly restored by an Australian couple after years of neglect, this former 13th century fortress turned 15th century castle, turned 18th century château boasts modest grandeur in a way only a remote mountain castle can.

Dots of pink cyclamen poke through a carpet of crunchy brown leaves surrounding Château du Lude, lending a subtle floral note to the crips autumn air. This lavish castle is framed by rows of bushes whose seasonal colors are reflected in the waters of the Loire River.

Photo by @chateau_d_usse

Pumpkins and gourds are popping up in the potager (vegetable garden) of the Château d’Ussé in the Loire Valley. This fairytale-like castle makes it seem as though one of those pumpkins might turn into a carriage and ride away with Cinderella.

The colorful gardens of Château Villandry produce a vibrant harvest of autumn squash which are put in the spotlight during their “Journées du Potager” – a festival celebrating the seasonal bounty from the château’s vegetable garden at the beginning of October each year.

As the sun sets on the medieval Château de Montreuil Bellay, the spotlight shines on the golden vines slowly transforming into an ombre of auburn. A perfect place to wander around, pretending to be royalty for a day.

If you find yourself in France at this time of year, it is worth a trip out to the countryside to get a glimpse of the mesmerizing fall foliage – and indulge in the glamor of visit to a French château while you’re at it!

Written by Olivia Hoffman

Read next: Tips & Tricks for Fall French Décor

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