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A jewel rising from the water

As the story goes, Jean II de Chambes had the crazy idea of building a château on the bed of the Loire while on a diplomatic trip to Venice, after admiring the luxurious palaces along the Grand Canal. The project was a first and was never repeated.

Mount Soreau was a white stone outcrop rising out of the Loire and was the ideal location for building the modern château envisaged by Charles VII's private adviser. A humanist fascinated by progress, Jean II de Chambes was also a friend of Jacques Cœur and an astute observer of his time. He built the first Renaissance-style château in France: a château of royal proportions, an impossible dream of stone and water that symbolised the height of his rapid political rise. Here, the customary separation between châteaux and river, like at Chaumont-sur-Loire, Amboise and Saumur, was ignored and the château fits harmoniously into its surroundings governed by the water level and humour of the wild river.
The port of the Château of Montsoreau was an important commercial port during the Renaissance, with a great deal of activity linked to the Loire tolls which were collected just upstream of the château and were a major source of income for the lords of Montsoreau.
Although the construction of a road separated the château from the Loire in 1820, the port was reopened in 2017 on the initiative of Philippe Méaille, the current owner of the château. A river shuttle service from Saumur brings tourists to the very foot of the château.