Château de Blois: history, description with photo, date of foundation, interesting facts and royal secrets

Château de Blois: history, description with photo, date of foundation, interesting facts and royal secrets
Château de Blois: history, description with photo, date of foundation, interesting facts and royal secrets

France is a country rich in attractions. Not the last place in this necklace of precious monuments of history and architecture is occupied by the castles of the Loire. Blois is the largest of them. Over its more than 700-year history, it has seen everything: ups, downs, destruction, oblivion, popularity … Let's talk about what is known and interesting for Château de Blois, what secrets and legends are associated with it and what you need look in it if you happen to get there.

History of Appearance

A powerful fortress on the site of the modern castle of Blois existed in the 9th century, the corner tower of this fortification was preserved and was included in a later building. Then this place was owned by the de Blois family, and even then many important events of history took place here. From those times, only the Hall of the States General, the largest in the castle, has survived. In the 16th century it twicemeeting of the Estates General. True, the later owners significantly transformed it. In the Middle Ages, this hall was used for court hearings. Since then, the castle has been constantly completed and strengthened. From the first owners, only the name remained - Blois. Today, the entire city at the foot of this historic building bears his name.

castle de blois


Château de Blois is a real guide to architectural styles. Since the building was erected for centuries, it reflected different architectural styles and trends. The corner tower, which has been preserved since the 10th century, is the oldest part of the complex, it shows the features of the outgoing Romanesque style and the emerging Gothic. The castle is a huge complex of several wings erected in different periods of history. After the building went to the Dukes of Orleans, two new wings are being built here.

In the period from 1498 to 1503, the wing of Louis XII appears. His style is flaming gothic. In the period from 1515 to 1524, the wing of Francis the First appears. This is the Renaissance part of the Château de Blois. The staircase, according to legend, built according to the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, is the decoration of this part of the castle. It is an octahedron in cross section and protrudes from the general facade of the building. Its three balconies offer magnificent views of the city and its surroundings. In the period from 1635 to 1638, the wing of Gaston d'Orleans was added to the castle. It is made in the style of classicism. Despite this stylistickaleidoscope, the complex looks very harmonious. It can be considered for a very long time, studying the details and discovering signs of different eras. At the end of the 19th century, the castle was subjected to a serious restoration and at the same time acquired its modern look. Today this architectural masterpiece is protected by UNESCO.

castle blois france photo

Château de Blois under the Dukes of Orleans

The real history of the castle begins in the 14th century, when it passes into the possession of the family of the Dukes of Orleans. By order of the duke in 1391, the main part of the castle was built. Later, this genus significantly completed and changed the structure. Numerous important events from the history of not only the castle, but the whole of France are also associated with them. The first owner of the castle from the Orleans family was the brother of the French king Charles VI, Louis. This member of the younger branch of the French kings was a famous heartthrob, and Blois witnessed his tempestuous connections with high-ranking ladies. However, Louis did not live long in his possession, was killed, and the castle passed to his son Charles. This duke was known as a poet and an English prisoner. He spent 25 years in prison with the British. After his release, Charles settled in Blois and gathered around him an exquisite secular society. He was destined to live in the castle for 25 happiest years. He married the German Princess Marie de Cleves and led a quiet life surrounded by art-loving people like him.

castle of blois history

Louis d'Orléans period

The most famous owner of the castle was the son of Charles Louis, who ascended the Frenchthrone at number 12. He loved Blois so much that he decided to move the French capital here and attached a huge Gothic wing to the estate. During the years of the reign of Louis the Twelfth, the royal castle of Blois gained scope and became a luxurious place worthy of a crowned person. The Louis Wing was built in record time - in just 3 years. This airy, light room with balconies, beautiful galleries, large windows delighted contemporaries. And even today it is difficult not to admire this masterpiece. In addition to the residential building, the chapel of St. Calais was built under Louis, but later its nave, unfortunately, was lost. The wing of Louis is richly decorated, heraldic symbols and elegant Gothic "lace" were used in the design. During this period, Blois becomes the center of royal plots, love affairs and secrets.

royal castle of blois

Period of Francis I

The second king who lived in Blois was Francis I. But the castle for him is no longer the main residence, he only visits here. But this does not prevent him from restructuring ownership. Francis I had several places of residence: Chambord, Fontainebleau, and including the castle of Blois (France). The photo shows the contribution made by Francis to the development of the estate. He begins to build a new wing in the progressive Renaissance style for that time. For 9 years, work has been going on on a new masterpiece of Blois. The facade is traditionally decorated with heraldic signs and symbols of the king, his motto is reproduced on the building 11 times. When his beloved wife, Francis, dies in 1524, he becomes depressed andleaves Blois forever.

château blois exterior photo

Times of decline

After the death of Francis I, Henry III ascended the throne, he inherited the castle of Blois. The history of his reign was short. But he managed to convene the Estates General twice in Blois. Just during one of these meetings in the castle, Duke Henry de Guise and his brother Cardinal de Guise were killed. But the owner did not carry out any reconstructions in the estate. After the death of Henry III, the next king, Henry IV, settled in the castle. He, too, did not long enjoy the comfort and splendor of Blois. In 1610, he dies, and his wife, the infamous Catherine de Medici, is exiled to the castle. In 1626, the son of Henry IV, Louis XIII, gives Blois as a wedding gift to his brother Gaston of Orleans, thus he removes this intriguer from the capital. He enthusiastically set about building a new wing, which now bears his name. But in 1660, Gaston dies, and the castle remains in oblivion. But the construction of the new wing is being completed by the architect F. Mansart. Baroque elements and classical columns with different orders became a distinctive architectural feature of this wing. Later, the castle falls into disrepair, only a few vassals of the king live here. The building is dilapidated and falling apart. At the end of the 18th century, Louis XVI even decides to sell Blois, but there were no buyers, and then the king ordered the estate to be razed to the ground. Fortunately, the building found a new use: soldiers' barracks were placed in the castle.

Revolutionary change

During the French Revolution, royal estatessubjected to looting and destruction, Blois did not escape this fate. The rebels damaged the heraldic symbols on the facades, destroyed part of the furnishings. Only in 1845 a fateful decision was made in France - to carry out a complete restoration in the castle of Blois. Photos taken at the end of the 19th century showed the deplorable state of the building at that time. Restoration in the spirit of those times was more like a complete alteration, the architect Duban added many elements that were not in the original appearance of the castle. Since that time, Blois has been a museum. Already in the 20th century, a large-scale restoration was carried out, which was preceded by a large research work.


Castle in the 17th-18th centuries. survived serious destruction, most of the authentic interiors were lost, although carvings and fireplaces were preserved. Everything else was restored bit by bit in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Today, tourists can see the most beautiful hall of the General States with elegant ceiling paintings, luxurious fireplaces, carved furniture, magnificent decoration of stairs, floors and walls of living quarters, magnificent tapestries. In the Francis wing, the original layout of the premises and part of the decoration of the premises in the form of murals, carvings, and sculptures have been preserved. The decoration of the castle as a whole is striking in luxury and style. Today, the castle houses several museums, a library, and there is an exposition of ancient decor taken from the facades. You can walk around the complex all day, there are a lot of interesting things here. There are 564 rooms in the castle, although, of course, not all halls and rooms are offered for visiting.

castle of blois

Interesting facts

Château de Blois has become the site of many historical events. So, it is known for certain that it was here in 1429 that Jeanne d'Arc received a blessing from the Archbishop of Reims for the battle with the British.

Blois is known to all lovers of adventure literature for the fact that the events of the famous novel by A. Dumas "Twenty years later" take place here. The films “Countess de Monsoro” and “Anna and the Cardinal” were filmed in the castle, a throne was preserved from the filming, on which anyone can sit.

castle blois france photo

Secrets of the castle

Like any old building, Blois is surrounded by many legends and myths. One of the legends is connected with the history of the reception of the Austrian Archduke. Louis XII tried to stop the war with Austria, but nothing helped. And so, during a ball in Blois, the Austrian ruler, fascinated by the castle and the reception, decided to declare peace between the countries.

The castle has repeatedly become a place of exile for high-ranking persons. So, Louis XIII sent his mother Marie de Medici here, followed by the famous Cardinal Richelieu, who went into exile. Maria did not stay long in Blois, two years later she fled to Angouleme.

Another legend is connected with the stay in the castle of Catherine de Medici. It is said that in her room there is a secret closet in which she kept her famous poisons. Experts, however, think that valuables were stored there.

There is a version that it was at the ball in the castle that the outstanding poet Ronsard met his beloved Cassandra Salviati. She became a muse that inspired the poet to createmasterpieces of love lyrics.

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