Blois © Wolfgang Meinhart
Much of the historic ambience of medieval Blois remains preserved in its white-washed houses and narrow cobbled alleys, but modernity has impacted quite severely on the noble former seat of the dukes of Orléans. Tourists still flock to Blois on holiday to visit the magnificent chateau, now encircled by a traffic-laden highway, but none the less spectacular for this infringement. This beautiful castle witnessed the murder of the Duc De Guise by Henri III, and is renowned for its awesome 13th-century hall. The interiors of the chateaux are as impressive as the exterior and visitors will be excited by the stunning decorations and furnishings, including royal chambers which feel perfectly authentic. Those excited by chateaux can make excursions from Blois to some other gems in the nearby countryside, including the well-known Chateau de Chambord. The Maison de la Magie next door to the chateau is a truly magical experience for kids and the perfect attraction for a rainy day. Another great attraction worth visiting in Blois is the Basilique Notre-dame de la Trinite, an imposing cathedral with beautiful grounds. Visitors can climb the bell tower for some lovely views of the area.