Welcome to Chinon

Sunday, February 1, 2015 23 No tags Permalink 0

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace. – Eugene O’Neill

chinon houses

A stroll through the beautiful city of Chinon, and the fairytale of living in France returned and ignited my esprit. Each afternoon ramble through the narrow medieval streets of this picturesque village with its swags of roses draped over gates and doorways, its quaint shop fronts and cobbled streets and I was once again enchanted. I forgot the daily grind of life, the drab, rainy summer we’ve had, the cold, rainy winter we are having, the move and the imminent opening of the hotel – our hotel – and here I was, once again, in the beautiful, romantic France of every American girl’s dream.

chinon door


But the almost-daily downpour, a rainy morning through mid afternoon, the nervousness of having to be ready for Day 1 tomorrow doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm once we saw, from our first visit here, how stunning and how well preserved Chinon is. The city of Chinon is nestled in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Center, along the banks of the peaceful Vienne River. We wend our way to the center and are carried swiftly upward to the narrow road towards the Château, the Royal Fortress, a World Heritage Site, perched atop the town. The Fort, newly restored, was a favorite residence of Henry II, Henry Plantagenêt, Count of Anjou, crowned King of England in 1154, as well as where Joan of Arc met Charles VII for the first time; from the promontory we can admire the spread of the city below, the black before turning back to stare out at the sea of black slate rooftops and the tranquil Vienne River of which we are now given a bird’s eye view.

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale. – Hans Christian Andersen

chinon rooftops

We love our new city. It is small, cozy and convivial, hauntingly, enchantingly historic, ancient yet so beautifully preserved. The wine of Chinon seems to spill over and into the streets, vineyards huddle up and hug the city which itself is filled with tasting rooms and cellars, some housed in the troglodyte caves dug into the cliff faces overhanging the city. Nights are calm, quiet, even as we live just off of the city center, the surrounding area is filled with beautiful walks, stunning villages, astonishing churches and the world’s most beautiful châteaux and gardens. What is not to love about living in Chinon?

chinon wine


Chinon grapes

It has taken me close to thirty years to get here, through the madness of Paris, the sadness of the suburbs, the beautiful anonymity of Nantes and now it is like we are home.

binevenue a chinon

  • Barbara @ Barbara Bakes
    February 1, 2015

    What a lovely post. God bless you in your new home.

  • Château du Petit Thouars
    February 1, 2015

    It is easy to fall in love with! Chinon is like a sleeping beauty just waiting to be discovered!

  • Lynne Faubert
    February 1, 2015

    Ah, you make me want to move to France, an old childhood dream. I visited the fortress a long time ago, but didn’t spend any time in the village, my bad. Looking at your pictures, my total bad 🙂 Bonne chance with the hotel or, more wisely, merde!

  • Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig
    February 1, 2015

    I just want to be there…

  • Louise
    February 1, 2015

    Ooooh! Your enchanting post made me want to return to Chinon and the Loire Valley. Every good wish to you!

  • Rosa
    February 1, 2015

    Fabulous architecture, peaceful surroundings and historically interesting old town.



  • bellini
    February 1, 2015

    Welcome home Jamie 🙂 Home is where the heart is.

  • Teresa Speight
    February 1, 2015

    How enchanting and exciting this is. Good luck with the hotel and the continued exploration of such a wonderful City!

  • Michael Nicola
    February 1, 2015

    Funny, it could suggest the end of a long journey, as you mentioned it’s taken thirty years to “get here” and, we all know it’s only the beginning. My what a wonderful new voyage lies ahead for you and your husband. Enjoy every, single moment, even when it’s challenging. Could it BE anymore romantic? Many blessings.

  • Robin O
    February 1, 2015

    I think your last sentence summed it up. At last home.

  • Christine
    February 1, 2015

    As Val said: “Home is where the heart is”, and it seems you have found your true heart. So very happy for you!

  • Jennifer from Milk and Honey
    February 1, 2015

    What a magical place. Now I want to go to Chinon. Best wishes for your adventures.

  • Lizzy (Good Things)
    February 1, 2015

    Congratulations Jamie… wishing you every success in your home xox

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    February 1, 2015

    I wish I could give you the biggest hug and look into your eyes and tell you how magnificent I think this journey is. Definitely, welcome to all of us to Chinon. 🙂

  • Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    February 1, 2015

    Aw Jamie, welcome to your new home. I can’t wait to visit you there! XO

  • Srivalli
    February 2, 2015

    All the best Jamie…it’s a lovely place..looking forward to all the wonderful things you are going to do here..:)

  • Betsy @ Desserts Required
    February 2, 2015

    I couldn’t be happier for you. You deserve to live in the land of castles where dreams really do come true!

  • Sofia
    February 2, 2015

    Absolutely gorgeous. Much luck though am sure you won’t need any. Cannot wait to read more about your whole experiences.

  • John@Kitchen Riffs
    February 3, 2015

    Home indeed. Such a pretty place. And lovely post — thanks.

  • Denise
    February 6, 2015

    Oh Jamie!! I am so happy for you; truly, heart-felt happy. I have always believe fairy tales can come true, and so deserving of you. We were there years ago, and loved that area. Cannot wait to visit again!

  • Charlie
    February 7, 2015

    I’m full of admiration for your daring, full of excitement for your panache – lucky guests, lucky Chinon. It’s going to be the most thrilling adventure – bonne chance et bon courage

  • Katie
    February 7, 2015

    I remember Chinon – lovely village. We were there when we lived in the Vendee. I don’t know when we’ll get up there again,but someday we come visit. Best of luck to you all.

  • Sally - My Custard Pie
    March 2, 2015

    Very belated good luck in your new home and with your new venture. How you manage to cook, run the hotel and manage 2 blogs is beyond me. You seem to be thriving 🙂