Visit Chinon in the Loire Valley

Photo of Chinon

Chinon tourism, attractions and sights of interest

Chinon attractions

Chinon is a town best known for, and overlooked by, the Chateau de Chinon.

It is a picturesque Loire Valley town situated in the historical region of Anjou, with the castle spread widely across the hill behind a row of attractive house that front the river. Sitting high on a plateau, the huge castle dominates the entire town.

After visiting Chinon castle, see also the Old Town, squeezed between the River Vienne and the buttresses of the castle. In the city where Rabelais (1494 ca.-1533) lived and you still see the narrow sloping streets, in ‘Rue Voltaire’ and ‘Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau’ there are extraordinary palaces and churches from the Middle Ages that are very well conserved.

Particularly noteworthy are the Government Palace (XVII century), very scenic with its portal, arches and stairs; the States General Palace (XV century) which houses the Museum of Local History; the ‘Red House’ (XIII century); and the ‘Palais du Balieve’ [Palace of the Bailiff].

Among the churches, those worthy of note are the Church of St. Etienne (fifteenth century, of Gothic style); the Collegiate Church of St. Mexme (XI century) and the Ste Redegonda Chapel, thirteenth century) of Romanesque style.

According to tradition, Rodegund (520 ca.-586), the wife of King Clotaire I (died 561), turned to a hermit who lived here to seek guidance on the construction of the monastery of St. Cross at Poitiers. The hermit's cell was later converted into a chapel.

You could conclude your visit at the famous ‘caves’ i.e. the ‘Cellar’ made famous by Rabelais, and today managed by local vine-cultivators. The wine production is important locally and the vineyards stretch themselves out as far as the eye can see on the banks of the River Vienne, producing the famous ‘Cabernet’, which goes well with meat (hare and wild boar) and cheeses.

(Note: main picture is fresco of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son King John of England, in the Church of Saint Radegonde.)

Map of Chinon & places nearby

Castle Town village

Selected places to visit in or near Chinon, Loire Valley