Château Royal de Blois
Maison de la Magie
Opposite the château you can’t miss the former home of watchmaker, inventor and conjurer Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805–71), whose name...
Maison des Acrobates
The facade of Maison des Acrobates is decorated with wooden sculptures taken from medieval farces, and is one of the few 15th-century...
Fondation du Doute
This slick contemporary art museum, opened in 2013, includes rotating exhibitions of emerging and international artists, and a cafe.
Au Bouchon Lyonnais
The food at this classic neighbourhood bistro is straight out of the Lyonnais cookbook: andouillette (sausage), quenelles (pike...
place du Château · interesting places nearby
Château Royal de Blois information
Intended more as an architectural showpiece (look at that ornately carved facade!) than a military stronghold, Blois’ chateau bears the creative mark of several successive French kings. It makes an excellent introduction to the chateaux of the Loire Valley, with elements of Gothic (13th century), Flamboyant Gothic (1498–1503), early Renaissance (1515–24) and classical (1630s) architecture in its four grand wings.
The most famous feature of the Renaissance wing, the royal apartments of François I and Queen Claude, is the loggia staircase , decorated with salamanders and curly Fs (heraldic symbols of François I).
Highlights also include the bedchamber in which Catherine de Médicis (Henri II’s machiavellian wife) died in 1589. According to Alexandre Dumas, the queen stashed her poisons in secret cupboards behind the elaborately panelled walls of the studiolo , one of the few rooms in the castle with its original decor.
The second-floor king’s apartments were the setting for one of the bloodiest episodes in the château’s history: in 1588 Henri III had his arch-rival, Duke Henri I de Guise, murdered by royal bodyguards (the king hid behind a tapestry). He had the Duke’s brother, the Cardinal de Guise, killed the next day. Henri III himself was murdered just eight months later by a vengeful monk. Period paintings chronicle the gruesome events.
In spring and summer, don’t miss the nightly son et lumière , which bring the château’s history and architecture to life with dramatic lighting and narration.