The Musketeers: Where to find the fairy-tale castles

Don't head to France for the romance of The Musketeers – those châteaux are actually located in the Czech Republic

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Set in 17th century Paris, the BBC’s rollicking drama series gives Alexandre Dumas’ classic adventure a muddy, leather-military makeover. Although it’s faithful to the period, the châteaux that make up the romantic backdrop are filmed not in France, but in and around Prague.

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Producer Colin Wratten is about to return to the Czech Republic to film series three. The location is “a real Pandora’s box”, he says, having scouted countless properties, estates and forests. Take a closer look at the remarkable palaces and landscapes he found…

PRACHOVSKE SKALY
This huddle of outstanding rock formations is a nature reserve about 65 miles from Prague in what’s known as the Bohemian Paradise. “It’s a sight to behold,” says Wratten. Climbers love this spot, but for the less athletic there are more gentle ascents up stone staircases and sloping unpaved tracks. It’s a spectacular walk. Two main lookout points, Vyhlidka Deskeho Raje and Vyhlidka Miru, offer staggering views of the forest below and, in the distance, the twin peaks topped by the ruins of Trosky castle. Nature lovers should look out for large owls, bats and several species of woodpecker.

ON SCREEN: The Prachov rocks feature in episode two of series two, when King Louis and D’Artagnan are kidnapped by bandits.


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CHATEAU DOBRIS
Open to visitors all year round, this magnificent French-style stately home has gorgeous ornamental gardens, parkland and also regal rooms to explore – including a mirror hall. “There’s also a lake, with big potpourri gardens and ornamental cabbages,” says Wratten. “To the rear of the property there is rolling countryside, with a stream and woodland walks.”

ON SCREEN: In series one, the grounds of Château Dobris stand in for the royal palace. “The King and the Cardinal sit in the garden on a summer’s day,” says Wratten. The house’s huge central room also doubles for a stateroom in the Louvre. “At the end of episode two, series two, we see a trail of blood there after the man who abducts King Louis and D’Artagnan is arrested and Rochefort sticks a sword through him.”

PLOSKOVICE CASTLE
This grand country house was owned by the very wealthy Duchess Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe Lauenburg, who had a number of sprawling estates. Guests are welcome to wander its impressive halls and extensive grounds and imagine how the other half once lived.

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ON SCREEN: “We use it for the exterior of the King’s palace in series one, when Louis is shooting pigeons in the grounds,” says Wratten. “And in episode three of series two, Tariq (Colin Salmon), who has a gunpowder formula he’s trying to sell to the French, demonstrates its power by lighting a fuse that runs to some powder he’s put on the statue and blows it up.”