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To break up the long drive from Bordeaux to Paris, we stopped in the Loire Valley for an afternoon, night and morning. There are several Chateaus in the area, several being castle like or fortified houses in the least.

Chenin was the first we stopped at, Chenin being known as the castle where Joan of Arc first passed the test of faith by knowing it was the king, Charles VII dressed as a commoner. She had visions that he was to take back lost lands and be named the true king, which he hadn’t been yet, as the church where coronations were held was in English hands. Believing her to be inspirational, he then sent her out as a leader of his army (well there’s debate over whether she was really in charge of the army…but the results are what matters). The French army was beaten down and defeated by the English to that point but they had quite a reversal of fortune after she joined the battle, taking back most of the lost land. The French took back the coronation church and Charles VII was named king, the French continued to have many victories with Joan on the front lines. Unfortunately, she was captured by the English and the Burgandians (A French region they were aligned with) She was tried and actually burned as a heretic on May 30th, 1431 (exactly 583 years ago today as I write this) on what we would call trumped up charges. Eventually English were formally defeated and the Burgandians signed a peace treaty as well leaving Charles VII leading the whole of France. A second posthumous trial was held for Joan of Arc and she was found not a heretic and was declared a saint.

Chateau at Chenin


The oldest mention of Joan of Arc


Statues of Joan of Arc became very popular


More of Chenin Chateau (Castle)




Chateau Ambiose, the final resting place of Leonardo DiVinci, but unfortunately no the castle I wanted to visit. We hoped to visit the one where they have models of all the things that DiVinci had envisioned and had drawn up sort of blueprints for including a helicopter!!! Unfortunately, this Google led us to this one instead of the one a mile away… We just assumed they had moves the models… Ah well this one was nice too 🙂



Only about 10% of the Castle remains


Picture perfect little town