Blois, France

Blois is a French city with a population of over 47 000 people. It is located in the Loir-et-Cher and is its capital.

The name of the town derives from the word Bleitz, which means wolf in the ancient dialect of the Bretons. The old emblem of the city there was an image of a wolf, it was considered the guardian of the city.

The first inhabitants of Blois were Celts who settled in the area two hundred years before Christ. In the first century BC the city was conquered by Roman troops. There comes a period of economic prosperity of the city. It expanded its borders and it had Roman baths and an aqueduct. In the third century was built a port city that became a commercial center, more so since the beginning of the millennium in the city was actively developed the production of leather goods.

After the third century Blois was victim of invasions of barbarian tribes. To protect it from the raids, residents of the city chose the best fortified place, surrounded it with high walls and lived in it. In the ninth century Blois became part of the West Franks Kingdom, which eventually became France.

In the fifties of the ninth century the city sheltered residents of surrounding villages, who became the victim of an attack by the Normans. In the tenth century was founded the dynasty of the Counts of Blois, which in the 11th century became known for their power. They received Blois Champagne at the end of the eleventh century and became one of the most influential nobles in the kingdom.

Blois Cathedral

In the eleventh century were built stone walls around the city. In the following centuries the city developed rapidly, during the mid-fourteenth century in the complex lived 5000 people. The city suffered heavily in economic terms after the start of the Hundred Years War between England and France. The city founded a militia for defense from enemy attacks.

In the fifteenth century Blois became the residence of the Dukes of Orleans. At that time the town created a new militia, which joined the army of Joan of Arc and fought against the British. In the sixteenth century began the construction of the palace, which was a favorite of many rulers. The palace is a blend of different architectural styles. The palace has a magnificent fireplace with royal emblems. The building has wings that bear the names of various rulers. Queen Catherine de'Medici died in the palace at Blois in 1589.

One of the symbols of the modern city is the bridge Pont de Blois, built in 1724. This is an impressive stone structure, which is based on eleven arches and connects two parts of the city.

The cathedral of Saint-Louis, whose crypt was founded in the eleventh century, was razed to the ground in the seventeenth century, and then re-erected in the Gothic style with Renaissance elements. The original temple was built here in early Christian times, and on it was built the cathedral.

The Benedictine church of St Nicolas was built in the twelfth century and is one of the most visited temples in the city.

The modern church of Notre Dame de la Trinité was built in 1949. The temple is distinguished by its spectacular interior.

In Blois is located the home-museum of the famous illusionist Robert-Houdin, who was born in 1805. He became famous with the special equipment he used in his illusions. Today the museum has many mechanical dragons. Robert-Houdin was the inspiration for the famous magician Harry Houdini.



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