Pierrefonds_ Château de Pierrefonds © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Stéphane TatinclauxPierrefonds _ Château de Pierrefonds © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Stéphane Tatinclaux
©Pierrefonds, Château de Pierrefonds |Hauts-de-France Tourisme / Stéphane Tatinclaux

The fairy tale Château de Pierrefonds

Nearly all of us have dreamt of living in a chateau and the stunning castle in Pierrefonds in the Oise is a classic example. Chateau de Pierrefonds has everything you’d expect in a magical kingdom, from a drawbridge, battlements and dungeons to towers and turrets. There are huge decorative rooms and sleeping quarters with canopy beds, as well as weapons from the Middle Ages and cannon balls embedded in the walls (yes, really!). Everything here is part of France’s rich history and takes us back to a time of fairy tales and legends. Let’s take a walk around the edge of the Compiègne forest to find the best vantage points from which to discover this gem – enter and let your dreams run wild.

A medieval ideal

Chateau de Pierrefonds is immense in more ways than one. Built for the prince of Orléans in the 14th century it is – along with the chateau at La Ferté-Milon in Aisne – a key architectural masterpiece of the period. It was destroyed before being reborn as a Neo-Gothic residence and beautiful Medieval palace under the guidance of famous architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1857). He used stunning polychromatic painting styles to reinterpret the building with decadence and artistry. Viollet-le-Duc’s colourful décor flows right through Chateau de Pierrefonds, including into the chapel and through the vast Salles de Preuses, a magical room that stretches for an incredible 170 feet (52 metres). Sculptural decorations also adorn the grand interiors and help illustrate feudal life in the Middle Ages in an archaeological style.

Gazing at a fantasy world in Pierrefonds

An idealised version of these lives of yesteryear still capture our imaginations today, with audiences finding pleasure in the many costume dramas that bring the fortress to life on TV and movie screens.

Directors have used the chateau as a set for The Hunchback, Donkey Skin, The Visitors, the Merlin series, The Story of Joan of Arc and many other films. Walt Disney was also captivated – Chateau de Pierrefonds was one of the premier European castles to provide inspiration for Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White … melting hearts both young and old along the way. When they visit, your little knights will at last have an ideal setting for their imaginary conquests.

Local's tip

Séverine CognassonSéverine Cognasson
©Séverine Cognasson
The most beautiful viewpoint of Chateau de Pierrefonds is…


In my opinion, the best view of Château of Pierrefonds is reached by climbing a small staircase that’s found in the rue du Beaudon. As you head slowly up the street, on your right you’ll see some steps: you’ve found it! There are 296 steps to climb, but my children have done it – from the top, the view of the chateau set among the trees is superb.

Séverine, local expert on family visits to Pierrefonds

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