There are few examples of wealth and privilege like a French château. Châteaus are grand, sprawling manor houses and their surrounding gardens, typically residence to the local nobility or gentry. Châteaus come in many forms, each descriptive of the priorities of the time and place they were created. Some are fortified castles, some are expansive palaces, but all of them are "power-houses" — a perfectly apt term coined by the architectural historian Sir John Summerson. Luckily for us plebians, it's terrifically expensive to keep up these decadent homes, so it's often possibly for pay a nominal fee for a tour, and get a glimpse into the lives of the obscenely wealthy of yesteryear.