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Fodor's France 2014
Fortresse de Chinon
Fortresse de Chinon Review
This vast fortress with walls 400 yards long dates from the time of Henry II of England, who died here in 1189, and his warring wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, both buried at Fontevraud. Two centuries later the castle witnessed an important historic moment: Joan of Arc's recognition of the disguised dauphin, later Charles VII.
Once little more than ruins completely open to the elements, Chinon's majestic rooftop, ramparts, and towers have been carefully restored. A visitor center welcomes guests a few steps from the glass elevator that provides direct access from the center of Chinon's Old Town. Visitors can tour the Logis Royal (Royal Chambers), a section of which has been transformed into an interactive museum dedicated to Joan of Arc. For a fine view of the region, climb the Tour Coudray (Coudray Tower), where in 1307 leading members of the crusading Knights Templar were imprisoned before being taken to Paris, tried, and burned at the stake. The Tour de l'Horloge (Clock Tower), whose bell has sounded the hours since 1399, has a view over the ensemble of buildings, and there are sensational views from the ramparts over Chinon, the Vienne Valley, and, toward the back of the castle, the famous vineyard called Le Clos de l'Echo. A restaurant is open on the terrace from July through September.
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