From its rocky promontory at the junction of Anjou, Touraine and Poitou, the Château de Chinon towers over the medieval town, the river Vienne, and the vineyard landscapes in the valley.  A surviving reflection of times of glory in the Middle Ages, it was once the scene of one of the most decisive episodes of the saga of Joan of Arc, her encounter in 1429 with the dauphin Charles. Yet within the confines of its robust thousand-year-old walls, Chinon embraces modernity,  proposing numerous special events and recreational activities allowing the visitor to relive the magic moments of a memorable monument and to better understand the epoch in which it took shape.

A true testimony to history, the site of the Château de Chinon has been occupied for three thousand years. However, it was only during the waning days of the Gallic period that warriors began to take up residence.  By the 10th century, the site had acquired strategic value, as the occupants strove to control the Loire valley. In the 12th century, the descendants of the counts of Anjou, the Plantagenet dynasty, empowered Chinon; during the reign of Henri II Plantagenet, it became a true continental stronghold.   The powerful king of England began to enlarge the fortress by building his palace at Fort Saint Georges. He placed part of his royal treasury inside, and that was also where he had his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine temporarily sequestered.

Since each of the fortress towers presents its own defensive peculiarities, the building taken as a whole offers a wide spectrum of 12th to 15th-century military architecture. The tower of Coudray, actually an imposing keep, was built at the request of Philippe Auguste after the previously English-ruled town fell to French forces in 1205. Visitors will be interested in discovering the prison of the Knights Templars, which has conserved a remarkable number of religion-themed graffiti.

Once you enter the royal fortress of Chinon, you will unfailingly be captivated by the stories of the most emblematic figures of the Middle Ages. From the arrival of Joan of Arc on two occasions in 1429 (her memory is brought back to life in exceptionally rich 16th to 20th-century collections) to the visit of Cesar Borgia, in all his splendor, in 1498, you will be immersed in times of wonder in days of yore.  Inside the royal lodgings, articles recovered during archaeological excavations recall the life of centuries past, while helmets and crossbows underscore the defensive vocation of the fortress. The recreated private chamber of Charles VII, fruit of scientists’ as well craftsmen’s labors, will allow visitors to imagine that all of a sudden, like a bolt out of the blue, the king is on his way. And since 1 April 2019, the HistoPad spectacularly enriches discovery of the royal fortress of Chinon with its 3D 360° reconstructions.



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