The pretty town of Chinon (37 Indre et Loire, Centre) lies in the heart of the Loire Valley – yet the river which runs through the town is the Vienne, which goes on to meet the Loire river just 15km or so to the west. The medieval town and castle have been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The town was suitably the birthplace of the writer and “bon viveur” Rabelais (16th Century) and he is celebrated throughout the town.
With its impressive Chateau and maze of medieval streets, the town in well worth a visit, but the added attraction of the local wine is a bonus!, with one of the best known producers – Couly-Dutheil having cellars in the heart of the town – and underneath it! A great atmospheric environment for tasting some of the fine wines of Chinon. Outside the town there are many vignerons who welcome visitors to try the red and white wines of the appellation – mainly Cabernet Franc for the reds, Chenin Blanc for the whites.
Visit in April and you can enjoy the Fête des Vins wine fair in the streets of the town.
The wines around Chinon are typcial of many Loire vineyards – rich reds based on Cabernet Franc grapes, and fragrant white wines based on the Chenin Blanc. Some of the best wines come from the steep valley sides of the River Vienne to the east of the town. Chinon AOC website (in French).
Much recommended is the nearby Bed and Breakfast “Domaine de Givré” in Cravant les Côteaux, situated in the Loire valley, and known for its castles and vineyards. Cravant les Côteaux is a small village next to the old wine city Chinon. The 2 large en suite bedrooms are situated in the oldest part of the 15th century domain, and have been completely renovated in a trraditional style. There is a swimming pool and you can hire bikes. You can admire the beauty and silence of the nature, with a nice glass of wine from the region!
Another alternative in the heart of Chinon is the Hotel Saint Jacques – a central location just 5mins walk from the medieval centre.