Blois, the capital of the Loir-et-Cher department, is a city of 45,000 inhabitants crossed by the Loire and belongs to the area classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Known for its quality of life, its dynamism and its architectural richness, Blois can be a good starting point for visiting the Châteaux de la Loire. You will not fail to stroll through the alleys of the city filled with private mansions, half-timbered houses, gardens, and historical monuments including the famous royal castle of Blois. Discover the calm of Blois and its surroundings on foot, by bike, carriage or even by hot air balloon. If you are interested in visiting the Loire Valley, check https://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/.
Around Blois, you can discover the Cheverny vineyard, where you can meet passionate winegrowers who produce white, red and rosé wines with an excellent price-quality ratio.
Royal Castle of Blois
Located in the center of Blois, the Royal Castle is an unmissable castle in the Loire Valley. Overlooking the city and the river, it was the residence of 7 kings and 10 queens of France during the Renaissance. Today, this place of visit is composed of 4 wings of different architectural styles, dating from the 13th century to the 18th century, and thus offers a panorama of the history of French architecture. Also home to a museum, you can discover more than 30000 works located in the royal apartments in the wing of François 1st and in the fine arts museum of the Louis XII wing. Finally, do not miss the unique 360° sound and light show in the castle courtyard every evening from April to September, which allows you to retrace the history of this site.
House of Magic
Opposite the Royal Castle, the Maison de la magie was inaugurated in 1998 and pays tribute to the great French prestidigitator Robert Houdin, born in 1805 and originally from Blois. The illusion begins at the entrance where you can see on the facade of this large 19th century bourgeois house, six dragon heads that come out at the windows every 30 minutes. Spread over more than 2000 square metres and 5 levels, this museum houses a large number of objects related to magic, including automatons, optical illusions, inventions, works by various magicians… Shows, exhibitions and workshops are also organized to discover the world of illusion in a fun way.
The Doubt Foundation, inaugurated in April 2013, was designed by artist Ben Vautier and houses more than 300 works of art by 50 artists. This contemporary art exhibition space is dedicated to the Flexus movement of the 60s and 70s and brought together dozens of artists who were questioning themselves and seeking to push the limits of art. The foundation of doubt is today characterized as a living place of expression and questioning on art where we can find the famous wall of words in the courtyard of doubt which gathers more than 300 paintings of writing. In summer, you can also attend concerts and other summer activities.
Gardens of the Diocese
In 1967, an episcopal palace was built, now the town hall of Blois, surrounded by huge gardens, the gardens of the bishopric. The latter were converted in 1991 into a rose garden and a garden of the senses. The rose garden is located on the lower part of the gardens and is open from May to September. With a hundred varieties of roses, this place is a perfect blend of colours and floral scents. Higher up is the garden of the senses, which offers a superb panoramic view of the Loire and the rooftops of the city. The soothing and relaxing setting of this place makes it an excellent place to relax while admiring the view.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum was created by the Loir-et-Cher Natural History Society at the end of the 19th century. First installed in the Palais de l’Evêché, the Museum was finally transferred in 1983 to the former Jacobin convent and now houses many collections. You will find in particular various zoological, botanical or geological specimens from the region but also from all over the world. The Museum raises awareness and provides information on fragility and environmental protection through models, slideshows and other interactive games adapted to the whole family.
The Remarkable Places
The Denis Papin staircase is a remarkable place in the city of Blois. After climbing the steps of this staircase, you can enjoy the view from the top, where there is a statue of Denis Papin. Moreover, this unique and original place regularly changes its appearance. Indeed, since 2013, this staircase has been dressed in various styles that change according to the events that animate the city.
The Church of St. Nicholas was built between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century from the former abbey church of St. Lumer. Characterized by its Romanesque and Gothic style, this church can be considered one of the most beautiful churches in the region.