Chinon, Loire Valley: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Chinon in Indre-et-Loire

Visit Chinon (Loire Valley, France)


Chinon is a town located between Angers and Tours in the Loire Valley. Although best known for its castle 'see separate feature for Chateau Chinon) the town itself has an interesting historical centre to visit while you are here.

Exploring Chinon

Renaissance period house in Chinon old townStart your visit on the bridge across the river, for nice views of the town and castle.

The town has various attractions to explore as you follow the streets of the old town up towards the castle above, perhaps following the same path that Joan of Arc took when she came here to see Charles VII in 1429.

Meandering through the heart of the old town there are numerous medieval houses, some in colombage but most in stone and often with interesting architectural features such as small towers or ornate window surrounds.

The most important religious monument in Chinon is the remaining part of the 12th century Collegiale Saint-Mexme. Although only the facade with its two towers and a part of the church now remain (the other parts having fallen into neglect and being destroyed after the revolution), that is sufficient to get an idea of how imposing the original complex would have been. Inside the church there are some very early frescoes, and various exhibitions are held here during the summer.

At the 15th century gothic style Church of Saint-Etienne you will notice the unusual, almost Italianate, clocktower, while the 12th century Church of Saint-Maurice is in the heart of the old town centre. Be sure to also visit the ancient troglodyte chapel of Saint-Radegonde in Chinon, half the building being built into the cliff and containing some medieval frescoes.

The Clock Tower (at the castle entrance) now houses the very popular Joan of Arc Museum. This Museum brings together many articles from the Hundred Years War period linking Joan of Arc to the town, and also many paintings and sculptures of the young Saint Joan.

The Museum of Old Chinon in the old town is a good place to learn more about the history of the town.

Wine lovers visiting Chinon will not be disappointed - there are various caves in the town where you can sample and buy the local wine.

Attractions nearby

In the countryside around Chinon there is a great deal to discover. Among are personal favourites are Fontevraud Abbey, the Azay-le-Rideau Chateau and the picturesque village of Candes-Saint-Martin, classified as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Indre-et-Loire guide and the Loire Valley guide.

See also:

Map of Chinon and places to visit

Visit near Chinon with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Indre-et-Loire

Tourist classifications

Chinon has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History

Address: Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley, 37500, France || GPS: latitude 47.19, longitude 0.24

Plan your visit to Chinon, Loire Valley

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Collegiale Church (Candes-Saint-Martin): religious monument (13km)
  • Candes-Saint-Martin: most beautiful village (13km)
  • Les jardins du château du Rivau: remarkable garden (14km)
  • Montsoreau: most beautiful village (14km)
  • Fontevraud Abbey: national monument (14km)
  • Abbaye Notre Dame de Fontevraud (Fontevraud Abbey): religious monument (14km)
  • Loire-Anjou-Touraine: regional natural parc (15km)
  • Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau: national monument (19km)
  • Les jardins de la Chatonnière: remarkable garden (19km)
  • Crissay-sur-Manse: most beautiful village (19km)

Market days in Chinon, France

Regular market(s) are held in Chinon each Thursday all day & Sunday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Chinon (Francais)