Bla, Blwa, BLOIS!

By the 1560's open war was waged between Protestants and Catholics.  Until then the strong kings Francois I and his son Henri II (a Valois not to be confused with the Plantagenêt Henri II whose tomb we saw yesterday) had maintained peace with an iron fist or stern word.

Henri II's accidental and untimely death in 1559, left the kingdom in chaos.  His son, the weakly François II aided by his young wife Mary Stewart (later Mary Queen of Scotts), succeeded.  It was here that in 1560 a group of Protestants fell into a trap in which all perished.  In the wake of the massacre, heads were stuck on poles around the ramparts and bodies were hung over the castle walls as a decorative warning to all such heretics.  Left over bodies were simply chucked into the river.  A malicious legend has it that François II, his wife Mary Stewart, and his mother Catherine de Médicis celebrated the victory by having a picnic on the terrace amidst the stench of the rotting cadavers.

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This page last updated on 6/26/2001 2:10:29 PM.