Loire Valley

Blois

Overlooking the river, the city of Blois enchants with its magical and intriguing atmosphere: castles, museums of magic and half-timbered houses with slate roofs await you.
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On the banks of the Loire, Blois and its castle magnificently overlook the river. Strolling through the city, we discover ancient alleys climbing up the hill: in fact, Blois should be discovered on foot, so rich in stairs, slopes and climbs. The Renaissance style has left its mark on the pretty façades, while the half-timbered houses seem to defy time and give the city a special charm.

Blois is a calm but lively city, preserving its treasures for curious visitors who take the time to discover it. With its surprising historical sites, its rich cultural scene and the natural wealth that surrounds it, Blois is a pearl of the Loire Valley.

Things to do in Blois

Situated on the banks of the Loire River, the city of Blois offers a magnificent view of the river: you can find many evocative views to capture this enchanting corner.

In order to explore the city, four pedestrian circuits called À nous les p’tits clous, marked by bronze studs on the pavement, have been devised: they will guide you through the different districts to discover the surroundings of the château and the royal gardens, wander through the alleys of the old city centre or admire the magnificent view of the river from the left bank.

Blois Castle

16 Pl. du Château, 41000 Blois, France

The great star of the city is undoubtedly the legendary royal château de Blois. Seven kings and ten queens of France lived in this elegant residence: its wonderful architecture will show you every detail of its history and the opulence of the French court during the Renaissance.

The most important part of the palace is the wing of François I, famous for its majestic spiral staircase.

Fondazione del Dubbio

214 Rue de la Paix, 41000 Blois, Francia

The Foundation of Doubt, opened in April 2013, was designed by artist Ben Vautier and houses more than 300 works of art by 50 artists, including Yoko Ono and Wolf Vostell.

This contemporary art exhibition space is dedicated to the Flexus movement of the 1960s and 1970s and brought together dozens of artists who questioned and tried to push the limits of art. The Foundation of Doubt is now conceived as a living place of expression and questions about art. The Wall of Words brings together more than 300 paintings of writing.

The House of Magic

31 Pl. du Château, 41000 Blois, Francia

Opposite the Royal Castle, the House of Magic was opened in 1998 and pays tribute to the great French conjurer Robert Houdin, born in 1805 and originally from Blois. The illusion begins at the entrance, where six dragon heads can be seen on the façade of this large 19th-century bourgeois house, emerging from the windows every 30 minutes.

Spread over more than 2,000 square metres and five levels, this museum houses a large number of objects related to magic, including automata, optical illusions, inventions and works by various magicians. Shows, exhibitions and even workshops are also organised to discover the world of illusion in an entertaining way.

Gardens of the old bishop's palace

49 Pl. Saint-Louis, 41000 Blois, Francia

The Blois City Hall is located in the city’s former episcopal palace, built after the creation of the Blois diocese at the end of the 17th century. These terraced gardens are wonderful and the rose garden, open from May to September, is an incomparable mixture of colours and scents, especially in late spring.

Higher up, with a breathtaking view of the Loire, is Le Jardin des Sens, where horticulture students have created a garden of plants and landscapes designed to stimulate each of the five senses.

The Denis Papin staircase

5Esc. Denis Papin, 41000 Blois, Francia

Opposite the Jacques-Gabriel Bridge , which leads to the southern bank of Blois, the Denis Papin staircase dominates the main artery of the city and offers a splendid view of the Loire. Named after the famous inventor of the steam engine, who was born in the Blois region, the staircase provides a quick connection from the lower to the upper city.

For several years, this emblematic place in Blois has been regularly dressed with giant works, echoing the cultural news of the city and the region. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance, displayed throughout the Val de Loire region, the staircase was adorned for several months with the famous portrait of the Mona Lisa.

Place Louis XII

6Pl. Louis XII, 41000 Blois, Francia

The best time to stroll around the main square of Blois is on Saturdays, when 120 traders invade the city with stalls of farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, creating a wonderful market of delicacies such as cheese, honey, wines and pastries.

In the shade of the plane trees or on the terraces of the square’s many bars, you can enjoy the enchanting atmosphere. Don’t miss a visit to Blois Cathedral. Built in the Gothic style, the church houses superb stained glass windows made of white glass, which flood it with light during the day. Having been destroyed by bombing during World War II, the stained glass windows were replaced in 2000 thanks to the work of two local artists.

The Beauvoir Tower

711 Rue des Cordeliers, 41000 Blois, Francia

The Beauvoir Tower is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Blois, built in 1100. It was originally part of an entire fortress belonging to the Lords of Beauvoir, vassals of the Count of Blois. In the 13th century, the tower was incorporated into the defensive ramparts of the city and the prison that had previously stood in the Château de Blois was moved here. The prison remained in this tower until 1945.

Rue du Puits Châtel

8Rue du Puits Châtel, 41000 Blois, Francia

About a hundred metres from the Denis Papin steps, the rue du Puits-Châtel boasts beautiful half-timbered houses . Don’t hesitate to sneak through half-open doors: they often conceal pretty inner courtyards.

Rue Saint-Lubin

9Rue Saint-Lubin, 41000 Blois, Francia

Rue Saint Lubin is one of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Blois. You will discover beautiful buildings with well-preserved old façades, as well as small, timeless shops. Take your time to browse among the shop windows and look inside the semi-hidden courtyards of the period houses.

Rue des 3 Clefs

10Rue des 3 Clefs, 41000 Blois, Francia

Back in the lower part of the city, take a stroll along Rue du Commerce and Rue des 3 Clefs, the two main shopping streets of Blois: they are entirely pedestrianised and here, too, you will find beautiful half-timbered houses.

We recommend a stop at the chocolate shop of Max Vauché. This artisan chocolatier offers magnificent creations and delicious sweets.

Historical buildings and mansions

During the Renaissance, the nobility began to frequent the royal court of Blois, moving into the heart of the city. This means that for a small town, Blois has an astonishing number of historical monuments and ancient mansions. Few of the buildings open their doors to the public, except during the National Heritage Days in September, but you can still admire them as you stroll through the centre.

The Hôtel de Villebresme, also known as the Denis Papin's house11 is a half-timbered marvel, with mullioned windows, bizarre sculptures of mythological animals and acrobats set in the rafters.

Hôtel d'Alluye12built in stone in the 16th century, it remains the largest private residence in the centre of Blois and measures 30 metres wide. It is an interesting building for its Gothic and Renaissance details.

The House of Acrobats13, on Place Saint-Louis, which is one of the oldest in Blois, since it dates back to the reign of Louis XI: it received the prize for the most beautiful house in France in 1960.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Where to stay in Blois

Blois is a perfect city to stay a few days and explore the Loire châteaux. In fact, it is conveniently located just a few kilometres from the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, the Château de Cheverny and the Château de Chaumont.

If you want to stay here, we recommend that you choose accommodation located in the city centre of Blois. You will be close to the many restaurants, bars and cafés that enliven the heart of the city. You will find many charming hotels and B&Bs to meet all requirements.

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How to get to Blois

Blois can easily be visited from Paris. Many tourists combine a stay in the French capital with a short diversions to the Loire Valley to visit the most famous and scenic castles.

Blois’ strategic location, just a few kilometres from the region’s main attractions, makes it a perfect base for touring this area.

You can land at the international airports of Paris Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the closest to the town of Blois.

By car

The city of Blois is 185 km from Paris and can be reached in 1 hour and 45 minutes by renting a car directly at the airport.

By train

If you prefer to travel by train, there are two possibilities. You can reach Blois in 1 hour and 25 minutes from Paris-Austerlitz station.

Or get to Saint-Pierre de Corps (near Tours) by TGV from Paris-Montparnasse station in 1 hour and 15 minutes or from Charles De Gaulle airport in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Arriving at Saint-Pierre de Corps you then need to take a taxi or a shuttle available only in high season to reach Blois.

Blois Weather

What's the weather at Blois? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Blois for the next few days.

Sunday 26
12°
19°
Monday 27
17°
Tuesday 28
18°
Wednesday 29
11°
17°
Thursday 30
11°
17°
Friday 31
16°

Where is located Blois

The city of Blois is located 185 km from Paris, halfway between the towns of Tours and Orleans.

Insights on Blois

Blois Castle

Blois Castle

The Château de Blois, home to many kings and queens of France, was the scene of love affairs and plots: today it offers a panorama of the various French architectural styles.
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