Location: Loire Valley
This chateau, was built for the first time in stone in 954 By
Theobald I, Comte de Blois, on a steep plateau. The stronghold, which replaced a
lighter wooden structure, the passed to the rival Comte d"anjou, Geoffroy
Martel in 1044.
The Comte d"Anjou was the first to join the walls of the
two original defensive structures as well as adding towers and the chapel of St.
Melanie. The far east wing was added by Henry II Plantagenet Until 1205 he
and his descendants continued construction work, adding the fortress to the east
and the internal chapel, the mill tower and the numerous reinforcement towers.
|Ed Braley, 56, from Albany,
|I visited the castle in
1964 while I served with the U.S. ARMY Engineers based in Orleans
France. I was greatly impressed with just the history of the castle.
There was graffiti on the walls dating from the 17th.and 18th. century.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Chignon and hope to revisit in the not
too distant future.
|Val, 36, from Minneapolis, wrote:
|Imagine yourself in a dusty stone room,
that looks to be from Biblical times. Cold, dirty, uncomfortable
by modern standards. Yet this is the home of royalty. The
poor live in caves in the soft limestone cliffs surrounding this stone
fortress, and can barely communicate with each other. It is a dark
and frightening time when this castle was inhabited, and that memory is
somehow architecturally preserved in its walls. For the historian,
this is a Mecca; but for everyone, it provides a strong contrast to
the more elaborate concoctions that arrive centuries later.
|Julien A, 20, from Chinon, France, wrote:
| Chinon is a picturesque and historical little town
of 10,000, on the banks of the river Vienne, 45 kilometers south of
Tours in the heart of Touraine, which is called the "Garden of
France" and the "Cradle of the French Language". Chinon once was the residence of the King of England, Henry II
Plantagenet, when that part of France was under English rule. It became the residence of Charles VII, the heir of the throne of France
in the early 1400's, and was where the legendary Joan of Arc came to
recognize him and raise an army to liberate the country from the English
domination. Chinon is also the birthplace of François Rabelais, the renaissance
man, monk, doctor, philosopher, and writer, creator of Gargantua. Jeanne d'Arc visited the Dauphin CharlesVII in Chinon at the beginning
of his reign on March 8, 1429. She recognized him hiding among his court
members in spite of his disguise, which he put on to test her. She
helped him reconquer his kingdom from the English invader. For almost a
hundred years, Chinon profited from the fact that it had become the
capital of the kingdom. The legendary Joan of Arc was later captured and
burnt alive at the stake in the city of Rouen in 1431. She was barely 20
|SARAH WRIGHT, 50, from Midwest USA, wrote:
|My French students and I visited Chinon on a crisp April
morning. We had just studied about Jeanne d'Arc shortly before our trip.
I knew the castle was in ruins and was concerned that the visit would
not be worth the time. I was wrong! It was neat to imagine Joan of Arc
walking up the hill toward where the remains of the castle look out over
the river and the village below. We climbed the tower where the Joan of
Arc museum is located, trying to imagine her as she waited for a
response to her talk with Charles. The guide did a wonderful job of
explaining the complex political situation at the time using maps
and charts at the castle. I don't know if the visit would have been the
same if there had been throngs of people wandering about, but for us,
the only people about, it was a real treat, as special in its own way as
our later visit to Chenonceau.
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