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The elegant silhouette and stunning slate-roofed turrets of the Château of Saumur can be seen from afar, and the closer you get, the more enchanting it becomes. The château-palace of the Dukes of Anjou saw many an adventure before it was protected as a Historic Monument. Since then, it has belonged to the town of Saumur which restored it to its former splendour, as depicted in the famous illuminated manuscript, "Les très riches heures du duc de Berry".
Standing on top of a rocky outcrop, the Château of Saumur proudly overlooks the surrounding town and its imposing silhouette can be seen from beyond the river. A magnificent testimony to princely residences under the Valois dynasty, the château could almost have been plucked from a fairy tale. 

The first stones were laid in the 10th century by Theobold the Trickster, Count of Blois. It was not long, however, before the château was seized by the impetuous Fulk III the Black who made it the property of the counts of Anjou. It later fell into the hands of the Plantagenets before being won back for the French throne by Phillip Augustus of France in 1203. At this time, four towers were built around the keep, which served as a basis for the current château. In the 14th century, Louis I of Anjou received the château as appanage and transformed it into a magnificent princely residence, as illustrated in the famous Très riches heures du duc de Berry miniatures. New accommodation was built and the towers and outer walls were raised, complementing the height of the chimneys, gables and belvederes. During the reign of Good King René, the château underwent further restoration work when the chapel was rebuilt, complete with a private oratory. The prince and poet embellished the interior to receive the French Court in the sumptuousness he loved to embody. After the king’s death, the Château of Saumur was somewhat forgotten for around a century until the town was ceded to the Protestants.

The new governor, Philippe Duplessis-Mornay, launched a new renovation project, building the current fortifications to protect the château and extensively refurbishing its apartments. The Château of Saumur saw its last days of ceremonial use at this time, as from the reign of Louis XIV it served more austere purposes. The château was used as a prison and munitions depot until 1889, a use which had a major impact on its layout. In the early 20th century, the château was sold to the town of Saumur by the State in a partially damaged condition. The town launched a renovation project, completing work on the northern wing and creating the main museum and horse museum. The château unfortunately suffered damage during the Second World War, and again in 2001 when part of the northern keep collapsed. The new keep was inaugurated in 2007, but the town’s projects haven’t stopped there. Saumur is pursuing relentless renovation work with only one goal: to restore the château to the splendour depicted in the Très riches heures du duc de Berry. Recently, local inhabitants witnessed the replacement of the gilded finial at the top of the south tower, an exact replica of the one in the legendary Illumination. 
Not to be missed

Collections in the château

For more than a century the château has been home to the collections of the Town Museum and the Horse Museum. Both contain national treasures and offer a fascinating overview of art and craftmanship within the historic walls themselves.
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Hidden treasure

Gilding on the finial

The Château of Saumur has set itself the challenge of restoring the splendour depicted in the Très riches heures du Duc de Berry.
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Unusual

Good King René

There has ever been a more eccentric ruler than Good King René? As learned as he was whimsical, his liking for the pleasures of life was equalled only by his fondness for the arts. René I of Anjou left a unique impression in the hearts of the counties he governed.
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News from the château
Practical information

CHATEAU DE SAUMUR

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Vignobles et Découvertes
Things to see in the area
How to get there
The château is 5 minutes’ walk from Saumur train station, which is 2 hours 20 mins by train from Paris-Montparnasse via Tours or Angers, from where there are local train lines running to Saumur.
By road, Saumur is 3 hours from Paris and 4 hours from Bordeaux.

Your journey