|Forteresse Royale de Chinon|
We have family from the Netherlands staying with us. They are the first visitors to come since we moved here last August. As they don't know the area too well, we have morphed into tourist mode. A visit to the royal fortress of Chinon appealed. We know it well and are familiar with its history, but oddly enough we have never been inside.
|15th century Logis Royal|
Its location is spectacular--high on a cliff above the Vienne river--King Henry II of England; who together with his wife ruled more than 1/2 of France at the time, chose brilliantly when he wanted to develop an existing site for a strategic castle in the 1150's. It sits at the crossroads between Touraine, Anjou and Poitou.
|detail; restored 15th C roof line|
It was a favoured castle during all his kingdom building and fights with his unruly sons: Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland who succeeded him. Henry died at Chinon in July 1189 and is buried at the Abbaye de Fontevraud as is Eleanor of Acquitaine his wife [and other members of the family].
We had a great time exploring the large outer bailey and Logis Royal which has a set of really outstanding video installations charting key historical events-- from the time of Henry II to Joan of Arc.
There was a small exhibit of artifacts at the end of the tour of the Logis Royal and one of the most interesting was a tiny 12th century bone die, still clearly showing the dots for numbers on each face. That such a small thing had been re-found was quite amazing.
|replica traditional boat on the Vienne|
The weather was perfect and we loved the spectacular views down onto the town and river below.
It's good fun being a tourist!