Centre International du Patrimoine de Chinon

International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center of Chinon

What is Bodard de la Jacopière ?
Bodard de la Jacopière is what French people call a Hôtel, meaning a historical private stately home. Composed of several buildings, “Bodard” (as it is known by the locals) is steeped in Chinon history, having been the property of Jean-Baptiste Bodard de la Jacopière, mayor of the town between 1813 and 1816. The estate is entirely covered by the French Heritage legislation as a “Monument Historique”.

In Novembre 2021 the Hotel de Bodard was sold to an SCI created by the project founders. Our project, that will preserve Bodard de la Jacopière while turning it into an International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center, is now on the road of becoming a reality.

The International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center
The projected International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center will be a multi-purpose equipment hosting a conference room that will welcome the general public as well as professionals (architects, cultural heritage experts, artisans, students, scholars) . The building will also host the Heritage interpretation center of the City of Chinon, as well as a restaurant, a tea salon, a wine and truffle bar and a heritage preservation architect’s office.

The Bodard de la Jacopière estate is located in the center of Chinon. It traces its origins to the 15th and 16th centuries. Having been remodeled several times, it offers a wide range of architectural and construction techniques that can serve as case studies for students and scholars. The International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center will work closely with existing institutions (compagnons du Devoir, centre Saint-Luc, Chaillot school of Architecture, National Heritage Institute, universities) in order to offer all the stakeholders a place to connect, exchange and intersect around art history, architectural history and conservation devoted to professionals and the general public.

Projected activities
Seminars and conferences ; exhibitions ; courses and vocational training ; documentation center ; conference center ; residence and summer retreat. Restaurant, tea-salon, wine and truffle bar, heritage preservation architect’s office.

Conservation efforts
The Bodard estate is in pretty bad shape, except the west wing on rue Parmentier, which was consolidated in 2005. This wing will be used first, as well as the ground floor of the main building to prefigure the International Architectural Heritage Conservation Center (exhibitions and conference rooms) and send the project on its tracks. Part of the conservation effort would be run as a vocational training center, thus reducing the conservation costs.

Excerpt from the 2009-2010 evaluation :
the situation has gotten worse since 2016, when the buildings were vacated.

Architectural project
– The 1970’s additions that once served as an elementary school will be pulled down and the interior courtyard thus cleared and enlarged, will be turned into a garden.
– The side that opens north on rue Haute Saint-Maurice will be a priority, with the conservation of the great 15th century hall where remnants of the 18th century decor are still visible. This room, that matches the ones that have been restored in the Royal Fortress, will be used as a conference room.
– Four other halls can be transformed in conference or exhibition rooms.
– The east and west wings will be used to host the administration and logistics of the project.
– An extension on the east side will be build to set up an elevator and extra staircases.

A view of the projected square on the Vienne side of the property.

– In order to better integrate the “new Bodard” to its urban environment, a section of the courtyard on the south side (quai Charles VII) will be returned to the public domain to create a cobbled square that will be a reminder of the former “cour de Liesse” that used to stand there in the 17th century. That square would spill across the street to mark the entrance of the town and slow down the trafic. It will create a link with the Vienne river and the existing ramp leading to the water. It will open up the south end of rue Parmentier, connect to rue Beaurepaire and open up a link to the lower Saint-Maurice neighbourhood.

Project goals

For professionals – We will create a bustling place that will serve as a training and exchange platform for all the professionals and stakeholders working in the conservation and art/architecture history fields.

For the general public – The compound will be open to the general public as well, through its conferences, its exhibitions and its learning/teaching activities.

For the urban dynamic – The Bodard project will also work as a booster for the revival of the western sector of the medieval town. The halls will be available for congresses and its activities will bring tourists and professionals to that part of town, with beneficial effects on the local economy.

Why chose Chinon ?

A real gem located in the center of the French Loire Valley, the city of Chinon (8.000 inhabitants) has all it takes to support the development of an International Architectural Heritage Center.

Location – Chinon is located at the junction of 3 French regions (Touraine, Poitou, Anjou) and benefits from a number of air, road and rail links, as well as being close to large cities as Tours (40 min), Saumur (30 min) Angers (1 hour), Nantes (2 hours) and Paris (2h15).

History – Chinon is steeped in history, since it was the seat of the royal Plantagenet court before being seized by the kings of France around 1204.

Henry II Plantagenet, king of England, his wife Eleanor and their sons, Richard (“the Lionheart“) and John (“Lackland“) favored the city with their presence. Part of the family was buried in the abbey of Fontevraud, another extraordinary architectural heritage and case study only 20-minute drive from Chinon.

Chinon is also tied to Joan of Arc : it is in the Royal Fortress (Salle de la Rencontre) that the young woman convinced Charles VII, then a second choice for the throne of France, to unlock the situation and claim his due.

Heritage – Centuries of History have left Chinon with a treasure trove of historical buildings that turn the center of the city into an open-air architecture museum : numerous Middle-ages (14th-15th centuries) and Renaissance buildings, alternating stately homes with timber-frame houses. The city belongs to the section of the Loire Valley that is listed in the Unesco World heritage sites since 2000.

This peculiar environment is well suited to bring life to a project that will focus on architectural heritage conservation, as the town itself is a conservatory of styles and technique lending itself to study and practice. It is also prone to attract professionals, students and scholars from neighbouring institutions as well as international ones.

Regional and international aura
– History and Art History faculties of the closest universities (Orléans, Le Mans, Tours, Poitiers et Angers), as well as the Fine Arts schools (Tours runs a Heritage Conservation program) .

– Foreign institutions will benefit from the project as they will be able to use the place for Summer workshops or specialized seminars/residences, embedded in the very artistic environment they study (Roman art, Plantagenet Gothic, Renaissance architecture, etc.).