Chinon, on the Vienne river in the Indre et Loire section of the regional natural park of Loire-Anjou-Touraine, is an attractive town with a medieval centre, surmounted by a white tuffeau castle.


The original founder of the castle, in the 12th century,was Henri II, an English king of France who wanted a stronghold at the centre of his French possessions.

In the 15th century, a duke of Touraine made Chinon one of his favourite residences, and it was here in March 1429 that Joan of Arc came to meet the future king, after which the town became, for a while, the capital of France.

The castle is open to the public, and gives an excellent view over the old town and the river Vienne. You can even drink the local Chinon wine at the bar opposite the castle gates.

The Chinon appellation was created in 1937, but wine has been produced in this area for thousands of years. A pottery workshop producing amphorae for the transportation of the liquid has been found on the banks of the Vienne dating from 50 AD!
In recent years, Chinon wines have come to be recognized as some of the best produced in France. Carved into the banks of the Vienne River, and open to public visits, are the caves, or wine cellars, for Chinon's famous Cabernet Franc-based red wines.

Near Chinon you can visit the house where Rabelais was born, at the end of the 15th century.

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