The Haunted Castles of France

Do you dare discover some of France’s most haunted castles?

Do you dare discover some of France’s most haunted castles?

With its beautiful castles and bloody history, a country like France is bound to have a ghost or two lurking about. If you dare, step over the threshold of some of the most haunted locations in France, and see if you detect any spooky goings on.

Château de Puymartin

Region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Drive from Calais: 7h 58m / 830km

Explore the haunted tower of Château de Puymartin
Explore the haunted tower of Château de Puymartin.

Built in the 13th century, the honey-coloured turrets of Château de Puymartin will take your breath away as they emerge from behind the trees as you drive up to the castle. In the day time, you can take a tour around some of the rooms (the family still lives in part of the castle), admire the period furnishings and tapestries, and learn more about the history of the place.

In the summer months, on Tuesday evenings there are tours after dark, which recount the tale of the ‘Dame Blanche' or ‘White Lady'. This is the legend of Thérèse de Saint-Clar who was imprisoned in the north tower in the 16th century, after her husband returned from war early and discovered her in the arms of another man. He supposedly killed his wife's lover, and then locked her up in the tower for 15 years, until the day she died. Rumour has it that her body is buried in the walls, and her ghostly figure can be seen around the tower just after midnight.

Château de Puymartin is closed from mid-November, but opens again in April. Entrance will cost €8.50 for adults, €6 for teenagers (13-18), and €4 for children (6-12). Check ahead for opening times.

Château de Blandy-les-Tours

Region: Île-de-France
Drive from Calais: 3h 18m / 345km

Listen out for the ghostly cries around Château de Blandy-les-Tours
Listen out for the ghostly cries around Château de Blandy-les-Tours. credit: @lain G.

There has been a stronghold on the site of Château de Blandy-les-Tours since the early 13th century, and before the castle was built, a necropolis existed on the site, so it's not surprising there are reports of spooky goings on. Visit before the sun goes down to enjoy the beautiful views from the ramparts of the castle, and stroll around the streets of the pretty town.

If you're searching for something to make all your hair stand on end, however, you've definitely come to the right place. Château de Blandy-les-Tours is notorious as one of France's most haunted buildings. There is one particularly nasty character who has been spotted, thought to be a feudal lord of the manor form the 10th century, who has been seen brandishing a dagger. But it's on All Saints day when the castle really comes to life, so to speak, when scores of trapped souls can be heard screaming and rattling chains in the middle of the night.

Château de Blandy-les-Tours is open every day, except Tuesdays, and it's also closed 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December. Entrance is €7 for adults, there's a reduced rate of €5 for students and the over 65, and children up to 17 years old go free.

Château de Châteaubriant

Region: Pays de la Loire
Drive from Calais: 5h 33m / 573km

Follow in the footsteps of ghosts at Château de Châteaubriant
Follow in the footsteps of ghosts at Château de Châteaubriant.

The original Château de Châteaubriant was founded in the 11th century, and there have been additions to the castle over the centuries ever since. The guided tour, which is available in English as well as French, is well worth it to learn more about the fascinating history of the place. For most visitors, the 16th century wings and history is of most interest, and also apparently the source of the castle's hauntings.

Whilst on one of the tours around the castle, you'll come across the ‘Chambre dorée', where it is reported that Françoise de Foix was murdered. She was considered a great beauty at court and a mistress of King Francis I, and as such, on 16th October 1537, her jealous husband, Jean de Laval, had her assassinated in the night. It is said that every year since, a ghostly procession can be seen climbing the stairs at the stroke of midnight on the anniversary of her death.

Château de Châteaubriant is open for visits most of the year, but the entire property is closed on 1st January, 11th November, 24th, 25th, 31st December. Otherwise, the gardens are open every other day of the year and are free the visit. The castle and shop are closed throughout January, and it's advisable to check ahead every other month. It will cost €3 for adults, but children under 14 go free.

Mont Saint-Michel

Region: Normandy
Drive from Calais: 4h 39m / 482km

Will you see the spectral figures haunting Mont Saint-Michel?
Will you see the spectral figures haunting Mont Saint-Michel?.

One of France's most famous monuments, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont Saint-Michel is well worth a visit, whether you're looking for ghosts or not! The first monastic construction on the site begin in the 8th century after Bishop Aubert of Avranches was visited by a vision of the Archangel Michael who told him to build a church there. To this day, there is still a community of monks and nuns who live on the island.

With a history spanning over a thousand years, it's not surprising that Mont Saint-Michel has acquired a ghost or two along the way. As well as the spirits of several monks who once lived there, probably the most famous ghoulish inhabitant is the ghost of Captain Louis d'Estouteville. During the Hundred Years' War, he led his men to victory against the English in 1434, and his spectral figure can still reportedly be seen standing guard over the mount in the darkest hours of the night.

Mont Saint-Michel is open all year round, except for 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December. It's also a good idea to check the tides, as depending on the time of year, these can also affect visitation. Full price tickets are €10 for adults, and there is a reduced ticket rate of €8 available to certain visitors, so double-check if you qualify for the discount when you get there. You can also get an audio guide for an additional €3, which is well worth it.

Has all this talk of ghosts and ghouls got your sixth sense tingling? France is just a short car journey away, the earlier you book your tickets with us, the more likely you are to get the best price.

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