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

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lilian Wiles (8 months ago)
This fortress overlooking the Vienne River and town of Vivone has a rich history of both English and French kings and princes dating all the way back to early mediaeval times for n the 11th century. Joan of Arc and The Knights Templar also feature in the history of this imposing building dominating the skyline above the mediaeval town. There is a fully accessible lift system of you don't want to or can't manage the short but steep walk up from the town. All the displays and history are accessible in all languages thanks to the use of digital displays and hand held tablets issues to help visitors understand what life would really have been like in the 11th - 16th centuries.
Lindsey Reece-Smith (9 months ago)
We went here with children and it was a good experience for everyone and took much longer than expected, which was good compared to the times we have paid to go somewhere and finished in a short period of time. If you are booking on line you skip the queue but remember to ask for your free histopad. It is a small tablet which triggers as you walk to different parts of the fortress, shows what the view would have been 600 years ago, from where you are standing etc. For children there is also a sticker challenge and collecting treasures on the pad. There are a lot of steps up and down the towers so go prepared for a good workout although not shown on the website there is a cafe serving sandwiches, cake, drinks etc
Yori Schell (11 months ago)
Historically a very nice castle, with some reconstruction done. The app shows how things used to look like with lots of extra information to read. The castle is also partly in ruin and a lot of the original castle is gone, therefor no 5th star. But the defense towers, the clock tower, some ramparts and the reconstructed halls are still there and accessible. Ice cream, some food and drinks and toilet available on the grounds.
icegini (11 months ago)
This was one of the best places we went during our week around the Loire valley watching castles and so. From the beginning the place felt like interesting because of the lady at the reception explaining things, giving us a histopad which would allow us at certain points get a kind of video of how things might have been, I think in the fourteenth century (?) and provides you information, if you want to by clicking on the images. And it also had a treasure hunt integrated, which not only the kids had fun with! The fortress was big and is now mainly a ruin. But the place has been made/ kept in a way that you still can imagine the shape and grandness. The panorama from the towers, walls..is great. At several spots you can go with steps down inside the fortress and also walk through rooms. There is also in the middle a lot of grass with trees allowing for shadow and chairs are placed. A very nice outside kind if bar is available with also here very nice staff. The atmosphere in this place was so great and the staff as well.
Oana Leanca (12 months ago)
Very interesting castle, you can learn a lot about the life back in the day. The towers offer splendid views over the Chinon and the river and the courtyard is lovely, you can leisure on the grass or on the many chairs available.
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