The Historic Chateau de Blois Loire Valley

Written by on April 7, 2018 in Centre, Museums and Châteaux

The Chateau de Blois is one of the great castles of the Loire Valley. This beautiful castle is famous for its residents but also because it presents a unique view of the evolution of French chateaux architecture. Buildings dating from the 13th to 17th centuries are set before you. The stone markers of time from the middle ages to the Renaissance sit next to each other, vying for attention.

Historic Blois

When in the 10th century Thibaud, Count of Blois laid the stones for a fort-like palace, Blois was not then a part of the French Kingdom. It was only at the end of the 14th century that Blois was sold to the French royal family and became a part of France.

Blois was home to several kings and queens of France including Francis I. It was his first building project when he became King in 1515. He lived here with his first wife Claude who was said to be boss-eyed, stooped and overweight. The poor girl gave birth to 7 children in 7 years and died aged 25. It certainly wasn’t all fun being a queen in those days. Catherine de Medici, who was married to Francis I’s son, Henry II, also died here (1589). The walls of her room are decorated with her monogram, 2 C’s intertwined with the H of Henri II, her beloved husband.

What to see at the Chateau de Blois

You can feel the history in those thick stone walls and beamed ceilings, in the tiled floors and chambers with secret cupboards hidden in the wood panelling. Some of the rooms are exquisitely decorated, bright, colourful and vibrant, even the the beams are covered in tiny illustrations. Seeing it like this really gives you a feel for how the castle would have looked when Kings and Queens lived here. There are wonderful tiled floors, sumptuous furnishings, portraits and statues. With 17 rooms to explore plus educational rooms, it’s not huge but there’s plenty to see and its easy to spend a few hours here.

The castle contains a strange portrait of a hairy-faced girl, Tognina Gonsalvus, a victim of hypertrichosis (“werewolf syndrome”). She was kept at the court of Henry II as a curiosity. It’s a horrible thought that the poor girl was treated that way but I like to think the painting shows there was some fondness there.

You’ll spot the royal emblems aplenty here, especially the salamader representing Francis I.

Head out the courtyard towards the river and you’ll see a stone tower, the oldest part of Blois with views over the river.

Walk into that inner courtyard and you’re surrounded by history and have a wonderful view of the truly outstanding stair case. It’s what most people remember above all else. It’s very reminiscent of the staircase at the nearby Chateau de Chambord, a Renaissance masterpiece.

Skulduggery, murder, drama and romance took place in bucket loads at this chateau – the audio guided tour explains all.

At the end of the tour, head to the throne room and sit on the replica throne for a fab selfie or souvenir of your visit! And leave time to visit the town, it’s very beautiful, ancient cobbled streets, fabulous restaurants, and wonderful views of the River Loire…

Practical Information

From April to September, every evening as the sun sets, a Son et Lumiere show takes place in the courtyard bringing this ancient castle to life – it’s terrific. Read more about it here: Blois son et lumiere

en.chateaudeblois.frwww.loirevalley-france.co.uk

Visit the weird and wonderful Fondation de Blois

More on Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Chateau du Rivau – magical gardens and a Rapunzel style chateau
Chateau de Chenonceau – the castle of flowers
Chateau du Clos Lucé – last home of Leonardo da Vinci
Chateau de Brissac – the tallest castle in France
Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire – like a fairy tale and home to France’s biggest garden festival

 

Related Articles

Mulhouse Train Museum | Cité du Train

When it comes to the Cité du train at Mulhouse, you don’t to be a train buff or train spotter, an anorak or a ferroequinologist (someone who studies trains) to get steamed up about a visit. This incredible museum is a fabulous place on so many levels. History, engineering, social history but overall – it’s […]

Continue Reading

Museums, Monuments and Arts Venues of Lille

Lille in northern France is one of the most cultural cities in the country. There are more than a dozen museums and art venues in the city and every three years or so Lille goes arty-party mad with a major several-months-long art festival known as Lille3000 in public buildings and the streets. Palais des Beaux […]

Continue Reading

What to see and do in Orleans, Loire Valley

Julius Caesar was here. The English were here, and because of that, Joan of Arc was here. It seems throughout history, Orleans in the Loire Valley has established its place as a principal city in France (and it was the most important city after Paris during the 10th and 11th Centuries). While today most people […]

Continue Reading

7 things to do in Tours in the Loire Valley

There’s a whole lot to see and do in Tours in the heart of the Loire Valley. It’s easy to reach from Paris by train and provides a great base to visit the area. There are several of the major Loire Valley Chateaux nearby and you can organise a tour by coach or mini bus […]

Continue Reading

The Halle de la Machine in Toulouse

When I was a kid I was entranced by stories of mythical beasts. My favourite tale was of a Minotaur who roamed a labyrinth on the Greek island of Crete. Small me believed that Minotaurs, a species which had the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man, really lived, much […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top