Château de Blois

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The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France, in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.

Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the château of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard.

It has 564 rooms and 75 staircases although only 23 were used frequently. There is a fireplace in each room. There are 100 bedrooms.

Contents

History

Counts of Blois

The "Salle des Etats Généraux", built in the beginning of the 13th century, is one of the oldest seignoral rooms preserved in France, and is also the largest remaining civilian Gothic room remaining. The room was used as a court of justice by the Counts of Blois, and was used in 1576 and 1588 for the "Etats Généraux".

Louis XII

The medieval castle was purchased in 1391 by Louis, duc d'Orléans, brother of Charles VI; after Louis' assassination, his widow, Valentine de Milan, retired to this castle at Blois. It was later inherited by their son, Charles d'Orléans the poet, who was taken prisoner at Agincourt and spent twenty-five years as a hostage in England, before returning to his beloved Blois, which he partly rebuilt as a more commodious dwelling. It became the favourite royal residence and the political capital of the kingdom under Charles' son, King Louis XII. At the beginning of the 16th century, the king initiated a reconstruction of the main block of the entry and the creation of an Italian garden in terraced parterres that occupied the present Place Victor Hugo and the site of the railway station. In 1890 the construction of the Avenue Victor Hugo destroyed the remainder of the gardens.

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