As with all of these very old cities, I find it interesting to go walking. In Saumur, once again I found the half- timbered buildings and I also found some a building with some interesting Sculptures. There were some old Churches, and a pedestrian area where we enjoyed a coffee in an outdoor setting.
Website is in french.
The War Memorial, for soldiers who lost their lives in the 1st and 2nd World Wars, was located by the Loire River, just down from the bridge.
A different war memorial to what I have seen, I thought it was rather nice. It featured a Horse, and I wondered if that was because Saumur is known for its Horse's.
This bridge, is a very busy traffic bridge over the Loire River in Saumur. A bridge with arches, I had seen excellent reflection photo's of this bridge. Well, it wasn't my day, the wind was up a bit, so no reflections. Remember to head riverside for "that" special photo if the weather is right!
High on a hill in Saumur, overlooking Saumur and the Loire River, is the Saumur Castle. Built during the 13th century, it was the residence of the dukes of Anjou. In 1480 Saumur returned to the estates of Louis XI, King of France, following the death of King Rene, the last duke of Anjou. It later became home for the town governors, a prison and a munitions depot. Now it houses the municipal museum.
The view from the Castle is beautiful. I could see the old town, and the Loire River, plus on the side were rows of Grape Vines, nice!
OPEN - April - November.......10 am to 1 pm / 2 pm to 5.30 pm - Tuesday to Sunday
July and August 10 am to 6 pm - Tuesday to Sunday
ADMISSION.......Adults...... 3 €
If you are even half way interested in tanks then you absolutely must find your way to this museum. It is heavy on French tanks, but it is huge and it seems like it has every tank ever built from every country that built them from the very first ones in WW1 to those being used in Afghanistan. I was overwhelmed fairly early, but my son and DH lasted a little longer. Some of the tanks are disabled, but others are still in working order. They also have some other types of vehicles including some early motorcycles and a camp kitchen. There is also an area for kids to play where they can climb on and in some tanks. My son was a little old but still enjoyed pretending for a bit.
Plan on at least 1 1/2 hours, more if you know what you are looking at.
In the heart of 20 hectacres of wooded park, Chateau de Breze is surrounded by its own vineyards.
This is an exceptional troglodytic site. Beneath the castle is an incredible, exceptional underground labyrinth.
First thing you might want to do is visit the tourist office. They have lots of free brochures about things to do.
There's a national equestrian school for instance. The castle, winetasting, various museums.
Personally I recommend a leasurely stroll to discover the town center.
On their website there is an English google translation link at the very bottom, left.
At the tourist office they can give you a free map of the town Saumur with highlighted all the main attractions.
Saumur is an easy town to discover on foot. If you have a look at a Saumur map (for instance at www.viamichelin.com), we walked east from Place de la Bilange (at the bridge) to the castle at Rue d'Anjou, then south all the way to the church Notre Dame Nantilly and then down to Rue Franklin Roosevelt to have a drink and then to Place Saint Pierre for dinner.
That covers quite a bit of Saumur. Some photo's of what we saw along the way...
We made quite a stroll through Saumur. After visiting the castle grounds we walked uphill again and then with a loop down to the city center, passing this church that's a little out of the way. It is the oldest church in Saumur, dating back to the 11th and 12th century. It has very old tapestries. A wooden statue of Mary with Child was found in the church, dating from the 12th century. She is the Notre Dame de Nantilly.
Parish website: http://catholique-angers.cef.fr/site/136.html
There are free tours in French, English and German. Call +33 241510073 or send email to the address below, if you want to book.
The ramparts of this chateau were blown away by a landslide in 2001 and have recently been restored. It was not yet finished in 2006 but by the looks of below website, it has now been finished and you can visit again.
A beautiful view over the Loire valley from the castle grounds!
The Museum of Decorative Arts on the first floor has a fine collection of Renaissance objects. There is also Limoges work and faience as wel as furniture and 1516C tapestries in series. The collections extend into the 18C.
On the second floor is the Museum of the Horse. It contains everything about that useful animal that you would like to know and more: an evolutionary study of bones from fossils to the skeleton of a famous race horse of 1896. There is the evolution of the saddle and riding gear, also prints and tapestry after Jordaens cartoons but no Degas. Charming!
Unless recently "furnished" the ground floor interior has been stripped of its charms that Good King Rene celebrated in his poetry. All that we have to show is the ancient wooden drive mechanism of the long gone drawbridge. On the two upper floors there are intersting museums that you should not miss.
The outer face of the chateau is rather plain except for corner towers. The drawbridge was removed many centuries ago. The round towers were reshaped above the old round bases as polygonal structures with machicolated sentry walks under the pointed blue slate roofs. There are prominent buttresses between along the walls.
Montreuil-Beray has ramparts dating back to the 15th & 16th century and is one of the most beautiful archetictural & historic area in the Loire Valley - covering the perio from the beginning of the medieval era to the Renaissance.
Now this place is stunning.
The abbey was created by Robert d'Arbrissel (1045-1117) with some aristocratic ladies, reformed prostitutes, clerics, vagabonds, invalids & lepars. It was unique in that its nuns and monks were governed by a woman - the abbess.
During the French Revolution the order was abolished. It was then turned into a notorious (Frances cruelest) prison, by Napolean which closed in 1963.
Definitely the best part of Fontevraud is the kitchen. It is the only Romanesque kitchen, in France, to have survived.