37420 Rigny-Ussé, France
Photo by ADT Touraine JC Coutand
Château d’UsséOnly a 40-minute drive from Saumur, the Château d’Ussé is so magical that it served as the inspiration for the castle in Charles Perrault’s The Sleeping Beauty. Originally built as a stronghold in the Middle Ages, it developed over time into a jewel of Renaissance architecture, then became a splendid residential home in the 17th and 18th centuries. The octagonal Knights’ Dungeon plays a key part in Perrault’s fairy tale, but the castle is also home to enchanting cellars, gardens, stables, a chapel, and a tower with spectacular views over the Loire Valley. Spend some time here and you’ll quickly understand why it’s among the most beloved castles.