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Chinon

town, Indre-et-Loire departement, Centre region, western France, on the banks of the Vienne River, south-southwest of Tours. It is famous for its medieval streets and a ruined chateau, where the first meeting between St. Joan of Arc and King Charles VII of France took place in 1429. A statue of the 16th-century French writer Francois Rabelais, who was born in the vicinity in about 1494 and passed his childhood in the town, stands on the river embankment. The chateau, standing on a rocky height dominating the town, consists of three separate strongholds. To the east, the Fort- (or Chateau de) Saint-Georges, built by Henry II of England, has almost disappeared. The Chateau du Milieu (11th-15th centuries), which contains a museum of St. Joan of Arc, is separated by moats from Fort-Saint-Georges to the east and from the Chateau du Coudray to the west. The chief remains of the Chateau du Coudray are the Tour du Moulin (12th century) and two later towers. There are fine views from the chateau of the old town of Chinon and of the Vienne Valley. A good local wine is also produced. The town is a small administrative, commercial, and tourist centre. It lies amid an area of viticulture noted for its red "Chinon" wines. Pop. (1999) 8,716; (2005 est.) 8,169.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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