Loire Valley

Chinon

The medieval town of Chinon is an enchanting village, dominated by the great royal fortress: its ancient alleys sloping down to the banks of the Vienne River are not to be missed.
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Chinon is one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in the Loire Valley, thanks to its ancient streets that slope gently down to the banks of the Vienne River.

The large château dominates the town, providing magnificent views from the bridge, while around the town, expanses of vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, creating an area rich in charm and beauty.

Things to do in Chinon

The charming old town centre enchants visitors with its many medieval half-timbered houses and tells the story of Chinon over the centuries.

Indeed, the town reached its peak in the Middle Ages, during the reign of Henry II the Plantagenet, King of England, who settled there regularly. Another period of great splendour came under French royal rule, in 1205, during the Hundred Years’ War, when Charles VII chose Chinon as one of his official residences.

Chinon Castle

12 Rue du Château, 37500 Chinon, France (Website)

Perched on a large, flat rocky promontory overlooking the town, the royal fortress characterises the panorama of Chinon with its dark roofs contrasting with the whiteness of its buildings. The castle was the scene of important events in French history, including the historic meeting between Charles VII and Joan of Arc.

For a time, it became the prison of some members of the Templar Order before they were judged and burnt at the stake in Paris.

The old town

From the royal fortress overlooking the city, you can reach the heart of the city by following the ramps and cobbled alleys, or by taking a comfortable, modern glass lift.

In the town centre, picturesque and colourful half-timbered houses from the medieval period line the streets, making the heart of Chinon incredibly charming. Winding alleys, tufa houses, terraces full of bars and restaurants, the Thursday market in Place Jeanne d’Arc and magnificent views of the Vienne River await you.

The city tour starts at Place du Général de Gaulle2, the most modern part of Chinon, where the town hall is located. It continues to Rue du Commerce3 and Rue Rabelais4, the shopping streets with the highest concentration of bars, restaurants and shops.

Strolling through the streets of the old town, admire the former courthouse at 73 Rue Haute Saint-Maurice5, continue on to Rue Voltaire6, one of the most picturesque streets, and then to Rue du Grand Carroi7, the street with the oldest houses in the centre.

Don’t miss the city’s churches. The Gothic church of Saint-Maurice8 is characterised by its 12th-century bell tower, Angevin Gothic choir and side chapels showing the transition between Gothic and Renaissance styles. In the flamboyant Gothic style, the church of Saint-Étienne de Chinon9 is located in an old 14th century fortified suburb.

On the other hand, Chapel of Sainte-Radegonde de Chinon10 is a small hermitage immersed in silence, which will take you back in time thanks to its old-world charm.

The Painted Caves

11Impasse des Caves Painctes, 37500 Chinon, France (Website)

The Painted Caves are a vast network of tunnels dug under the hill to extract tuff and then converted into cellars to store the region’s finest wines. Their appearance has remained virtually intact over time: the story goes that François Rabelais’ father had his personal cellar here to store the famous ‘Breton’ wine.

Even today, the rituals of the Confraternity of Imbottatori are still celebrated: the galleries can be visited with wine-tasting.

The riverside

For the best panoramic view of the town of Chinon and its fortress, we recommend you go to the left bank of the Vienne at Quai Danton12. On the riverside, you will find the best view to photograph the town.

In addition, a number of traditional boats depart from the quays on the river in the summer months to offer river excursions: an exceptional journey into the heart of nature and history, to admire the region from an unprecedented viewpoint.

Things to do in the surroundings

A delightful village a few kilometres from Chinon is Champigny-sur-Veude, nestled on a tributary of the Seine where you can admire the magnificent shapes and stained-glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle, built at the behest of Louis de Bourbon.

A little further south, Richelieu is a suburb built at the behest of the cardinal of the same name according to the urbanistic dictates of an ideal city: a citadel with a rectangular plan, surrounded by ramparts and moats, designed to repel possible attacks. Don’t miss a visit to the cardinal’s palace and the covered market.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Where to stay in Chinon

The town of Chinon is a pleasant stop during a trip to the Loire Valley. It is normally visited n day, starting from Tours or Angers . However, many tourists decide to stay overnight in Chinon, to enjoy the pleasant evening atmosphere of the town.

Mostly flats and B&Bs can be found in the city centre, while large hotel chains are located on the edge of the old town.

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Recommended hotels and B&Bs in Chinon

B&B
Au Relais Saint Maurice
Chinon - 79 rue Haute Saint MauriceExtra sanitary measures
9.9,0Exceptional 933 reviews
Au Relais Saint Maurice is a bed and breakfast. In Chinon, in the Center region, country of the Loire Castles.
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Hotel
BRIT HOTEL Le Lion d'Or CHINON
Chinon - 10 Place Jeanne d'ArcExtra sanitary measures
7.2,0Good 503 reviews
In the heart of the beautiful town of Chinon, in front of the place Jeanne d’Arc, The Originals City, Hôtel Le Lion d'Or, Chinon is ideally situated only 2 minutes away from the rail station and 2 minutes away from the medieval part of the city.Discover its magnificent castle, its ancient streets and the many vineyards of the region.
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Hotel
Best Western Hôtel De France
Chinon - 47 Place du Général De GaulleExtra sanitary measures
8,0Very good 448 reviews
The beautifully restored 16th-century residence is set in the land of famous writer Rabelais in the heart of the medieval quarter of the old town of Chinon and in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Natural Regional Park.Decorated harmoniously, the spacious and air-conditioned rooms and suites at the Best Western Hotel De France each have their own unique character.
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How to get to Chinon

Chinon is located between Tours, which is about 46 km away, and Angers, which is 88 km away.

By car

For those landing in Paris, at Paris Orly Airport or Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, it takes about 2½ hours by car, following the A10 motorway and then the A85.

Those arriving from Tours, on the other hand, must allow about 40 minutes on the A85 motorway with exit No. 9 Chinon and then the D751.

By train

If you want to reach Chinon by train from Paris, the fastest way is to take a TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Tours, and then change to a regional route to Chinon.

Chinon Weather

What's the weather at Chinon? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Chinon for the next few days.

Saturday 2
Sunday 3
10°
Monday 4
Tuesday 5
12°
Wednesday 6
13°
Thursday 7
13°

Where is located Chinon

In the heart of the ancient Turenna region, Chinon is washed by the river Vienne and is located in the department of Indre and Loire.

Insights

Chinon Castle

Chinon Castle

Strategically located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Vienne River, the Royal Fortress of Chinon gives the town of Chinon an imposing appearance.
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