Monday, January 17, 2011

Chinon, an authentic medieval fortress

Chinon is probably not the most beautiful fortress you could visit in France but it surely requires our attention for several important reasons:

- It was built on some ancient Gallo-Roman ruins, dating from the 5th century
- At the beginning of the millennium it was held by the Counts of Blois and then seized by the Counts of Anjou, who fortified the existing castle and turned it into one of their principal residences.
- Chinon was the setting for the famous conflict between Henry II Plantagenet the king of England and his son, Richard The Lionheart and the place of imprisonment for Eleanor of Aquitaine, his wife.
- The fortress is captured in the 13th century by the king of France, Philippe Auguste, who takes time to improve the fortifications and celebrates at Chinon his marriage to Isabella of Angouleme.
- Chinon also witnesses the historical encounter between Charles VII, the future king of France and Joan of Arc. In 1429 she is received by Charles who agrees to grant her an army, anticipating the re-conquest of the kingdom of France from the English after 100 years of war.

The citadel consists of 3 wings: the Fort Saint-Georges (not open for visits, reserved for archaeological excavations); the Château du Milieu reachable via the Tour de l’Horloge (however I didn’t see any clock on top of it) and containing the old royal apartments that can be visited as well as a small museum dedicated to Joan of Arc - rooms are not furnished all quite similar in terms of architecture; and the third wing - the Château du Coudray, which consists in fact of several towers hiding a remarkable military art work: one of them, the Argenton Tower is famous for holding the dignitaries of the Order of the Knights Templar and the Grand Master Jacques de Molay who were later on burned in Paris by Philippe le Bel (1314).

Overlooking the river Vienne, Chinon fortress leaves a powerful impression mostly due to its authentic ancient towers where you can actually go down to the lowest level by taking some very narrow spiral staircases and mysterious passages await you at ditch height. The towers are all a prime example of medieval military architecture, typical for Plantagenet castles.

7 comments:

florentindraganescu said...

Je vais faire une visite à la première occasion...en France!
J'aime ce lieu !!

Stela Gheorghe said...

Oui, c’est vraiment un bel endroit. Je te souhaite une très bonne visite! Et n’hésites pas de me laisser tes impressions après :)

Serguei said...

Very beautiful work, as concerning photographs and articles. Fine, deep and at the same time fluent description of castles, economy, politics..
My favorite topics!

Bonne continuation dans ton travail et encore bravo!

Serguei

Stela Gheorghe said...

Hey, Serguei :) Thx for the appreciations! Very nice of you to have read some of my articles. It's amazing how we can communicate in 3 different languages at the same time!

florentindraganescu said...

:) Avec plaisir ...Succès dans vos travaux!
Un weekend plăcut!

Stela Gheorghe said...

Chestie interesanta, si eu inainte credeam ca la "Merci" se raspunde cu "Avec plaisir" dar se pare ca in Franta ei nu utilizeaza deloc expresia asta, sau nu are nici un sens la ei. De fapt ei folosesc "je vous en prie" sau "de rien", si cam atat :) Pt noi suna ciudat dar asa e :) Succese si tie, Florentin!

florentin draganescu said...

:)În cazul acesta zicala: “Socoteala de acasă nu se potriveşte cu cea din targ!” ,cade ca o manusa.

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