Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val de Loire
In the heart of the Loire Valley, the royal city of Loches offers a fascinating dive into 500 years of French history. To relive the Court’s heyday, climb its 11th century keep, or get to know the sublime Agnès Sorel, the first “First Lady” of French history.
All are unforgettable experiences.
© Léonard de Serres
Walk through Loches’s royal gate and step into 1,000 years of history. One need look no further than its castle, the subject of many disputes, starting with the Count of Blois and Fulk III the Black, the fierce Count of Anjou who built the imposing dungeon in the 11th century, which overlooks the royal town. The abbey of Saint-Ours contains the finely sculpted tomb of Agnès Sorel, or “Lady of Beauty,” the favourite of King Charles VII of France. Built between the 11th and the 16th centuries, these two major monuments are open to the public, thanks to a 1950 policy of value creation from heritage which earned the town the title of “Town of Art and History” in 2000. Having become a royal city in 1249 with King Louis IX, it was one of the favourite places of sojourn of many a great character of French history: Charles VII and Agnès Sorel, Joan of Arc, Louis XI, Anne of Brittany and her two husbands, Charles VIII and Louis XII, as well as Francis I, who welcomed Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1539, or the House of Valois, who settled here in the mid-16th century. Without a doubt, Loches is well worth the detour for its remarkable architecture and quality of life.