Chateau Chinon is a village of Nievre department, in Burgundy region. The town is located on the side of Le Calvaire hill (609m) and towers above the left bank of the Yonne river. It is the capital of Haut Morvan area. Houses in Chateau Chinon are typical Morvan buildings with their slated roofs.
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Château Chinon is 300km from Paris and can be reached via the A6 motorway.
The closest train stations are Nevers (70km), Autun (35km), Cercy la Tour (40km) and Montchanin (70km).
As for bus services, Château Chinon is on the Nevers/Château Chinon line and Autun/Château Chinon line.
The origin of the village’s name remains vague. The most probable hypothesis would be “Can nein” which means “white peak” in Gaelic. Château Chinon was a Gaul oppidum, and then became a Roman stronghold. The most ancient document which refers to Château Chinon dates from 1076. The city grew around the feudal castle and kept its peculiar amphitheatre aspect throughout the ages. After the Revolution, Château Chinon was divided into two villages: Château Chinon(Ville) and Château Chinon(Campagne). Its history then fell in line with France’s. It is one of the smallest sub prefectures of the country but remains the capital of Morvan (an area delimited by geographic frontiers rather than administrative limits). Francois Mitterrand, president of France from 1981 to 1995, was mayor of the town from 1959 to 1981.
Numerous walks, hiking ways and tourist routes are offered to discover Château Chinon and its surroundings. A place on the Promenade route that surrounds Le Calvaire hill is dedicated to Francois Mitterrand.
“Le Musée du Septennat”, set in the former Sainte Claire convent, houses items that Francois Mitterrand offered during its time as President. “Le Musée du Costume” exhibits a collection of costumes, dresses and clothes from the 16th and 20th century. The animated fountain by Nicki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, is also worth seeing.
The “Castrum Caninum” oppidum dates from the 1st and 3rd century and is located on top of Le Calvaire hill, along with remains of the castle (old underground passage and a watch tower).
Finally, “Porte Notre Dame” is one of the rare remains of the town’s ramparts. It was built by Louis 11th at the end of the 15th century.
Food and Drink
Nièvre is the department of Charolais beef. It is an AOC meat – a label that testifies of its origin and quality – is the main local product of Charolles. At first (and until the 18th century), Charolais beef was only bred for local consumption. However, during the 1867 Universal Exposition, Charolais was awarded as best meat and was then to be exported across the whole country. It offers numerous recipes such as beef bourguignon, filet de charolais with cream and morels, crispy beef charolais with honey, etc.
Le Morvan is popular for its cooked meats, pie dish and ham and has specialities such as Saupiquet des Amognes, ham with cream, meat juices and tomatoe puree, or fried asparagus with Morvan ham.
As for cheese, le Crottin de Chavignol is a famous goat cheese mostly produced in the Cher department but also in Loire and Nièvre department. Nivernais is a cheese made from unpasteurized fresh cow milk and is produced in Nièvre department only.
Negus (fudge wrapped in crunchy chocolate) and Nougatine are two local sweets.
Finally, in Morvan Nature Park, three beekeepers from Nièvre (Château Chinon, Montreuillon and Gouloux) offer honey whose unique flavour comes from the pollen of Morvan specific plants.
HOTEL RESTAURANT DU PARC – Route Nevers, 58120, Château Chinon Ville. Tel: 03.86.79.44.94
AU VIEUX MORVAN – 8 Place Gudin, 58120, Château Chinon Ville. Tel: 03.86.85.05.01
In the event that you fall in love with the region and intend to buy a property there, Sextant properties have bi-lingual agents in the area who known the available properties. They will be able to accompany you on visits, answer your queries and generally make finding and choosing your ideal property a pleasure – all of which will speed the day you walk into your new home in Chateau Chinon.