We never went to Chinon; it was a fatality. We planned it a dozen times; but the weather interfered, or the trains didn’t suit, or one of the party was fatigued with the adventures of the day before. The excursion was so much postponed that it was finally postponed to everything. Besides, we had to go on to Chenonceaux, to Azay-le-Rideau, to Langeais, to Loches. So I have not the memory of Chinon; I have only the regret. But regret, as well as memory, has its visions, especially when, like memory, it is assisted with photographs.
The castle of Chinon in this form appears to me as an enormous ruin, a mediaeval fortress, of the extent almost of a city. It covers a hill above the Vienne, and after being impregnable in its time is indestructible to-day. (I risk this phrase in the face of the prosaic truth. Chinon, in the days when it was a prize, more than once suffered capture, and at present it is crumbling inch by inch. It is apparent, however, I believe, that these inches encroach little upon acres of masonry.)
From: Henry James, A Little Tour In France (1884)