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The medieval city of Chinon

A bit of history

The city of Chinon is located in the south-west of the Touraine region, on the borders of the Anjou and the Poitou. The site is remarkable for being built on several levels between the River Vienne and the chalk cliff where the fortress was built.

In the Middle Ages, Chinon developed especially during the reign of Henry II, Henry Plantagenet, crowned King of England in 1154. The fortress was rebuilt and extended, becoming one of his favourite residences. The growth of the city at that time was considerable.

Chinon was included in the French Royal Domain in 1205, but it was during the Hundred Years War that the town took on a new lease of life. The heir apparent, the future Charles VII, had sought refuge in 1418 in those provinces that had remained faithful to him and made lengthy stays with his court in Chinon. In 1429, Joan of Arc came here to acknowledge him. The fortress was then at the height of its glory. The city was largely rebuilt at the time and much of it has come down to us today, forming an essential part of the heritage of Chinon.

From the 16th century onwards, Chinon was no longer a royal residence and, apart from townhouses and convents that were built, the city changed little up to the Revolution. Changes occurred during the Revolution (when religious buildings fell into neglect) and during the 19th century. The fortifications were pulled down in the 1820s, and the banks of the River Vienne were developed to open the city up to the outside. The historic centre was registered as a conservation area in 1968, and since that time has been undergoing restoration in order to respect and preserve its historic and architectural identity.



Listen to the story of Chinon

Chinon belongs to the national network of Cities and Areas of Art and History. You can discover its heritage on your own, thanks to a leaflet specially designed for you (available in French, English, German, Dutch, Spanish and Italian at the Tourist Office). In addition, heritage signs are scattered all over the city. These free tours usually last around an hour and a half.

During the summer, guided tours in English are sometimes possible in the company of a lecturer-guide. Please contact the Tourist Office for more information.


Chinon for childrens

For a funny and educational tour of the city of Chinon, a booklet (only in French) called ‘Quoi de neuf en ville depuis le Moyen-Age?’ (‘What’s new in town since the middle ages ?’) is available at the Tourist Office (1.50 €)


For people with impaired mobility, two tours of the city are possible. The leaflet is available at the Tourist Office.


tourisme et handicap 

  Le circuit de la Ville-Fort



tourisme et handicap  Le circuit du quartier Saint-Etienne et Saint-Mexme


Laissez vous conter FR            Entrez dans la cour des Grands Chinon                                     

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