Chinon Castle France Detailed Description


Over a period of time the site of the castle was structured into three distinct parts which the kings of the time referred to as their three castles. Thus looking at the site, one can see that from the west to the east, the rocky promontory is divided by ditches separating the three castles. These are Fort Coudray, the Middle Castle and Fort Saint George. Each of the three castles has a separate fortified enclosure.


The Royal Quarters
Chinon Royal QuartersFrom the end of the 12th century, the site of the Royal quarters featured a large banqueting hall. During the 13th century, another smaller building was added to the West. Around 1370, Duke Louis I of Angou undertook the reconstruction of the Royal quarters creating a that time a new Hall of Justice. Of these alterations and additions, only the south wing survives to the present day. At the time of Charles VII, took on their more recognisable shape that we see today with three wings arranged around a courtyard. In the 15th century quarters housed the royal apartments including an antechamber and a bedroom, bathroom and closet. The service rooms and the dining room or on the ground floor. Located at the eastern end of this wing, the 14th century Hall of Justice became the great Hall of the castle aka the Hall of Recognition. Click photos to enlarge

Argenton TowerThe Argenton tower
Around 1477, King Louis XI put the fortress of Chinon under the control of his biographer Philip Commynes, Lord of Argenton. He immediately set about building a new and more robust tower able to with stand the new gunpowder weapons and this is known as the Argenton tower. The walls of the tower of 5 m thick and at the lowest level are embrasures for cannons. The top terrace is actually on the same level as the courtyard of the Middle Castle. In the 17th century, this tower served as a prison and this is evidenced by the graffiti on the walls. The bombards or primitive cannons featured on the terrace are originals dating back to the late 16th century.

The Dogs TowerThe Dogs Tower
Along with the Coudray Tower and the Watchtower, the Dogs Tower is one of the large towers built during the reign of Philippe Augustus. However unlike the other two, it is a horseshoe shape rather than circular. It owes its unusual name to the nearby kennels which during the 15th century housed the Royal hounds. The tower has three vaulted levels surmounted by a terrace with access being on the middle floor. The loopholes or arrow slits are offset from one level to another providing effective defence and in order not to weaken the wall structure. Between the first and second floors are latrines and the bread oven which is to be found on the middle floor probably dates back to the 15th century and would provide for the needs of the court.

The Clock TowerThe Clock Tower
Since the end of the 12th century, the clock tower has served as the entrance to the Middle Castle taking its name from the clock installed in the turret that rises above roof level. The current incarnation that we see today dates back to the late 14th century. Originally the tower would have featured a door in a taller slender structure with a semicircular extremity but under the reign of Philippe Augustus, in the early 13th century, it was elevated and secured with a portcullis and a drawbridge. In the late 14th century it was considerably elevated in order to provide rooms and a spiral staircase was created providing access to the five levels that the tower now contained.

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