The outcrop of rock on which the Royal Fortress of Chinon was built is a strategic site located at the meeting point of three French provinces: Anjou, Poitou and Touraine. It was first occupied by Antiquity, and has been coveted ever since.
A château was built here at the end of the 10th century, and the count of Blois Thibaut le Tricheur also had a tower built on the site. Henri II Plantagenet, who was both the count of Anjou and king of England from 1154 to 1189, added on to the tower. In doing so, he gave the fortress a new structure that we can still see today.
After a long siege, the king of France (Philippe Auguste) took control of the fortress and ordered the building of Coudray Keep in 1205.
In 1308, this site was the stage for an important event in the history of the Templar Order. The "Grand Master" Jacques de Molay and a few other high dignitaries of the Order were imprisoned here before being judged, and were later burned at the stake in Paris.
In 1427, during the Hundred Years’ War, Charles VII’s court was established at the Château of Chinon. It was here that he met with Joan of Arc in March of 1429. Her intention was to claim his legitimacy and convince him to be crowned in Reims.
The decline of this fortress began in the 17th century while Cardinal Richelieu was the owner. In 1808, the ownership of the monument was passed to the Conseil d’Arrondissement, which is today known as the "Conseil Général" (General Counsel).
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