France, Paris

Chateau de Pierrefonds: Everything you need to know to visit from Paris

Planning a trip to Paris this summer and want to escape the crowds? Many tourists tend to flock to Versailles as their choice of castle when visiting Paris, but let me tell you, there are so many castles worth visiting near Paris! This article is going to focus specifically on the Chateau de Pierrefonds.

By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with how to get to Pierrefonds, as well as some personal recommendations on how to spend your visit. I’ll share with you my favorite place to stay for a beautiful city escape, plus some fun facts about why you might want to visit this castle in the first place (hint: it’s been featured in some films and series)!

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

What is the Chateau de Pierrefonds?

The Chateau de Pierrefonds is, in my opinion, quite an underrated attraction in the Paris area. This beautiful 14th-century castle sits atop a hill overlooking the town of Pierrefonds, and the Pierrefonds lake.

Historically, this castle has been standing since the Middle Ages and truly looks like it’s jumped straight out of a fairytale. Later in the 17th century, Louis XIII ordered many military castles to be dismantled. The Chateau de Pierrefonds was left in shambles until the 1850s when Emperor Napoleon III transformed it into a residence. It was restored by Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc to its original glory as it was intended to be a ‘museum of the middle ages’.

Most recently, the castle has been used as a backdrop for some iconic scenes in pop culture. Most notably, the castle was used as Camelot in the BBC series “Merlin”. It was also featured in ‘The Man with the Iron Mask” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”.

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A girl exploring the grounds of Pierrefonds castle including the courtyard and the interior hallways surrounded in stained glass windows

 

How to get to Chateau de Pierrefonds from Paris?

Chateau de Pierrefonds is located just outside of Paris in the Oise region of France.

🚗 Arriving by car: This is definitely the simplest solution as it only takes roughly 1.5 hours to drive from central Paris or 50 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport. Parking in the town was pretty straightforward as it really isn’t as crowded as other attractions close to Paris. You can look for affordable car rentals on Rentalcars.com!

🚂 Arriving by train: To get to Chateau de Pierrefonds by train you actually need to take the train to Compiègne Station. From there you will need to take either a taxi or Uber. Alternatively, the cheapest option is to take the 658 bus to Pierrefonds. The drive is roughly 15 minutes and the bus ride is approximately 25 minutes!

PRO TIP: I book all of my trains using Trainline as it compares the cheapest and quickest options! I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend it!

 

Where should you stay?

For the ultimate city break and true picturesque stay in the French countryside, I’d highly recommend checking out Moulin Royale. This historic bed and breakfast is located in an old textile mill from the 1300s.

In the 1840s it was resorted by Empress Eugenie De Montijo, and it eventually was leading the production of textiles for several Royal Palaces. This was around the exact same time her husband, Napoleon III, got to work restoring the Chateau de Pierrefonds. Their histories are so uniquely linked!

The owners have done an amazing job at preserving Eugenie’s legacy and passion for fashion. In the warmer months, you can also ask for picnic baskets and directions to explore the nearby forests and trails. It was the perfect place for a cozy, weekend getaway!

✨My recommendation: Check the availability here!

A collage of photos of the beautiful interior of the historic estate of the Moulin Royale. The dining room and bedroom surrounded by exposed wooden beams

 

Is Pierrefonds worth visiting?

After visiting on 2 separate occasions, I can confirm that a visit to Pierrefonds is absolutely worth the visit! It is a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway to escape the busyness of Paris and a perfect opportunity to enjoy the quiet French countryside.

Here are a few ideas of how you can spend your visit:

Visit some castles

Of course, I already talked about the iconic Chateau de Pierrefonds which is absolutely beautiful and worth the visit. But there is another castle in the area that you can explore; Chateau de Compiègne. Only a 15-minute drive from Pierrefonds castle, Château de Compiégne was built by Louis XV and remodeled by Napoleon I and III. This castle is more akin to a neo-classical palace and offers a really different experience than the middle-age castle in Pierrefonds!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Beautiful Châteaus to visit in the Loire Valley

A girl visiting the medieval castle of Pierrefonds, holding up her tickets in front of her

 

Check out a theme park

If you’re travelling with kids, visiting one of the theme parks around Paris is always a fun choice. To make the most of your visit, you can skip the busy lines at Disneyland Paris and check out Parc Astérix instead! This theme park is centered around the French cartoon characters Astérix and Obélix, and is the perfect activity for kids of all ages!

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Connect with nature

Surrounding Pierrefonds is the beautiful Forêt de Compiègne. There are tonnes of hiking and biking trails for you to choose from based on the time you have available and the level of difficulty you are looking for. For more information, you can check out AllTrails for the top hikes in the region. Alternatively, right in the center of town is the Lac de Pierrefonds. Here, there are also some picturesque walking trails around the lake and in the warmer months you can even look at some water activities such as boat rentals.

The beautiful Pierrefonds Lake at Golden Hour

 

Enjoy a meal

One of the best-rated restaurants in Pierrefonds is a small crêperie called Crêperie Les Remparts à Pierrefonds. What’s more perfect than completing your French weekend getaway with a nice traditional crêpe? We also dined at Le Chalet du Lac, a nice little restaurant with a beautiful view of the lake. The food was great, the view was beautiful and the prices were affordable – what more could you ask for?

 

Chateau de Pierrefonds visiting information

📆 The Chateau de Pierrfonds is open all year round. During peak season, from May to September, it is open from 9:30 am until 6 pm. During off season, from September to April, it is open from 10 am until 5:30 pm.

Visits can last between 1 to 1.5 hrs.

💰It costs 9 euros for an adult and people under the age of 18 can enter for free.

🎧 There are audio tours available but they also offer free guided tours 4 times a day. Find out more at the Chateau de Pierrefond’s official website.

🎟️ You can book your tickets in advance below!

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Tips for visiting

🏨 Stay overnight to make the most of your visit

I’ve mentioned this a few times already but I really think that this area is the perfect weekend getaway from Paris. Visiting the castle, of course, would not take an entire weekend. But staying the night allows you to get to know the area a bit better. Consider spending a night at the Moulin Royale to make the most of your city break.

🥾Visit the surrounding area if you have time

Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, there are several ways you can spend your weekend in this area of the French countryside. Check out my mobile-friendly FREE guide to Pierrefonds to have all of these recommendations easily accessible.

🎟️Book tickets in advance

Even though the Chateau de Pierrefonds is not as busy as attractions like the Palace of Versailles, I always recommend looking at booking tickets in advance. It’s definitely worthwhile to check availability before arrival to ensure that the castle is not closed for any holidays or closed to the public for filming. You can book your tickets in advance here!

 

Enjoy your Paris city break!

Everything you need to know about Chateau de Pierrefonds

As much as I love Paris, it is always nice to escape the busy streets and look for more hidden gems in the surrounding regions. Pierrefonds is just one of the many areas that are easily accessible from Paris that many tourists seem to overlook. I hope that if you’re looking for a hidden gem in the region, you have found it in Pierrefonds!

After visiting France for the past 8 years, I now offer travel planning services to help you build the perfect itinerary. Check out my custom travel guides for a personalized list of recommendations. Or a custom itinerary for an organized itinerary that fits your needs and schedule. Let’s make your trip to France a memorable one!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Pierrefonds: Free Weekend Getaway Guide

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Caity Zagar

Travel Planner & Blogger

Welcome to CZ Phones Home! I’m here to help make your travels easier by giving you tips, advice and inspiration to make your trips memorable!

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