Essential Architecture-  Loire Valley Châteaux

Château de Loches




Loire Valley, north-western France.




French Renaissance




  The chateau, as seen from the front.
The Château de Loches is located in the département of Indre-et-Loire in the Loire Valley in France and is a very ancient castle first constructed in the 9th century. Built more than 1,600 feet above the Indre River, the huge castle, famous mostly for its massive square keep, dominates the town of Loches.

Captured and occupied by Henry II of England (Plantagenet) and his son, Richard the Lionheart during the 12th century, the castle withstood the assaults by the French king Philip II in their wars for control of France until it was finally captured by King Philippe in 1205. Construction work immediately turned Loches into a huge military fortress.

The castle would become a favorite residence of Charles VII of France who gave it to his mistress, Agnès Sorel, as her residence. It would be converted for use as a State prison by his son, King Louis XI who had lived there as a child but preferred the royal castle at Amboise.

During the American Revolution, France financed and fought with the Americans against England and King Louis XVI used the castle of Loches as a prison for captured Englishmen.

At the time of the French Revolution, the château was ransacked and severely damaged. Some major restoration began in 1806 but today there are parts visible as ruins only. Owned by the Commune of Loches, the castle and the adjacent ancient Church of Saint-Ours are open to the public.

Château de Loches has been recognised as a monument historique since 1861 and is listed by the French Ministry of Culture.


Ministry of Culture database entry for Château de Loches (French)
Ministry of Culture photos