City of art and history, Blois is guaranted to surprise you
A panorama of French architecture, the royal château is the door Way to the Loire Valley
A UNESCO world heritage site, the royal river invites you to Blois
Welcome to a universe of the illusion and magical arts. A unique site in Europe!
A city on a human scale, with 50,000 inhabitants (92,000 in the urban area), Blois cultivates gentleness and quality of life, economic dynamism and university life, together with a rich variety of associations, cultural and sporting. Glorying in an outstanding natural and architectural environment along the banks of the Loire, the city of Blois is split by the river, setting it right in the heart of the area that has boasted the Unesco World Heritage "Cultural landscape" label for ten years now. It acts as a balance between Orléans and Tours and can be rightly proud of its assets.
The greatest tourist and heritage gem for its inhabitants is its royal château, which overlooks the streets in the old centre. The Château Royal de Blois is the ideal introduction to a tour of the Loire Valley, being a synthesis of the architecture and history of the Loire châteaux. Its courtyard presents a wonderful panorama of French mediaeval architecture in the 17th century. The home of 7 kings and 10 queens of France, the Château Royal de Blois evokes the power and daily life of the Court in the Renaissance, evident in the royal apartments, richly furnished and adorned with magnificent polychromatic decors.
In 1984, it was one of the first historic monuments to be restored and was used as a model for the restoration of a number of other châteaux. With the Musée de France imprimatur, and containing a wealth of over 30,000 works, the Château Royal de Blois displays some of its collections in the royal apartments in the François 1er wing, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts installed in the Louis XII wing, and during its many temporary exhibitions.
The Maison de la Magie – Robert Houdini, a large 19th century bourgeois house close to the château, with its famous dragons, its shows and its amazing range of magic arts exhibits in an area of 2,000m², is another highlight of the city, as is the prestigious "Loire à vélo" cycling itinerary that has crossed the city since 2010.
The city has a growing university and higher education hub (nearly 4,000 students), with the intention of focusing on subjects that are scarcely or not at all represented elsewhere in the region, and its target is to have 5,000 students in 2014.
The economic fabric of Blois and its urban area is characterised by an enormous range of activities, generally with high added value (computer services hub, automobiles, pharmaceuticals-cosmetology, agrifood business). Poulain chocolate bars, Delphi's HDi injection system, Paul Prédault ham, Procter & Gamble's Herbal essences shampoo, Sisley cosmetic products, Valéo headlamps... are all manufactured in the urban area. Almost 60% of executive jobs in the department are found there. The majority are small and medium-sized companies, which gives the local economy a certain flexibility. Several large companies like Delphi (1,700 employees), the Aprionis group (800 employees) and Atos Origin (500 employees) have a national status in Blois.
The city and urban area follow a policy of supporting organic or rational peri-urban agriculture, with short sales routes for the products from producer to consumer.
A vast number of sports facilities satisfy all needs and all levels of ability: athletics stadiums, football, rugby, gymnasiums, tennis courts, municipal dojo, two swimming pools and an equestrian centre.
The heart of Blois beats to the rhythm of a very lively culture, in phase with its era. All year round the Halle aux Grains - Scène Nationale proposes a high quality schedule of music, song, theatre and dance, and the Chato'Do - contemporary music scene, provides a great variety of entertainment and reveals young talents. The Rendez-vous de l'Histoire, bd Boum, Mix'terres, Lyres d'Été (Summer festival) and Lyres d'Hiver (Winter festival) are more high spots in Blois cultural life.
Almost 800 associations help to organise life in Blois. In November 2009, they come together in an Agora of meetings and discussions in the Halle aux Grains, conveying all the vitality of the local associations.