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Saumur is a French commune, sub-prefecture of the department of Maine-et-Loire, in the Pays de la Loire region. It is the third commune of the department in terms of number of inhabitants. On February 1, 1973, Saumur joined forces with four neighboring municipalities: Bagneux, Dampierre-sur-Loire, Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent and Saint-Lambert-des-Levées. Saumur is particularly known for its Cavalry School, its castle and its wines.



Cultural activities
Armored Museum Boulevard Jean Moulin - Rue Fricotelle - Route de Frontevraud - The largest in Europe, with vehicles all in working order, including some extremely rare pieces and also very interesting if you are interested in the subject.
Toy museum
Mushroom Museum (In Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, a little north of the city on the left bank of the Loire.) € 9 full price, several reduced prices .. - Saumur being the main place of production of mushrooms Paris. This mushroom house is associated with a troglodyte museum named Pierre et Lumière, located just next door


Saumur castle
The Château de Saumur is a French castle located in the Loire Valley in the commune of Saumur, in Maine-et-Loire, at the confluence of the Loire and the Thouet. It was classified as a historical monument in 1862, and is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire.

The castle of Saumur knew its first fortifications under Thibaud Ier the Tricheur, count of Blois, in the tenth century. The first stones are laid around the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Florent.

In 1026, it became the property of the Count of Anjou, the famous Foulques Nerra, who bequeathed it to his Plantagenêt heirs.

In 1203, Philippe Auguste, King of France and Capetian, seized the castle. He burns the previous fortifications and decides to fortify the position for the next offensives. He had a barlong shaped keep and buttresses built.

The castle became a royal fortress with King Saint Louis who, in 1227, had the fort enhanced.

From 1368, Louis I of Anjou, grandson of Philippe VI, had the old round towers replaced by octagonal towers and thus undertook nine years of work.

René d'Anjou appreciably improves the comfort of the whole of the castle which he nicknamed the “love castle”, which appears in the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry (folio for the month of September representing the harvest). René lived there until 1480.

In 1589, Governor Philippe Duplessis- Mornay resided in the castle to be able to modernize and rehabilitate it.

In the sixteenth century, an Italian military-architect who remained under the name of Bartholomeo (probably Ercole Negro's father), reinforced the castle's defenses by building an enclosure there along an Italian-style layout.

The castle became in 1810 a prison by order of Napoleon. The work took six years, but the cells would only be used for three months until Napoleon's first exile.

It becomes in 1814, under Louis XVIII, a depot of weapons and ammunition, but the inhabitants of Saumur often complain about the explosions which take place in the castle.

It was in 1862 that it was classified as a Historic Monument.
On April 22, 2001, the western part of the northern rampart collapsed and damaged part of the houses located below. It follows a work of stabilization of the basement and reconstruction of the rampart which was completed in 2007.

The museum
The city of Saumur bought the castle from the State in 1906 and gradually renovated it, installing a museum of decorative arts (donation from Count Charles Lair for most of the works on display, ceramics and furniture) as well as that of the Harnachement de Chevaux.

In 1912, the monument was partially restored and opened to the public. It therefore houses the municipal museum on the first floor of the north wing and the horse museum on the second floor. The establishment is now labeled Musée de France.

Different collections are present, such as: ceramics, tapestries (from the 15th to the 18th century), furniture.

At the end of the tenth century, a wall one kilometer long, called “Boile's wall”, surrounds the promontory, thus delimiting an area of ​​around 6 hectares.

During the second half of the eleventh century, embankments were accumulated against the tower, which made the ground floor the cellar. It is possible to discover it under the courtyard of the castle. The construction of this castle motte allows the creation of a platform of 7 to 8 meters.

In the 12th century, under the Plantagenets, a Romanesque tower was built. Its layout is classic, it is a quadrangular plan of 19 by 20 meters. Its walls are thick (2.90 m) and reinforced by buttresses.

In the thirteenth century, a new enclosure was built. In its center, the Romanesque keep, and around its castle motte, high curtain walls are attached. These modifications give the plan of a quartered square with the angles of circular towers pierced with arches.

In the fourteenth century, despite the fact that the four towers were clipped, four different levels can be distinguished for a diameter between 9 and 10 meters. There is a semi-underground level, with above it, two floors equipped with arches. The highest level is made of a frame structure covered with a slate roof.

At the end of the 16th century, ramparts were added around the castle.


The castle has a double revolution staircase, similar to that imagined by Leonardo da Vinci. It allowed nobles and servants to use the same staircase without ever crossing each other. Access to the belvedere allows you to discover the south wing and take this double spiral staircase. Note also the main staircase, with its 4 bays, is the only surviving witness of an element that also existed in the Louvre.

Reconstruction of the castle
During the second half of the fourteenth century, Louis I of Anjou began his work with the destruction of the old dwellings and the curtain wall erected in the thirteenth century. Their goal is to build a ceremonial wing, with a view of the Loire and leaning against the Romanesque tower which is in the center of the courtyard.

The main room occupies the floor of the large Romanesque tower. The new wing includes in the west tower, a wardrobe, a facing room and a recess. Three master sculptors are called upon to make the windows, doors and fireplaces: they come from Tours and Chinon, they are Simon Corbet, Thomas Cailleau and his son Jehan.

Found in the poultry yard to the west of the castle, a building called the “large bailiff room” which houses a court audience.

A chicane device with two ditches and two drawbridges is reinforced to access the high tower. In 1368, the entry postern of the farmyard was enhanced by three rows of stones.