History of the Fortress
Located at the crossroads of the three provinces of Anjou, Poitou and Touraine, the rocky spur where the Royal Fortress of Chinon stands, is a strategic area occupied and highly sought-after since ancient times.
A castle was built here no later than the 10th century. It was Henry II, Count of Anjou and King of England, who gave the fortress its current appearance by building a new palace on Fort Saint Georges.
In 1205, after a long siege, the King of France Philippe Augustus gained control of the fortress and built several towers.
In 1308, the site was the setting for a key event in the history of the Knights Templar. The Grand Master Jacques de Molay and some high dignitaries were imprisoned there before being sentenced and burned in Paris.
It was in 1429, during the Hundred Years’ War, when Charles VII’s legitimacy as the next king of France was impugned, that Joan of Arc came to meet him at the fortress. She came after an 11 - day ride - a genuine feat at the time - to assure him of his legitimacy and convince him to get crowned in Reims. This famous encounter was an important turning point in the Hundred Years' War.
The fortress' decline began in the 17th century, with Cardinal Richelieu who owned it at the time. In 1808, the monument was graciously given to the District Council (present-day Departemental Council).
Now, after five years of restoration work on a scale unprecedented anywhere else in Europe, seeking to give the castle back the military splendor and union of yesteryear, the Department welcome you to its 3rd-millennium fortress!
The ultra-modern, interactive and fun museographical displays (audio benches, touch screens, augmented reality, 3D models) - a first in Touraine - will guide you through this site packed with history.
Set out to conquer the many towers that dot the 150 meters of restored ramparts. Thanks to the animated tour of the royal lodgings, immerse yourself in the civilian and military past of the Fortress and step into the shoes of the great men and women who left their mark on the site. Two rooms are dedicated to the representations of Joan of Arc from the 16th to the 20th century. Two others will help you to get a more in-depth understanding of the fortress, through the multimedia kiosks as well as the archeological and iconographic collections. Admire the royal lodgings, restored in the likeness of a local residence in the 15th century, and treat yourself to the breathtaking views from the numerous viewpoints overlooking the Vienne Valley.