1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chinon

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CHINON, a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Indre-et-Loire, on the right bank of the Vienne, 32m. S.W. of Tours on the State railway. Pop. (1906) 4071. Chinon lies at the foot of the rocky eminence which is crowned by the ruins of the famous castle. Its narrow, winding streets contain many houses of the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest of its churches, St Mexme, is in the Romanesque style, but only the façade and nave are left. The church of St Etienne dates from the 15th century, that of St Maurice from the 12th, 15th and 16th centuries. The castle, which has undergone considerable modern restoration, consists of three portions. That to the east, the Château de St Georges, built by Henry II. of England, has almost vanished, only the foundation of the outer wall remaining. The Château du Milieu (11th to 15th centuries) comprises the keep, the Pavilion de l’Horloge and the Grand Logis, in the principal apartment of which the first meeting between Joan of Arc and Charles VII. took place. Of the Château du Coudray, which is separated by a moat from the Château du Milieu, the chief remains are the Tour du Moulin (10th century) and two less ancient towers. A statue of Rabelais, who was born in the vicinity of the town, stands on the river-quay. Chinon has trade in wheat, brandy, red wine and plums. Basket and rope manufacture, tanning and cooperage are among its industries. Chinon (Caïno) existed before the Roman occupation of Gaul, and was from early times an important fortress. It was occupied by the Visigoths, and subsequently, after forming part of the royal domain, came to the counts of Touraine and from them to the counts of Anjou. Henry II. often resided in the castle, and died there. The place was taken by Philip Augustus in 1205 after a year’s siege.