At the beginning of the 2000s, the Departmental Council of Indre-et-Loire, which owns the Royal Fortress of Chinon, decided to launch a major project to modernise the monument. New parts of the Fortress were opened to visitors and a contemporary building was built to house the entrance area, a gift shop and a space for temporary exhibitions. Restoration work began on the ramparts and the towers. The royal lodgings, having been in ruins for 200 years, were fitted with a new framework and a roof.
With the completion of the restoration work, the Royal Fortress of Chinon could then offer its visitors a new trail that changes regularly to meet public expectations.
The now-restored Royal Quarters are used for performances and museum exhibitions:
- Two rooms are devoted to the history of the fortress, with multimedia terminals, scale-models and archaeological collections taken from recent excavations.
- Two rooms are dedicated to Joan of Arc, with an exhibition of original artefacts from the 18th to 20th century (bronze statues, pottery, etc.). An extensive iconographic collection features the various sides to this heroine over the centuries.
- Several crossbows, a suit of armour and helmets give a flavour of war in the 15th century.
- A film is screened in an innovative and creative way in the "immersion room". It illustrates an important period in the fortress' history through the eyes of key figures like Henry II Plantagenet, Joan of Arc and Charles VII.
New for 2018: Revisit the chambers of Charles VII at the Royal Fortress of Chinon. Charles VII has two chambers, each with a bed and antechamber, where scenes from public and political life were played out and where the King gave audiences and received ambassadors. In the private bedroom, where you stand, there are comforts for more personal needs like a private heated chamber and toilets.
Reconstructing the furnishings in Charles VII's private chamber took considerable effort, combining documentary research as well as input from artists and craftspeople. A bed, (arm)chair, chest, table and bench were recreated for the room.
3D reconstructions and audio terminals installed in the grounds and towers help you to gain a different insight into the fortress.
The top floor in the Clock Tower has an ancient mechanism that once made the bell ring in the 14th century! A Zoetrope is used to explain the bell-ringing process. This unique device creates optical illusions which you can try out for yourself.
To accompany you on your visit, a guide booklet is available in the entrance building of the Fortress.