My Pictures:

Town of Chinon

Monplaisir Cellars

Ch√Ęteau de Chinon (Chinon Castle)

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The City of Chinon is situated in the south-west of the Touraine region. The site is remarkable being built on several levels between the Vienne river and the chalk cliff where the castle was built.

The site was already inhabited in the 7th century B.C., during the Iron Age. An "oppidum", or fortified enclosure, on the clifftop encouraged people to settle there into the Gallo-Roman period.

In the Middle Ages, Chinon developed especially during the reign of Henry II, Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, crowed King of England in 1154. The fortress was rebuilt and extended, becoming one of his favorite residences. The growth of the city at that time was considerable.

Chinon was included in the French royal estates in 125, but it was during the Hundred Years War that the town took on a new lease of life. The heir apparent, the future Charles VII, had sought refuge in 1418 in those provinces that had remained faithful to him and made lengthy stays with his court in Chinon. In 1429, Joan of Arc came here to acknowledge him. The fortress was then at the height of its glory. The city was largely rebuilt at the time and much of it has come down to us today.

From the 16th century on, Chinon was no longer a royal residence, and in 1631 it became part of the estates of the Duke of Richelieu, who neglected the fortress. Apart from townhouses and convents that were built, the city changed little up to the Revolution. Changes occurred during the Revolution, when religious buildings fell into neglect, and during the nineteenth century. 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 centre was registered as a conservation area in 1968, and since that time has been undergoing restoration in order to respect and preserve its historic and architectural identity.