Travel over time through the medieval streets of Chinon. The city of Art and History is recognizable by its royal fortress, composed of three houses built from the 10th to the 15th century and laid like a crown on the cliff that dominates the village. Overlooking the Vienne, many notable people were welcomed there: Eleanor of Aquitaine and the King of England Henry II Plantagenet in the 12th century, Richard Coeur de Lion, but also Jeanne d’Arc who was received by the future king Charles VII in March 1429.
The Chinonais, a true garden of flavours is a stronghold of the art of living in Touraine by its specialties of vineyard pies, Rabelaisian fouaces in the heart of the terroir of AOC Chinon wines. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, discover this medieval city by following the routes “Coeur de Ville” (Saint-Etienne Church, Caves Painctes, Carroi-Musée, Church Saint-Maurice...) or “Troglo et nature” (Chapel Sainte-Radegonde, Former Collegiate Church Saint-Mexme) without forgetting the sublime panoramic views during a traditional boat trip.
To the East, take the direction of Cravant les Coteaux where many winemakers are settled there. On the banks of the Saint-Mesme stream is the Carolingian Sanctuary of Romanesque Art, known as “the Old Church of the Old Town”.
On the road to L’Ile-Bouchard, nestled between the Vienne and the Veude, stroll in Anché in the big romantic park of the Castle of Brétignolles, the most gothic of Touraine and built in the middle of the 15th century.
Nearby, look at the Castle of Rivière built by Désiré de Rivière in 1850 on the remains of a former medieval castle of the 12th century.
Further south, make a break at the goat farm 'Le Vazereau' of La Roche-Clermault to taste the delicious Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine PDO goat cheese, perfectly matching with a good glass of wine from the region.
In Marçay, old manors and beautiful properties punctuate the territory: Fontenay, Dauconnay, the Bois du Chillou or also the Castle of Marçay, old feudal fortress of the 15th century.
In the Rabelaisian lands, let yourself be told the surprising stories of Gargantua and Grandgousier at the place called La Devinière in Seuilly. This birthplace of François Rabelais, a major figure in French literature, is now a museum entirely dedicated to the life and works of the writer. At 600m, the Abbey of Seuilly founded by Guillaume de Montsoreau was the place of the first studies of Rabelais.
In the countryside, meeting at the Camp des Romains de Cinais, which housed the remains of a former Gaulish camp. The legend says that Saint Martin would have been there.
In Lerné, open the doors of the “Picroboule” Museum to learn all the secrets of the “boule de fort”. This former and unique sport in the world is played in slippers with asymmetrical balls on a concave ground.
Admire the village of Couziers and its 15th-century Sainte-Radegonde church with an extraordinary “bell wall”.
Do not miss the big wash house in Thizay fed by a spring and equipped with an atypical fireplace that was once the place of conversation and meeting of the women of the village.
Not far away, succumb to the charm of the Castle of Petit Thouars with its vineyard, owned by the Aubert du Petit Thouars de Saint Georges family since 1636 in Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne.
Candes-Saint-Martin is classified among the most beautiful villages in France with its stunning view on the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire. Discover its old fishing port, its medieval tuffeau houses, its craft shops and its Saint-Martin collegiate church built where Saint Martin died in 397. At the edge of Anjou, stroll through the Street Art Museum in the park of the Castle of Candes.
Going up the Loire, the longest river in Europe, stop at the Museum of Sailors located on the long docks of Chouzé-sur-Loire. This renovated old house will tell you the origins of skippers.
A little further, between Loire and bocage, the Véron Eco-Museum of Savigny-en-Véron shows many exhibitions and conferences that testify to the social and cultural history throughout the contemporary world.
Walk in the heart of the vineyards and on the paths of the Puys du Chinonais for a total change of scenery in Beaumont-en-Véron. Then take the time to stroll through the Maison des Vins’ shop and taste its local products.
Visible from any point of view by its clouds of water vapor, the Nuclear Power Plant of Electricity Production (CNPE) in Avoine, opens the doors of its industrial heritage, the Museum of the Atom. This 47-metre-high sphere known as “La Boule” was originally the first civilian-use nuclear reactor of France in 1963.
A few kilometres away, go into the Max Ernst House in Huismes and visit the gardens and temporary exhibitions of the farm “Le Pin Perdu”. As a major figure in the Dada and Surrealism movement, the artist Max Ernst and his wife Dorothea Tanning lived and worked there from 1955 to 1968.
Finally, in the Chinon State Forest, look at the bucolic site of the former Benedictine Abbey of Tupernay in Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt. For thrill seekers, Saint Benoit Adventure promises you courses fitted to the whole family.
Picnic on the banks of the Vienne in Chinon!
After buying your picnic in the very good bakeries of the historic city center of Chinon. What a pleasure to be able to enjoy the banks of the Vienne to feast!
Boat tasting on the Vienne!
A stunning view over the Fortress with a glass of Chinon in hand.