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An exceptional heritage

An iconic destination with exceptional heritage? This is the Saumur region, a concentrated history of France and a staggering choice of sites to visit! Experience a medieval fortress or a Renaissance residence, all unmissable gems of the Loire Valley.





An exceptional heritage
Your architectural explorations will reveal further secrets: dolmens and menhirs, Gallo-Roman and Carolingian sites and the curious cave-mills, so typical of our region. You will follow in a tradition of sacred steps that lead to the Royal Abbey, to welcoming churches, Romanesque sanctuaries and Gothic masterpieces. Your discovery of Loire heritage will inevitably take you through the town of Saumur. With over 60 historic buildings it is also the equestrian capital and home to the famous Cadre Noir. Listen to the guide evoking the whiteness of the tuff eau stone, the boldness of the stonemasons and a knight’s crusade! The art of living in Anjou, is something set in stone…

CADRE NOIR OF SAUMUR

An exceptional heritage
Originating in the equestrian military tradition, the Cadre Noir of Saumur now forms the teaching staff of the National Riding School. True experts in their discipline, the master riders transmit technical and theoretical knowledge. They also contribute to the development of the French riding tradition through their public appearances in France and abroad. Galas and presentations of the Cadre Noir are characterized by traditional school jumps: courbettes, croupades and cabrioles etc.
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Royal Abbey of Fontevraud

An exceptional heritage
Founded in the early 12th century, and partially transformed during the Ancien-Régime, Fontevraud is the largest preserved monastic site in Europe. 36 abbesses, often of royal blood, succeeded between 1115 and 1792 at the head of a mixed order consisting of monks and nuns. In 1804, Napoleon decided to transform the Royal Abbey into a prison: seven centuries of monastic life were followed by a century and a half of prison life, ending in 1963. Today, the site combines heritage and modern artistic creations through concerts, exhibitions, interactive trails etc. The highlights of the visit are the recumbent polychrome fi gures of the Plantagenet kings - Henry II Plantagenet, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart, Isabella of Angoulême (13th c), the octagonal Romanesque kitchens, unique in France, the chapter house and its 16th century frescoes. Useful information

Château of Saumur

An exceptional heritage
This is the emblem of the town of Saumur and dominates it. The château was transformed into a fortress-palace for the Dukes of Anjou (14th and 15th c.), in particular by King René. It then became the residence of the governors of the city, then a prison and an armoury and arsenal. In 1906 the château was bought by the town to house the municipal museum, today earning the label “Musée de France”. A rich collection of Decorative Arts - tapestries, furniture, enamels, porcelain and earthenware - is currently on the 1st floor of the northern and eastern wings. An equestrian collection boasting objects from antiquity to the early 20th century is exhibited in the old abbey. The terraces of the château offer a panoramic view of the Loire and the town. Useful information

Château of Brézé

An exceptional heritage
Known for centuries for its rich and evocative wines, as well as key historical fi gures who inhabited the site, the mysterious Château of Brézé is as beautiful as it is enigmatic. Built between the 11th and 19th centuries, the château has an extraordinary underground network: the largest underground fortress in Europe. Step by step the visitor first discovers the old manor and stables completely carved into the limestone, a walkway, a drawbridge, a silkworm workshop, kitchens, cellars and huge wine presses: a château under a château. It all opens onto the deepest moat in Europe, reaching 18 meters. On the surface, the great Renaissance château is complemented by a gallery and a neo-Gothic residence. From the Richelieu chamber to the Bishop’s apartments, from the kitchens to Great Gallery, it is all an opportunity for discovery. Useful information

Château of Montreuil-Bellay

An exceptional heritage
650 meters of ramparts and 13 defence towers delimit the perimeter of this extraordinary medieval fortress "Chateau of Montreuil-Bellay", built in 1025. From this period the moats, ramparts and exceptional kitchens with their central fireplace are preserved. The gatehouse, the collegiate, the house of the canons and the new château, built on magnificent vaulted cellars, were all added to the elegant fortress in the 15th century.
Note: this fully furnished monument is also a centuries-old vineyard whose vintages and fl avours can be enjoyed on site.
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Château of Montsoreau

An exceptional heritage
Built by Foulques Nerra in the 11th century on a rocky outcrop, rebuilt in the Renaissance, Montsoreau is the only Loire château to have been built on the bed of the Royal River; its moats were thus fi lled by the Loire. Its 25 chimneys and wide mullioned windows express the luxury of that time. Alexandre Dumas immortalized it in 1846 in his work “The Lady of Monsoreau”. Exceptional views over the confl uence Loire-Vienne and the village. Contemporary art.
The castle now houses the Philippe Méaille Collection, often described as one of the largest and most radical worldwide collections of Conceptual Art.
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Château of Boumois

An exceptional heritage
The château of Boumois (15th c.) was rebuilt between 1520 and 1540 and combines defensive and residential elements. The exterior is fl anked by towers with battlements. The courtyard facade evokes the Renaissance aesthetic. The 17th c. dove house has kept its original features.
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Château of Montsabert

An exceptional heritage
The château de Montsabert was rebuilt between 1374 and 1380 by Bertrand du Guesclin on a fief that his second wife, Jeanne de Laval-Tinténiac brought to him as a dowry. During the tour, you will visit the gardens, the ground floor and the second fl oor of the château which hosts new exhibitions each year.
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Manoir of Launay

An exceptional heritage
This favourite residence "Manoir of Launay of King René is where the legendary tournament the “Joyeuse Garde” was held in 1446. On his return from Naples, René extended Launay which illustrates the transition from defensive architecture to the residential architecture of the Renaissance.
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Abbey of Asnières

An exceptional heritage
From the abbey remain the fi ne and delicate vaults of the choir and transept, illustrating the Western France Gothic style, also known as Plantagenet, seen
here at its best. The polychrome decoration and glazed tiles from the 13th century are of particular interest.
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Seigneurie du Bois

An exceptional heritage
A 15th and 16th century manor house "Seigneurie du Bois", located in the heart of a small village with a rich historical heritage. During the visit explore the lords’ lodge, pigeon house and moats etc.
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Sarré Watermill

An exceptional heritage
The Sarré Mill is one of the last watermills in France to produce fl our from wheat crushed with the grindstone. The Lauriou family are millers from father to son since 1908 and continue this tradition from generation to generation. During the visit, see the big bucket wheel. Note: the Auberge du Moulin off ers fouées tasting – a famous local specialty.
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Hydronef

An exceptional heritage
18th century watermill which has the rare heritage of a big, Sagebien wheel. Completely restored, Hydronef has a scenography around the history of the mill, hydro power, water motors and renewable energy. Videos and interactive media make the site accessible to all.
Note: the tour is completed with the water gardens outside.
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Gasté mill

An exceptional heritage
“Cavier” mill, Gasté was built in 1800 and fully restored. Its 17 meter-high silhouette allows the sails to catch the wind easily. Its wheels now grind the fl our as before, having ceased activity since the Great War.
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Dolmen of Bagneux

An exceptional heritage
An impressive Neolithic monument, this megalith boasts 15 slabs and weighs over 500 tonnes. Of the Angevine type, the dolmen consists of a chamber preceded by a porch. The burial chamber is 18m long, intact and surprisingly regular in the laying of its huge sandstone blocks. Note: with a volume of 200m3, the Bagneux dolmen holds the European record!
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Lords' house and medieval gardens

An exceptional heritage
This feudal lords’ domaine of Sacé is made up of the ruins of a 13th century fortified house, located above an underground refuge. The botanical garden has over 800 heirloom plants used for dyeing, health, food and even witchcraft etc. Among the plants are some that have become rare in the Loire Valley: corncockle, belladonna or calamint.
Note: Grand medieval festival the 3rd weekend of July.
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Laurent Bonnet

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