The French Loire Chateau of Chinon isn’t the first French Chateau that usually pops into the minds of popular imagination.
Sad, but understandable. when you consider the heavyweight competition from it’s French Chateau neighbours. Consider: The “oo-ah” factor of Chenonceau. Bascially a stone bridge over the untroubled waters of the Cher.
The architectural magnificence of Chambord. The Da Vinci connection of Amboise. And, not to be forgotten, the “under age girl marries a King” ambience of Langeais.
Like it’s “cousin a coté” – Chateau Ussé – Chateau Chinon – is in the Touraine region of the Loire valley. And while a river does run past Chinon -it is the Vienne. Not the Loire.
And in the Touraine, you will be bombarded at hotels, bars, wine caves and all other manner of commercial establishments with the name: Rabelais. (Pronounced: Rab-lay) You can get the Rablelais story here.
Chinon’s other Historical milestone, is it’s connection with the girl who was the guest of honor at her own bar-b-que. Yes, Joan of Arc.
Her Chinonian presence is commemorated with a plaque and a dangling rope, at the spot where she tied up her horse back on the 25th of Februray, 1429.
Joan met for two days with Charles 7 . Seeking supplies and material to help in the seige of Orleans.( NOTE: Charles, while in Command at this time was not technically the “King” , but the Dauphin – as the throne , as usual, was being contested)
While it is undoubtedly the classic example of a sprawling medieval chateau(and that’s sprawling with a capital “S”) – Chinon has something going for it that’s truly unique.
That “something” is the palpable medieval ambiance of it’s old city. (le vieux Chinon) Yes, yes I know – EVERY city , in every corner of the World with a historical building has a tourist brochure that proclaims: “As you walk down the centuries old cobblestone streets,..you’ll be transported back and time and feel….yada,yada,yada…”
For me, Chinon’s “vieux ville” makes good on that unstated promise. You can catch my Chinon vibe, albeit, second hand, in THIS VIDEO.
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?