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Attractions of Saumur

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Saumur is located in the southern part of Anjou, at the intersection of the Tue and Loire rivers. The city grew up on the site of a small settlement, which was formed in the 4th century BC. The main attraction of Saumur is its castle, which is considered one of the architectural symbols of the Loire Valley.

Staying in Saumur, you will find yourself in a real French ancient town. Do not miss the opportunity. Book hotels in Saumur using this link. And here you will find tours of the Castles of the Loire.

Castle Saumur

Saumur castle was built in the middle of the tenth century. During its existence, it was used as a fortress, estate, residence of the rulers of the city, a prison and even as a military depot. The castle became the property of Saumur in 1906 and, after restoration work, the city museum was equipped in it. Today, Saumur Castle houses an extensive collection of medieval art, consisting of sculptures, furniture and French ceramics. The Horse Museum is also located here, where you can see interesting exhibits related to horse riding.

In the summer, the Saumur castle is open daily from 10.00 to 18.30, the rest of the time it is open from 10.00 to 17.30 all days except Monday. From July to August, the entrance ticket costs 7 euros, in other months 6 euros.

Attractions Saumur

Saumur castle is the main decoration of the city, but in addition to it, there are other places in Saumur that deserve attention. For example, in Saumur is the French National Riding School (near St-Hilaire-St-Florent). You can take a school tour to see how the best riders in France train, or watch a performance featuring school instructors known as the elite Cadre Noir team, demonstrating amazing dexterity and refined choreography.

In Saumur is the famous Museum of Tanks (Musée des blindés, 1043 Route de Fontevraud), which presents a collection of tanks, guns and other weapons. The size of the collection is impressive: it includes more than 200 tanks and other types of military vehicles from 17 countries. Ticket price - 8.5 euros.

If you are more interested in architecture, then you should visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers (Place Notre Dame), which for many centuries has been a place of pilgrimage for Catholics.

You can also visit the castle of Monsoro, mentioned in one of Dumas most famous novels. Monsoro Castle is located about 12 kilometers from Saumur.

Wines Saumur

A trip to Saumur will be incomplete without getting to know the local wineries, because the Loire Valley is famous not only for its castles, but also for wine. Saumur is famous for its dry red wines from Cabernet Franc, which are distinguished by floral and fruity notes of violets and slightly immature plums. One of the best red wines of Saumur is Domaine du Collier Saumur Rouge La Charpenterie.

Also recently, Saumur sparkling wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes, often mixed with Chardonnay, have become increasingly popular. Bouvet-Ladubay Saumur Bouvet Brut and Bouvet-Ladubay Saumur Saphir Brut are worth a try in this category.

White wines occupy a very small niche in the production of Saumur, using the Chenin Blanc variety for their production. If you prefer white wine, pay attention to Clos Rougeard Saumur Blanc Breze.

Where to eat in Saumur

You can taste local wines not only in wineries, but also in restaurants in Saumur. In the city's most popular restaurant, Le Gambetta (12 rue gambetta) There are several menu options that include wine, specially selected to emphasize the taste of dishes. The average bill will be 63 euros.

In L’Amuse-Bouche (512 Route de Montsoreau), which is located on the Saumur-Champigny grape plantation, you can try traditional French cuisine: foie gras with fig jam, duck confit, eel stew, and for dessert - creme brulee or chocolate fondant with salted caramel. The average bill is 30 euros.

In the family bistro L’Alchimiste (6 rue de Lorraine) You will be treated to a simple homemade dinner - fried fish, beef in Burgundy, duck pate. The average bill will be 20 euros, and gourmets can try a special menu for 35 euros, which includes the best delicacies: oysters, foie gras, duck breast with spices, cheeses and a variety of desserts to choose from.

Where to stay in Saumur?

Although Saumur is a very small city, there is housing for every taste. If you want to plunge into the luxurious atmosphere of French castles, you will surely like the rooms at the five-star Château de Verrières - a converted 19th-century castle surrounded by a beautiful park. The hotel is located near the old town of Saumur. It has only 10 rooms, but in comfort it will not yield to the most famous five-star hotels in Europe. It offers a heated pool, a fitness room, massage services, a games room for children, an indoor park area and a bar with the best Loire wines. The average price per night is 150 euros.

Hotel Saint Pierre (rue Haute Saint-Pierre), located in a private house of the 17th century, offers its guests the charm of a historical atmosphere in modern comfort. The hotel is located near the church of the same name Saumur. The average price per night is 100 euros.

One of the most popular options in the budget segment is the Hotel Le Londres (48 rue Orléans) within walking distance of the castle of Saumur. In Le Londres you can rent not only hotel rooms, but also small apartments with a living area and kitchen. Prices start at 53 euros.

Story

Viticulture and winemaking (sparkling wines), the manufacture of liquors. The proximity to the military cavalry school, as well as the availability of special conditions for growing grapes, made this area the main competitor of Champagne in the production of sparkling wines. Ackerman Effervescent Wine House (founded in 1811), Luis de Grenelle (1859) and other famous brands were founded here. The success of business development was promoted by consumers from the army officers. According to the same army tradition, stronger drinks in the form of liquors began to be produced here. Tourism develops thanks to the presence of a castle in the city itself and the unique underground fortress Brese, located nearby. Many tourists are attracted to the Saumur Museum of Armored Vehicles, which is considered one of the largest and best in the world, taking, in particular, the first place in terms of the number of exhibits.

Story

In 845, Saumur was plundered by the Danish Viking Gastein (Hasting, c. 810–893), the son of Ragnar Lodbrog (? –865).

From March 1599, until the abolition of the Nantes Edict in 1685, in Saumur there was the first Huguenot Theological Academy in France (Académie de Saumur), founded by Philippe Duplessis-Morne and reached its peak, but at the same time branded a nursery of heresy under Moise Amiro, a professor at the academy in 1633-1664.

In June 1940, despite the announcement of Marshal Pétain about the ceasefire, the cadets of the Somur cavalry school refused to stop fighting the Germans. For three days, these young soldiers strike the enemy.

History of Saumur:

Saumur reached its Calerian peak during the reign of King René, and later, in the 16th century, earned notoriety as a Protestant fortress - the frightened Louise of Bourbon, abbess of the Fontevraud monastery, called Saumur "second Geneva" - as a potential competitor to this stronghold of Calvinism in Switzerland. The ruler of Saumur under Henry IV and the "Protestant Pope" Philip Duplessis-Morne helped to issue the Nantes Edict, which granted freedom of religion. He also founded the Protestant Academy in Saumur, whose students and teachers supported a miniature economy and a cultural boom in the city: the academy's high school attracted Protestants even from England and Holland.

When the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, the Protestant population was forced to leave the city, and Saumur himself survived only thanks to river trade.

In 1767, Minister Choiseul transferred the national riding school to Saumur, guaranteeing the preservation of the equestrian traditions of the city. The school was expanded in 1824 and renamed the "Royal Cavalry School" (École Royale de Cavalerie), now it is a military college with the full name École d’Application de l’Armé Blindée et de Cavalerie, or Academy Tank Corps. The current elite riding school of Saumur - École d’Équitation is a civic institution located in the suburbs.

In the 19th century, thanks to the textile industry, local merchants got rich. The satirical heroine of Balzac, reflecting the provincial-bourgeois society of Saumur, "Eugene Grande", left not the best mark on the city’s reputation, but the heroic defense of the Loire in 1940 restored the city's prestige.

Today, Saumur’s well-being rests on prosperous winemaking, tourism and horse riding.

Get to Saumur:

Departing from Saumur to Angers, you can take the train, bus # 17 (schedule) along the southern coast of the Loire or bus # 4 along the northern coast (schedule). A ticket costs 5.90 € (against 9.10 € by train), the journey takes 1.5 hours (against 21 - 33 minutes by train).

To the east, trains run along the north shore to Tour. You can transfer from train to buses in Chinon at Le Port Boulet, 13 km north of Chinon on the Loire.

Station Saumur:

Train Saumur - Angers:

  • Travel time: 21 - 33 minutes
  • Ticket: standard ticket - 9.10 €.
  • Schedule:
    • Ligne 05 Nantes - Tours - Orléans du 13-12 au 02-07 V4 du 24-03-16 (PDF, 172.93 Ko)
    • Ligne 19 Angers - Saumur - Tours du 13-12 au 02-07 V4 du 24-03-16 (PDF, 172.93 Ko)
    • Schedule changes: Ligne 05 Nantes - Tours - Orléans Travaux du 04-01 au 15-05 V5 du 24-03 (PDF, 124.73 Ko)
    • Schedule changes: Ligne 19 Angers - Saumur - Tours Travaux du 04-01 au 15-05 V5 du 24-03 (PDF, 124.73 Ko)

Train Saumur - Nantes:

  • Travel time: 1:05 - 1:21
  • Ticket: standard ticket - 22.90 €, non-refundable - 15 €.
  • Schedule:
    • Ligne 04 Angers - Nantes du 04-04 au 24-04 (PDF, 180.95 Ko)
    • Ligne 05 Nantes - Tours - Orléans du 13-12 au 02-07 V4 du 24-03-16 (PDF, 172.93 Ko)
    • Ligne 19 Angers - Saumur - Tours du 13-12 au 02-07 V4 du 24-03-16 (PDF, 172.93 Ko)
    • Ligne 21 Le Mans - Angers - Nantes du 04-04 au 24-04 V2 du 01-04 (PDF, 178.6 Ko)
    • Schedule changes: Ligne 05 Nantes - Tours - Orléans Travaux du 04-01 au 15-05 V5 du 24-03 (PDF, 124.73 Ko)
    • Schedule changes: Ligne 19 Angers - Saumur - Tours Travaux du 04-01 au 15-05 V5 du 24-03 (PDF, 124.73 Ko)

Orient in Saumur:

Arriving at Saumur station, you will find yourself on the north coast of the Loire. Turn right onto avenue David d’Angers and either catch bus # 30 heading to the center or cross the bridge and head towards Île d’Offard on foot. From the island, the old Pont Cessart bridge leads you to the center of Saumur, located on the south bank of the river. There is also a bus station gare routière, a few blocks from the place, at place St-Nicolas. Saumur's tourist office is located next to the bridge at place de la Bilange.

The old quarter is located in the lower part of the city, between the castle and the Hôtel de Ville, a city hall that cannot be overlooked, a few steps east of Pont Cessart.

You can rent a bike at Détours de Loire, 2 ave David d’Angers, near the train station.

Visit the castle of Saumur:

LOW SEASON: From April 1 to June 14 and from September 16 to November 2 from Tuesday to Sunday and on holidays 10 - 13/14 - 17:30.

AVERAGE SEASON: From June 15 to 30 and from September 1 to 15, daily from 10:00 to 18:30.

Full price: € 6
Reduction: € 4
Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children or more): 18 €
Adult price (from 12 people): € 4,5O
Concession group (from 12 people): mini-jacks 3,5 €
Free for children under 7 years old

HIGH SEASON: From July 1 to August 31 daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Full price: € 7
Promotional price: 5 €
Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children): € 20 (+ € 1 for each additional child)
Groups from 12 people: 5,50 €
Free for children under 7 years old

The castle has been closed to the public since Thursday, November 3, 2016.

Tour grénetière

On the Rue Fourrier and the streets going south from rue Dacier, here and there houses of the 16th century and earlier meet. At rue des Païens tower Tour grénetière preserved from the city fortifications of the 15th century. Later it began to be used as a prison for those who tried to evade the payment of salt tax. You can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the view of Saumur from above (July and August, the hedgehog, except Tuesdays, 10 - 13/14 - 17:30, 2 €).

Church of saint pierre

Church of Saint-Pierre (église St-Pierre), a little away from rue Haute St-Pierre (hedgehog 9 - 12/14 - 17) stands out from the facade of the Counter-Reformation period. It was built in Saumur to make stubbornly protestant residents obey. Its unusual semi-Roman, semi-Gothic interior is rather modest, although the seats in the choirs are lavishly decorated with carvings, and on the 16th-century tapestry you can see a colorful image of St. Petra.

City Hall Saumur

City Hall of Saumur (Hôtel de Ville)partially built in the 16th century, located on quai Lucien Gautier, rises above the river. Next to it, you can try the Saumur sparkling wines at Maison du Vin. Local staff will give you the addresses of the winemakers and advise the cellars that you can visit.

The two most interesting sights of Saumur, both churches, are located on the outskirts of the old city.

Notre-dame de nantilly

To the south of the castle is the oldest church in the city - Notre-dame de nantilly (9–18 hedgehog) - where you can admire a magnificent collection of tapestries from the 16th to 17th centuries. The church itself is beautiful in its rigor of the Romanesque style, with a wide passage supported by walls of 4 meter thickness. Do not miss the statue of the Virgin Mary, carved in wood in the 12th century, which is now exhibited in the right transept.

Notre-dame des ardilliers

Notre-Dame des Ardilliers, located down the river on the eastern side of the city (hedgehog 8 - 12/14 - 18.30). The church was founded on the site of a spring, now dried up, where a statue of Pieta was miraculously found in the 15th century. The church was dedicated to Louis XIV, this typically grandiose baroque building, over which rises a huge dome with a rotunda, which was rebuilt after the bombing in June 1940. The adjoining building of Oratorio used to belong to a theological college, created to deal with the dogma of the Protestant Academy. Now there are retired clergymen, there is a school for girls and a small community of nuns.

Suburbs of Saumur:

Some of the best sights of Saumur are located in the suburbs, in particular, around the village St-hilaire-st-flornt, 2 km west of the center of Saumur. This is where the best sparkling wine cellar (Ackerman-Laurance, Bouvet-Ladubay, Langlois-Château, Gratien & Meyer and Veuve Amiot), as well as National Riding School. And near Bagneux are some of the most impressive dolmens in France. IN Musée des blindés collected a huge collection of tanks.

Short description

Speaking of beautiful and unusual architectural masterpieces located in the picturesque Loire Valley, one cannot but highlight the castle of Saumur. The castle, which looks like a sorcerer’s dwelling or a house with many ghosts.

Despite its unique, one might even say fabulous and slightly frightening appearance, people who lived in supernatural powers never lived in this building and signs of paranormal activity were never recorded. In fairness, it is worth noting that Saumur makes a gloomy impression only from afar, when approaching it one realizes that one of the most beautiful architectural structures rises before you, which has become a model for all buildings in the city of the same name.

View of Saumur castle from the Loire river

To visit the castle of Saumur, the traveler should go to the French department of Maine and Loire, to the place where the waters of the legendary Loire and Thue merge. This territory is considered the center of France, many guides fondly call it "the heart of the country." It is no coincidence that among the virgin nature an unusual castle was built, with a difficult history and its secrets, which, unfortunately, have not been discovered by modern scientists. It is only known for certain that the name of the city and the castle came from the Latin phrase, which in translation into Russian will mean "a small fort among the swamps." Due to its unusual architectural form and interesting history, the castle of Saumur is one of the most visited attractions of the Loire Valley.

Almost every day, even when clouds are overcast, near a structure shaped like an irregular quadrangle, you can always meet numerous groups of tourists who want to touch the world of beauty and see a real masterpiece built according to the official version of historians in the X century. Looking a little ahead, I would like to note that it is not known for certain when a “small fort among the swamps” appeared in this area.

View of the south-east side of the castle of Saumur

Archaeologists who excavated near the castle claim that the first building appeared here much earlier, however, historians are accustomed to rely only on official documents that date back to the X century. This is the story of Saumur castle, which deserves special attention and which should definitely be addressed in more detail. By the way, many tourists quite often ask the question: “Why is there so much about the history of castles in the Loire Valley in literature and on numerous Internet resources?” Surprisingly, there is nothing, because it was in them that the most significant events for the country took place, and it was in their walls that the formation of France took place.

How to get to Saumur

Regular buses from Angers go to Saumur several times a day (travel time is about an hour and a half). You can also take a train from Angers in half an hour or from Tour in just under an hour (trains run every hour from both cities).

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A bit of history

The heart around which the city grew, and the central tourist lure in Saumur is, of course, a large white-stone castle on a hill. Its contours seem vaguely recognizable to those who are interested in medieval fortresses: the image of the castle in the magnificent duchess of the Duke Berry became a kind of postcard back in the Middle Ages. The history of the castle, as usual, begins with a 10th-century fortress and a monastery. In the 14th century, King Louis I himself laid eyes on the castle, on whose orders a strict fortress was decorated, making it more secular, but in the 14th century a new overhaul was followed. In the 15th century, the Duke of Anjou settled in the castle, in the 16th - Henry of Navarre, the same “Henry the Fourth” from the song (and from the books of A. Dumas). It was here that Henry fled from Paris from the court of Valois and, in a hurry, re-turned the castle into a powerful fortification to defend against his enemies. By the 17th century, the role of Saumur in the history of the country ceased to be significant, and in the castle began to contain prisoners of noble blood. And in the 20th century, the city bought the castle from the government of the country and carried out a large-scale restoration in it.

Today, having paid a little more, visitors can not only climb the tower, but also go down to the former dungeons in the dungeons. And on the upper floors of the castle there are two museums: this is a museum of arts and crafts with an excellent collection of trellis and china, and the cavalry museum a floor above. It is interesting to see the ancient details of the harness from different countries.

For a quarter century in a row, from the middle of the 18th century, the Academy of Cavalry was located in Saumur, and later the Academy of Armed Forces. Oddly enough, this gave a good impetus to the development of the city, which was depopulated and fell into decay after the Huguenot wars. Carabinieri opened a riding school in the city, which became very popular, and since then cavalry has been on a special account in the city. During World War II, it was the Cadet cavalrymen, many of whom were not yet twenty, who valiantly, although not for long, defended the city. For the courage with which the city resisted the Germans, Saumur was awarded the Military Cross.

Attractions and attractions in Saumur

The oldest church in the city is Notre Dame de Nantyi, the main city temple for centuries. Today, the church has a winter garden, and inside there is an interesting collection of tapestries. Also among the city churches stands St. Pierre in the Gothic style, decorated with many images of monsters in the Old Town. Near the church in the square of the same name are several noteworthy restored half-timbered buildings. North Dame des Ardie in the east is also interesting, whose dome was damaged by bombing in 1940, but is now restored. Other historical landmarks of the city are the medieval Gothic Town Hall of the 16th century and the almost half-kilometer arched bridge of Cessar over the Loire, built in the 18th century.

Definitely a very popular place in Saumur is the Wine House, where you can not only taste it, but also find out where to buy wines of one sort or another in the city, and where to sit in the evening in a pleasant company. Well, if you seriously intend to make the most complete impression of the wine wealth of the region, it is worth a trip south to the suburb of Saint-Cyr-en-Boer, where there is a winery with cellars of enormous size and spaciousness.

You can touch the cavalry past at the National Riding School, in the east of Saumur. You can go around the school with a guided tour, look at the stables, and in the morning and see the horses on dressage. Also in the eastern part of the city is a museum of tanks (historically it is believed that tank units also belong to the cavalry).

A couple of kilometers south of the city is the village of Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, famous for its wine cellars. They are worth a visit in order to taste and buy an excellent Somur brut. And at the same time - go to the mask museum, which children really like, and the mushroom museum - the latter arranges interesting tours of the underground mushroom caves, from which more than half of the champignons come to the cuisine of French gourmets. And just a few steps away is the park of mock architecture “Stone and Light”.

By the way, the caves of the region are quite a popular attraction. The limestone hills of the Loire Valley easily crumbled, forming many chambers in low cliffs. These cells served not only as primitive people, but also as medieval residents of the region: in the 12th century, up to half of the locals used them as natural houses, and many of the caves remained as such until the period between the two wars. The most famous "cave" place of the region is Rosmener. Arriving here, you will be surprised at how businesslike the French have transformed these places: restaurants and cafes are open in the caves, there is a chapel, wine stocks and wine presses are kept here, mushrooms are bred and squeezed oil.

Other interesting caves nearby are the semi-underground zoo and serpentarium near Douai-la-Fontaine and Deneuze-sous-Douai with numerous human figures engraved on the walls, not always in decent poses (though not prehistoric, but created by sectarians in the 16th century in a cynical mockery over the Catholic creed). You can view everything at one time by ordering an organized excursion along the so-called “troglodyte path”.

And southeast of Saumur, about 13 km, is the abbey of Fontevro, notable for the fact that kings of both France and England are buried on its territory. The abbey was founded in 1100, and the Plantagenets rest here: Henry II, king of France, and Richard the Lionheart, his son. During the tour of the abbey, you will be able to see not only burial grounds with surprisingly expressive sculptures, but also a Gothic refectory, a meeting room with 16th-century wall paintings and an interesting octagonal kitchen. Today, the abbey is the most famous cultural and medieval archaeological center, and conferences, exhibitions and concerts are constantly held here.

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