Loches Castle is located in the French village of Loches. The castle, as is true of so many castles in Europe, dominates the scene in its home town, and thanks to its interesting history and architecture, it is a major tourist attraction. Loches history saw the village being a royal seat for quite some time, and there are many other wonderful castles to be found throughout the surrounding Loire Valley. As such, this valley in central France gets more than its fair share of tourists, especially during the busy summer season.
Chateau Loches, as the splendid Loches Castle is known in French, has quite a long history. Work on the structure began in the early eleventh century, which is the Norman period, and the intentions were to build a fortress for military purposes. Henry II of England and his son, Richard the Lionheart, were responsible for designing Loches Castle in France, and they also lived there. In 1205, however, King Philip II of France captured the fortress. This kicked off a new construction period that had expansion as its main objective. Eventually, as is true of so many castles, Loches Castle was converted into a residence, and it also did a stint as a prison. The era in which it was a prison was the era of King Louis XI, who preferred living at nearby Amboise castle instead.
Much of Chateau Loches is in ruins, and this has a lot to do with the fact that it was severely damaged during and after the French Revolution (late 1700's). It is owned by the village of Loches, as is true of the ancient church next door, and both are open to the public. A French historic monument, Loches Castle certainly merits a visit if you should find yourself in the area. If you want to put together a personal castle tour of the area, another castle worth checking out is Amboise Castle, which is also located in the Loire Valley, not to mention a number of other castles that call the valley home. These castles include Chinon Castle and Azay le Rideau Castle.
Loches Castle is open daily throughout the year, with the exception of a few major holidays. The hours vary according to season, though generally speaking, it opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Informational booklets are available in a variety of languages, including English, and in case you are wondering, there are hotels and restaurants close by, so you might just spend the night in Loches. This village might be small, but it is very picturesque and features a bunch of interesting historic attractions.
Image: b.roveran (flickr)