Chinon is a French commune located in Touraine, in the department of Indre et Loire, in the Centre Val de Loire region. Located on the right bank of the Vienne River, halfway between Tours and Saumur, the city center of Chinon was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the Val de Loire on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. Its charm is due in particular to its typical Touraine architecture, based on tuffeau (local white stone), which can be found in its fortress but also in its historic town center along the Loire. Check touraineloirevalley.co.uk/ and read more about the charming Val de Loire region. Whether you are with your partner, family or friends, you can visit the city of Chinon on foot in one day or visit Chinon and its surroundings in 2 days.
Royal Fortress of Chinon
Built on a rocky spur overlooking the city, the Royal Fortress of Chinon has made the city a safe place with an important defensive role. The fortress was built between the 10th and 15th centuries and is the work of the Counts of Blois, Anjou and the Plantagenets. With its 500 meters long and 100 meters wide, this building bears witness to the period when the history of France and England were closely linked. It was here that King Charles VII of France first met Joan of Arc. In the 2000s, extensive renovation work was undertaken to modernize the fortress. Interactive and playful tours and technological equipment such as videos, soundtracks, multimedia terminals and ipads were made available to visitors. All this makes it possible to meet the characters of History such as Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionheart… and to relive the atmosphere of the time.
An Escape Game in the heart of the enclosure has also been set up, an original idea of activity to do…
To begin your discovery of the center of Chinon, you can go to the Danton wharf, on the left bank of the Vienne River and admire the very beautiful panoramic view of the city of Chinon and its fortress overlooking it.
You can then go to the Place of General de Gaulle, the most modern part of Chinon where the town hall is located.
From there, you can stroll around with a coffee or stroll through the surrounding shopping streets: rue du Commerce, rue Rabelais in order to reach the old town of Chinon, heading west of the city, at the foot of the castle walls. To get there, you will pass through Voltaire and Haute Saint-Maurice streets, considered to be the most beautiful streets in Chinon.
The heart of the old town with its many medieval half-timbered, stone and timber-framed houses bears witness to Chinon’s history and development over the centuries.
The city of Chinon developed considerably in the Middle Ages, under the reign of Henry II Plantagenet, King of England, who came to stay there regularly. In 1205, the city became part of the French royal estate and experienced a new boom during the Hundred Years’ War, when Charles VII made it one of his residences.
Le Carroi, Mudée d’Art et d’Histoire
For those who wish to discover local art from the Middle Ages to the present day, the Carroi, Museum of Art and History is a place not to be missed. Housed within the Maison des Etats Généraux (Old Chinon Museum), a vast 14th, 15th and 16th century building, the Carroi was created in 1905 by the Société des Amis du Vieux Chinon.
You will find collections of works of art and objects illustrating the history of the city and France over the centuries and you will be able to participate in several exhibitions that are regularly organized there.