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Put Château Royal de Blois on Your Val de Loire Checklist

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ah, Château Royal de Blois, the first castle I had ever visited in Val de Loire. I remember turning the corner and seeing how impressive it looked, lit-up on the top of the hill at night. I felt like I had just stepped up a social ranking while entering the village, there's just wealth everywhere you look. However, I jumped back into reality once I checked-in to the Ibis Budget Hotel.

We only stayed the night, but it's all you need to get a feel for the area, and a tour of the castle. Château Royal de Blois is in itself the center of the town. It's not like most, however, because it's shaped like a courtyard. Unless you have paid to enter, you won't have a clue what it looks like (but Google is your friend).
What I love about it is how vastly different each side is. On one side you have the architecture of François I, with the beautiful white Italian-inspired staircase. On the other side, you have what was deemed as King Louis XII's Wing, showered in red brick and a mix between Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
King's loved the hell out of this château. No really, I'm talking designated party place since the 13th century. So many big names of French history, of which most of you studied for one year in grade school, have walked through these doors.
Some inclinations of who lived here are still within the castle. For example, this ridiculously gaudy bedroom was that of Henry IV's of which you can see his initials in the floor tile.
And of course here is Louis XII's fireplace. You'll always know it's him when you see the crowned porcupine. Legend is that he used this symbol just as a way to show his defense against enemies, or hey maybe he just wanted to poke them.
What really got me more than anything was the view of Blois. When you visit France you will rarely see a town like this. It resembled northern countries like Belgium with black, triangular roofs, and identical houses lining the river.
The church was technically built in the 12th century, but it was destroyed and only the remains of the crypt were left. Dead people ::shivers:: no thanks. It had been entirely reconstructed in the 17th century in a very Gothic style. Not my cup of tea, but the inside vaulted ceilings were nice.
All in all, it's worth visiting. If you have the cash to spend at Chanel or Dior, then it's really worth visiting. I'm sure you won't be checking into Ibis Budget.

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