St. Antoine Tower, and the Château de Loches in the background
|Region||Centre-Val de Loire|
|Intercommunality||CC Loches Sud Touraine|
|• Mayor (2014-2020)||Marc Angenault|
|27.06 km2 (10.45 sq mi)|
|• Density||230/km2 (600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||64–147 m (210–482 ft)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Loches (the Roman Leucae) grew up around a monastery founded about 500 by St. Ours and belonged to the Counts of Anjou from 886 until 1205. In the latter year it was seized from King John of England by Philip Augustus, and from the middle of the 13th century until after the time of Charles IX of France the castle was a residence of the kings of France, apart for a brief interlude in 1424 when it was heritably granted to Archibald Douglas, Duke of Touraine. Antoine Guenand, Lord of La Celle-Guenand was appointed Captain-Governor of Loches in 1441.
The town, one of the most picturesque in central France, lies at the foot of the rocky eminence on which stands the Château de Loches, the castle of the Anjou family, surrounded by an outer wall 13 ft (4 m) thick, and consisting of the old collegiate church of St Ours, the royal lodge and the donjon or keep.
The church of St Ours dates from the tenth century to the twelfth century; among its distinguishing features are the huge stone pyramids surmounting the nave and the beautiful carving of the west door. It contains the tomb of Agnès Sorel.
The royal lodge, built by Charles VII of France and once used as the subprefecture, contains the oratory of Anne of Brittany. It was here on 11 May 1429 that Joan of Arc arrived, fresh from her historic victory at Orleans, to meet the king.
The donjon includes, besides the ruined keep (12th century), the Martelet, celebrated as the prison of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, who died there in 1508, and the Tour Ronde, built by Louis XI of France and containing the famous iron cages in which state prisoners, including according to a story now discredited, the inventor Cardinal Balue, were confined.
Loches has a town hall and several houses of the Renaissance period.
Loches was the birthplace of:
- Fulk III, Count of Anjou (970–1040),
- Alfred de Vigny (1797–1863), poet, playwright, and novelist,
- Pierre Nicolas Gerdy (1797-1856), French physician, surgeon, anatomist, pathologist and physiologist,
- Ernest Christophe (1827–1892), sculptor, François Rude's student and a friend of Baudelaire,
- Jacques Villeret (1951–2005), actor.
Loches is twinned with:
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