Beauty and the Beast is a well-known fairytale written by French author and novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, originally published in 1740. Another equally as popular publication is Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's shortened version of the tale, which is more suitable for younger readers; both authors took inspiration from much older tales in European literature.
Neither de Villeneuve nor Beaumont specify a particular setting; however, due to the fact that both stories were written in French by French authors, numerous literary analysts, critics, and readers agree that the story is most likely set in France (or, at least, a fictional country inspired by France) between the sixteenth and eighteenth century.
One of the main locations in the story is the small, provincial town where Beauty lives with her father and her siblings. Belle's home town in Disney's 1992 animated adaptation of the novel, for instance, was inspired by the picturesque French villages of Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé, while the town in the 2017 film adaptation of the novel (starring Emma Watson as Belle) was inspired by the French Medieval village of Conques.
Another important location is the Beast's castle, set in one of France's wild and dense forests; the castle is described as dark and gloomy on the outside but somewhat warmer and more welcoming on the inside, which is actually a reflection of the Beast's character. Interestingly enough, the Beast's castle in Disney's classic was inspired by the grand and luxurious Renaissance castle Château de Chambord, located in the Loire Valley.