Gargoyles and stonework in Blois

I do like a gargoyle. Obviously I don't have my own, although at times I think it would be nice to add one, but where would you start?  I know they're supposed to be grotesque, but did you know they also have a spout designed to guide water from a roof and away from the building to avoid water running down the walls and eroding its mortar. You see, useful. And the more I think about it and our water-on-the-windows problems (a bad design involving windows in our mansard roof) I really do think a gargoyle would help us out.

If only I'd known when I saw these at the Château de Blois. Although they would have been tricky to transport on our bikes wouldn't they?! Before we got inside the chateau in the centre of Blois we already spotted these.

A decorative drainpipe
Looking up at the château de blois
Framing the window
The royal porcupine

Once inside the chateau this was the view we were met with. Absolutely stunning and my eyes didn't know where to look first. There was the classic French chateau architecture immediately in front of us, reminiscent of many chateaus we'd already seen. But there were plenty of things that were different too, the staircase on the right being just one of them. 

It turns out that the royal chateau of Blois has had quite a bit of work done, with each of the four wings showcasing French architecture from the 13th through to the 17th century, with each addition making it grander and slightly more bizarre. I guess, it really is a rather grand example of adding an extension in a completely different style. And when you learn that seven kings and ten queens of France, it's easy to see why the architecture became grander and grander.

Inside the courtyard

It was the Françoise I staircase though that really caught my eye. It's inspired by the Italian Renaissance and is ornately carved. It was initiated in 1515 and I'm sure was just as fantastic then. It's open to walk up and down too, so of course we did and I'm sure I wasn't the only one to imagine how this might have been in days gone by. 

My favourite view of the chateau de blois
A view back into the impressive courtyard

As we moved through the various parts of the chateau we found ourselves in a section with an exhibition of stonework and some of the gargoyles too. And it was great. There were plenty of information boards in both French and English which meant we spent a fair time exploring this area. 

Did you know that during the French Revolution of 1789 royal emblems were systematically destroyed. Which makes sense when you consider what it was about. But to restore the hammered out emblems castings were made of those found at the nearby Château of Chambord, which as a private residence fared better than the royal palaces. 

Royal emblem of Francois Ist

Having spent more time than I'll admit looking at these gargoyles my favourites are the creature sort rather than the human sort. Every time I look at the one above I see a certain Labour leader and it makes me smile, I'm not quite sure why.

A collection of gargoyles in Blois

But don't you think I should have one of these, maybe not a dog - although the one of the right above looks quite a character. Perhaps I should have a cat gargoyle, not a cute fluffy sort that wouldn't go with the ethos behind them would it. But it got me wondering, if you could commission a gargoyle, what type would you have?