Château de Blois

Blois, France

The Royal Château de Blois in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.

Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the château of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard. It has 564 rooms and 75 staircases although only 23 were used frequently. There is a fireplace in each room. There are 100 bedrooms.

Beginning with Louis XII, who was born in Blois in 1462, the château became the favorite residence of the kings of France for more than a century. Blois was the first construction undertaken by François I and his successors often resided here. François II spent half of his brief reign at the château and Henri III twice summoned the Estates General of the kingdom here in an attempt to end the Wars of Religion (1576 and 1588) twice.

It was for this occasion that the château of Blois became the setting for the assassination of the Duke of Guise, ordered by the king on December 23, 1588.

The 16th century in Blois was also the century of the Queens: Anne de Bretagne, whose remarriage with Louis XII allowed the return of Brittany to France, followed by Claude of France, who gave her name to a variety of plums (« Reine Claude » that she cultivated in the gardens of Blois. After the brief reign of Mary Stuart, Catherine de Medicis often resided here before dying in her apartments. The memory of the two wives of Henri IV still lingers in Blois: Marguerite de Valois, the so-called "Reine Margot", and Marie de Médicis, who escaped from the château in 1619.

During the 17th century, the Château was a haven for princes and princesses in exil: Marie de Médicis, Gaston d’Orléans, Marie-Casimire de Pologne.

The château became a barracks just prior to the French Revolution. It was classified a national historical monument in 1840 and consequently renovated by Félix Duban, who restored its former splendour. The Château also became a cultural institution housing several museums.

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Details

Founded: 9th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

吳怡嘉 (4 months ago)
I think it’s the best experience of castle visit this summer, not crowded, with a pad guide interactive, and we can easily understand the history of the castle also the architecture. Bravo.
Anthony Craven (5 months ago)
We stayed a few kilometers outside Blois, and travelled to the town by the free shuttle bus, having a tour if the town on the way to the château. The château is a marvellous building architecturally, and the rooms have many interesting features. Outside, from the ancient tower, there is a good view of the town and the river. Look out for the porcupine and salamander emblems inside and outside.
John Haygarth (7 months ago)
What a great find. Rooms are comfortable and large. Bathroom was perfect and we had the best sleep in a month while traveling around France. Very quiet grounds so with the windows open it was good. Breakfast was good and this stop was a treat for the cost. Highly recommend if you are traveling close.
Susan Barnes (7 months ago)
Fabulous ruins on top of the hill. Support views down over the turn and Loire. There are four towers to investigate, a sunny seating area to relax on. Ongoing preservation work, some rooms dressed.
Eric Delamere (10 months ago)
A great places to visit, and a must if you are in or near to Blois. We paid €11 discounted by the campsite we were staying at, and then paid €3 for an audio self guide device, which basically explains each room or exhibit to you as you progress on your tour around the Chateaux. It's certainly well worth seeing as their is much history to learn and architecture to see, including an art museum over the entrance. We spent about 2 hours on our tour, although you could spend less or indeed more time if certain exhibits grab your attention. There is also much more to do here if you wanted to pay more, eh an evening sound and light show, and more again outside the Chateaux. Highly recommended
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The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

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In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

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