Blois, Loire Valley: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Blois (Loire Valley, France)
Blois is found between Tours and Orleans, in the Loire Valley. The main reason that people visit the town is the renowned Chateau de Blois in the centre of the town, and the town itself is also one of the most interesting in the region.
In recognition of the number of interesting monuments and the well preserved town centre Blois is a listed French 'Ville d'Art et Histoire' and has also been classified as a protected Historic Town in France.
France This Way comment: Blois is one of our favourite towns in the Loire Valley and an unmissable highlight of your visit to the region!
Before starting to explore the centre of the town we suggest you cross the bridge on the town centre and walk a short distance along the river banks. The view from here across the town is really very lovely, and also helps you get a sense of where each of the main monuments in the town is situated. To help you there is an information board that highlights each of the principal monuments in Blois.
Crossing back to the north of the river, the long stone bridge in Blois, the Pont Jacques Gabriel, dates from the 18th century and is a good starting point to explore the town.
From here you can simply follow the streets as they meander, climb and clamber through the old medieval centre, admiring the carefully protected historical buildings as you go, stopping of course for refreshments at a street side cafe along the route. This is the principal shopping area of the town centre, is partly pedestrianised, and very pleasant to explore.
From here, the principal monuments: Blois castle, the Maison de la Magie and the Church of Saint Nicolas are to the west, and the Cathedral of Saint-Louis, the Town Hall and the Halle aux Grains are to the east. Although the monuments around the castle are the most visited, we do recommend you also find the time and energy to visit the region around the cathedral.
Chateau de Blois
The castle was home to several French kings, and was also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before she departed with her army to drive the English from Orléans during the Hundred Years War.
The Chateau of Blois comprises several parts and wings, as each owner tried to improve on the version before. The Chateau that we now see was therefore built over the course of several hundred years, from the 13th to the 17th centuries.
The castle was neglected for much of the 17th-18th centuries, then ransacked in the Revolution, and narrowly managed to avoid demolition. The improvement in its fortunes began in 1841 when it was made a National Monument, and it has now been restored into a major tourist attraction. The most renowned architecture in the Chateau de Blois is the spiral staircase, found in the François I wing. For more information see Chateau de Blois.
Other highlights in Blois
The large square in front of the Chateau has nice views across the town and river. You can also find the Blois Tourist Office here and the Maison de la Magie, a popular attraction where you can learn about magic and see items that were used by Robert-Houdin and other magicians.
If you follow the street next to the Tourist Ofice around the side of the castle you reach two more notable sights. The Church of Saint-Vincent is an interesting baroque style church, and the large gardens behind the castle are also a peaceful place for a stroll and also have views across the town and castle.
Below the castle towards the river, the Church of Saint-Nicolas is one of the most interesting in Blois. Close to here you can also visit the Musee de la Resistance, dedicated to the resistance movement in the region during the Second World War.
From here you can head east through the historical centre of Blois and along the pretty pedestrianised streets to reach the Cathedral Saint-Louis and, almost adjacent, the Town Hall and its carefully maintained gardens. Again, the views across the town rooftops and river are a large part of the attraction.
A short distance north of the town centre on Rue de la Paix the Fondation du Doute is a new place of interest in Blois, and features various contemporary artworks and interactive art exhibits.
In the vicinity
Near to Blois there are various pleasant woodlands and forests, including the Foret de Blois, the Parc de Chambord and the Foret de Boulogne. And more chateaux.
Map of Blois and places to visit
Visit near Blois with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Loir-et-Cher
Blois has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Blois, Loir-et-Cher, Loire Valley, 41000, France || GPS: latitude 47.585, longitude 1.33
Plan your visit to Blois, Loire Valley
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Roseraie des terrasses de l’évêché: remarkable garden
- Parc du château de Beauregard: remarkable garden (7km)
- Fougeres-sur-Bievre Chateau: national monument (15km)
- Domaine régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire: remarkable garden (16km)
- Talcy Chateau: national monument (22km)
- Jardin du château de Talcy: remarkable garden (22km)
- Réserve de Beaumarchais: zoo or wildlife park (26km)
- Vendome: town of art and history (31km)
- Beaugency: recommended detour (31km)
- Amboise: secteur sauvegarde (32km)
Market days in Blois, France
Regular market(s) are held in Blois each Wednesday & Tuesday & Thursday & Sunday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Blois (Francais)