Chateau de Blois, Loire Valley
Discover Chateau de Blois
The Royal Château de Blois is located in the town of Blois, in the Loir-et-Cher département of the Loire Valley, in France.
Unlike most of the Loire valley castles, that present a single identifiable style, the Chateau at Blois comprises various buildings that were built over the course of several centuries (from the 13th century to the 17th century), and thus consists of a series of different styles. This variety is best seen in the central courtyard where the structures from various epochs can clearly be seen.
Brief history of Blois Castle
In its long history as a regional centre Blois castle was home to several kings (Louis XII, Francois I, Henry III, Henry IV). Among the most important events to take place at Blois castle Joan of Arc came here in 1429 to be blessed before setting off to drive the English from Orleans.
After several centuries of occupation and development the castle came to be used less and less, and by the middle of the 17th century it was largely abandoned. This situation was made worse during the revolution when many of the important artefacts were destroyed or removed from the castle.
It was to be another fifty years before the importance of the castle was to be officially recognised, when it was listed as a historic monument, and subsequently restored to its former glory.
Main parts of the castle
- a medieval section, dating to the 13th century;
- the gothic style red-brick wing, built under Louis XII in the early 16th century, and the associated chapel. This part includes the statue of Louis XII set in the wall above the entrance, and the wing now contains Blois Museum of Fine Arts;
- a section in the Italian renaissance style added under Francois I (16th century) and including the grand spiral staircase. This is the most famous feature at Blois chateau and open to the interior courtyard;
- the wing added by Gaston d'Orleans using classical style architecture in the 17th century
Visitors to Blois castle will find several notable highlights apart from the castle buildings themselves, including:
- the cavernous 13th century 'salle des etats' in the earliest part of the castle, with its ornately decorated ceiling;
- the ornate renaissance staircase;
- the opulent decoration of rooms such as the Henry IV bedroom;
- the 'chamber of secrets' of Catherine de Medici;
Visiting the Chateau de Blois
Blois castle have gone to a lot of effort to make the visit as interesting and informative as possible with the use of detailed guides and interactive 3d screens, and these contribute to the enjoyment of a visit.
From April to September there is also a 'Son et Lumière' show in the castle courtyard every evening, which is also very impressive and a great way to help understand the history of the castle and the important events that took place here.
The castle is open every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Years Day. Admission is about 10 euros for an adult, or 15 euros if it also includes the Son et Lumière display*.
* Various reduced price tickets are available that include combinations with other attractions such as the Maison de la Magie or the Fondation du Doute (see Blois guide for details) so it is useful if you know which attractions you are going to visit before you pay for any of them.
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Map of Chateau de Blois and places to visit
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Address: Blois, Loir-et-Cher, Loire Valley, 41000, France || GPS: latitude 47.5855, longitude 1.331
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Blois: secteur sauvegarde
- 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)