LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF
September 30. 2016 - by Isabelle Louchard
I am from Blois, a small French town located 2 hours south of Paris, nestled in the Loire Valley. It is primarily famous for its castle, although the jewel of Loire Valley is arguably Chambord, a mere 20 minutes’ drive away.
Blois is renowned worldwide for its chocolate factory, Poulain.
Aerial view of the factory
Victor-Auguste Poulain opened his chocolate factory in Blois in 1848 (hence the name of one of his famous boxes of chocolates and of countless bars).
He lived in a castle-like house right in the middle of the factory premises, which were located minutes from the famous castle of Blois and the train station.
Although the factory has now relocated to a more industrial part of the city and has been taken over by Cadbury a few years ago (although the name remained), the castle-like house of Mr Poulain still stands today while the factory buildings have now been turned into student accommodation...
Blois also has another famous son: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.
La Maison de la Magie (the House of Magic) was opened in 1998 in Blois, as a tribute to Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, the first ever modern magician, who was born, lived and died in Blois.
It is located exactly opposite the castle, and looks like this:
Houdin was an inspiration to many, leading the Great Houdini to choose his stage name after him. La Maison de la Magie was inaugurated by David Copperfield who then went to lay flowers on the grave of Houdin.
But being a house dedicated to magic, everything is not all it seems, for every hour, a very strange event takes place… Is the house haunted? You could say so when you see this:
If you ever come to the Loire Valley, don’t go without visiting it!
And as I started this blog mentioning the castle, there it is:
Front view of the wing built by French King François 1er
Main entrance of the castle, dating back to the Middle Ages, and built by King Louis XII
Every night, a sound and light show takes place inside the main courtyard of the castle, and depicts the many tragedies that occurred there, from the murder of the Duke Of Guise, who was plotting against the king, to the famous Joan of Arc, who stopped in Blois before carrying on up North, to famously kicked the English out of France…
I hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson.
Until next time!