There are undoubtedly some scary and haunted places in France, given its dramatic past that serves as a reminder of lives and eras long past.
Numerous stories indicate that paranormal activity—or, if you prefer, supernatural activity— is still going strong throughout the nation today.
Visit one of these eerie locations from our list of France’s top most haunted places. You can get a glimpse of the paranormal yourself during your stay in France!
1. Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel, a settlement situated on the border of Brittany and Normandy, is so picturesque that it served as a model for castles in popular films. Yet, it is renowned as one of France’s most terrifying, haunted places. The Abbey on the island, Mont Saint-Michel, is heavily fortified, resembling paradise. It’s hardly surprising that it was a source of inspiration because it appears to be something that would belong in a fantasy series.
Despite being home to the “Wonder of the West,” the island is known for its scary vibes to the point that some people are afraid to visit it. It is not easy reaching it either; the island can only be reached on foot during low tide.
According to legend, St. Aubert received a dream from the Archangel Michael directing him to construct a monastery there. The bishop disregarded the vision until the Archangel burned a hole in his head.
The Abbey at Mont Saint-Michel is the subject of several mythologies and ghost tales. The waters near the island seem to be where most spirits can be found. A fight of the One Hundred Year War took place on the nearby beaches on one of the bloodiest days in France’s history. More than 2,000 Englishmen were killed under the command of Captain Louis d’Estouteville and his soldiers.
Because of the chaos, many of the Englishmen’s souls could not move to the next realm. As a result, they can now be heard wailing in agony and despair from beneath the seas on calm days with low tides.
The majority of the island’s inhabitants before the French Revolution were monks and pious people. It was a common practice to bury the corpses of the dead in the walls of the church, so whenever a monk of the island died, he was buried this way. When the Revolution reached the island, these monks had to abandon the Abbey as the rebels desecrated Mont Saint-Michel and turned the once-holy location into a prison. Some say that the ghosts of the dead monks were awoken due to the disturbance, and their restless souls still roam Mont Saint-Michel.
2. Château de Versailles
Numerous tales about the French Château de Versailles and its prior residents are still told today. The castle was the residence of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, one of France’s most notorious royal couples. Because of their extravagant spending, while the rest of their country went hungry, the couple were ultimately beheaded. In 1789, enraged rioters famously carried the couple out of Versailles.
It is reported that the spirit of Louis XVI wanders the hallways of his enormous Palace. He seems to be gazing around for his wife and kids. Or perhaps he’s wondering how he allowed things to get so out of hand that he ended up being beheaded. The ghost of Benjamin Franklin, who visited the famous royal couple in 1778, is also seen in the Palace.
The 67,000 m2 Château de Versailles contains 2,300 rooms and 67 stairs. With the size and history of this Palace, strange occurrences are sure to be expected. Numerous accounts of white mists and icy spots around Marie Antoinette’s bed in Petit de Trianon have been reported. Some accounts also include sightings in the “Queen’s apartment,” things moving on their own, and things breaking out of the blue. Her ghost is rumoured to haunt the Concierge, where she was imprisoned before being executed in 1792.
Charles de Gaulle, who used the Northern wing of the Grand Trianon of the Palace as his office during his Presidency, is said to linger within Versailles’ vast walls. Napoleon Bonaparte frequently lodged in the Grand Trianon with his second wife and is among the other historical figures whose ghosts are said to haunt Versailles.
3. Château de Châteaubriant
On the eastern edge of Brittany, the Château de Chateaubriant was originally constructed in the 11th century as a defence against Anjou and the Kingdom of France. The French took over the Chateaubriant during the Mad War after a siege.
The Château de Chateaubriant was sold and renovated several times following the French Revolution. It was once converted into an administrative office. They shut down the offices in 1970, and today it welcomes tourists from all around the world.
The reportedly haunted section of the Château de Chateaubriant differs from the rest of the building since it has an Italian flavour. The Chambre dorée (Golden Room), located on the first floor, is the only room in this wing accessible to guests.
The subject of the alleged haunting at the castle is Jean de Laval and his spouse Françoise de Foix.
Françoise passed sometime in October 1537. Her husband supposedly kept her in her bedroom at the time out of resentment when he found out about her relationship with King Francis I.
As assassination rumours spread, it is thought she was poisoned or bled out. But as of this point, it is reported that on her death date of 16 October, at precisely midnight, her ghost still wanders the hallways.
Some reported that Françoise de Foix, her husband Jean de Laval, and her lover King Francis I are seen slowly ascending the main steps before they vanish at the last stroke, with a ghostly procession of knights and monks following them.
4. The Catacombs
One hundred eighty kilometres of labyrinth-like tunnels, 65 feet below the streets of Paris, housed the graves of 6 million people. Only a tiny section of the Catacombs is accessible to tourists; the remainder can only be reached by undiscovered tunnels all over the city.
In the 17th century, the government needed a quick solution to get rid of the mountains of bodies overcrowding the unsanitary graveyards surrounding the city. The proposal to bury the remains underground in the now-famous Catacombs of Paris was developed by Alexandre Lenoir and Thiroux de Crosne.
Louis-Etienne Hericart de Thury later saw it as an opportunity to transform the place into an artistic creation. He organised the skulls and bones on the walls to construct the image we see today. The Catacombs are rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of the dead bodies buried there.
5. Château de Commarque
The 12th century witnessed the construction of the mediaeval stronghold Château de Commarque. The massive donjon (defensive tower), the structure that contained the main living quarters, and the walls of other smaller buildings are the most significant and noteworthy remains.
It was a key location during the One Hundred Year War and, according to legend, the scene of a spectacular incident almost similar to the tale of Romeo and Juliet.
The incident took place at a time when the Count of Commarque and the Baron of Beynac had a conflict over another nearby territory. The son of the rival family fell in love with the daughter of the Count of Commarque.
Furious at the thought, the Count of Commarque imprisoned the young man in the castle’s cell for a few months before he eventually executed him.
Since then, rumour has it that the area is haunted by the young man’s ghost horse, which stalks the stronghold ruins on full moon nights in pursuit of its owner. Moreover, it is said that everyone who attempted to view the ghost died in odd ways!
6. Château de Brissac
In the French Loire River Valley, close to the city of Angers, sits the Château de Brissac. The original castle was constructed in the 11th century, and in the 15th century, the Duke of Brissac acquired ownership. He decided to demolish the previous mediaeval fortress and construct a brand-new castle in the great Renaissance style. At the time, he gave it the new name Château de Brissac. The new edifice was built while the twin mediaeval towers remained in place.
The Green Lady, also known as “la Dame Verte,” is the house ghost and one of the most notorious inhabitants of the Château de Brissac. According to legend, the Green Lady is the spirit of Charlotte de Brézé, King Charles VII and his mistress Agnes Sorel’s daughter.
The marriage of Charlotte to a nobleman named Jacques de Brézé was arranged in 1462. According to others, the couple didn’t truly love each other, and the marriage was politically driven.
It has also been said that the two people had very distinct personalities. For instance, it is reported that Charlotte preferred a more affluent lifestyle, whereas Jacques preferred outdoor pursuits like hunting. With these different personalities, their marriage was doomed to fail.
In the middle of one night, a servant woke Jacques up to tell him that his wife was having an affair with Pierre de Lavergne. When Jacques caught his wife and her lover in adultery, he snapped and killed the duo. Shortly after the murder, Jacques left the château because he could not tolerate the screams of his wife’s and her lover’s ghosts.
There are claims that Pierre’s ghost has vanished, leaving only Charlotte’s spirit in the Château de Brissac. Though it is stated that visitors have often been startled and frightened by her ghost, the dukes of the château have become accustomed to her presence.
7. Château de Puymartin
The Château de Puymartin was built in the 13th century, perhaps around 1269. The One Hundred Years War started in Perigord, and this castle played a significant role in the conflict between France and England.
The castle today welcomes visitors through the Saint-Louis courtyard. It presents various treasures such as the 18th-century Aubusson tapestries, the 17th-century trompe-l’oeil painted chimney in the room of honour, and the “French ceiling of the Great Hall” adorned with Flemish tapestries.
After proving himself in war, it is reported that Jean de Saint-Clar caught his wife Thérèse in the arms of a young lord from the neighbourhood when he returned to the castle. Jealous and enraged, he killed him before locking his wife in the tower. After fifteen arduous years of repentance, she passed away there.
The door of the room was walled up, and she received food through the little trap door. She slept on a poor mattress in this tiny space, where the chimney allowed her to cook and heat herself. There were also two bars at her window to keep her from leaving.
The legend claims that Therese returns to haunt the castle each evening at about midnight, walking up the stairs to her room. Her spirit still hangs there because her corpse was sealed up in that room. Both guests and certain castle residents have encountered the spirit of the White Lady.
The stronghold in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region of France appears to have witnessed nearly every significant fight recorded in French history. And because of that, Greoux-les-Bains leaves its visitors with a strong sense of spiritual activity. It’s truly one of the spookiest places to visit in France.
You might experience paranormal activity at the top of the castle, in the heart of Gréoux-les-Bains. Some claim that if you take a nighttime stroll alone through the streets, you’ll hear the sounds of bodiless whispers. You can even see a few mysterious shadows dancing over the castle’s stone walls.
9. Fôret de Brocéliande
Fôret de Brocéliande is one of the world’s most haunted forests and stretches to 90km in Brittany, near Rennes. It contains the Château de Comper, Château de Trécesson, and the national historical site Forges of Paimpont. It is also part of a larger forest area that encompasses the neighbouring departments of Morbihan and Côtes-d’Armor.
The forest is central to the Arthurian legend, including Merlin the Wizard, Lancelot, the Lady of the Lake Viviane, and Morgan Le Fey, Arthur’s half-sister. The lush setting is also home to terrifying dragons, pranksters, and other Breton mythological creatures.
10. Basilique du Bois-Chenu in Domremy
Also called the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc basilica, Basilique du Bois-Chenu is situated 11 kilometres north of Neufchâteau in the Vosges region near Domrémy-la-Pucelle. The Basilica was constructed in 1881 based on designs created by architect Paul Sédille. Still, Georges Demay and his sons were responsible for finishing the project in 1926.
The Basilica, constructed in a Neo-Romanesque style, is well known for the polychromy of its materials, which include pink granite from the Vosges and white limestone from Euville. The interior is decorated with enormous mosaics and paintings by Lionel Royer that depict the saint’s life. Additionally, under the statue of Notre Dame de Bermont, a vault dedicated to Notre Dame des Armées has been installed. It is where paintings depicting the war of 1870 have been placed.
The Basilica is dedicated to Joan of Arc and is one of France’s most important monuments. There are several statues (sculptured by Allar in 1894 and Couteau in 1946) of Joan of Arc and her parents on the Basilica’s forecourt, lit at night.
In the One Hundred Years War, Joan of Arc famously fought for the English and was executed by being burned at the stake. Visitors have reported seeing her ghost and other less famous spirits wandering the Basilica.
Do you already have a chill running down your spine? Then plan a spooky trip to France and explore each of these haunted places! Check out our list of the most notorious hotels around the world and the top 15 places to visit if you want that Halloween experience!