The Royal “Chateau of Blois“, was the residence of 7 Kings and Queens of France.
Beginning with Louis XII, who was born in Blois in 1462, the château became the favorite residence of the kings of France for more than a century. Blois was the first construction undertaken by François I and his successors often resided here. François II spent half of his brief reign at the château and Henri III twice summoned the Estates General of the kingdom here in an attempt to end the Wars of Religion (1576 and 1588) twice.
It was for this occasion that the château of Blois became the setting for the assassination of the Duke of Guise, ordered by the king on December 23, 1588.
The Château of Blois reached it’s apogee in the first half of the 16th century under the sumptuous reigns of Louis XII and François Ier, who rebuilt the château acordeing to Renaissance taste and style. On April 1498, the Duke Louis II d’Orléans (1462-1515) became King of France under the name of Louis XII. He immediately proceeded with the reconstruction of the château of Blois where he had been born 36 years ago. The new wing, built in brick and stone and since named after the king, was described by the chronicler Jean d’Auton as being “so new and so sumptuous that it seems truly deserving of a King”.
The 16th century in Blois was also the century of the Queens: Anne de Bretagne, whose remarriage with Louis XII allowed the return of Brittany to France, followed by Claude of France, who gave her name to a variety of plums (« Reine Claude » that she cultivated in the gardens of Blois. After the brief reign of Mary Stuart, Catherine de Medicis often resided here before dying in her apartments. The memory of the two wives of Henri IV still lingers in Blois: Marguerite de Valois, the so-called “Reine Margot”, and Marie de Médicis, who escaped from the château in 1619.
From the Renaissance, Kings have made the place bigger. It is amazing to be abble to see so many fine arts, some furnishes and all those polychromatic decors. There are three different wings of three different periods.
For the 500th anniversary of the king Francois 1er, the chateau is organising a “Royal Treasures Francis 1 of France’s library”.
During the season, you could see the Sound and light show. Very very nice, I am telling you.
As the chateau is right in the middle of the city, you may visit the beautiful city of Blois as well.
Very good introduction to the Loire valley.