Chinon—the birthplace of author François Rabelais (1494–1553)—is dominated by a 12th-century castle, perched imposingly above the River Vienne. But its leading photo op is the medieval heart of town. Rue Haute St-Maurice, in particular, stretches for more than 15 wondrous, time-warped blocks, and it’s virtually impossible to stroll past the half-timber houses that line it without reaching for your camera. Little wonder that Jean Cocteau used Chinon's fairy-tale allure to effectively frame Josette Day when she appeared as Beauty in his classic 1949 film La Belle et la Bête.
Not everyone has the courage to explore these macabre destinations. Do you?More