Blois is an attractive town of 50,000 people with a very friendly atmosphere built on a hill in the shape of an amphitheatre sloping down to the Loire River. Although much was destroyed during the war, it still has some lovely old streets winding up the steep banks of the river. It was once the centre of the French Renaissance with a prestigious castle. Louis XII, king of France in 1498, was born there in 1462. One of its citizens, Denis Papin, invented the steam engine in 1647 and the illusionist Louis-Eugène Roubert-Houdin was born in 1805, giving rise to the very interesting “House of Magic” just opposite the castle.
It has a pedestrian precinct with lots of small shops and cafés.