Nine ideas for (re)discovery of the natural heritage
- You are not an inhabitant of Blois? It is the ideal destination for a weekend getaway in an exceptional natural and cultural setting. Just 1h30 from Paris, in the center of metropolitan France, it is readily accessible by train, car or bicycle. You can plan your sojourn with peace of mind, thanks to the tourist office that will help, if necessary, to prepare your stay.
- You are an inhabitant of Blois or its conurbation? Rediscover its natural heritage by paying heed to one of the nine ideas detailed below.
And do not forget, the outings agenda (agenda des sorties, in French only) is chock-full of other ideas conducive to (re)discovery of the town’s natural and cultural heritage.
Blois is in the heart of the area that was registered by UNESCO in 2000 on the list the World Heritage of Humanity, thereby recognizing its exceptional universal value.
Town of art and history
Since 1986, Blois has been labelled by the French culture ministry as a “town of art and history”. It was thereby distinguished for its commitment to heritage protection and promotion.
A rose garden stroll
A sunny day in June is the perfect time to discover the Roseraie (rose garden) in full flower on the lower terrace of the bishopric gardens. A festival of colors and aromas, with collections of ancient and botanical rose trees environed by grasses and hedgerows.
Open to the public from 15 May to 30 September, Monday through Friday from 11 A.M. to 6:30 P.M., weekends and holidays from 2:00 to 6:30 P.M.
Discovering the forest of Blois
The historic royal forest of Blois, one of the most beautiful oak stands in France, managed by the national forests office (ONF), is located just to the west of the town. Discovery is facilitated by two marked walking trails forming a loop: Val des Cigognes (stork valley) from the parking area of Hôtel Pasquier in the Grouëts neighborhood (3.5 km, 45 min) and la Pinçonnière from the parking area of the Stade des Allées (7.5 km, 1h30). Mountain bike (ATV) loops depart from the same site (15 to 23 km).
Training and relaxation in the Arrou and Mées parks
Up and at it! On with your sneakers for a breath of fresh air! On the marked pathway with its workshops surrounding the Pinconnière lake, you will move eastward, towards the Arrou park, while taking advantage of brand new physical training equipment. Near the Brisebarre farm, you will approach a recently opened play area, accessible to grown-ups as well as youngsters. Further to the east, the Mees park is the perfect place for a moment of relaxation with friends or family.
Flat-bottomed boat ride (fûtreau)
A stroll down the river on a fûtreau, traditional flat-bottomed Loire boat, will allow you to view the town and the body of water from a different angle. A guide will navigate and invite you to observe the water fauna (terns, plovers, egrets, etc.), with a possible stop on a Loire island, on the lookout for beavers.
The Visit’Blois itinerary
Created by the town and available offline, the Visit’Blois mobile application is conducive to playful family discovery of Blois’ major sites and its natural heritage. Each point of interest is geo-tracked and includes an explanatory panel and games in which players are credited with points. Children adore.
Application available for free on iOS and Android.
Riding a bicycle along the Loire
Biking enthusiasts can employ Blois as a launching pad for a ride along “Loire à vélo”, an 800-kilometer (500-mile) itinerary along the river from Nevers all the way to the Atlantic. Join the bicycle path on the left bank, and pedal toward Chaumont or Chambord.
Nature immersion in the Museum
A visit to the permanent exhibition of the museum of natural history, “the Blois area, crossroads of natural regions”, will enhance your understanding of the environment and its fragility. You will discover what an owl eats at night or the microscopic forms of life populating our woodlands; these are just a few examples…
From one bridge to another… and another
You will depart from the parking area adjacent to La Creusille for an out-of-the-ordinary walk along the Loire: two and a half fascinating hours devoted to traditional boats, the river heritage and the built heritage. Unusual views of the town and a chance to observe beavers, coypus, terns, cormorants and grey herons.
Sundays at la Creusille
Picnic in a basket, petanque balls in your hands… and sunglasses: Enjoy a summer evening or Sunday at the Creusille, on the shores of the Loire. An ideal site for relaxation with a play area for children and, as a bonus, a beautiful view of Blois.