Royal château of Blois
Panorama of four grand architectural styles
Each château façade reflects the constructions and destructions that have succeeded one another in time. They embody four major epochs in French architecture, from the Middle Ages to the 17th century:
- The medieval fortress (13th century);
- the Louis XII Gothic wing (1498–1500);
- the François I Renaissance wing (1515–1518) and its celebrated corkscrew staircase;
- the classic Gaston, Duke of Orléans wing.
Theater of the history of France and Europe
For more than ten centuries, the château hosted numerous key figures in the history of France and Europe. Seven kings and ten queens inhabited the building and left their imprint. The château was also the theater of major events, such as the assassination of Henry I, Duke of Guise (1588, video in French) by orders from King Henry III and the escape of Queen Marie de’ Medici (1619, video in French), at a time when she was being held in exile by her son, King Louis XIII.
Essential artistic works
Labelled “Musée de France”, the royal château possesses a collection of more than 35,000 works. More than 1,000 objects are exhibited in the different rooms of the château. New objects are regularly acquired and at times restored, in view of ensuring their conservation, study, and eventual exhibition.
The Museum of Fine Arts
The château also houses the Blois Museum of Fine Arts. Located on the first floor of the Louis-XII wing, the museum exhibits sculptures and other works of art, including paintings by masters such as Rubens, Ingres and Boucher. It also offers an original visitor’s pathway appealing to the five senses.
The sound and light show
At nightfall, a festive array of auditory and visual effects immerses the public in a sound and light show imparting new life to the history of the château. Love, dramas and secrets of the court twirl across the four facades of the court of honor. These 360° video mapping projections embrace the grandiose architecture of the site, accompanied by the voices of Pierre Arditi and Fabrice Luchini.
Aperçu du spectacle Son et lumière du Château royal
Visit in augmented reality, with HistoPad
New technologies are now at the disposal of château visitors. In several rooms, the digital tablet called HistoPad follows your movements and presents in real time a precise reconstitution of the venues as they were in the 16th century. In the rest of the château, it provides additional information and proposes a treasure hunt (included in the admission price).
Giant interactive 3D screens
The interactive screens facilitate overall appreciation of the château’s architectural evolutions. In addition, you will discover other Blois monuments in chronological order.
The Foix terrace gardens
During the Renaissance, the royal château gardens, which no longer exist, covered nearly 25 hectares (10 acres) and represented one of the most beautiful areas in the realms, propitious to casual strolls (flânerie) and relaxation.
Such is the universe and the atmosphere that Blois has striven to recreate by offering the public a redesigned Foix terrace.
Located in the heart of the château, covering close to 2,000 m², the Foix terrace overlooks the old town and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Loire, royal river, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The redeveloped area is composed of two gardens, the Gaston-d’Orléans garden and the Anne-de-Bretagne garden.
Special events throughout the year
The château court is regularly the theater for varied forms of entertainment: an escape game, unusual visits, House of Guise night, exhibitions, etc. All the Château events are detailed in the “agenda des sorties” (in French only).
Around the château
Numerous areas on the outskirts of the château are well worth a visit. The “place du Château” (castle square) is the site of restaurants, a garden, the tourist information office, the center of the Resistance (September 2019) and, finally, the center for interpretation of architecture and heritage (summer 2020). On the same square, the visitor will discover the House of magic, a theater and a museum dedicated to the memory of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, celebrated 19th-century magician, inventor of modern magic, born in Blois.
“B-Blois” local products (wines, beers, biscuits, chocolates, organic infusions, etc.) may be found in the gift shop, along with postcards, souvenirs of the Loire châteaux and a wide range of books for readers of all ages.
Prepare your visit on line. The royal château of Blois is open throughout the year, except for 1 January and 25 December. The baseline price of an entrance ticket ranges from 6.50 to 12 euros. Combined tickets afford access to favorable prices, facilitating visits to other major cultural sites in Blois. With the Pass, entrance for Blois citizens is free.
Some key figures
- 17 furnished rooms in royal apartments
- 540 m²: dimensions of the estates general room
- 35,000 artworks, 1,000 of which are exhibited
- 400 “HistoPad” digital tablets at the disposal of the public
- 1 museum of fine arts
- 330,000 visitors a year