A well-preserved and genuine little city, Chinon is not the most visited place in the Loire Valley, and that makes it even more attractive for us!
Located approximately 30 miles from the city of Tour, at the crossroad of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou regions and nested along The Vienne River banks Chinon witnessed some noteworthy events which played an important part in the history of the country.
It used to be the favourite dwelling place for Henri II Plantagenet and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their Kingdom extended from Scotland to the Pyrenees, and was governed from Chinon’s fortress, built on a impressive rocky spur.
But this is also the place were the Plantagenet family was torn apart by a violent conflict between Richard Lion of Heart and John Lackland that put an end to this royal dinasty and triggered the fall of Plantagenet’s empire.
Yet, two centuries later, Chinon played again a major part in French history as King Charles VII was welcome and hosted by the city while chased from Paris by his enemies.
Stuck in Chinon in the middle of the 100 year war, he called an extraordinary summit which enabled him to raise funds and carry on the fight for his rights to the throne of France.
And talking about the 100 year war, one has to remember that this is exactly in Chinon’s fortress that it came to an end, when Joanne of Arc acknowledged Charles VII as the legitimate King of France.
Now you understand why Chinon’s rich history is fascinating and how this glorious past is still deeply imbued in the present city.
Wandering in the little winding streets of the old city is like travelling into the past. Tthe half-timbered houses are particularly well-preserved, as well as the Renaissance style private mansions. You will surely enjoy the unique atmosphere of the old part of town and the rewarding breathtaking panoramic views you will get from the top of Chinon’s fortress.
But Chinon is also famous for its cellars and vinyeards!
The name not only refers to the city but to a wine appellation of origin surrounding the city and stretching along the Vienne River bank. Cabernet Franc is mainly grown on the tufa limestone soil of the region which conveys to this wild grape-variety a very unique expression of terroir.
Chinon wines always boast an intense purple red colour and unique violet and truffle hints on the nose. Part of Chinon’s heritage, the galleries dug under the city fortress to extract the tuffa stone have since long been turned into magnificent cellars in which the wine ages in hundreds of lines of oak barrels and slowly becomes ready to be tasted.
So follow our guides, plunge into French history and French are de vivre and discover this off-the-beaten-tracks part of Touraine region. En route to Chinon!