In the very heart of city of Blois, this is the huge Saint-Nicolas church, raised in the 12th and 13th centuries. In the past it was part of a big abbey founded in 924. Some Benedictine monks from the abbey of Corbion (Normandy) had fled with saint Nicolas' relics, when Normans invaded France. They found shelter in Blois, where people gave them the church of Saint-Lubin's, located outside city's walls. Then, friars raised their own church, between 1024 and 1100.
Re-built between 1138 and 1186 after a fire, the nave was put up, then the transept and the last bay of the nave. Building works stopped a moment, then it went on in the 13th century with the building of the others bays, the front and bell-towers. Finally, the abbey and the church were finished in 1220. When the Hundred Years War began, monks decided to fortify the abbey. Nice idea! In the 16th century, the abbey was gorgeous, with its nice vaulted chapter room, the huge vaulted kitchen, cellars and attics, cloister and bakery!
Unfortunately, the Protestants demolished the monastery in 1568: church's vaults collapsed because of a fire, the other buildings were completely destroyed... In the 17th century, they re-raised all the buildings; during French Revolution, the abbey was transformed into a hospital.