The Loire valley at Blois

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images


Towering above the northern bank of the Loire, Blois’ royal château, one-time feudal seat of the powerful counts of Blois, offers a gripping introduction to some key periods in French history and architecture. Parts of the city still have a medieval vibe, and Blois makes an excellent base for visits to the châteaux, villages and towns of the central Loire Valley.


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