Château de Blois – Loire Valley, France

Visiting Château Royal de Blois

Château royal de Blois, Loire Valley, France

Château Royal de Blois. Photo by Tango 7174.

Château de Blois, set in pleasant Blois old town is a Loire Valley curiosity as it is built in four distinctly different and evolving French architectural styles ranging from the oldest, 13th century Gothic (small white section behind the tree), to Flamboyant (1498 AD, red brick), to Renaissance (1515 AD, ornate white section with staircase, then home to Francois I) and finally the newest, least attractive and partially unfinished French Classical lump (1635 AD, far left), similar to many Parisian buildings.

This château is not one of the big names but it offers unique architecture and detailing, interesting rooms, a huge collection of art works and – best of all – free and fascinating multi-lingual talks in the central courtyard.

Chateau de Blois exterior, Loire Valley, France

The main entrance to the Château de Blois, opposite the House of Magic.

Chateau de Blois, King's statue and porcupine, Loire Valley, France

King Francis I riding above his personal symbol, a mythical spine-firing porcupine.

Chateau de Blois, baboon playing bagpipes, Loire Valley, France

This château contains a Lapidary Museum (stone carvings) among other attractions but the walls seem to host the most curious works. Could this really be a baboon playing bagpipes?

Chateau de Blois, dragon drainpipe and pregnant monster, Loire Valley, France

And what pregnant critter is that devouring an angelic boy? Wonderful drainpipes too.

Chateau de Blois, Renaissance Wing, Loire Valley, France

King Francis‘s gorgeous Renaissance wing of the Blois Château.

Chateau de Blois, tapestry corridor, Loire Valley, France

The royal Château de Blois is an official Musée de France, home to 35, 000 works of art, partly displayed in the Royal Apartments and Fine Arts Museum.

Chateau de Blois, King's bedroom, Loire Valley, France

The King’s bedroom. The Duke de Guise was famously killed here by eight men on the king’s orders, for planning a coup d’etat.

Chateau de Blois, King's Hall, Loire Valley, France

The King’s Hall. The fireplace is adorned with fleur de lys (representing French royalty), salamander (Francis I) and ermine (his wife, Duchess of Brittany)

An ermine, note the white coat but black tail-end.