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Loire Valley - Chinon





The medieval town of Chinon is located in the heart of the Val de Loire resting by the banks of the majestic Vienne river. 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 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.



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. The Joan of Arc Museum, with its multi language, video presentation is worth a visit. 




 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 . Along the streets below the castle walls are Troglodyte dwellings, some occupied and many used by wine merchants for the sale of wine.    It is a town well worth a visit to browse the many shops or to lunch at one of its fine restaurants.




Chinon is one of the better known wine growing towns of the Loire, it welcomes visitors to its caves and invites them to taste some of its fine wines. Its red wine along with that of the nearby village of Bourgueil is highly rated.







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.                   




The historic town of Chinon was registered as a preservation area in 1968 and since then  has been undergoing 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. 


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 a monthly antique market (brocante) in the town on the third Sunday of the month.











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"








Choose a village house to rent in the Loire Valley direct from the owners.



'Les Balcons'

Sleeps up to 6

Le Grand Pressigny




'Le Bourg'

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'Old Walnut Mill'

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'La Belle Vue'

Sleeps 2