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Château de Cormatin, Cormatin

France 71460
Tel: 33 3 85 50 16 55's insider take:

You'll find France's best-preserved Louis XIII–period interiors at this early-17th-century castle built on 12th-century foundations. A slate-covered mansard roof, gables, and turrets give the limestone château a fairy-tale look. Inside, you'll see giant carved-stone fireplaces, an impressive central staircase, lapis lazuli and gold wall decorations in the boudoir, and a period kitchen with a cast-iron stove. The Grosne River, which runs around the site, creates a natural moat and reflecting pools. If you don't have time to take a tour, purchase a ground pass ($7) and explore the geometrical parterres of lawn, lavender, and boxwood; the classic kitchen garden; and the boxwood labyrinth with its neoclassical birdhouse. The fortified farmstead and orangerie house a café (open only in July and August).—David Downie

Open 10 am to noon and 2 to 3 pm, Easter through mid-November. Interior open by guided tour only.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.