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Blois Coat of Arms
Blois (France)
region Center-Val de Loire
Department Loir-et-Cher
Arrondissement Blois
Canton Blois-1 (main town)
Blois-2 (main town)
Blois-3 (main town)
Community association Agglomération de Blois
Coordinates 47 ° 36 ′  N , 1 ° 20 ′  E Coordinates: 47 ° 36 ′  N , 1 ° 20 ′  E
height 63-135 m
surface 37.46 km 2
Residents 46,086 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 1,230 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 41000
INSEE code

Rue des Papegaults and Petit Degres Saint-Louis in Blois (July 2018)

Blois is a French city and the administrative center of the prefecture of the department Loir-et-Cher in the region Center-Val de Loire . The city is located on the Loire between Orléans and Tours . The city's population is 46,086 (as of January 1, 2017).

The Blois Castle , a Chateau Renaissance, once occupied by King Louis XII. was inhabited, is located in the city center. Another attraction is the 18th century stone bridge over the Loire. Many stairs run through the city, which was built on several hills. To the west of the city is the Forêt de Blois, a remnant of the great forests that once stretched across the region.


Although the area was already settled in Roman times, as can be seen in the ruins (an aqueduct , streets, etc.), Blois was first mentioned as Blesae by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century . However, the settlement only gained importance under the Carolingians in the 9th century when it became the residence of a county ( Pagus Blesensis , since the 15th century Blaisois ). In 1196 she was granted city privileges by Count Louis . After the count family, to which Stephan von Blois , King of England (1135-54) also belonged, in 1218 with Theobald VI. was extinct in the male line, Blois came by marriage in 1230 to the house of Châtillon .

The Counts of the Châtillon line resided in Blois more often than their ancestors. They had the oldest parts of the château expanded in the 13th century. Guido II sold the county of Blois in 1391 to the Duke Louis of Orléans . This and his wife Valentina Visconti laid the foundation stone for the library of the Castle of Blois, which was later enriched and made famous by the booty from Milan and Naples . In 1429 Joan of Arc set up the base of her relief army campaigns to free Orleans. After his captivity in England, Charles of Orleans took up residence in the Château in 1440, where in 1462 his son, who later became King Louis XII. , was born. This united the county of Blois in 1498 with the French crown domain .

Blois was the permanent residence of the French kings until 1589. Louis XII. and Franz I carried out the most important state acts in the palace, e.g. B. the alliances with Venice on April 15, 1499 and March 14, 1513 as well as the peace with Ferdinand the Catholic on December 5, 1513. Furthermore, on September 22, 1504, the Treaty of Blois between Louis XII., The Roman-German King came Maximilian I and his son, Archduke Philip , came about, according to which the French princess Claude , if Ludwig had no sons, the intended consort, the future Emperor Charles V , Milan, Genoa, the right to Naples, and also to Brittany , Blois and Burgundy should spend. But this contract was canceled again in 1505.

There were once many Calvinists among the city's residents . In 1562 and 1567 Blois became the scene of fighting between the supporters of Calvin and those of the Catholic Church. In 1576 and 1588, Heinrich III. , King of France, chose Blois as the meeting place for the army commanders. In December 1588 this led to the murder of Heinrich, the Duke de Guise , and his brother, Ludwig , the cardinal and archbishop of Reims in the château. A short time later, the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici, died here . From 1617 to 1619 Maria de Medici , wife of King Henry IV , lived in exile in the château, which was only shortly afterwards owned by King Louis XIII. to his brother Gaston, the Duke of Orleans , who lived there until his death in 1660. Louis XIV gave Blois to his brother Philip of Orléans .

Pope Innocent XII. founded the Diocese of Blois in 1697 , which was united with Orléans under Napoleon I in 1801 , but was rebuilt in 1817. In April 1814 Blois became the seat of the reign of Marie Louise , the wife of Napoleon I, for a short time . During the Franco-Prussian War , the city was conquered on December 13, 1870 after a short bombardment by German troops and occupied until the conclusion of the preliminary peace held. Around 1870, the famous pear tree variety Alexander Lucas was discovered in a forest near Blois .

Blois was occupied by the Wehrmacht from June 18, 1940 during the Second World War . The US Army was liberated in the last two weeks of August 1944. During the fighting, the city had to endure several days of bombing.


coat of arms

Description : "In gold a blue sign with a golden lily inside , held on the right by a red armored black porcupine with a red collar, on the left by a red armored black wolf ."

Symbolism: The porcupine is the motto of Ludwig XII. It is immortalized as a window decoration in the castle of Blois in white and running representation with a gold decorative collar and gold crown on the back.

Twin cities

Blois is in partnership with eight cities around the world:

Culture and sights

Castle and old town

Maison de la Magie
Castle view
Château de Blois (west facade)
Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church; to the left is the former orangery
Église Saint-Nicolas

Maison de la Magie

On the way from the castle to the old town you pass the Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin at the end of the Place du Chateau in front of the castle . It is a museum dedicated to the magician Robert Houdin , which offers an introduction to the history of sorcery and is also the National Conservatory of Magic. As one of the main attractions of the museum, a fearsome dragon stretches its computer-controlled six heads out the windows of the house every hour.

Castle gardens

The gardens of Louis XII once spread out on the rising ground next to the castle. out. Only a terrace above the Place Victor Hugo with the Jardin des simples et des fleurs royales , the “Royal Medicinal Herbs and Flowers Garden”, remains. From here you can see: the Anne-de-Bretagne Pavilion , the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Church and the Place Victor-Hugo . The castle is on the right and you can see the exterior of the two wings, Franz I and Gaston d'Orleans. Behind it you can see the pointed towers of Saint-Nicolas.

Anne-de-Bretagne Pavilion

The Anne-de-Bretagne Pavilion dates from the 16th century. The small building made of natural stone and brick with a high slate roof was originally the belvedere of the gardens. The stone balustrade decorated with tracery shows the initials of Louis XII. and his wife Anna of Brittany.

The pavilion is followed by a long half-timbered building along avenue Jean-Laigret in the direction of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church, which was also built under Louis XII. was built and later served as an orangery .

Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church

The Saint-Vincent church, built in the 17th century in the so-called Jesuit style, stands on the north side of Place Augustin-Thierry. Opposite is the loggia facade of the palace with its two arbor storeys inspired by the Belvedere courtyard in the Vatican . The facade of the Gaston d'Orléans wing lies above a moat at the rear of the palace complex.

Saint-Nicolas church

The Saint-Nicolas church is a former abbey church, which was built by Benedictine monks in the 12th and 13th centuries, and which was called S. Laumer at the time and was named after the holy abbot Laudomar († 594). The choir, transept and first yoke were built between 1138 and 1196. At the beginning of the 13th century the adjoining parts to the west were added. During the wars of religion the church was damaged and the abbey was destroyed by the Protestants . Both were rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The abbey buildings then served as a hospital during the French Revolution .

Saint-Nicolas is a four-bay basilica with a twin-tower facade, transept and two-bay choir accompanied by chapels. Only the apse chapel was added later, in the 14th century. The short construction period was reflected in a largely uniform appearance. And yet in the twenty years between the two construction phases there was a transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic architectural style. As for the height of the yokes and the cornices of the tall windows, this change is tempered by the regular horizontal lines of the whole building.

The capitals of the choir are worth seeing . They are kept in the ancient Corinthian style, adorned with large, partly rolled, partly flat acanthus leaves; in between, however, masks and forehead animal heads can also be seen.

The two construction periods can also be seen on the outside of the abbey church. From the castle terrace you can see the large roofs of the church, the buttresses and the spiers covered with slate. The three entrance gates of unequal width are closed at the top by a continuous arched gallery. Above it is a rose window and a monumental gargoyle is placed above the facade; a second adorns the foot of the staircase to the castle. On the choir side of Saint-Nicolas, the apse, transept, nave and a whole series of decorative towers and lanterns form an impressive ensemble.

Saint-Louis Cathedral

Blois Cathedral

Just as dominating in the cityscape as the castle is the high-altitude Roman Catholic cathedral Saint-Louis ; Blois has been a bishopric since 1697. The nave and the renaissance tower originally date from 1544. In 1678, however, the nave was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane. Only the tower, divided by slim double columns, was preserved.

The reconstruction took place in the late Gothic style between 1680 and 1700 by the architect Arnoult-Séraphin Poictevin († 1720). The Lady Chapel was added by Jules Potier de la Morandière in 1860. In 1704, Louis XIV donated the organ loft to establish the bishopric and elevate the church to a cathedral.

See also


Blois has hosted France's most important history festival since 1998: The Rendez-vous de l'histoire de Blois were initiated by then Mayor and MP Jack Lang and take place annually in October. Up to 40,000 historians and those interested in history meet there regularly to take part in lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and other events, including the largest French-language book fair for historical titles, at which around 200 publishers exhibit.

The city of Blois tries to encourage offshoots of this history festival in its twin cities; For example, the Weimar rendezvous with history have been taking place in Germany since 2009 .

Transport and infrastructure

From 1910 to 1934, five tram lines served the city. There were also some local railways that opened up the surrounding area.

Blois has a station on the Paris – Bordeaux line, which has existed since 1847 . Trains of the TER Center and Intercités stop here .



  • Castles on the Loire . The green travel guide. Michelin Reise-Verlag, Landau-Mörlheim 1997, ISBN 2-06-711591-X , p. 119.
  • Wilfried Hansmann : The Loire Valley. Castles, churches and cities in the «Garden of France» . 2nd Edition. DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2006, ISBN 3-7701-6614-0 , p. 84-87 .

Web links

Commons : Blois  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Les jumelages. Official city website, accessed December 4, 2012 (French).