With its heart in Anjou, its eyes in Touraine and its arms full of treasures
With its heart in Anjou, its eyes in Touraine and its arms full of treasures : châteaux, abbeys, mills, stunning views of the Loire and the vineyards, towns and villages to explore on foot, by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage - this is what the Loire Valley is all about. There are so many things to see here including the mysterious underground dwellings along the Loire river cliff and on the plains of Doué-la-Fontaine, ‘capital of the rose’. Menhirs and dolmens which are all evidence of important prehistoric activity. The Authion Valley, dedicated to gardening and horticulture, the forest areas of Beaufort-en-Anjou and Loire-Longué with their strange, twisted churchspires, dotting the landscape. The charming diversity of small rural heritage and even boule de fort, a regional speciality and the only sport in the world where you have to wear slippers !
Dream with your eyes wide open!
Saumur has a soft tuffeau heart, a myriad of châteaux, manors, sixty listed churches, the largest monastery in Europe, but also dozens of megaliths. Nature, landscapes and a gentle climate have inspired humans here for many millenniums!
Eating out in the Saumur area, a paradise for gourmets.
Vines as far as the eye can see, troglodytic cellars and vineyards all grace the Saumur hillsides along the delectable ‘wine route’. A path, trailing through the fields and under the earth, leading to the discovery of the famous Loire Valley vintages. You can’t get too much of these highly prestigious cellars!
It’s not just wine that matures in the cellars. Mushrooms are cultivated also into. In the warm intimacy of the cellars, you can have a Rabelaisian feast: succulent fouées (hot-breads), or galipettes (large mushrooms), stuffed and cooked in the oven.
An untamed river that likes to give it a whirl!
It’s like a giant mirror that reflects beauty for nearly 30 km. The Loire glides past religious jewels, ports, tuffeau cliff sides and a multitude of protected bird islands. The term masterpiece is none too strong for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Magic depths life underground.
Men first dug the Saumur rock to extract tuffeau, the delicate stone to which we owe most of the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Gradually, these cellars and quarries were transformed into houses. There are nearly 1,000 km of underground galleries in the region. Some of the troglodytic hillsides overlook the Loire; others, troglodytic dwellings of the plains. These unusual places have also inspired tourism professionals: restaurants, guest houses
and B&B which offer the public originality and charm.
Land of Knights
In Saumur, the capital of equitation, the signs are everywhere. The Cadre Noir, heir to the French equestrian tradition, has been part of the Riding School since the 17th century. The Equestrian Museum, Cavalry Museum, Armoured Vehicle Museum, carriage rides, saddlers and boot makers, all refect the strong influence of this activity. Saddle-up!
Visit our online guide Grand Saumur 2017
The essential practical information to prepare your stay:
- Sites to visit with opening hours and prices,
- Accommodation and restaurants,
- Leisure activities,
- Festivals and events,
- A map of Saumur and its region
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