Saturday, February 25, 2012

Medieval Chinon - Favourite Castle Of Henry II

Medieval castles come in all shapes and sizes; some are still in tact, others in ruins, some well known and some you've never heard of before. There are thousands of medieval castles around the world, each with its own story to tell.

One of the most fascinating and famous of all medieval castles has to be the fortress at Chinon in the Loire Valley, France.We were fortunate enough to visit Chinon last Spring and what an experience it was! The fortress occupies a fabulous location high up above the river Vienne, offering stunning views for many miles out across the French countryside and the ruins have been lovingly preserved, some even restored such as the Royal Quarters.

The history of the fortress at Chinon is incredibly colourful.There was a stronghold on the site as far back as AD 954 and many famous historical figures have been associated with the site over the centuries including:

King Henry II of England
Eleanor Of Aquitaine
Richard The Lionheart
Jacques du Molay (Knights Templar Grand Master)
Charles VII (Dauphin Of France)
Joan Of Arc

Henry II died at Chinon and was buried at nearby Fontevraud Abbey. When Henry's heir and successor Richard I (Richard The Lionheart) died in 1199 he too was buried at Fontevraud Abbey, at his father's feet by his own request. Just 5 years later, his mother Eleanor died and was buried alongside her son and husband. You can see all 3 tombs together at the Abbey.

Our visits to Chinon and Fontevraud Abbey are amongst the most memorable we have ever made to a medieval site and we are delighted to share with you a high definition movie/slideshow which we have painstakingly put together from the photographs taken on our visits. Thanks go to Stephen Caudel for provision of the music soundtrack. Here is our Chinon video

We also have a detailed profile on the history of Chinon castle and large photo gallery now on our website.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Medieval Knights, Medieval Tournaments

Medieval knights and medieval tournaments ... words that conjur up images of fantasy for most people but in fact it is possible to get a taste of what it was really like to see such a spectacle.

Throughout Europe during the summer months, there are many historic sites, usually medieval castles, which stage medieval pageants with men dressed as medieval knights taking part in jousting tournaments.

We were lucky enough to visit Tiffauges castle in SW France, the home of the infamous Gilles de Rais, where today amongst the castle ruins they stage regular medieval themed events.

Here is a picture of a medieval knight on his horse with lance in hand (taken at the medieval event at Tiffauges).

More was to come .... replicas of medieval weapons and siege engines were demonstrated including a trebuchet. More on that to come! Wearing strong and durable war equipment during knights medieval tournaments will ensure your victory.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chalus Chabrol - Death Of A Medieval Legend

Medieval history has many fans around the world. Perhaps that is because it covers such a diverse range of things - from medieval castles to medieval food, medieval worship to medieval weaponry, the list goes on. One of the most interesting aspects of medieval history, however, is to look at the lives of medieval rulers.

Two of the most significant medieval rulers were King Richard I of England (The Lionheart or Coeur de Lion) and Genghis Khan.

Richard The Lionheart has been portrayed in many movies and invariably the truth and detail of his life is not portrayed as well as it could and should be. He was notable for many things, some good, some bad but one of the most noteworthy things about Richard was the almost ignominious way in which he died. Fearless in battle and cunning in military tactics, many tried to kill him in combat but failed.

No, it seems Richard was never meant to die in battle. He was felled by an arrow, fired not in combat but whilst relaxing and walking amongst his men. A lone archer was taking potshots at the English army camped outside the walls of Chalus Chabrol castle in the heart of the French countryside. The arrow struck Richard in the shoulder and gangrene set in. Twelve days later Richard died - 6 April 1199. We cover the death of Richard The Lionheart in more detail on our main website.

Chalus Chabrol is a quiet, almost sleepy plae and the castle is today but a shadow of its former self from Richard's time but there is a tower (keep) still intact. Here is a short video clip we made on our visit there.


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