The Royal City of Blois sits proudly by the
banks of the Loire with its skyline dominated by
its cathedral and famous
Chateau de Blois.
The city was the favoured
stronghold of the kings of France for 100 years, With
the chateau being the principle royal residence from
when Louis XII established his court here in 1498 until
Henry IV moved it to Paris in 1598. Blois is the
‘prefecture’ (capital) of the department of
Loire-et-Cher and is the established business centre of
a farming district which produces wheat, vegetables
(especially asparagus) and wine in abundance. Auguste Poulain opened a confectionary-chocolate factory in Blois in 1848, the site now is a hotel but his legacy lives on and is evident on almost every street corner.
The city is a good place to walk as it has many fine examples of ancient town houses to be found in its ‘old quarter’ on streets such as the rue Pierre de Blois and the rue du Puits-Chatel.
There are also fine gardens with the Bishops Palace Garden offering wonderful views of the city and the Loire river.
Just below the Château on rue St-Laumen, is the Church of St Nicholas, which is nicer than the cathedral and worth a visit (daily 9am–6.30pm)
There are other attractions provided, with
the cavernous Maison de Magie, (House of Magic) which
can be found on the far side of the chateau esplanade,
offering a variety of optical illusions. They may not
convince or entertain today's 'techno-children' quite as
much as previous generations but there is a less formal
room dedicated to local impresario, Robert Houdin (not
to be confused with Harry Houdini) which may hold their
interest. The afternoon magic shows are in mime, so at
least there is no need to be fluent in French! Even if
you don't actually go in to the show ,it is worth the
wait outside until the mechanical dragons appear at the
Festival on the bridge
10 days of concerts at one of the loveliest sites
in Blois during July.
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Driving from Paris: Take the A10
motorway Paris/Bordeaux, exit 17-Blois toward Vendôme.
Driving from Tours: Take
A10 Blois/Paris exit 17 toward Blois/La Chaussée-Saint-Victor.
Directions to Blois