Etap Blois Centre

4 Rue Jean Moulin, Blois, Loire Valley, 41000, France
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More about Blois


Blois CastleBlois Castle


Eglise Saint-Nicolas, Rose Window, Blois, 07/08Eglise Saint-Nicolas, Rose Window, Blois, 07/08

Château Royal de Blois: The Ceilings, July 2008Château Royal de Blois: The Ceilings, July 2008

Travel Tips for Blois

Cathédrale Saint-Louis

by black_mimi99

The Cathédrale Saint-Louis was reconstructed in gothic style towards the end of the 17th century.
It is flanked by a tall Renaissance tower with a domed top. The cryp dates from the 10th=11th centuries.

Château Royal de Blois: Royal Badges, Part I

by von.otter

“From near and afar, I can defend myself.”
— motto of Louis XII (1462-1515)

ON GUARD Louis de France, duc d’Orléans, adopted the porcupine as his emblem in 1394. He chose the porcupine to warn his enemies, especially Jean, duc de Bourgogne, that he would, without fear, avenge any attack, just as the porcupine throws its quills, near and far, at any who attacks it. It was a common misconception about what this prickly creature would do when attacked.

Louis XII was duc d’Orléans before he became king in 1498; Louis de France was his grandfather. (So many Louis’s, the head spins!) When the younger Louis chose Blois as the town for his capital, he kept the porcupine emblem, decorating the castle with it. Anne de Bretagne’s ermine decorates the castle, too. Louis XII married Anne after her first husband and Louis’s predecessor, Charles VIII, died.

Louis XII inherited the porcupine emblem from his grandfather and kept its symbolism of invincibility, especially during the Italian wars and his reconquest of Milan. A problem arose with the use of the bellicose porcupine as part of royal propaganda. It stood at odds with the image of a ‘père du peuple’ that Louis XII adopted in 1506. Certain disenchantment developed towards the aggressive porcupine leading to its neglect in royal pageantry and iconography by the second half of Louis’s reign.

The Order of the Porcupine was established by Louis de France, duc d’Orleans in 1394 when his oldest son, Charles, was baptized. The number of knights was limited to 25, including the Sovereign, or Grand Master; and the Order’s motto was, Cominus et emitms, “From near and afar.” This Order continued to flourish until after Louis XII’s death, when it was set aside. The collar of the Order consisted of three gold chains, to which a gold porcupine pendent was attached.

Anne de Bretagne, Queen of Charles VIII, and afterwards of Louis XII, adopted the ermine, the traditional hereditary device of her duchy, with the motto, Mulo mori quam faedari, “Better to die than be sullied;” the French put it this way, Plutot mourir que souiller. The seventeenth century author Sylvanus Morgan wrote “The ermine is a creature of so pure a nature, that it will choose to be taken rather than defile its skin.” It is said, that hunters surround it with a wall of mud, which it will not attempt to cross, and therefore it becomes an easy prey. Hence the ermine is the emblem of purity, and of honor without stain. Ceremonial robes of royalty and the nobility are lined with ermine to symbolize the internal integrity that should guide their conduct.

In 1947, Muriel Roy Bolton wrote “The Golden Porcupine.” It is a highly fictitious account of the life of Anne of Beaujeu and her supposed romance with Louis XII.

Eglise Saint-Nicolas: Interior

by von.otter

“God, Our Father we pray that through your intercession of St. Nicholas you will protect our children. Keep them safe from harm and help them grow and become worthy in your sight. Give them the strength to keep their faith in you.”
— A Prayer to St. Nicholas for children. The Feast of St. Nicholas is December 6th.

The carvings of the church’s inside column capitals are fascinating; some appear to show acrobats (see phots #2 & #4)!

The Church of Saint Nicolas de Blois was built in 12th and 13th centuries. It belonged to the former Benedictine Abbey Saint Laumer. It lies at the foot of the castle, in Old Blois. Romanesque and Gothic in style, it has the distinction of having inspired the nave of the Cathedral at Chartres.

In AD 873 Benedictine monks of Blois took refuge in a monastery in the vicinity of St. Nick’s to escape Norman incursions. They brought with them the relics of St. Lomer. On the 25th of April 1138 Thibaut IV, Count of Blois, laid the corner stone. And between 1210 and 1218 the church is completely finished. In 1356, to defend against the English invasion, the church was fortified.

In 1568, during France’s War of Religion, Protestant teachers from Blois set fire to the church destroying the vaults. In the 17th century the church is restored. In 1661 the vast rose window of the west façade is restored.

Exuding FRENCH provincial charm...that's Blois!

by morgane1692

"Joan and I agree..."

Blois is a perfect setting for both organizing one's army, as well as the base for one's Loire Valley wanderings.

This cool, little town is just a couple hours by train southwest of Paris, but it's a few hundred years removed in terms of atmosphere!


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