|Elevation||27–112 m (89–367 ft)
(avg. 37 m or 121 ft)
|Land area1||39.02 km2 (15.07 sq mi)|
|- Density||205 /km2 (530 /sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||37072/ 37500|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
|2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Chinon is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France well known for the Château de Chinon, a medieval castle which at times served as the residence of the kings of France and England.
The settlement of Chinon is on the bank of the Vienne river about 10 kilometres (6 mi) from where it joins the Loire. From prehistoric times, when the settlement of Chinon originated, rivers formed the major trade routes, and the Vienne joins the fertile southern plains of the Poitou and the city of Limoges to the thoroughfare of the Loire. The site was fortified early on, and by the 5th century a Gallo-Roman castrum had been established.
Towards the end of the 4th century, a follower of St Martin, St Mexme, established first a hermitage, and then a monastery on the eastern slope of the town. This foundation flourished throughout Middle Ages, being rebuilt and extended four times. The eventual complex contained a large and highly decorated church, a cloister and a square of canons' residences. Unfortunately the all too familiar pattern of Huguenot damage in the sixteenth century, followed by closure and partial demolition during the Revolution of 1789 and onwards has left only a much-damaged facade, and part of the nave, although the building has now been restored as a cultural centre.
In the Middle Ages, Chinon developed especially during the reign of Henry II (Henry Plantagenêt, Count of Anjou, crowned King of England in 1154). The castle was rebuilt and extended, becoming one of his favorite residences. It was where court was frequently held during the Angevin Empire.
Chinon was included in the French royal estates in 1205. It was during the Hundred Years' War that the town took on a new lease of life, as the heir apparent, the future Charles VII of France, had sought refuge in 1418 in the province. The town remained faithful to him and he made lengthy stays at his court in Chinon. In 1429, Joan of Arc came here to acknowledge him. From the sixteenth century, Chinon was no longer a royal residence.
Chinon is located in the heart of the Val de Loire area, within the Vallée de la Vienne (Vienne River valley). It is situated on the banks of the Vienne River.
The importance of Chinon derives from its position on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon, France just before it joins the Loire. From prehistoric times, the rivers of France formed the major trade routes, and the Vienne joins the fertile southern plains of the Poitou and the city of Limoges to the thoroughfare of the Loire, thus giving access to the sea at the port of Nantes on the western coast, and to the Île-de-France in the east. Chinon offers an easy crossing point by means of a central island in the Vienne, and the rocks dominating the shore provided not only a natural fort, but also protection against the annual flooding of the river
Carved into the banks of the Vienne River, and open to public visits, are the caves, or wine cellars, for Chinon's well-known Cabernet Franc-based red wines.
- François Rabelais, (c. 1493-1553), was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor and humanist
- Paul Lelaud, Member of The French Resistance, My Story- Spy Smuggler
- Chinon Castle in 1183 is the setting for the play and film The Lion in Winter.
See also 
- French wine
- Loire Valley (wine)
- The Chinon Parchment is a historical document, published by Étienne Baluze in Vitae Paparum Avenionensis ("Lives of the Popes of Avignon"), Paris, 1693.
- List of castles in France
- Pérouse de Montclos, Jean-Marie (1997), Châteaux of the Loire Valley, Könemann, p. 178, ISBN 978-3-89508-598-7
- Clark, J. G. D. (1952), Prehistoric Europe: the economic basis, Stanford University Press, p. 282
- Garrett, Martin (2011), The Loire: A Cultural History, Oxford University Press, p. xv, ISBN 978-0-19-976839-4
- Wheeler, Daniel (1983), The Chateaux of France, Vendome Press, p. 14, ISBN 978-0-86565-036-7
- Ministry of Culture database entries for Chinon (French)
- A video review of some Chinon wines
- Information on the echo from Chinon Château
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