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The royal town of Blois, located in the middle of the Loire valley and as Sologne?s gateway, is the capital of the Loir-et-Cher department in France. The town is among France?s greatest historical towns and as it was once a preferred residence by the French royals. Within it is the familial seat of the Dukes of Blois. The town has a population of close to 50,000 inhabitants.
Blois became an important town in the 11th century. A stone castle and city walls were put up for the town?s protection and Prince Louis of Orleans bought the town in the 14th century. The prince lived in the palace for 25 years and when he became king in 1498, he opted to move to Blois making the town a royal one and the Kingdom?s capital.
The city is small and one can explore it by foot or use anycarhire.com for car hire in Blois. The main attraction site in Blois is the castle commonly known as Chateau de Blois that is located in the heart of the city and reflects varying architectural styles for over five years. Its interior has winding staircases and has various wings i.e. the Francis I wing, Gaston d?Orleans wing, Louis XII wing and the St Calais wing.
The residents hold an annual summer festival in the city called the Lyres d?Ete Festival which is free of charge, and consists of concerts, films, plastic arts initiation, fencing, circus, astronomy and many other outdoor activities. There is also a winter festival that presents a variety of Christmas entertainment and includes skating, a sledge run for the kids, themed events and a real Christmas market etc. Other festivals include the music festival, urban dreams, carnival and the contemporary dance festival.
Another highlight of the city is the Maison de la Magie dating to the 19th century -a bourgeois house that?s close to the castle and has famous dragons and an amazing collection of magic arts. The town of Blois has a number of museums, as well as parks and gardens and other chateaus such as the Chateau of Chambord constructed in 1529.