Any country with a history as rich and exciting as France is bound to have some haunting remnants of its dramatic past, serving as a reminder of lives and times long gone. And in this instance, we really do mean haunting! There’s plenty of reports suggesting that supernatural activity in the country is alive and well to this very day (or undead and unwell, if you want to get technical).
If you fancy seeing if you can snag a supernatural sighting yourself during your villa holiday in France, head to one of these spooky settings that make up our list of the top ten most haunted places in France!
1. Mont Saint-Michel
The ancient monastery on Mont Saint-Michel may be one of France’s most recognisable landmarks today, but according to the stories, the Archangel Michael had to burn a hole in Saint Aubert’s skull before he was persuaded to start building it. Today, the ghost of Captain Louis d’Estouteville stands guard on the mount, overlooking the site of his victory against the dastardly English in 1434.
Where to stay: Chateau Quatre Saisons – Within easy reach of this spooky area of France, Chateau Quatre Saisons is a rural retreat that even has some mysteries of its own… An old Cèdre du Liban on the property is reputed to have magical powers, while in the surrounding woodland you’ll find 14 Stations of the Cross – massive stone cross that note the site of an ancient pilgrimage.
From stumbling through time into an 18th-century garden party to spotting Marie Antoinette in the garden, paranormal sightings at the Chateau de Versailles are a fairly regular occurrence. The infamous executed queen, in particular, seems to haunt the castle, with her spirit most frequently seen in her royal bedchamber.
Where to stay: Chateau des Roses – Easily visit Versailles, Paris and notable historical sites from Chateau des Roses. The local town and market are only a 10-minute walk away too. This stunning home was completed on the eve of the French Revolution, and was once the seat of a famous Count and his family. Expect elegance and luxury in this 350-acre estate.
3. Chateau de Chateaubriant
If you’re looking for a pre-Halloween scare, head to Chateau du Chateaubriant. Legend has it that every October 16th, at the first stroke of midnight, a ghostly procession of knights and monks can be seen following the spirits of Francoise de Foix, his wife Jean de Laval and her lover King Francis I as they slowly climb the main stairs before disappearing at the last stroke.
Where to stay: Chateau De Flora – steeped in family history, Chateau De Flora is a 19th-century home that oozes luxury. Step outside to the heated swimming pool, tennis courts, classic French gardens, and there’s even an aboretum with over 200 species of trees.
4. The Catacombs
It doesn’t get much creepier than an underground, labyrinthine city of the dead, home to thousands of skeletons and walls lined with old, bleached bones. Open for brave tourists to explore, the Catacombs is an 18th-century burial ground created for the thousands of corpses that overcrowded Paris graveyards no longer had room for.
Where to stay: Chateau Royal – Mercifully free of both ghosts and skeletons, Chateau Royal sits just outside Paris and dates back to the 19th century. There’s oodles of history, the former owners include Marquise de Preignes and Baron Empain! With a professional chef available and a full concierge service on offer, you won’t even have to lift a finger to be pampered (which is exactly how it should be when you’re on your holiday).
5. Chateau de Commarque
This gorgeous chateau has a brutal past, being one of the strategic locations for the Hundred Years’ War. During the fight, the young love of the Earl of Commarque’s daughter was beheaded, and legend has it that the ghost of his horse haunts the grounds, searching for his master. A touching tale, if rather creepy!
Where to stay: Chateau des Lauzes – just a stone’s throw from Chateau de Commarque, you’ll find this fairytale-like castle set in 60 glorious acres of woodland and fields. There is even a lake in the grounds, but you’re more likely to want to cool off in the chateau’s pool. The interior of the home is classy and stylish and sets the scene for ultimate relaxation in this beautiful corner of the Dordogne.
6. Chateau de Brissac
One of the most haunted places in France, Chateau de Brissac is also the highest castle in the country… and easily one of the most beautiful in the Loire Valley. There’s tons of spooky stories and haunted happenings that draw in tourists far and wide, from ghostly apparations to midnight wailings. A common reoccurances is that of the former owner’s wife, Charlotte, and her lover. When the pair were caught in their lovemaking, owner Jacques pinned their souls to the castle walls with his sword.
Where to stay: Chateau De Raguerniere – Perfectly mixing traditional elegance with modern touches, Chateau De Raguerniere is beautiful inside and out. With a cocktail lounge (perfect for parties and sophisticated drinks!) inside, there’s also a frisbee golf course, driving range, badminton and table tennis. Great for kids and adults alike.
A spooky mountaintop village that has had its fair share of conflict over the years, the 13th-century castle on the summit is the reported hotbed for any paranormal happenings. Expect unexplained shadows, eerie voices whispering in the wind, and other haunting misbehaviours. We’re booking our trip to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence now!
Where to stay: Mas Mayeaux – Set steps away from a charming French village, Mas Mayeaux blends the tradtional and modern for a secluded and relaxing escape on the banks of the river l’Ouveze. You’ll be surrounded by fragrant lavender fields that come alive in the late summer months, and other Romand and Medieval towns and villages. Ideal for culture vultures!
8. Fôret de Brocéliande
There are several spooky areas in this ancient forest in Brittany, making it easily one of the most haunted places in France. Thought to be the forest of King Arthur, there’s even an area called Val Sans Retour (the valley of no return). According to legend, it is here where evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay captured ‘unfaithful youths’, luring them in from a spot high above the valley.
Where to stay: Chateau Lignol – Also dating back a fair few years, Chateau Lignol is a 14th-century home that has been lovingly restored into a fun and colourful place to stay in France. A mini castle in the middle of the Brittany countryside, come here to relax and escape it all. The interior is a wonderful reflection of the owner’s unique style, with various artworks, candles, and furnished pieces adding that extra-special touch.
9. Basilique du Bois-Chenu Domremy
This church is dedicated to one of France’s most famous faces, Joan of Arc, and is located near her hometown of Domremy. She iconically fought in the English in the Hundred Years’ War and was burnt at the stake for her actions. Vistors have claimed to have seen her ghost roaming the Basilica, alongisde other many slightly less famous souls.
Where to stay: Chateau des Temps – This 17th-century chateau in Champagne is set within a lovely parkland, with streams, a lake, and a beautiful swimming pool too. The home has so many orignal features for guests to enjoy, and you’ll also be a short drive away from the best Champagne-producing villages in the world.
10. Chateau de Puymartin
Over in Dordogne, a famous Le Dame Blanche (woman in white) haunts the rooms of this extravagent chateau. This ghostly woman is thought to be the spirit of Therese de Saint-Clar, who was tragically imprisoned at the top of the tower by her husband for 15 years after he caught her with a lover. She eventually died in the room, her body being entombed in the walls of her prison.
Where to stay: Chateau Les Tourelles – With a cliffside swimming pool, wellness centre, gym, and yoga deck, a stay at Chateau Les Tourelles couldn’t be further from Thereses’s tower prison. Wander to the banks of the Dordogne river via private hiking trails across the estates vast woodland, and come back to bedrooms that boast glorious valley views.
So there you have it – our top ten most haunted places in France!
If you’re planning your own ghost hunting trip to the most haunted places in France, make sure to chat to our Oliver’s Travels Concierge team to help your perfect luxury villa to rent (spooky happenings not included).