Chateau de Saumur, the castle of the Dukes of Anjou

The Chateau de Saumur stands at the edge of an abrupt cliff  and boasts prime views of the city and the fertile Loire Valley.

Chateau de Saumur and Loire
Chateau de Saumur and Loire

King Charles the Bold built the original fortress and a monastery in the 9th century in order to shelter the relics of St. Florent.

Both buildings were destroyed during the 9th century Norman invasions.

Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou (987-1040) seized the newly rebuilt fortress.

The fortress remained in the Plantagenêts Family (the first dynasty of Anjou and kings of England) until King Philippe-Auguste seized it in 1203.

Louis IX rebuilt the Chateau de Saumur in 1230 and bequeathed it to his younger brother Charles.

Charles d’Anjou founded the second dynasty of Anjou.

Chateau de Saumur, the château of King René

Louis I of Anjou improved the castle.

Roi Rene

He indeed built the 4 octagonal towers, which were capped with pepper-pot roofs in the late 14th century.

He lavishly decorated and refurnished the castle, in order to rival the mansions of his brother Charles V.

King René, the last Duke of Anjou, converted the Chateau de Saumur into a comfortable and elegant Renaissance palace during the 15th century.

The many turrets, towers, machicolations and moats turn it into an elegant fortified palace.

The Chateau de Saumur served as model for the famous illumination Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (Book of Hours).

Chateau de Saumur
Rear of the castle

The star-shaped ramparts of the Chateau de Saumur were built in 1590, when Saumur became an important Protestant stronghold.

Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and ordered the closure of the Protestant Academy and temple in 1685.

The Protestant Academy building was converted into a prison in 1804, then a garrison and finally in an ammunition depot.

The Chateau de Saumur became the official residence of Governors of Saumur.

Chateau de Saumur today

Chateau de Saumur and Loire
Aerial view

The city of Saumur purchased the castle in 1906.

It restored it and refurbished it with splendid Gobelins and Arras tapestries.

It also founded two museums.

The private apartments of the Dukes of Anjou are now home to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs,

The Decorative Arts Museum exhibits an important collection of porcelain and earthenware ranging from the Middle-Ages to the Renaissance.

Finally, the Musée du Cheval – Horse Museum traces the history of riding and harness.

Department of Maine-et-Loire
Coordinates: Lat 47.257018 – Long -0.072404

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