The country of fashion and romance, France, is a republic. And by definition, a republic does not have a king. As of this writing, France’s system is the Fifth Republic.
But in the olden times, France was a monarchy. It was only in the year 1792 when the First Republic was declared. At the time, King Louis the XVI was executed after a hefty trial.
From the First Republic, France has been through numerous coups and transitions. There was the defeat of the First Republic. There was the re-establishment of the monarchy. And then the Second Republic in 1848.
The Fifth Republic was established in 1958. From the so-called revolution in 1789, there have been 4 kings, 2 emperors, and 5 republics.
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Does France have a royal family?
Because France is a republic, there is no royal family. At least none is recognized by the state. Despite this, the country has citizens who have titles. These citizens can trace their lineage back to noble families of the past.
The Existence of the Royal Families
Like England, there is a family composed of descendants of the royal families of the past. Even in our century, these extraordinary people exist.
A report in 2016 states that modern France has thousands of these people. In fact, the numbers can be anywhere from around 50,000 to 100,000 individuals. All these can qualify as part of the French nobility.
In simpler terms, these individuals hold the claims of being aristocrats.
Some of these royal families were able to maintain their wealth as well as their influences. Most of these families have members that are now leaders in the world of finance.
There are some noble families, however, that have led quiet lives. Most of these types live away from Paris. You can find them in old mansions or chateaux, the maintenance of which can come at a high price.
These families mostly do not flaunt their noble origins. Neither do they deny it when asked. But over the many years, these families practiced discretion. This is with the notion that most of France find the idea of monarchy displeasing.
In France, there is such a thing as ANF. It is short for the Association for Mutual Help of the French Nobility. The organization was founded in the 1930s. This was after two nobles had an interaction with a porter who actually had noble roots as well.
It was then that the association was founded. The aim is to help descendants of nobles who need help. This is a non-profit organization for nobles. It started in the 1930s and remained to be active until this day.
Another purpose of this organization is to also take to court the commoners who try to claim to be noble. They also pay tuition fees of young nobles that show promise in their education.
The world sees nobility as brimming with glam. This has never been always the case. The situation of some noble descendants in France says it all.
The House of…
It would be nearly impossible for one to see a king in France. There are pretenders, however, to the French throne. These are all supported by the French Royalists.
The belief is that only a king can make the nation unite. Only a king can represent the whole of France. Only a king can solve the country’s problems. These are the beliefs of the French Royalists.
The French Royalists have their undying support to all three houses:
There is The House of Bourbon.
There is The House of Orleans.
There exists the House of Bonaparte.
Louis Alphonse de Bourbon represents the House of Bourbon. He is the Duke of Anjou and is a descendant of King Louis XIV. His claim is through the House of the Bourbon. His pretense is to the title of King Louis XX.
The House of Orleans is under Jean D’Orleans. He is the son of Henri, Count of Paris. He is also the descendant of King Louis XV and pretends to the Henri VII of France title.
And finally, the House of Bonaparte is under Charles Prince Napoleon. He is actually not a direct descendant of Emperor Napoleon. Instead, he is the descendant of Napoleon’s brother.
Being part of any of these families is a game of thrones. Not the TV show, but this is a game of squabbles.
These families always go about disputes on who is rightful to the throne. Must one be reminded, these are non-existent thrones. But being part of any of these families always have one go through these disagreements.
But for those that are unlucky to be named heir to the throne, there’s no fear of any beheading. It’s not that harsh.
Is there a castle in France?
When there are kings, there are castles and palaces. France has a fair share of these castles. The most famous, perhaps, is the Palace of Versailles. Aside from this, there are still tens of castles and palaces all over the country.
There are an estimated 45,000 castles in all of France. Here are 15 of the most sublime there is.
Most of these are popular. They always appear in guides and are chased by tourists from far and wide. Some, however, take a bit of effort to go to. They can be out of the way. But upon seeing these castles, all efforts are worth it.
While there are thousands of castles in the country, these picks are the most popular. They are rich in their own histories. And aside from being rich in history, these castles are also some of the most beautiful.
Behind the beauty, these castles were once sites of sieges. Their walls bear witness to all the romance, betrayal, and wars of the glorious past.
Here they are.
Château de Chambord, Loir-et-Cher
First on the list is one of the most beautiful of them all. The castle holds prestige. It is also in a location that houses many of these beautiful French castles.
The chateau was built in the 1500s. This was for King Francis the First. Upon its construction, the castle was already recognized for its unique design. It identifies itself with the emblematic cluster of cupolas and turrets high up on its roof.
While photos are beautiful, nothing compares to the real thing. It is beautiful beyond comparison.
Rumor also has it that Leonardo da Vinci had a hand in its beautiful features. The castle is made beautiful by a central double-helix staircase. It twists gracefully up until the third floor. From there, a skylight lights the whole staircase and the beautiful interior below.
Château de Villandry, Indre-et-Loire
A few miles away from Tours is a renaissance palace. The palace is popular with tourists for its amazing gardens.
The palace, as well as its gardens, were restored around the early 20th century. These are all arranged through the cross through four terraces of the palace.
The restoration was by the Spanish doctor. His name was Joachim Carvallo.
Each of these gardens has different themes. One of these is a sun garden. Another is the water garden. Then, there is the ornamental garden. Finally, there is a decorative vegetable garden.
All these four gardens never fail to amaze every tourist that visits. It puts everyone in awe for its extravagance. Aside from that, each garden displays amazing scale and precision.
The castle is built with the classic Loire style design in mind. Unique to this design are its mansard roofs. Aside from that, its 18th-century interiors are one of a kind.
For anyone who is never even interested in history or gardening, the castle never fails to awe.
Château de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne
At the southeast corner of Paris lies the Château de Fontainebleau. The palace was home to many of the country’s kings and emperors. It was said that it housed the country’s leaders for more than 700 years.
The architecture, art, and grounds hold many of the country’s richest histories. Each new ruler would add something to the interior. Each new leader alters one part or another.
One of these examples was Napoleon. In the early parts of the 1800s, the ruler was able to bring with him his character to the palace.
Tourists can get to tour around the Emperor’s apartments. His dwellings and his study are accessible to knowledge-hungry tourists.
The palace also had decorations in the 1500s under the influence of Francis I and Henry II. These exquisite Renaissance Rooms, by themselves, are already worth the visit.
Château de Chantilly, Oise
Imposing can be one of the many words that can describe this castle. This 19th-century renaissance beauty is graceful as well as beautiful.
Its parterres, or something that is part of the garden, was designed by Andre Le Notre. The stables that tourists now see are the palace’s original stables. It now contains a museum for horses. It is also a museum for equestrianism.
Aside from the museum and the garden, the palace is also home to medieval manuscripts. It has precious arts as well as sculptures, too.
One of the most popular pieces were those by Italian artists like Raphael and Sassetta. The artworks of Botticelli are also in this palace.
The artworks housed within the castle make up a huge collection. It has been collected over many centuries. It is so huge that it can overshadow any kind of collection without a doubt.
Tours de Merle, Corrèze
What is beautiful about ruins is that it presents a shadow of the glorious past. And it is beautiful.
This is true for this castle’s ruins that still stand right on the steep valley west of Massif Central.
The ruins were part of houses that date back to about 1200 until the 1500s.
Throughout the middle ages, these buildings have gone through different challenges. This even includes the 100 Years of War that started in the 14th century.
The ruins are now part of a park. Most of its parts now sit with the woodlands.
Tourists that take excitement in such places can tour and wander around. See what else can be discovered.
And oh, before we forget. There are medieval-themed activities in ruins during summer. This is something any history buff should never miss.
Can an American buy a castle in France?
Americans can purchase French properties even to their names. Such purchases enable the French government to apply tax laws to the owner.
But is it a worthy investment?
France is a country brimming with historical architecture. It has more than 45,000 castles in total. In fact, a lot would dream of getting one of these castles under their names. Owning one can beat any kind of dream as one can live the life of the nobles. At least one can imagine.
The purchase, however, entails a lot of responsibilities. Asking the right questions before the purchase is wise.
Of course, one of the most important things to consider is the price of the castle. Since almost a decade ago, the prices for these castles have dropped by about 30%. Most of these castles are already on sale.
Prices can vary anywhere from 500,000 Euros to about 1.5 million Euros. The price would have to depend on a lot of things.
One of the things that would greatly affect the price is the condition of the castle. Its location is also a determining factor that could either amplify the price or lower it down.
Another consideration is the upkeep costs of the property. Managing and keeping a tab of more than 400 square meters of property is an expensive feat. Besides, there are gardens to tend to and the whole house to keep clean.
In summary, the maintenance of a castle can cost about 300,000 Euros per year. It can even skyrocket to as much as 1 million Euros, depending on the property.
So, is it a worthy investment?
Owning a castle is an amazing opportunity. But this should not be looked at as a long-term investment. Owning one is never profitable.
But while it may not be as good of an investment, owning one can be a dream come true for some. Just make sure that one would maintain the castle and keep it as glorious as it once was.