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11.8.05

Chinon To Be Restored

Château de ChinonThe Château de Chinon is one of the older surviving castles in France, built in the 12th century by the Plantagenet King Henry II and others. It was the site of the infamous Christmas court, depicted in the 1968 film The Lion in Winter, with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole as the brilliant, dueling, royal couple. In 1429, Chinon played host to the meeting between a later French king, Charles VII, and a crazy teenager from Orléans named Jeanne d'Arc. An article (Chinon: le château va retrouver ses fastes, August 4) from France 2 Cultural News reports the news that the local government, which owns the property is going to attempt to restore the fortress to its medieval glory (my translation):

The work will begin in September and continue until 2008. More than 11 million € will be invested by the Conseil Général d'Indre-et-Loire. [The fortress was] constructed on a rocky cliff 500 meters long and towering over the town. [...] Poorly kept up and abandoned, the château was pillaged for construction materials at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1854, the writer Prosper Mérimée, Chief Inspector of Historic Monuments, asked that the site be respected and launched a restoration campaign that made it possible to shore up one part of the battlements.
I'm not really sure exactly what they are going to be doing, but they say that the work will not disturb the some 100,000 tourists who visit each year.

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