Tuesday, January 24, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Blois VI (The Town)

The Chateau's exteriors offer an exceptional panorama spanning several centuries of French architecture
 and encompassing the town of Blois and the Loire valley.

Among the most important events to take place at Blois Castle, Joan of Arc came here in 1429 to be blessed 
before setting off to drive the English from Orleans.

Joan got her army and set off along the Loire which, then as now, was an unpredictable thoroughfare: 
sometimes in torrential flood, sometimes just trickling through grassy shallows. 
Crossing points were few and far between, so towns with bridges tended to attract most of the fighting. 
And exploring these today, you find that almost all of them have Jeanne d'Arc streets and statues, 
houses where she stayed and churches where she prayed. 
Passing through Tours, her first significant stop was Blois: 
a town filled with history from later periods and famous for an urban chateau with architectural features that weren't there in 1429, 
so Joan wouldn't have seen them as she marshaled her troops and had her standard blessed by the local prelate.
But she'd have seen the view from the terrace, across the river to the open countryside beyond...

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