The François I Wing

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Exterior François I Wing King's Apartments Saint Calais Chapel
Little is known on the way Blois was organised in the 16th century. Succeeding occupations in the 17th and 18th centuries added to the various transformations required throughout the Renaissance by the needs of an ambulant court, and eventually blurred all clues. In the middle of the 19th century, Félix Duban reinvented the castle, giving the different rooms the names under which they are known today. Taking 1588 as his starting point, he attributed the first floor to the Queen's apartments, the second floor to those of the King, and thus centred the visit on Catherine de Medicis and Henry III. Built by Thibault VI towards 1220, the Hall of the General Estates still has its original layout: two vessels covered by a wooden barrel vault and separated by an arcade of columns with capitals. The painted decoration was done by Felix Duban towards 1861 and is inspired by 13th century polychromy. Used as a hall of justice by the counts of Blois, Henry III had the representatives of the three estates (noblesse, clergy, third estate) summoned here for a meeting of the Estates General in 1576 and 1588.
The Hall of the Estates General The Hall of the Estates General
The Hall of the Captain of the Guards (below left) was originally divided in two, which explains the presence of two remarkable fireplaces with their sumptuous Renaissance decoration. The salamander is the emblem of François I while the ermine is the emblem of his wife, Claude de France, the duchess of Brittany.
Hall of the Captain of the Guards Hall of the Captain of the Guards
The Queen's gallery (below right), an indoor promenade, opens towards the Facade des Loges, which was inspired by Bramante's work at the Vatican. The former gardens created by Louis XII were found just opposite. The glazed tiled floors were created by Félix Duban after a 15th century model. They were restored at the end of the 20th century.
A door frame in the Queen's Gallery displaying Francis I's Salamander The Queen's Gallery
It is necessary to walk through the room named "garde-robe" (below left) in order to enter the Queen's Bedchamber. The bedchamber opens up onto two intimate rooms: the study and the Queen's Oratory (below right).
The Queen's Oratory
The hall below leads into the Queen's Study, a reading room containing 180 sculpted oak panels dating back to 1530. This is the only French Renaissance study still in existence today.

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