Château de Chinon

Château de Chinon

Château de Chinon is located on the banks of Vienne river in the city of Chinon, Indre-et-Loire in France.


Location: Chinon, Indre-et-Loire    Map

Constructed: 12th century by Henry II

Tel. 02 47 93 13 45


History of Château de Chinon

The strategic hill of Château de Chinon is overlooking the city was occupied since the Gaelic and Roman times then Imperial legionnaires established a military settlement here in first century AD. Although much of the castle you see today was constructed in the 12th century by English king Henry II. It is a famous spot where Joan of Arc met Dauphin, future king Charles VII, and convinced him to giver her army to lead against the English.


The hill that the current Château de Chinon occupies first settled by people in the Paleolithic Era. During Gaelic period there was a wooden fortress on this strategic location. Romans that conquered this region under leadership of Julius Caesar in the first century BC increased previous oppidum (fort) in size and defenses. Visigoths besieged and took over the castle in their unrelenting drive across Ancient Roman Empire.


Current castle was constructed by the orders of Henry II Plantagenet, the king of England. King Henry subsequently died here in 1189 in Chinon Castle after he was defeated during the Great Revolt in 1173- 74 by his sons John Lackland and Richard the Lionheart with support and assistance of king Phillip Augustus of France. The castle was transferred to France in 1205 and although tried to recover his former possession he failed. He was forced to acknowledge his defeat and sign the Treaty of Chinon.


During Hundred Years' War Chinon Castle served as a residence for the Dauphin (future king Charles VII). Here he met Joan of Arc on 6 March 1429 for the first time. Here he was convinced that Orleans' Virgin was actually sent by God's Grace. Young monarch hid in the crowd and ordered one of his servants to take his throne. The legend claims that Joan recognized young king in the crown and recognized false king. It took another 3 weeks before Dauphin agreed to give an army to Joan d'Arc.

In the 16th century Chinon Castle was briefly held by rebellious Huguenots or French Protestants. They did not last very long and the castle was recaptured by the Royal Catholic forces. Henry IV of France turned badly damaged citadel into prison. The castle lost much of military strategic use, but during French Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror inspired by the Revolutionaries it was taken by the royalist Vendean forces. Republican forces stormed the medieval citadel and took over the fortress. It was finally abandoned and left in ruins. Only in 1830's reconstruction of the castle has begun. In 1840 it was recognized as a monument historique or historical monument of national value by the French government.