Saturday, July 20, 2024

Campervan Holiday Chinon France

Campervan Holiday Chinon France

Chinon Forteresse-Royale-de-Chinon

Chinon is a town located in the Loire Valley region of France. It is situated in the department of Indre-et-Loire and is known for its medieval architecture, scenic river views, and historic castle. The town is surrounded by vineyards that produce renowned wines, particularly the red wine made from the Cabernet Franc grape variety. Chinon is a popular tourist destination and offers many cultural and outdoor activities, including visiting the castle, exploring the town’s winding streets, and taking a scenic boat ride on the Vienne River.

We left Il de Re and travelled East towards the Loire Valley, with nothing planned for accommodation we came across Chinon a lovely old town in the historic region of Anjou. We spotted Chinon’s Royal Fortress, perched high above the river Vienne, It stretched out along the river behind a row of attractive-looking old houses.

Chinon’s old town is tightly packed between the river and the castle. Like the houses at Vannes, these were half timber and half stone. Narrow streets are lined with these houses some of them now being cafes, bars, bakeries or small independent shops. We found a campsite on the side of the river Vienne. It was very relaxed a sign on the office said to find a spot park up and come back after 6 pm to pay. That worked for us, it was 10.00 am in the morning. After finding a nice spot to park we walked over the bridge (Pont routier de Chinon) to the Fortress. We had fallen lucky here as it was European Heritage Day ( Journées du patrimoine, see below for 2023 dates). We did a tour of the castle before lunch.

Forteresse Royale de Chinon

Forteresse Royale de Chinon
Forteresse Royale de Chinon

We toured the Fortress and the various rooms, here is a kind of quick rundown of the history. You will see way more than what I have written on your tour. It’s an old place so the history is vast and spread over 100’s years. Founded in 936 by the Count of Blois Theobald l. The counts of Anjou took ownership of the castle in the early 11th Century. In 1156, King Henry II of England claimed the castle. He resided here for a considerable period, and most of the building’s credit goes to him during his reign. In the 13th Century, King Philip II of France became the owner. The subsequent king, King Philip IV, accused the Knights Templar of heresy in the early 14th century, leading to the imprisonment of several prominent members of the order there.

 Charles VII lived in the castle in the 15th century it then became a prison in the 16th Century and fell into a bad state of repair after this. It was not until about 1840 that it was once again recognised as an important building and listed as a Historic building. the 21st century brought about a major renovation of around 14 million Euros.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc Chinon
Joan of Arc Chinon

The Joan of Arc room has a vast amount of information about her visit to the fortress and meetings with the prince and King. One room is devoted to the history of the fortress with 3D reconstructions, scale models and archaeological collections taken from recent excavations.
Two rooms are dedicated to Joan of Arc. During her visit, She convinced the prince (the future Charles VII of France) that she could rescue Orléans from the English invasion during the Hundred Years War.

The now-restored Royal Quarters are used for performances and museum exhibitions.

One room is an exhibition of original artefacts from the 18th to 20th century (bronze statues, pottery, etc.). An extensive iconographic collection features the various sides of this heroine over the centuries.
Three rooms for temporary exhibitions.

Opening Times

January – February and November – December: 9.30 am – 5 pm
Closes at 4 pm on 24th and 31st December.
March – April and September – October: 9.30 am – 6 pm
1st May – 31st August: 9.30 am – 7 pm.

The last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

Chinon Bar
Chinon Bar

Heritage Days 2023: Date and theme

September 2023

Created in 1984 by the Ministry of Culture, the European Heritage Days take place every year on the third weekend of September. Discover on this page the information for 2023!

An unmissable cultural event. The European Heritage Days see up to 17,000 monuments come to life each year thanks to public and private initiatives. These days are an opportunity to meet these enthusiasts, volunteers or professionals, who work daily for the recognition, preservation and enhancement of heritage.

The European Heritage Days 2023 will be held throughout France on September 16 and 17, 2023. This 40th edition will have “living heritage” as its theme.

Chinon Guitar Festival
Chinon Guitar Festival

Guitar Journey Festival

The Ten! Ten days of music From September 9 to 18, 2022, in Chinon.

After the tour of the fort, we walked into town and bought some food from a local bakery Fournil du Chateau 16 Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 37500 Chinon, France. They made an amazing fruit and nut round loaf (Miel Raisins Noisettes, photo below) that we ate for breakfast the next day.

We listened to various bands playing inside and outside the local bars and restaurants.

A festival that began with the “Jacquard Brothers”, completely crazy, and ended with the “Kora Jazz Trio”, an internationally renowned group, it showcased all styles of guitar.

Volunteers gave up their time to help with more than 50 concerts in 10 days. Congratulations to them, without them, it would be impossible to carry out an event like this. 

Guitar Festival Chinon
Live Band at the Festival

On the program for 2023, you will find 10 days of celebration with more than 40 free concerts. Rock, jazz, young audiences, Latin, French songs, blues, etc… there will be something for everyone! 

Do not miss the information on the Festival Voyages en Guitares 2023 by subscribing to the newsletter.


Miel Raisins Noisettes
Miel Raisins Noisettes

Local attractions

Local attractions are within easy reach of the campsite. You can hardly miss Chinon’s Royal Fortress perched high above the river opposite the campsite. A 10-minute stroll will take you through its gates and on a journey to discover its tumultuous history spanning 2,000 years.

If you’re visiting this region on holiday, taking a tipple or two is usually on the to-do list. Visit the Combier Distillery (a 30-minute drive) – the Loire Valley’s oldest. You can see how they’ve been brewing up gin, absinthe and all manner of liqueurs since early 1834. Or simply search for vineyards near Chinon and take your pick to sample some fine Saumur wines.

Chinon Campsite

Camping intercommunal Island Auger

The site is set over 5.8 hectares by the River Vienne In the UNESCO-listed town of Chinon. Play area, picnic benches and laundry room; public pool over the road

If you’re whiling some time away on site, there’s a play area, picnic benches and a barbecue space. It’s worth noting that the site is pet-friendly and well-behaved dogs are welcome. A two-minute walk over the road is a municipal public pool, where overnight guests at the campsite get a discount on entry.

Chinon house
Foretresse Chinon

Chinon Town

Chinon town centre’s mix of cafés, crêperies, restaurants and food shops are under a kilometre away, meaning 10 minutes on foot is all you need to access its many attractions and amenities. This part of the Loire Valley is full of cycle-friendly tracks and trails that hug the rivers and go deep inland through quiet countryside. Kayaking is also popular.

The city of Tours (40 minutes drive) is an easy day trip where a wander around the Musée des Beaux-Arts or Jardin Botanique is a lovely way to pass an afternoon. A more adventurous way to explore the world of plants is an hour away by car at Terra Botanica theme park. Or make friends with the animals at Zoo de la Flèche (1 hour 10 minutes)

On the edge of the UNESCO-listed town of Chinon, with fantastic views over its royal fortress. Camping de L’Île Auger is a simple site which is alongside the peaceful River Vienne. Settle down in this quiet spot for Loire Valley day trips full of wine, countryside strolls and exceptional architecture.

Website Camping Intercommunal Island Auger

Location of our Campervan Site Chinon France

For the Love of Travel – More Campervan Holiday Reviews France

For The Love of Campervan Travel France

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