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Blois Loire Panorama - July 2011.jpg
Panoramic view of Blois on the Loire River
Blason de Blois.png
Coat of arms
Location of Blois
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
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Centre-Val de Loire region location map.svg
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Coordinates: 47°35′38″N1°19′41″E / 47.5939°N 1.3281°E / 47.5939; 1.3281 Coordinates: 47°35′38″N1°19′41″E / 47.5939°N 1.3281°E / 47.5939; 1.3281
Country France
Region Centre-Val de Loire
Department Loir-et-Cher
Arrondissement Blois
Canton Blois-1, 2 and 3 and Vineuil
Intercommunality Blois
  Mayor (2008–2014) Marc Gricourt (PS)
37.46 km2 (14.46 sq mi)
 (2017-01-01) [1]
  Density1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
41018 /41000
Elevation63–135 m (207–443 ft)
(avg. 73 m or 240 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Blois ( /blwɑː/ BLWAH, French:  [blwa] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a city and the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in Centre-Val de Loire, France, [2] situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.



Though of ancient origin, Blois is first distinctly mentioned by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, and the city gained some notability in the 9th century, when it became the seat of a powerful countship known as Blesum castrum. [3] In 1171, Blois was the site of a blood libel against its Jewish community that led to 31 Jews (by some accounts 40) being burned to death. [4] Their martyrdom also contributed to a prominent and durable school of poetry inspired by Christian persecution. [5] In 1196, Count Louis granted privileges to the townsmen; a commune, which survived throughout the Middle Ages, probably dated from this time. The counts of the Châtillon line resided at Blois more often than their predecessors, and the oldest parts of the château (from the thirteenth century) were built by them. In 1429, Joan of Arc made Blois her base of operations for the relief of Orléans. Joan of Arc rode the thirty-five miles on Wednesday 29 April to Blois to relieve Orléans. [6] After his captivity in England, Charles of Orléans in 1440 took up his residence in the château, where in 1462 his son, afterwards Louis XII, was born. In the 16th century Blois was often the resort of the French court. The Treaty of Blois, which temporarily halted the Italian Wars, was signed there in 1504–1505.

The city's inhabitants included many Calvinists, and in 1562 and 1567 it was the scene of struggles between them and the supporters of the Catholic Church. In 1576 and 1588 Henri III, king of France, chose Blois as the meeting-place of the States-General, and in 1588 he brought about the murders of Henry, duke of Guise, and his brother, Louis, archbishop of Reims and cardinal, in the Château, where their deaths were shortly followed by that of the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici. From 1617 to 1619 Marie de' Medici, wife of King Henri IV, exiled from the court, lived at the château, which was soon afterwards given by King Louis XIII to his brother Gaston, Duke of Orléans, who lived there till his death in 1660.

The bishopric, seated at Blois Cathedral, dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1814 Blois was for a short time the seat of the regency of Marie Louise, wife of Napoleon I.

Blois was occupied during World War II by the German army, which took the city on 18 June 1940. The city was liberated by American soldiers during the last two weeks of August 1944. On both occasions, the city withstood several days of bombing.


Historical population
1793 13,280    
1800 14,900+12.2%
1806 13,054−12.4%
1821 15,147+16.0%
1831 13,138−13.3%
1836 13,628+3.7%
1841 16,156+18.6%
1846 17,149+6.1%
1851 17,749+3.5%
1856 17,749+0.0%
1861 20,331+14.5%
1866 20,068−1.3%
1872 19,860−1.0%
1876 20,515+3.3%
1881 21,077+2.7%
1886 22,150+5.1%
1891 23,457+5.9%
1896 23,542+0.4%
1901 23,789+1.0%
1906 23,972+0.8%
1911 23,955−0.1%
1921 23,989+0.1%
1926 23,991+0.0%
1931 24,607+2.6%
1936 26,025+5.8%
1946 26,774+2.9%
1954 28,190+5.3%
1962 33,838+20.0%
1968 42,264+24.9%
1975 49,778+17.8%
1982 47,243−5.1%
1990 49,318+4.4%
1999 49,062−0.5%
2006 48,487−1.2%
2009 46,013−5.1%
2012 45,903−0.2%


Château de Blois

The Château de Blois, a Renaissance château once occupied by King Louis XII, is located in the centre of the city, and an 18th-century stone bridge spans the Loire. As Blois is built on a pair of steep hills, winding and steep pathways run through the city, culminating in long staircases at various points. To the south of the city, the Forêt de Russy is a reminder of the thick woods that once covered the area.

The house of magic

La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin (The House of Magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin) is a museum fronting on the Château. As a museum of France, it is the only public museum in Europe which incorporates in one place collections of magic and a site for permanent performing arts, and is directly reflects the personality of Robert-Houdin. [7] [8] [9] [10]


The Gare de Blois railway station offers direct connections to Paris, Orléans, Tours, Nantes and several regional destinations. The A10 motorway connects Blois with Paris, Orléans and Tours.


Bridge over the Loire in Blois Blois.Loirebruecke.wmt.jpg
Bridge over the Loire in Blois
Chateau de Blois (view from the South) Loire Cher Blois1 tango7174.jpg
Château de Blois (view from the South)
Chateau de Blois (view from the West) Chateau de Blois-1.JPG
Château de Blois (view from the West)

Blois was the birthplace of:

International relations

Blois is twinned with:

Fictional references

Athos, the count of La Fère (from Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers ) has a castle in Blois, in Twenty Years After , and The Vicomte de Bragelonne (from the same author).

Related Research Articles

Tours Prefecture of Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Tours is the prefecture of the Indre-et-Loire department and largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region of Western France, although it is not the regional prefecture, which is the region's second-largest city, Orléans. In 2012, the commune of Tours had 134,978 inhabitants; the population of the whole metropolitan area was 483,744.

Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin French magician

Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin was a French watchmaker, magician and illusionist, widely recognized as the father of the modern style of conjuring. He transformed magic from a pastime for the lower classes, seen at fairs, to an entertainment for the wealthy, which he offered in a theatre opened in Paris, a legacy preserved by the tradition of modern magicians to perform in tails.

Siege of Orléans Turning point and French Victory in the Hundred Years War

The Siege of Orléans was the watershed of the Hundred Years' War between France and England. It was the French royal army's first major military victory to follow the crushing defeat at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, and also the first while Joan of Arc was with the army. The siege took place at the pinnacle of English power during the later stages of the war. The city held strategic and symbolic significance to both sides of the conflict. The consensus among contemporaries was that the English regent, John of Lancaster, would have succeeded in realizing his brother the English king Henry V's dream of conquering all of France if Orléans fell. For half a year the English and their French allies appeared to be winning but the siege collapsed nine days after Joan's arrival.

Orléans Prefecture and commune in France

Orléans is a prefecture and commune in north-central France, about 120 kilometres southwest of Paris. It is the capital of the Loiret department and of the Centre-Val de Loire region.

Château de Cheverny castle

The Château de Cheverny is located at Cheverny, in the département of Loir-et-Cher in the Loire Valley in France. It is one of the châteaux of the Loire valley

Château de Blois residence in Blois, France

The Royal Château de Blois is located in the city center of Blois at the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France. 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.

Loir-et-Cher Department of France

Loir-et-Cher is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. Its name is originated from two rivers which cross it, the Loir in its northern part and the Cher in its southern part. Its prefecture is Blois. The INSEE and La Poste gave it the number 41.

Amboise Commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Amboise is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France. It lies on the banks of the Loire River, 27 kilometres (17 mi) east of Tours. Today a small market town, it was once home of the French royal court. The town of Amboise is also only about 18 kilometres (11 mi) away from the historic Château de Chenonceau, situated on the Cher River near the small village of Chenonceaux.

John IV, Duke of Brittany Duke of Brittany

John IV the Conqueror KG was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort from 1345 until his death and 7th Earl of Richmond from 1372 until his death.

Anne of Brittany Duchess of Brittany and twice Queen of France

Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death, and queen consort of France from 1491 to 1498 and from 1499 to her death. She is the only woman to have been queen consort of France twice. During the Italian Wars, Anne also became queen consort of Naples, from 1501 to 1504, and duchess consort of Milan, in 1499–1500 and from 1500 to 1512.

Châteaux of the Loire Valley Historic grand residences in a part of France

The Châteaux of the Loire Valley are part of the architectural heritage of the historic towns of Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Montsoreau, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours along the Loire River in France. They illustrate Renaissance ideals of design in France.

Louis I, Duke of Orléans French prince, regent of France

Louis I of Orléans was Duke of Orléans from 1392 to his death. He was also, Duke of Touraine (1386–1392), Count of Valois (1386?–1406) Blois (1397–1407), Angoulême (1404–1407), Périgord (1400–1407) and Soissons (1404–07).

Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orléans Wife of Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans, a younger brother of Charles VI of France

Valentina Visconti was a Countess of Vertus, and Duchess consort of Orléans as the wife of Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans, the younger brother of King Charles VI of France.

John II, Duke of Alençon 15th-century Duke of Alençon

John II of Alençon was the son of John I of Alençon and his wife Marie of Brittany, Lady of La Guerche (1391–1446), daughter of John V, Duke of Brittany, and Joan of Navarre. He succeeded his father as Duke of Alençon and Count of Perche as a minor in 1415, after the latter's death at the Battle of Agincourt. He is best known as a general in the Last Phase of the Hundred Years' War and for his role as a comrade-in-arms of Joan of Arc, who called him "le beau duc".

Montargis Subprefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Montargis is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France on the Loing river. The town is located about 110 km (68 mi) south of Paris and 70 km (43 mi) east of Orléans in the Gâtinais.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Orléans

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orléans is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese currently corresponds to the Départment of Loiret. The current bishop is Jacques André Blaquart, who was appointed in 2010.

Château de Troussay castle

The Château de Troussay is one of the smallest Châteaux of the Loire Valley, and is situated in Cheverny, in the Loir-et-Cher.

Château de Chinon castle in France

Château de Chinon is a castle located on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon, France. It was founded by Theobald I, Count of Blois. In the 11th century the castle became the property of the counts of Anjou. In 1156 Henry II of England, a member of the House of Anjou, took the castle from his brother Geoffrey, Count of Nantes, after Geoffrey rebelled for a second time. Henry favoured the Château de Chinon as a residence. Most of the standing structure can be attributed to his reign; he died there in 1189.

La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin museum in France

La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin is a museum which faces the Royal Château de Blois. It is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France, in the center of the city of Blois. As a museum of France and bearing the official label of "Musée de France", it is the only public museum in Europe which incorporates in one place collections of magic and a site for permanent performing arts. The creation of such a site is directly linked to the personality of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, a famous French illusionist born in Blois in 1805.

March to Reims

After the lifting of the Siege of Orléans and the decisive French victory at the Battle of Patay, the Anglo-Burgundian threat was ended. Joan of Arc convinced the Dauphin Charles to go to be crowned at Reims. The march though the heart of territory controlled by the hostile Burgundians was successful and would give the throne of the French monarchy to Charles VII, who had been ousted therefrom by the Treaty of Troyes.


  1. "Populations légales 2017". INSEE . Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. "Blois | Loire Valley | France". Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  3. "The Chateau de Blois & St Nicholas Cathedral, Blois from the River Loire | Artware Fine Art". Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  4. The Martyrs of Blois
  5. JEWISH POETRY Jewish Poetry And Martyrdom in Medieval France. Susan L. Einbinder. Princeton University Press. 2002.
  6. Smith, John, Holland (1973). "Joan of Arc." New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  7. Blois, La Maison de la Magie at
  8. "Mussee de la Magie". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  9. "Travel signposts, Paris Museum of Magic". Archived from the original on 2 March 2011.
  10. "Keck, Gayle, Washington Post, And Now for Paris' Next Trick". The Washington Post. 12 June 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  11. "British towns twinned with French towns [via]". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.