Saumur, Pays de la Loire: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Saumur (Pays de la Loire, France)
Saumur is an important regional town on the Loire river towards the south-east of the historical Anjou region. Although the town is best known for the Chateau du Saumur, the highlight of your visit, the town itself also contains some other places of interest.
Start your visit with a walk along the river front to admire the imposing Hotel de Ville and the other attractive river side buildings, all built with the white stone and grey slate rooves characteristic of the area.
From here you can climb up the steps to the château and enjoy some spectacular views of the town and the lovely stone bridge crossing the River Loire below.
In the Château du Saumur you can visit the dungeons and the tower and also the Musée des Arts Decoratifs and the Musée du Cheval which are inside the castle buildings. For details of the castle see Chateau du Saumur.
From here you can take a pleasant wander around the town. Be sure to see the colombage houses on the Place St Pierre and two churches of note in the town, the Chapel of Notre Dame des Ardilliers, and the Church of Notre Dame de Nantilly.
The Chapel of Notre Dame des Ardilliers is most notable for the large dome added in the 17th century, while the Church of Notre Dame de Nantilly dates in part from the 12th century and is the oldest church in Saumur.
Saumur played an important role in the Second World War, both in 1940 when France was first occupied - the Battle of Saumur was one of the last battles fought before the occupation - and in 1944 when strategic bombing of the town significantly delayed the advance of German troops to meet the D-Day forces - these events are commemorated in the Cavalry Museum in Saumur.
Saumur is also famous for its elite riding squad, the Cadre Noir, and you can visit their base, the Ecole National d’ Equitation in St Hilaire St Florent, a suburb of Saumur. Various galas and shows take place throughout the year.
Don’t forget to also sample the delicious sparkling white wine ‘methode champagnoise’ which is made in the region.
Overall, Saumur is a gem of a town and makes a perfect base for visiting this area because as well as being very attractive it is a good size and so has plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops.
The region around Saumur is well known for its prehistoric traces such as troglodyte caves and dolmens. Until the dark ages these caves were a very popular place to live and you will see many as you tour the region.
To the south of Saumur, those at Rochemenier are perhaps the most interesting, with a whole underground village being found in the carved out rock. The dolmen at Bagneux is also particularly impressive.
The renowned Fontevraud abbey is a short distance north of Saumur, and not far to the east you can visit the Manoir de Launay (the Manoir du Roi René), an attractive turreted manor house, built before the excesses of Renaissance architecture had completely pushed aside medieval simplicity.
Note: Honore de Balzac lived at Saumur from 1816 to 1827, and wrote an important part of his Comedie Humaine while in the town.
Map of Saumur and places to visit
Visit near Saumur with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Maine-et-Loire
Saumur is classified as a historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé)
Address: Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, 49400, France || GPS: latitude 47.26, longitude -0.076944
Plan your visit to Saumur, Pays de la Loire
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Loire-Anjou-Touraine: regional natural parc (11km)
- Montsoreau: most beautiful village (11km)
- Candes-Saint-Martin: most beautiful village (13km)
- Collegiale Church (Candes-Saint-Martin): religious monument (13km)
- Fontevraud Abbey: national monument (13km)
- Abbaye Notre Dame de Fontevraud (Fontevraud Abbey): religious monument (13km)
- Prieuré de Notre-Dame de Cunault (Chenehutte-Treves-Cunault): religious monument (15km)
- Eglise de Notre Dame (Chenehutte-Treves-Cunault): religious monument (15km)
- Montreuil-Bellay: recommended detour (15km)
- Parc zoologique de Doué-la-Fontaine: zoo or wildlife park (19km)
Market days in Saumur, France
Regular market(s) are held in Saumur each Wednesday & Thursday & Saturday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Saumur (Francais)