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“Amazing place - very atmospheric”

Chateau de Pierrefonds
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Owner description: Dating back to the 15th century, the Chateau de Pierrefonds was comprehensively restored and altered by architect Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century to transform it into an imperial residence for Napoleon III. The chateaux often seems to have been specially built for a swashbuckling film with its richly varied painted and sculpted decors, its defensive system and drawbridge, walkways and drop-boxes, not to forget the two reconstructions of medieval siege engines. Open:> 2nd May to 4th September: from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.> 5th September to 30th April: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Last admission 45 minutes before closing time. Closed:> Mondays from 5th September to 30th April.> 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 7,50 €; Concessions (18 to 25) = 4,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed November 10, 2012

The chateau is the location for filming of the TV series Merlin. It is a stunning architectural monument inside and outside. Some reviews say it's not worth visiting inside, which I would absolutely disagree with. Anyone who decides not to go inside is missing a real treat. There's lots to see, especially the main hall and the underground crypt containing the remains of several kings of France.
We spent a few hours wandering around the various parts and had a thoroughly enjoyable visit.
The shop and ticket office is one of the best I've come across. Lots of extremely high quality and interesting gifts, books and souvenirs, as well as a good selection of Merlin merchandise.
Take time to have a wander around Pierrefonds village as well. It's a really pretty place with some good places to eat.

2  Thank HelenMR30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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340 - 344 of 1,172 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2012

The Chateau de Pierrefonds is a stunning example of historical preservation done right. Open to the public through a small entrance fee, one can roam around and throughout the castle to explore the grandeur that is Pierrefonds. Whether you are a fan of the BBC drama "Merlin" which films at Pierrefonds, this castle is a sight to see.The drive up to the Pierrefonds is stunning, as you can see the castle above the picturesque town. I would suggest the better part of an afternoon set aside to see the castle. As well as either starting off with a lunch in town, or following with dinner in the town, as the village of Pierrefonds is also beautiful and charming in its own way.

2  Thank Helena B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2012

Who could resist visiting Merlin's Castle ?

Pierrefonds is about 2.5 hours drive from Calais and about 1 hours drive from Paris on the edge of Compiegne Forest.

We visited midweek in early October. The Chateuax stands proudly above the pretty little village and is open all year round but closes at lunchtime in the winter.

The entrance is near the village square and it is best to park in the main car park near the lake.

Once money has been exchanged the Castle is entered via the drawbridge and within a few seconds you find yourself in the main courtyard where the museum staff greet you with a information pamphlet and then leave you to your own devices. My kids were somewhat underwhelmed when they started entering the ground floor buildings as most of them were empty whilst the others had been filled with atrtifacts which looked totally out of place in a Chateaux. In one section TV's had been rigged up to play a film about "dreams" suppose it would have been asking too much to have an episode of Merlin playing !

On our way out we spied the Great Hall but were surprised to see that it was apparently closed to visitors. Undeterred I asked one of the staff why we could not visit the Great Hall and was pleased to find out that we had only visited a small part of the Castle and that most of the second and third floor levels used for filming Merlin were open for inspection !

We climbed up to the second floor level and went right around the Castle. The rooms, corridors and battlements are very impressive !

For some reason the French apparently have a liking for dust and do not believe in equipping rooms with atmosphere enhancing furniture ! So you need to use your imagination if you want to imagine what the rooms would have looked like in medieval times or watch a Merlin DVD when you get home !

For some reason they have a slightly bolder attitude towards enhancing the atmosphere of krypts !

The tombs below the Castle are well worth a visit. They have spooky lighting, ghostly audio tracks and dry ice !

Pierrefonds Village is very beautiful and a nice place to relax for a couple of days. In winter the restaurants take turns at opening so there is not much choice when it comes to deciding where to have dinner or even lunch !

Pierrefonds is about one hours drive away from parc Asterix which is only open at the weekends in winter.

Thank WillieGarner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2012

Once a ruin this was restored by Gothic-revival architect Viollet-le-Duc as an imperial residence for Napoleon III. It was built as close as possible to a real defensive castle of the middle ages. It is run by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux which does a fine job with all their properties. It is open all day long in high season and closes 1:00 - 2:00 Sept through April. It is quite a hike up the hill on which it is built. It is not made clear at the entrance gate but handicapped parking is available at the top.

2  Thank Randy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2012

We made to two and a half hour dry to Pierrefonds and we were not disappointed.
The small town is charming but what is quite magnificent is how imposing the Chateau is.
There is so much to see , thoroughly enjoyable and if you are a fan of the television series Merlin then so much the better.

Thank WalesJennie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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