In the French department of Loir-et-Cher, on the river bank Loire, one of the most outstanding castles is located due to its architectural complexity. A castle that owes its name to the city where it is located: Blois. Styles ranging from the French Merovingian era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Classicism and the Romantic, mix, coexist and merge into a beautiful construction that was born in the early 1500.
Throughout its history, seven kings and eleven queens resided in the castle, between 1500 and 1715. As an example of their passage through Blois, animals can be seen on the building's facade heraldic some of them: the salamander of Francisco I, the porcupine of Louis XII, the L of Louis XII, the A of Anne of Brittany or the C of Claudia of France.
The structure de Blois is made up of a block of four castles in one, the product of the four phases of its construction: to the former castle of the counts of Blois was added the wing of Louis XII, the wing of Francis I and the wing of Gaston de Orleans.
Louis XII Wing. Observing its facade, you can imagine how the royal castle was in its beginnings. In Italian Renaissance style, it still preserves medieval ornaments that are shown throughout the façade. On the outside, above the main door, the equestrian representation of Louis XII appears.
Wing of Francisco I. Unlike his predecessor, Louis XII, he barely reigned from Blois, although the works he carried out are considerable. The facade facing the courtyard has medieval characteristics and its style is from the early Renaissance. A sumptuous exterior staircase highlights the splendor of Renaissance architecture.
Gaston d'Orléans Wing. Although it was built according to his wishes, Gastón de Orleáns passed away without having had the opportunity to live in his unfinished palace. The most preponderant element is its facade, since its genius resides in having anticipated classicism long before its time.
Inside each of the wings, into which this great castle is divided, you can visit numerous rooms where the objects collected throughout the history of Blois are exposed. Furniture, works of art, sculptures or objects for personal use are shown to the public to evoke the life and customs of the kings who resided in such a lavish palace.
Each name assigned to the different rooms suggests by itself the use of the same: Hall of the Captains of the Queen's Guard, Queen's Gallery, Queen's Chamber, Queen's Oratory, Queen's Cabinet of Work, King's Chamber, Boardroom, King's Guard Room, New cabinet, King's Gallery Y States Room.
On the other hand, in the castle it collects the most diverse artworks that are exhibited in different galleries: Tapestry and sculpture gallery, Cabinet of Portraits and the room Wrought iron objects and artistic locksmiths.
The Foix Tower, it is a vestige of the enclosure medieval, probably it was an angle tower in the wall. Its name is due to the suburb of the city that allowed surveillance. An astronomical observatory was installed in this tower, at the request of Gastón de Orleans. On the access road is a fountain that belonged to the gardens of Louis XII.
First photo: D. Lépissier.
Blois Chateau, Loire, France travel video (January 2021)