The pretty town of Chinon (37 Indre et Loire, Centre-Val de Loire) lies in the heart of the Loire Valley – yet the river which runs through the town is the Vienne, which goes on to meet the Loire river just 15km or so to the west. The medieval town and castle have been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The town was suitably the birthplace of the writer and “bon viveur” Rabelais (16th Century) and he is celebrated throughout the town.
With its impressive Chateau and maze of medieval streets, the town in well worth a visit, but the added attraction of the local wine is a bonus!, with one of the best known producers – Couly-Dutheil having cellars in the heart of the town – and underneath it! A great atmospheric environment for tasting some of the fine wines of Chinon. Outside the town there are many vignerons who welcome visitors to try the red and white wines of the appellation – mainly Cabernet Franc for the reds, Chenin Blanc for the whites.
Visit in April and you can enjoy the Fête des Vins wine fair in the streets of the town.
Nearby at Panzoult stay on a working Chinon vineyard at Domaine de Beausejour Chinon AOC just 9 miles from the Chateau de Chinon,
Much recommended near Chinon is the Bed and Breakfast “Domaine de Givré” in Cravant les Côteaux on a 15th Century estate with swimming pool.
Another alternative in the heart of Chinon is the Hotel Saint Jacques – a central location just 5 minutes walk from the medieval centre.
Criterion (i): The Loire Valley is noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its historic towns such as Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular in its world-famous castles, such as the Château de Chambord.
Criterion (ii): The Loire Valley is an outstanding cultural landscape along a major river which bears witness to an interchange of human values and to a harmonious development of interactions between human beings and their environment over two millennia.
Criterion (iv): The landscape of the Loire Valley, and more particularly its many cultural monuments, illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on western European thought and design. UNESCO