Nestled deep in the heart of Loire's chateaux country, Blois has seen its fair share of action. It was occupied in World War II by the German army, then liberated by American soldiers during the last two weeks of August 1944, and withstood several days of bombing both times.
Dating back to the 6th century, it was also home to a number of counts and kings throughout history, including Louis XII and Francois I.
Blois is an excellent starting point for visiting many of the regions magnificent chateaux, and you'll be instantly charmed by its twisty, turny cobblestone streets, lovely river views and smattering of architectural remains from the Middle Ages.
The famous Chateau de Blois is just a tiny thing, really. With just 564 rooms, 75 staircases, a fireplace in each room and 100 bedrooms you'll be lucky to squeeze in.
Pay special attention to the four wings of the building, each of which was built in a different architectural style: Gothic, Flamboyant Gothic, Early Renaissance and Classical. Also, if you’re into grisly details, take note of the lavishly decorated royal bedroom: it’s where the Duc of Guise was stabbed to death in 1588.
Blois also has a popular contemporary art museum, rapidly becoming one of its star attractions. Over 100 French and foreign artists are featured here, including Armand, Ben, César and object-wrapping legend, Christo. Fans of the Dada, Fluxus and New Realism movements will have a special appreciation for this museum.