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Chinon - Loire Valley

 The medieval town of Chinon seen from the other side of the Vienne river

The medieval town of Chinon is located in the Centre - Val de Loire region of France, resting by the banks of the majestic Vienne river just before it meets the mighty Loire. It is a town steeped in history and rich with culture, the ancient château was the preferred residence of Henry II, one of the English Plantagenet kings, and his wife Aliénor (Eleanor) d'Aquitaine. Henry II died here in 1189 and their son, Richard The Lionheart was born here. Henry is interred at the side of Aliénor at the beautiful abbey of Fontevraud, a few kilometres to the west of Chinon, near Saumur and the confluence of the River Vienne with the Loire.

looking down on the bridge over the river Vienne from the chateau at chinon

In Chinon the winding streets up to the castle are lined with small shops, inns, and cafes. The cobbles and timber houses dating back to the fifteenth century give you a feel of its history .The tourist office will provide a walking tour map of the main tourist attractions, including churches. As you take the well worn path do not be afraid to wander slightly so as to see some of the hidden courtyards and gardens along the way. 

medieval street in Chinon,Loire Valley,France    

The historic town of Chinon was registered as a preservation area in 1968 and since then  has been undergoing continuous restoration work in order to respect and preserve its historic and architectural identity. You can easily walk through the town in a day and discover some pleasant surprises on your own or take the guided tour arranged through the Tourist Office. 

a street in the medieval town of Chinon in the Loire Valley    Chinon street view with half timbered house

 It is a town well worth a visit to browse the many shops or to lunch at one of its fine restaurants as well as view the mighty fortress.

patissier chocolatier im Chinon.France

bistro in Chinon, France    restaurant facade in Chinon,France

There are a number of restaurants around place General de Gaulle  from where you can access the car park and the elevator that saves you much of the climb up to the chateau.

the town square in Chinon in the Loire Valley France

In 1429 the teenage Joan of Arc came to Chinon to meet the Dauphin Charles VII, who was holed up after losing most of his kingdom. Joan succeeded in inspiring Charles to reclaim his kingdom, after which Chinon became his capital and enjoyed a century of prosperity. She has been immortalised in bronze by Jules Roulleau here in the square bearing her name since 1893.

bronze statue of Joan of Arc on horseback in Chinon

By the 16th century Chinon was no longer in favour with French Royals and in 1631 it became part of the Duke of Richelieu's estate, entering into a period of decline. Richelieu had the chateau razed as he did not want anything competing with his splendid abode, (such an ego!) and the plundered stone was used to help build the town of Richelieu. Apart from the townhouses and convents that were built, the city changed little up to the Revolution  when religious buildings fell into neglect. The fortifications were pulled down in the 1820s and the banks of the Vienne were developed to open the city up to the outside.  

rooftops of houses in Chinon in France

Along the streets below the castle walls are Troglodyte dwellings, some occupied and many used by wine merchants for the sale of wine. Chinon is one of the better known wine producing towns of the Loire, it welcomes visitors to its 'caves' where you can taste some of its fine wines, its red wine are highly rated.

vineyard behind Chinon in France

The Chateau de Chinon is open daily throughout the year, hours 9-6 in April-June and Sept., 9-7 in July-Aug., 9-5 in Oct., and 9-12 and 2-5 in Nov.-March.

 

There is weekly market here on Sundays (morning) plus a monthly antique market (brocante) in the town on the third Sunday of the month.

 

banner advertisnig the monthly brocante in Chinon

 

experienceloire.blogspot.fr/a-visit-to-monthly-chinon-brocante

 

 

 

 

Directions and time to Chinon

 

 

To get directions and time to Chinon, type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'

 

  

 

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"

 

Towns & villages