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Forteresse royale de Chinon
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Small-Group Loire Valley wine tour from the town of Tours
Ranked #2 of 51 Fun & Games in Loire Valley
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The royal fortress of Chinon has been built between Xth century and XVth century. It has been restaured on XXIth century. Come and discover all of famous figures of the fortress : the Plantagenêts, the Kings of France Philippe Auguste, Charles VII and Joan of Arc. Full price : 8.50 € Reduced rate : 6.50 € Free for children less than 7 years.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed October 8, 2012

Chinon is a gem of a fortress and quite a large site. It has undergone extensive renovations, but can easily see why it was such a strategic spot for so many years.. The view is marvelous over the river/valley and the town. Certainly features Joan of Arc in a big way...worth a visit for sure.
I am no history buff, but find it so very interesting that the histories of England and France are so intertwined back in the day.

1  Thank suzabella60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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237 - 241 of 813 reviews

Reviewed September 18, 2012

The royal fortress of Chinon is built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Vienne and the town. Little by little it was structured into three distinct parts, separated by dry ditches : Fort Saint George (east), Chateau du Milieu (middle) and Fort Coudray (west).

A first castle was built on site by Theobald I of Blois in the tenth century. Most of the standing structure can however be attributed either to Henry II Plantagenet (Fort Saint George and Chateau du Milieu ; mid twelfth century) or Philip August (Fort Coudray, early thirteenth century), continuous alterations being made until the end of the fifteenth century.

A first remark to be made is that the royal fortress of Chinon has suffered substantial damage due to lack of maintenance and abandonment from the seventeenth century onward.

Nothing remains of Fort Saint George above ground.

The entrance section of Chateau du Milieu looks battered (incomplete rampart ; corner tower reduced to a stump) and most of the buildings in the courtyard have disappeared.

The royal quarters boasted three wings arranged around a courtyard in the early fifteenth century. Only the south wing survives.

The rampart of Fort Coudray is incomplete and several towers are missing. Only the keep and two towers are more or less intact.

A second remark to be made is that unfortunately the information available to the visitor does not allow him to visualize what the royal fortress looked like in its heyday.

Both the excellent (free) guided tour (lasting about one hour) and the multimedia museum in the royal quarters provide ample information about the illustrious residents of the royal fortress but none tackles its architectural evolution and the use of its various structures.

The scale model that was on display in the past has been removed.

Audio in the buildings (to be activated with the chip in your tour booklet) focuses on stories, rather than providing information about their layout or use.

No real guidebook is available. The tour booklet is pictureless and only contains a map and minimal information.

A final remark concerns the exaggerate use of modern technology (film, touch screens, audio). I suppose the idea was to make the royal fortress appeal to youngsters but in my opinion it fails.

Given the number of visitors you cannot take your time to consult the various items of the computer menu. People are queuing behind you. Walking in on an audio or video fragment you always need to wait.

In conclusion, I would have made different choices given the budget of 14,5 million EUR spent on the restoration of the royal fortress between 2003 and 2010.

Instead of investing in modern technology I would have done with a scale model, information panels, a guidebook and / or an audio guide.

I would have restored or rebuilt (provided plans exist) the ramparts and towers and furnished the royal quarters, rather than turn them into a multimedia museum.

And as for my appeal to youngsters (and elders alike !) I would grant visitors access to the tunnels and secret escape routes running underneath the royal fortress.

4  Thank Iweinvanaalst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

Curators have made an effort to provide information to English visitors and the free lift up from Chinon town makes access very easy. Worth a visit if only for the great views from the towers.

Thank Roland J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

A well set out experience with projections and lots of English audio. Whilst we were here they actually had a show with English actors portraying the scene from Shakespeares Henry II when Joan first meets the King but done in a modern way.
One thing I have to make clear is that the Chateau has been extensively rebuilt so a lot of the rooms are modern replicas. You also find that a lot of the furniture is replica but there is a lot of original ruins to also float around and touch so it doesn't feel like a complete modern rehash.
Certainly will take 2-3 hours to look around but that is mainly due to the large amount of content spread around the place. I would repeat previous posters and say that it is a great experience but probably not enough to drive more than an hour to go and see (although take it in after the sunday bricolage market for a full day experience).

Thank Adrian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

You can spend the entire day here. Once in a while we ran into a guided french tour for children and were amused to see the kids enjoy themselves so much.

Thank Starviagera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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