Europe, France, Indre-et-Loire

Château-Renault is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France. The town of Chateau-Renault is located equidistant between the cities of Tours and Vendome and can be reached on train services on the Tours-Paris or Tours-Vendome lines. The commune includes the settlements of Villedomer, Les Hermites, Saunay, Auzouer, Neuville-sur-Brenne and Crotelles. Evidence of early human occupation or the Loire Valley has been found such as the standing stones of Pierrefite and several hand tools, but the settlement of Chateau-Renault dates from the feudal wars that occurred in the 11th century between the Counts of Blois and the Counts of Anjou. In the early part of the century a loyal member of the court of the Count of Blois was charged by the construction of a defensive structure( most likely a simple wooden tower) on the site of the present chateau. He named this defensive structure after his son, Renaud. This was the origin of the towns name. However, the defensive strucute was not enough and the area was soon lost to the Counts of Anjou. It was under the new management that land was gifted for the construction of a chapel and a small settlement at the foot of the castle site. The town was renowned throughout 19th century France for the leather produced there. High levels of Calcium Carbonate in the water gave the leather produced there a thick, resistant nature and the arrival of the railway in 1867 ensured that the product had access to a market.