Nestled on the northern banks of the Loire River, Blois features an attractive old town, a stunning castle and fine surrounding countryside.
Despite suffering heavy bombing during World War II, the small city of Blois has retained a strong cultural identity. Much of this results from the preservation of the old town and its stunning chateau. Enjoy classy cafés, fine restaurants and attractive parks and woodland that also add to its appeal.
As you stroll along the river, notice the Chateau Royal de Blois rising above the well-preserved old town. Formerly the seat of the powerful counts of Blois, the huge façade displays elements of Gothic, Renaissance and Classical architecture in four separate wings.
Inside the castle, explore the Renaissance wing and look around the apartments of Francois I and Queen Claude. The staircase is intricately decorated with salamanders and beautifully carved Fs (the heraldic symbol of François). Another highlight is the king’s apartment, the site of a bloody incident in 1588 when Henri III had his rival, Duke Henri I de Guise, murdered. See the gruesome events depicted by several period paintings on the apartment’s walls.
Opposite the chateau stands the Maison de la Magie, the former home of inventor and conjurer Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, whose name was taken on by Harry Houdini. Enjoy daily shows and exhibits that bring the history of magic to life.
Visit the Old Town of Blois, just a short walk along the river from the Chateau Royal. Admire the multistory bell tower of the 17th-century Cathédrale St-Louis and view the Maison des Acrobates, one of the few remaining 15th-century city homes.
All the attractions are within easy walking distance of one another in Blois. You won’t need transportation if you stay in one of the hotels in town. Explore the surrounding area for superb walking and biking trails along the river or through the forests.
Return to Blois and treat yourself to a meal in one of the many fine restaurants. Find one by the river and watch the lights of the town reflecting on the water as you enjoy your meal.