Blois is a city and the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours. Though of ancient origin, Blois is first distinctly mentioned by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, the city gained some notability in the 9th century, when it became the seat of a powerful countship known as Blesum castrum. In 1171, Blois was the site of a blood libel against its Jewish community that led to 31 Jews being burned to death, their martyrdom contributed to a prominent and durable school of poetry inspired by Christian persecution. In 1196, Count Louis granted privileges to the townsmen; the counts of the Châtillon line resided at Blois more than their predecessors, the oldest parts of the château were built by them. In 1429, Joan of Arc made Blois her base of operations for the relief of Orléans. Joan of Arc rode the thirty-five miles on Wednesday 29 April to Blois to relieve Orléans. After his captivity in England, Charles of Orléans in 1440 took up his residence in the château, where in 1462 his son, afterwards Louis XII, was born.
In the 16th century Blois was the resort of the French court. The Treaty of Blois, which temporarily halted the Italian Wars, was signed there in 1504–1505; the city's inhabitants included many Calvinists, in 1562 and 1567 it was the scene of struggles between them and the supporters of the Catholic Church. In 1576 and 1588 Henri III, king of France, chose Blois as the meeting-place of the States-General, in 1588 he brought about the murders of Henry, duke of Guise, his brother, archbishop of Reims and cardinal, in the Château, where their deaths were shortly followed by that of the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici. From 1617 to 1619 Marie de' Medici, wife of King Henri IV, exiled from the court, lived at the château, soon afterwards given by King Louis XIII to his brother Gaston, Duke of Orléans, who lived there till his death in 1660; the bishopric, seated at Blois Cathedral, dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1814 Blois was for a short time the seat of the regency of Marie Louise, wife of Napoleon I.
Blois was occupied during World War II by the German army, which took the city on 18 June 1940. The city was liberated by American soldiers during the last two weeks of August 1944. On both occasions, the city withstood several days of bombing; the Château de Blois, a Renaissance château once occupied by King Louis XII, is located in the centre of the city, an 18th-century stone bridge spans the Loire. As Blois is built on a pair of steep hills and steep pathways run through the city, culminating in long staircases at various points. To the south of the city, the Forêt de Russy is a reminder of the thick woods that once covered the area. La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin is a museum fronting on the Château; as a museum of France, it is the only public museum in Europe which incorporates in one place collections of magic and a site for permanent performing arts, is directly reflects the personality of Robert-Houdin. The Gare de Blois railway station offers direct connections to Paris, Orléans, Tours and several regional destinations.
The A10 motorway connects Blois with Paris, Tours. Blois was the birthplace of: Thubois Stephen, King of England from 1135 to 1154. Louis XII, King of France from 1498 to 1515 Jean Morin and biblical scholar of Protestant parents Denis Papin, physicist and inventor Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, royalist Jean Marie Pardessus, lawyer Jacques Nicolas Augustin Thierry, historian Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, magician René Guénon, philosopher, social critic, the founder of the Traditionalist School Philippe Ariès, medievalist and historian Albert Ronsin, 20th-century French scholar, historian and curator Philippe Gondet, footballer Claudine Doury, photographer Sonia Bompastor, female footballer Aly Cissokho, footballer of Senegalese descent Bernard Onanga Itoua footballer Nicolas Vogondy, cyclist Corentin Jean, footballer Fabrice Moireau, 21st-century French watercolourist and artist Blois is twinned with: Waldshut-Tiengen, since 30 June 1963 Weimar, since 18 February 1995 Lewes, United kingdom, since 30 June 1963 Sighişoara, since 18 November 1995 Urbino, since 1 May 2003 Huế, since 23 May 2007 Athos, the count of La Fère has a castle in Blois, in Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne.
Official website Documentary photography of Blois by "Sayf" Jewish Encyclopedia entry INSEE commune file
Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union. Legend claims that rugby football was started about 1845 in Rugby School, Warwickshire, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby split into two sports in 1895 when twenty-one clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Union in the George Hotel, Northern England over the issue of payment to players, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay its players, rugby union turned professional in 1995. Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation. Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football. Following the 1895 split in rugby football, the two forms rugby league and rugby union differed in administration only.
Soon the rules of rugby league were modified. After 100 years, in 1995 rugby union joined rugby league and most other forms of football as an professional sport; the Olympic form of rugby is known as Rugby 7s. In this form of the game, each team has 7 players on the field at one time playing 7 minute halves; the rules and pitch size are the same as rugby union. The Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet; the Roman game harpastum is believed to have been adapted from a Greek team game known as "ἐπίσκυρος" or "φαινίνδα", mentioned by a Greek playwright and referred to by the Christian theologian Clement of Alexandria. These games appear to have resembled rugby football; the Roman politician Cicero describes the case of a man, killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber's shop. Roman ball games knew the air-filled ball, the follis. Episkyros is recognised as an early form of football by FIFA. In 1871, English clubs met to form the Rugby Football Union.
In 1892, after charges of professionalism were made against some clubs for paying players for missing work, the Northern Rugby Football Union called the Northern Union, was formed. The existing rugby union authorities responded by issuing sanctions against the clubs and officials involved in the new organization. After the schism, the separate clubs were named "rugby league" and "rugby union". Rugby union is both a professional and amateur game, is dominated by the first tier unions: New Zealand, Wales, South Africa, Argentina, Scotland and France. Second and third tier unions include Belgium, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, the Netherlands, Romania, Samoa, Tonga, the United States and Uruguay. Rugby Union is administered by World Rugby, whose headquarters are located in Ireland, it is the national sport in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Madagascar, is the most popular form of rugby globally. The Olympic Games have admitted the seven-a-side version of the game, known as Rugby sevens, into the programme from Rio de Janeiro in 2016 onwards.
There was a possibility sevens would be a demonstration sport at the 2012 London Olympics but many sports including sevens were dropped. In Canada and the United States, rugby union evolved into gridiron football. During the late 1800s, the two forms of the game were similar, but numerous rule changes have differentiated the gridiron-based game from its rugby counterpart, introduced by Walter Camp in the United States and John Thrift Meldrum Burnside in Canada. Among unique features of the North American game are the separation of play into downs instead of releasing the ball upon tackling, the requirement that the team with the ball set into a set formation for at least one second before resuming play after a tackle, the allowance for one forward pass from behind the site of the last tackle on each down, the evolution of hard plastic equipment, a smaller and pointier ball, favorable to being passed but makes drop kicks impractical, a smaller and narrower field measured in customary units instead of metric, a distinctive field with lines marked in five-yard intervals.
Rugby league is both a professional and amateur game, administered on a global level by the Rugby League International Federation. In addition to amateur and semi-professional competitions in the United States, Lebanon, Serbia and Australasia, there are two major professional competitions—the Australasian National Rugby League and the Super League. International Rugby League is dominated by Australia and New Zealand. In Papua New Guinea it is the national sport. Other nations from the South Pacific and Europe play in the Pacific Cup and European Cup respectively. Distinctive features common to both rugby codes include the oval ball and throwing the ball forward is not allowed so that players can gain ground only
Chambord is a commune in the Loir-et-Cher department in central France. It is best known as the location of the Château de Chambord, one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its distinct French Renaissance architecture; the château forms a parallelogram flanked at the angles by round towers and enclosing a square block of buildings, the façade of which forms the centre of the main front. The profusion of turrets and dormer windows which decorates the roof of this, the chief portion of the château, constitutes the main feature of the exterior, while in the interior are a well-preserved chapel of the 16th century and a famous double staircase, the construction of which permits two people to ascend and descend without seeing one another. There are 440 apartments, containing pictures of the 17th century and souvenirs of the comte de Chambord; the château was a hunting-box of the counts of Blois, the rebuilding of, begun by Francis I. in 1526, completed under Henry II. It was the residence of several succeeding monarchs, under Louis XIV. considerable alterations were made.
In the same reign Molière performed Monsieur de Pourceaugnac and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme for the first time in the theatre. Stanislaus, king of Poland, lived at Chambord, bestowed by his son-in-law, Louis XV. upon Marshal Saxe. It was given by Napoleon to Marshal Berthier, from whose widow it was purchased by subscription in 1821, presented to the duc de Bordeaux, the representative of the older branch of the Bourbons, who assumed from it the title of comte de Chambord. On his death in 1883 it came by bequest into the possession of the family of Parma. Communes of the Loir-et-Cher department INSEE statistics
Alix of Brittany, Dame de Pontarcy
Alix of Brittany, Dame de Pontarcy, Countess of Blois, was a Breton noblewoman and a member of the House of Dreux as the eldest daughter of John I, Duke of Brittany. She married John Count of Blois. Alix was known for founding religious houses including the Monastery of La Guiche, where she was buried. Alix, named after her paternal grandmother, Alix of Thouars, was born on 6 June 1243 at the Château de Suscinio in Sarzeau, Brittany, she was the eldest daughter of John I, Duke of Brittany and Blanche of Navarre, daughter of Theobald I of Navarre and Agnes of Beaujeu. Alix held the title Dame de Pontarcy in her own right. Sometime after a contract was signed on 11 December 1254, she married John I, Count of Blois of the House of Châtillon. Thereafter she was styled Countess of Blois, she brought as her dowry her titles of Pontarcy and de Brie-Comte-Robert, named after her ancestor Robert I of Dreux. The marriage produced one child, a daughter Jeanne, heiress to her father's title and estates. In 1270, her husband was appointed Lieutenant General of France.
Through Alix's marriage to John, the Château de Brie-Comte-Robert passed to the Châtillon family. Alix and John founded several religious houses including the Monastery of La Guiche near Blois in 1277, she became a widow on 28 June 1279. In 1287, the year before her own death, Alix travelled to Palestine. From there she journeyed on to Syria, where she commissioned the erection of two barbican towers at Ptolemais. Alix was buried in the Monastery of La Guiche which she had founded, her father, Duke John had died just two years earlier. Her daughter, the suo jure Countess of Blois had married Peter, Count of Perche and Alençon, a son of King Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence. However, as her two sons by that marriage both died in early infancy, Alix's line became extinct upon her death
Mary, Countess of Blois
Mary, Countess of Blois known as Marie of Avesnes, was countess of Blois from 1230 to 1241. She was the daughter of Walter of Margaret of Blois. In 1226, Mary married Hugh I of Châtillon, a count from Châtillon-sur-Marne, son of Gaucher III of Châtillon and Elisabeth of Saint Pol, they had five children: John I, Count of Blois Guy II, Count of Saint Pol Gaucher, lord of Crécy and Crèvecœur Hugh Basile, became Abbess of Notre Dame du Val in 1248. Her eldest son John, succeeded her in Blois. Counts of Blois
Hugh I, Count of Blois
Hugh I, Count of Blois known as Hugh I of Châtillon was Count of Blois from 1230 to 1241, Count of Saint Pol from 1226 to 1248. Hugh was daughter of Hugo IV, Count of Saint-Pol, he married Agnes of Bar-le-Duc, daughter of Thibaut I of Bar-le-Duc and Hermesend of Bar-sur-Seine, in 1216. By 1225, Agnes was dead and Hugh married Marie. In 1226, Hugh married daughter of Walter II of Avesnes and Margaret of Blois, they had 5 children: John I, Count of Blois Guy III, Count of Saint Pol Gaucher IV, lord of Chatillon, Crécy and Crèvecœur. His son was: Gaucher V de Châtillon. Hugh Basile, became Abbess of Notre Dame du Val in 1248Through his marriage Hugh became the first count of Blois from the house of Châtillon, it marked the end of the first dynasty of Blois. After the death of Marie, Hugh married sister of Baldwin III, Count of Guînes. In 1226 the Cisterian nunnery Pont-aux-Dames in Couilly was founded by Hugh. Hugh, with the assistance of Philip Mécringes, founded a Cistercian nunnery at Troissy called L'Amour-Dieu in 1232.
Hugh intended to follow the pious king Louis IX when he started on the Seventh Crusade, but he died in 1248. Counts of Blois