Chinon rests on the river Vienne close to its confluence with the Loire. In addition to its visual charm, it has historical significance.
Joan of Arc came here in 1429 inspiring Charles VII to fight to regain his kindom.
The English monarch, Richard The Lionheart, was born and died here.
Jacque deMolay, the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knight’s Templar, was imprisoned. He was later executed on order of the King Philip IV of France who sought to avoid paying the debt the king owed the Knights. This Chateau or fortress is almost completely destroyed; however, enough of it remains to be interesting. De Molay, scratched his name on the walls of the tower room where he and several of his knights were imprisoned prior to their death in Paris. The castle buildings command a magnificent view of the river and village below. The town’s charm is its up and down stairs along side beautiful buildings. Our lunch in an historic building consisted of veal stew with vegetables: 14.50 eu each).
Later , we drove to the Abby of Fontevraud. The Abby consists of a group of buildings all very large including a church which itself is huge. The church’s white stone interior is light and inviting despite its enormity. In the center, just short of the nave are the bodies of two English kings and Eleanor of Aquitaine. One of the sarcophagus contains the bones of Richard III with his Lion’s heart presumably. King John’s heart was supposedly brought here as well. The Abby fell into ruin over time and was used as a prison until 1962 when restoration began. The priory has been converted into a 50 room luxury hotel while maintaining an outward appearance as a place which fits into the Abby overall plan (www.hotel-fontevraud.com).
Our evening meal at L’Etape Gournande, Domaine de la Giraudiere (www.letapegourmande.com): a wonderful goat farm in Villendry. Dinner was excellent with quatre chaud toasts with cheese topped with rillon and or crystallized ginger on top of a salade vert avec hazelnuts (an enormous portion). Also the meal offered sweetbreads with turnips and a salade vert with hazelnuts. Later came guinea fowl roasted with swiss chard, spinach, mushroom and confit de canard baked with potatoes and served with an adornment of small pieces of ham. For dessert came une gateau chocolate comme grand-mere and a cupcake sized chocolate cake, very hot with a molten center, surrounded by vanilla ice cream, some white raisins, a tuille with almonds and sesame seeds, beautiful decorative shapes in delicious chocolate. Total price for two with wine 56 eu.