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Logis Royal - Loches

 

Our favourite view of the chateau from the gardens across the river Indre.

 

The medieval castle of Loches is unique in that whereas most Loire Valley Chateaux are built on the sites of former fortresses with little remaining of the original fortress, here you have a citadel town that has both the remains of the fortress, built again by our old friend Foulques Nerra Count of Anjou (busy man!) in the 11th century and its 14th and 16th century Royal Lodgings both well enough preserved to give a good idea as to how the site was used through the centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting the Chateau at Loches combined with the keep must be one of the best value 'tickets' in the Loire Valley at only € 8.50 (children under 12 free). Add to this the fact that you can visit the free 'house museum' of the painter Emmanuel Lansyer and the church of St. Oars on the way and you have an excellent value-for-money day out.

 

 

 

The chateau or 'Royal lodgings' sit really well into the landscape of this medieval town - it was after all where it all began. There has been a fortification on this site since the Romans built the first one in the third century. Situated to the north of the citadel, the  least exposed to attacks, it was used as the residence of the King and his court when they were passing through the town or staying clear of their enemies in and around Paris. It and the rest of the fortified complex can be accessed via the 'Porte Royale' gate on the western ramparts.

 

 

 

If you make your way through 'Port Royale' you turn left to take you to the 'Royal Lodgings' (Chateau).

 

 

 

Two buildings dating from different periods sit side by side, the south-east part was built in the 16th century onto the existing 14th century building. Its built-in turrets and its machicolations are reminiscent of military architecture.

 

Of what you see today, only the watchtower, or 'Agnes Sorel tower', (right in the picture) is earlier than 14th century. It was annexed to the 14th century great hall and 'Royal Chamber'.  Much as we love Loches and its castles we can recall our sense of disappointment on catching our first glimpse of the 'Royal Lodgings' from 'uptop' after admiring the building from the lower town and gardens below. You just expect there to be more to it -all those windows but no...there isn't, as the floor-plan below shows.

 

 

Information on who actually built these more comfortable lodgings is scant but it was probably during the reign of Charles VI that the first stage was completed allowing them to move out of the feudal keep which must have been pretty stark.Charles VIII and Louis XII were probably responsible for the second phase.

 

 

 

The castle would become a favourite residence of Charles VII who gave it to his mistress, Agnes Sorel as her residence. She is recognised as the first official royal mistress of a king (there would have been many before her).

He was forty years old when he met Agnes in 1443, she was twenty-four. He fell quickly in love with this young woman who was cultivated, intelligent and so very alluring.

 

She died in childbirth after she followed Charles on a campaign

to Jumièges in 1450.The cause of death was originally thought to be dysentery, although scientists have since concluded that Agnès died from mercury poisoning, possibly the victim of murder, although mercury was also used to treat such things as worms

 

Her tomb is in the nearby church of St.Oars..

 

It would be converted for use as a state prison by his son, Louis XI  who had lived there as a child but preferred the chateau at Amboise as a residence -- spoilt for choice really.

 

 

It was in the great hall (right), in June 1429, that Joan of Arc, on her way back from relieving the English siege at Orleans, came to find Charles VII and convinced him to go to Reims in order to be crowned.

 

 

The dogs sitting on the walls of the entrance stairs recall the favourite pastime of  its royal residents who would hunt in their well stocked hunting estates that used to surround the chateau.

 

 

These windows can be found in the 'Agnes Sorrel tower' depicting her and husband Charles VII

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the oratory of Anne of Brittany, on the right of the picture above, is actually part of the citadel wall and was the final piece of work added to the north end of the castle. The oratory or 'Chapel of Anne of Britanny' (she was wife to both Charles VIII and Louis XII) was finished in a flamboyant gothic style.

 

 

 

The tower in the background is 'La Tour Saint-Antoine' which served as the town belfry is not part of the chateau but sits in the town below.. It rises to 52 meters. Built between 1529 and 1575, it is apparently the only bell tower of  Renaissance design in Touraine.
 

 

A good view of this and the rooftops of the town can be had from the terrace.

 

 

 

Schedules and Prices


From Wednesday 1 October to Monday 31 March 2014 :
- Every day, from 09:30 to 17:00
From Tuesday 1 April to Tuesday 30 September 2014 :
- Every day, from 09:00 to 19:00
From Wednesday 1 October to Wednesday 31 December 2014 :
- Every day, from 09:30 to 17:00

Admission prices : 
- Full price : 8.50 €
- Reduced price : 6.5 €

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

External links:

 

www.chateau-loches.fr/

 

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"

 

 

 

 

 

Rentals

 

Choose a village house to rent near Loches in the Loire Valley direct from the owners.

 

 

'Les Balcons'

Sleeps up to 6

Le Grand Pressigny

 

 

 

'Le Bourg'

Sleeps up to 6

Barrou

 

 

'Old Walnut Mill'

Sleeps up to 4

Barrou

 

 

'La Belle Vue'

Sleeps 2

Barrou