Renaissance architecture combined with gothic buildings are numerous in Blois, which is situated midway between Tours and Orléans. Blois is a popular tourist centre in the Loire Valley
, it makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding countryside and places of interest.
The Château at Blois, once the base of the dukes of Orléans has plenty of history, you will notice the mix of architectural styles. There is a marvellous spiral staircase, Renaissance stonework; in the Louis X11 wing you can see portraits and a tapestry collection. The Francis 1 wing houses an archaeological museum with exhibits of stonework from the original stairs amongst its displays. The paintings in the chateau portray the chateaux troubled past. You will see Catherine de Medics study which contains secret cabinets and poisonous potions!
If you are interested in visiting museums
you may want to see the Musée de I’ Objet where there are some interesting and unusual artworks and modern sculptures. As you wander around the picturesque and ancient streets you will see 17th century facades and half-timbered houses. The sculptured Maison des Acrobates is one of the finest where there are some extraordinary carvings.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from between the chateau and the river you will find some traditional fare on offer and some specializing in Loire cuisine. The delightful square on Vieux Blois is where you can relax at a table under the trees and enjoy food and refreshments at one of the restaurants, creperies or pizzerias around the square.
Accommodation is varied depending on your budget, you should be able to find something to suit, it is busy in the popular holiday months so would recommend booking in advance if possible. The local Tourist office at Blois will be able to give you up to date information.
If you need a change from the car while on holiday, bikes can be rented in the town, there are dedicated cycle routes and some impressive chateaux are within a 20km radius.
One you may like to visit is the Chateau de Beauregard which is approximately 7km south of Blois. It has a long portrait gallery; the walls are panelled with over 300 hundred portraits of kings, queens and illustrious peers including Anne Boleyn. You can take a lovely stroll through the grounds and see the sunken Jardin des Portraits; it is an interesting garden, both chateau and the garden are well worth the visit.
The Loire Valley is famous for its splendid chateaux, it is also rich in architecture and history there are historic towns, cathedral cities, gardens and parks to enjoy. The Loire River is France’s longest river. There are plenty of attractions to visit
and activities to enjoy in this part of France.