Beetling around in Blois

Ann enjoying a long lunch at  Le Petit Hornfleur restaurant, high above the town of Blois in France

Ann enjoying a long lunch at Le Petit Hornfleur restaurant, high above the town of Blois in France

View over the city of Blois

View over the city of Blois

Saturday 8 August

It was good to have a “non-travelling” day today just wandering around the very old and quiet city of Blois and sorting out some railway and car hire drop off details we needed to attend to. Once we found the weekly Saturday market it was not quiet but full on activity with a close harmony group in full swing singing ancient French folk songs and hymns. The range of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat was stunning in its variety and the local cheeses were extraordinary in their variety, size and different flavours. The market ran from street to street in the lower retail part of town selling art, bits and pieces and food, food and more food.

Blois ancient city wall and street view

Blois ancient city wall and street view

There are many ancient half-timbered “Alsatian” houses in Blois mixed up with more modern and very elegant homes and three very ancient and historic churches.

Half-timbered

Half-timbered “Alsatian” house in Blois, one of many

View of the main drag in Blois showing the vertical differentiation in the town. It is built on a rocky hill alongside the large river valley of the Loire

View of the main drag in Blois showing the vertical differentiation in the town. It is built on a rocky hill alongside the large river valley of the Loire

Gorgeous half-timbered house in Blois ..too many to photograph

Gorgeous half-timbered house in Blois ..too many to photograph

The fast flowing Loire River itself is a UNESCO site of international significance and on its banks and tributaries stand some of the most stunning and elegant chateaux going around.

Loire River flowing rapidly through Blois

Loire River flowing rapidly through Blois

Bridge over the River Loire in Blois

Bridge over the River Loire in Blois

In Blois we finally found our first Protestant church in France as well as not one but two Gothic cathedrals. The first is a very ancient structure in the middle of old town with virtually no restoration work done and netting beneath the ceiling to protect worshippers and visitors from falling debris. The second cathedral is also Gothic in style but actually built in the C17th after a storm destroyed the previous building. It became the seat of a Bishop in 1697 and was renamed “Cathedral of St Louis” after Louis XI, patron of the diocese and the cathedral.  The newest large church is a Jesuit church, originally the school chapel of a Jesuit school started in Blois in the Counter-Reformation. It has a unique three dimensional “installation” behind the main altar.

Very early Gothic church in Blois with virtually no restoration.  Original and pure Gothic

Very early Gothic church in Blois with virtually no restoration. Original and pure Gothic

Early Gothic church in Blois interior with netting to protect worshippers and visitors from falling debris

Early Gothic church in Blois interior with netting to protect worshippers and visitors from falling debris

Another view of the early Gothic church in Blois in the middle of old town

Another view of the early Gothic church in Blois in the middle of old town

C17th St Louis cathedral named after French king and patron. Original Gothic church was destroyed by storm and this one was rebuilt in traditional Gothic style

C17th St Louis cathedral named after French king and patron. Original Gothic church was destroyed by storm and this one was rebuilt in traditional Gothic style

External view of St Louis Cathedral in Blois  we had to climb up about 80 steps to see this church

External view of St Louis Cathedral in Blois we had to climb up about 80 steps to see this church

Another view of the Cathedral of St Louis in Blois

Another view of the Cathedral of St Louis in Blois

View of the Jesuit church in Blois which began life in as a School chapel

View of the Jesuit church in Blois which began life in as a School chapel

Blois Jesuit church interior ceiling

Blois Jesuit church interior ceiling

close up of ceiling in Jesuit Church in Blois

close up of ceiling in Jesuit Church in Blois

Unique 3D "installation" behind main altar in Blois Jesuit church

Unique 3D “installation” behind main altar in Blois Jesuit church

External view of Jesuit church above Blois Chateau

External view of Jesuit church above Blois Chateau

Blois also is a “vertically divided” town so there are wonderful panoramas of the city from many vantage points and also many “hanging” gardens and parks. We feel very at home here.

Blois civic garden

Blois civic garden

Another view of the civic gardens

Another view of the civic gardens

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