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Awe-inspiring and spellbinding, the Royal City of Loches is an invaluable testimony to French military architecture. Its hefty stones have seen over 1,000 years of history and have housed and protected famous historical figures. From knights and ladies to French kings, the city has played host to legendary people and key events. Enter the city through the Royal Gate and discover its epic history.
Upon seeing this gigantic structure, you will feel yourself being carried back in time to a period when justice was administered through the blade of the sword, the king held authority, women, influence… The Royal City of Loches is a masterpiece of military architecture and a testimony to intricate Renaissance design. It is one of the most impressive monuments in the Loire Valley.

The history of Loches began circa 1000 AD with the belligerent Count of Anjou, Fulk the Black, who built a 36-metre keep at the top of the rocky spur. Its strategic position allowed warning to be given at the slightest sign of danger, and the Count used the keep as his residence when he was staying in the region. Over time, its defensive functions were enhanced with ramparts, towers, arrowslits and machicolations. Today, the keep of Loches is one of the best-preserved structures from the Romanesque period.

Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus went into battle against each other here in the late 12th century, and in 1249 Saint Louis elevated Loches to the status of a royal city. An initial residential section was built in the 14th century by Louis, Duke of Anjou, of which the Lookout tower survived and was later renamed the Agnès Sorel tower. The building still bears signs of its defensive functions, which were essential in periods of war.

Joan of Arc met Charles VII in these suites and persuaded him to be crowned in Reims. The new king also conducted his love affair here with the beautiful Agnès Sorel, whose grave is in the Saint-Ours collegiate church, built within the walls between the 11th and 12th centuries. The edifice remains a stunning example of Romanesque art, with its sculpted polychrome doorway depicting people and animals from the Middle Ages.

At the end of the Hundred Years’ War, Louis XI turned the royal fortress into a State prison where high-ranking political prisoners such as John of Alençon, Philippe de Commines, Cardinal Jean Balue and Ludovico Sforza were locked up in iron cages.

In the 15th century, the residential section was extended by Charles VIII and then again by Louis XII. They built a second residential section that heralded the Renaissance style. These two kings were both married to the same queen, Anne of Brittany, who left her mark on the city with the construction of an oratory in the Flamboyant Gothic style. These buildings are all open for visits: enter through the royal gate and cross the Medieval gardens to travel from one to the other and discover a saga spanning nearly 1,000 years!
Not to be missed

The Royal City

The Royal City of Loches is a unique French heritage site that was built over the course of five centuries of history.
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Hidden treasure

Prison art

The stones in the keep bear the marks left by people locked up here when it was a State prison.
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Unusual

The Ladies of Loches

This imposing château has a heart of stone, but was given a touch of tenderness by three great women who came here: Joan of Arc, Agnès Sorel and Anne of Brittany.
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News from the château
Practical information

CITE ROYALE DE LOCHES

Royal City of Loches
5, place Charles VII
37600, LOCHES
France
Fermé en ce moment
+ opening times
+ prices
From € 10.5 /  person
"Accueil Vélo"Démarche d'excellence grands sites
Things to see in the area
How to get there
Loches is 50 minutes from Tours and Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train stations, which are both approximately 1 hour by train from Paris-Montparnasse. Buses and a local TER train service will take you to Loches. Allow 1 hour. The A10 and A85 motorways lead to the château. Allow 2 hours 30 minute from Paris. Tours airport has connections to Portugal, Ireland, Great Britain and Morocco.

Your journey