Blois is a right royal town, situated halfway between Tours and Orléans in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Loire Valley. Its castle, the Château Royal de Blois, presides over everything, and serves as an excellent introduction to the famous châteaux de la Loire, but the town is an absolute delight to visit in its own right too. Happily, it also sits on the doorstep of neighbouring Siblu holiday park, Domaine de Dugny. So, let’s find out more…
The great outdoors
Blois and its verdant countryside, peppered as it is with fairy-tale castles, are a joy to cycle through, and there are plenty of bike hire options in the town; some even offer children’s bikes and tandems! In the centre of Blois, you can take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the river, or enjoy great views of the Loire after climbing the steep steps to the Jardins de l’Evêché: now the gardens of the town hall, the sweet-scented rose garden is particularly glorious when the flowers are in bloom.
Things to do and special events
The number one attraction in Blois is, of course, the majestic Château Royal. With 564 rooms and 35,000 works of art, it also combines architectural styles from the 13th to 17th centuries (don’t miss the splendid, three-storey, external spiral staircase), and was home to ten queens, seven kings, and the site of a famous assassination. In summertime, there’s also a nightly son et lumière show, which brings the château’s story to life using stunning lighting and atmospheric, musical accompaniment. Opposite the castle, Maison de la Magie Robert Houdin is a museum of magic, dedicated to the great stage magician of the same name. Dragons emerge roaring from the windows at regular intervals, while inside there are daily magic shows and displays of optical illusions. In July and August, Blois also hosts the Festival Des Lyres, a varied programme of free concerts, plays and fireworks that offers something for everyone.
Local discoveries and hidden gems
For a truly regal experience, see Blois sedately from a horse and carriage at Place du Château. Or take to the river and feel the Loire on a futreau (a traditional wooden riverboat without a sail). Then from the Pont Jacques Gabriel, meander the medieval streets around 17th-century Cathédrale St-Louis and marvel at the half-timbered townhouses. And visit the Musée de la Résistance to find out about the role Blois’ inhabitants played in World War II. Alternatively, sit back and relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants – Blois and the Loire Valley are known as the ‘Garden of France’, and there is no shortage of gastronomic delights, tasty bites and fine, local wines to keep hunger and thirst at bay.
Places to go
There are certainly more glorious châteaux to visit nearby! Take a shuttle bus to Château de Chambord – utterly splendid, it’s the largest, grandest and most visited of the Loire castles. Then continue to Château de Cheverny – it’s renowned for its interiors, but kids will love that it inspired the fictional home of Tintin’s Captain Haddock.
Distance/driving time from Domaine de Dugny