Location: Loire Valley
Ticket Prices: -
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, NY, wrote:
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 years old.
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.