1. Welcome, lone traveler from Ashburn!
The Chinon Castle (Chateau de Chinon) is a vast fortress (1,200 x 200 feet) built by Henry II Plantagenet in the 12C. It was purchased by Cardinal de Richelieu in the 17C, before being progressively abandoned. In the 19C, Prosper Mérimée performed major restoration work on the site. The fortress was built on a rocky outcrop and is made up of several elements. The Middle Castle can be accessed via the 14C, tall and flat Clock Tower. From the South courtines, you can see a fine view of the town's roofs and Vienne Valley below. Another interesting feature of your tour is the Coudray Fort.
2. Main article
This is located at the end of the castle. Its dungeon was built by Philip II Augustus at the start of the 13C, before housing Templars under Philip IV, the Fair. Finally, the Royal dwellings have retained the memory of Joan of Arc. In this part of the building, you can also see sumptuous tapestries from Flanders (16C and 17C), as well as a 17C Aubusson tapestry.
In the Old Chinon, you can see the remains of timber-framed Medieval houses while roaming Chinon's alleys, notably in Rue Voltaire or Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Grand Carroi was the town centre in Medieval times. The most interesting sights are pretty houses such as the Maison Rouge (14C), Hôtel des États généraux (15C and 16C) or Hôtel du Gouvernement (17C). Chinon would not be Chinon if, since Rabelais' time, the famous Caves-Painctes did not exist. It is here that the writer described as the place where Pantagruel came to quench his thirst. These quarries cut into the hillside were once adorned by wall paintings. During your tour, you can visit churchs like St. Étienne, with a magnificent Flamboyant Gothic portal and St. Mexme, from the 10C and 11C. Finally, the St. Radegonde Chapel with its fine Romanesque portal. It is here that Radegonde, wife of King Clotaire I, came to see the hermit that lived on this site, in order to seek advice about founding the St. Croix monastery in Poitiers. The hermit's cell was later converted into a chapel.