Chateau of Saumur

Overview Of Chateau de Saumur

Chateau de Saumur is a stunning castle located in the Loire Valley region of France. It was originally built in the 10th century as a fortress to defend against Viking attacks, but over the centuries it was transformed into a royal palace and later became a military academy. Today, the castle is open to visitors who can explore its rich history and enjoy the panoramic views of the town and the Loire River.

The castle's architecture is a blend of medieval and Renaissance styles, and it features a mix of defensive towers, grand halls, and ornate decorations. Visitors can tour the castle's various rooms and learn about the castle's history through exhibits, displays, and interactive activities. The castle's highlights include the grand staircase, the chapel, the royal apartments, and the museum of the horse, which showcases the history of horses and their role in French culture. The castle's terraces also offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, making it a perfect spot for photography and relaxation.

History Of Chateau de Saumur

  • The castle was built in the 10th century as a fortress to protect against Viking invasions.
  • It was expanded and renovated by various owners over the centuries, including the Counts of Anjou and the Dukes of Brittany.
  • In the 15th century, the castle was transformed into a royal residence by King Charles VII.
  • During the French Revolution, the castle was seized and used as a prison and barracks.
  • In the 19th century, the castle was designated as a military academy, and its military history continued through both World Wars.
  • In 1968, the castle was restored and opened to the public as a museum.

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Things To See At Chateau de Saumur

Castle Architecture

The Chateau de Saumur's imposing stone walls, towers, and gatehouses are impressive examples of medieval architecture. Visitors can explore the castle's many rooms and halls, including the Great Hall with its 15th-century fireplace and ornate ceiling. The castle's various towers also offer a great view of the surrounding landscape.

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Museum Exhibits

The Chateau de Saumur now houses a museum that provides insight into the castle's fascinating history. The museum features exhibits on the castle's role as a military academy during the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the history of cavalry tactics. Visitors can also see a collection of weapons and armor, including items used during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Panoramic Views

From the castle's ramparts, visitors can take in breathtaking views of the Loire Valley and the city of Saumur. This vantage point provides a great opportunity for photos and is a must-see for anyone visiting the castle.

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Art and Furnishings

The castle's interior features a collection of Renaissance and Baroque furnishings, including tapestries, furniture, and paintings. Notable works of art on display include Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' portrait of the Duke of Wellington and Théodore Géricault's painting, "The Raft of the Medusa".

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Equestrian Show

The Chateau de Saumur is also home to the Cadre Noir, a world-renowned equestrian school that performs shows and offers tours. Visitors can watch riders and their horses perform intricate maneuvers and witness the school's dedication to preserving the art of classical horsemanship.

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Know Before You Go At Chateau de Saumur

How to Reach:

  • By Car: The easiest way to reach the castle is by car, as it is located on a hill overlooking the city, and there is ample parking available nearby. The A85 and A11 motorways provide easy access to the region, with the castle situated approximately 3 hours from Paris and just over an hour from Nantes.
  • By Train: The Saumur train station is located about 2 kilometers from the castle, with regular connections to nearby cities such as Angers and Tours. From the station, visitors can either take a taxi or a bus to the castle.
  • By Bus: There are several bus services available that connect the castle to other nearby cities and attractions, such as the Loire Valley bus service.
  • By Bike: Another popular way to reach the castle is by bicycle, as the Loire Valley is known for its beautiful cycling routes. Bike rentals are available in the city of Saumur, and there are several cycling routes that lead directly to the castle, allowing visitors to take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside along the way.

Best Time To Visit - The best time to visit Chateau de Saumur is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the castle is bustling with activity. This is also the time when most of the events and festivals take place, such as the famous "Les Nuits de la Mayenne" festival and the "Festival des Jeux du Théâtre". However, visitors should be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices during this peak season.

For those who prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) can be a good option. The weather is still mild and pleasant, and the castle is less crowded. However, visitors should note that some of the outdoor activities and events may not be available during these seasons.

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FAQs For Chateau de Saumur

What are the opening hours of Chateau de Saumur?

Chateau de Saumur is open every day from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, with the last admission at 5:30 pm.

Is there an admission fee to visit Chateau de Saumur?

Yes, there is an admission fee to visit Chateau de Saumur. The ticket prices vary depending on the age of the visitor and the type of ticket purchased. Discounts are available for children, students, and seniors.

Is it possible to take guided tours of Chateau de Saumur?

Yes, guided tours are available at Chateau de Saumur. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide insights into the history and architecture of the castle. Audio guides are also available in multiple languages.

Is the castle accessible for visitors with disabilities?

Yes, Chateau de Saumur is accessible for visitors with disabilities. The castle has ramps and elevators to facilitate access for wheelchair users, and disabled parking is available.

Are pets allowed inside the castle?

No, pets are not allowed inside the castle, with the exception of service animals for visitors with disabilities.

Is photography allowed inside the castle?

Yes, photography is allowed inside the castle for personal use. However, commercial photography and videography require prior permission from the castle administration.

What are the other popular castles which you can see in Loire Valley?

The following are the best castles which you can see in Loire Valley:

  1. Château de Chaumont
  2. Château de Blois
  3. Chateau de Villandry
  4. Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau
  5. Chateau de Loches

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