Château de Chinon

Chinon, France

Château de Chinon was founded by Theobald I, Count of Blois. In the 11th century the castle became the property of the counts of Anjou. In 1156 Henry II of England, a member of the House of Anjou, took the castle from his brother Geoffrey after he had rebelled for a second time. Henry favoured the Château de Chinon as a residence: most of the standing structure can be attributed to his reign and he died there in 1189.

Early in the 13th century, King Philip II of France harassed the English lands in France and in 1205 he captured Chinon after a siege that lasted several months, after which the castle remained under French control. When King Philip IV accused the Knights Templar of heresy during the first decade of the 14th century, several leading members of the order were imprisoned there.

Used by Charles VII in the 15th century, the Château de Chinon became a prison in the second half of the 16th century, but then fell out of use and was left to decay. It has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1840. The castle, which contains a museum, is now owned and managed by the Indre-et-Loire General Council and is a major tourist attraction. In the early 21st century it was restored at a cost of 14.5 million euros.

The castle is divided, along its length, into three enclosures, each separated by a deep dry moat. There are some similarities with Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart in the closing years of the 12th century, which also consists of three three enclosures and sits on a promontory above a nearby town.

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Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michele Schaffer (9 months ago)
Really cool experience. Nice combination of indoor and outdoor zones. Also there was a treasure hunt game for the kids to keep them entertained and interested.
Jodi Suguitan (10 months ago)
One my favorite castles I’ve visited in Europe. The grounds and views alone are gorgeous. It is so nice to be able to wander the grounds and inside the castle without being led by a guide. They do not have long hours(at least in Nov.), so check before visiting because u can easily spend over an hour and half here. We were there for the golden hour, very beautiful! Also, dogs are allowed on the grounds just not inside the buildings.
travelswithadiplomat (10 months ago)
Fabulous historical morning trip on a beautiful part of the Loire. It is spectacularly French, the town sprawling below labyrithine with its Rues and span of eating places. The Chateau has a fascinating history that will captivate all ages culminating in a view that is breathtaking.
覃羿彬 (12 months ago)
Not much to see for the interior or exhibition inside the castle, but the castle itself is quite wonderful for an afternoon walk or sunbathing beneath the beautiful greens trees of its garden. You could have a panoramic view of the Loire from the castle’s tower and ramparts. Tips for those who don’t wanna walk all the way to the hilltop castle: there’s a free lift near the tourism office in old town (down hill) that could take you directly to the top in no time.
Osty 300 (14 months ago)
You may as well visit the fortress if you are in the area, however I wouldn't go out of the way to explore. It is priced at 9€ Pp and offered a demonstration of a Roman sling. The grounds are pleasant and are well maintained. There is a lift that will take you up to the entrance which is a great idea. It will offer you a great view of Chinon and ideal for a photo or two. We explored every part of the castle and it took about an hour.
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Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.