Take a short train ride from Paris to reach the beautiful town of Blois to admire the famous castle and stunning views of the Loire Valley.
Clustered around the Chateau, Blois is one of the best preserved historic towns in France. As you stroll along the beautiful old streets towards the medieval centre, you can see the stunning noble palaces and churches, charming cafes, tiny artisan shops and restaurants.
Once home to a succession of seven kings and ten queens, the magnificent Chateau de Blois is open to the public. The opulent apartments will take you through 400 years of royal life and daily life of the Court. The castle also houses a national museum of fine arts with a collection of sculptures, French and Flemish tapestries and paintings from the 16th – 19th centuries. In summer, the chateau hosts special exhibitions, concerts and events.
|Chateau de Blois|
Near the castle is another famous attraction - The House of Magic (Maison de la Magie) devoted to the French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin who is often called the father of modern magic. Born in Blois in 1805, Houdin was famous for his bullet catching trick, the levitation and electromagnetic light and heavy chest illusions. In the museum you can see some of the equipment he used and enjoy daily magic shows in the summer season.
|Maison de la Magie|
There are many other historic buildings around the castle but make sure to check the Puits Chatel district with its stunning Renaissance town houses, the western part of the city near the Church of Saint Nicolas where once an old abbey stood, the Cathedral of Saint-Louis, Town Hall with its beautiful gardens and Halle aux Grains, where an old market used to be. Walk across the river to admire spectacular views of Blois and the castle and see the lovely Saint-Saturnin Church, once an important pilgrimage site.
On Rue du Commerce you will find some delightful shops selling local delicacies. Blois has a long chocolate making tradition, so make sure to sample at Patissier-chocolatier Stephan Buret or Eric Saguez.
Photos via Flickr by: Niko Kaptur, Jean-Claude MOUTON, Emilio del Prado.