The Royal City of Loches, France

The Château de Loches (also called Cité Royale de Loches) is a castle located in the département of Indre-et-Loire in the Loire valley in France; it was constructed in the 9th century. Built some 500 metres (1,600 ft) away from the Indre River, the huge castle, famous mostly for its massive square keep, dominates the town of Loches. The castle was captured by King Philip II of France in 1204. In 1985, it was converted into a museum, and has one of the most extensive collections of medieval armour in France.

The castle was occupied by Henry II of England and his son, Richard the Lionheart during the 12th century, it withstood the assaults by the French king Philip II in their wars for control of France until it was finally captured by Philip in 1204.Construction work immediately upgraded Loches into a huge military fortress.

The castle would become a favourite 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 in Amboise.

In December 1699 Henriette-Julie de Murat was involved in a scandal when a report was circulated accusing her of “shocking practices and beliefs” including lesbianism. She was estranged from her husband and disinherited by her mother, forced to take a hiatus from publishing, and eventually exiled to the Château de Loches in 1702; in 1701 her debauchery was considered confirmed by the fact that she was pregnant.She tried to escape from the Château de Loches in 1706 wearing men’s clothing. She was then transferred to two other prisons before being brought back to the Château de Loches in 1707. In 1709 she obtained partial liberty from the Countess d’Argenton on the condition that she return to her aunt’s home.

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.

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