Archive for February 5th, 2018

February 5, 2018

Saumur, the castle, the horse ,and the wine!

And we came to Saumur, we have passed by it but always overlook in the multitude of choices of my belle France. This time we had an idea of going to Tours but we made the effort to stop in Saumur this time. Saumur is in the Maine-et-Loire department 49 of the région Pays de la Loire. It is right by the rivers, on the left bank the majestic Loire and on the right bank its tributary the Thouet river.

Here we have a wonderful castle of Saumur, the very famous, prestigious school of cavalry the Cadre Noir, and the Church of St Pierre. The chapelle St Jean, the Grand Théatre, a wonderful hotel de ville, the halles St Pierre covered market, the pont Cessart ,and the tour Granitiére as some of the things to see here.

We arrive by car (see previous post) ,and quickly moved into the Castle or Chateau de Saumur, and the parking nearby for free. The castle was under renovation and season closed but no matter, it was impacting and so close to us , we will be back for the interiors. It is a fairy tail castle right on a hill overlooking the city with great gastronomic restaurant next to it. We got back in our car and went to city center/downtown city finding a perfect parking right in front of the Hôtel de Ville or city hall, facing the Loire river and the back of the Grand Théatre! Just a superb entry into Saumur.

A bit of history of the castle  of  Saumur, gone thru many situations and saved on each, until the one we see today. The castle was in the possession of the Counts of Anjou, then the Plantagenêts and change into a royal fortress early in the 13C in the times of king Louis IX (Saint Louis). During the second half of the 14C the duke Louis Ier d’Anjou (brother of king Charles V) change it into a castle-palace of great beauty. The miniature of it is represented in the famous play of the three rich hours of the duke of Berry or « Très riches heures du duc de Berry » that will give it a precise image. King René , last of the dukes of Anjou lived here periodically, after his death in 1480 the castle comes back to the royal domaine. It opens again on March 31, 2018

The official castle webpage is here: http://www.chateau-saumur.fr/index.php/horaires-tarifs/

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We come to the wonderful Church of St Pierre in the nice old square of St Peter or place St Pierre. The city page has a nice introduction such as having a wonderful Classic façade of the 17C but behind it is roman art and gothic architecture aka « Plantagenêt ». Showcasing this style and period of the 12-13C and furniture/stones/paintings of the 15C. There are organ concerts here regularly. More on the city page in French: http://www.ville-saumur.fr/decouvrir-saumur/histoire-patrimoine/patrimoine-architectural/item/l-eglise-saint-pierre

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Next we move to the Cadre Noir and the school of cavalry here. Saumur goes back to 1763,while it was decided to bring a regiment of carabineers of the Count of Provence here. Later in 1814, there is a training school of horsemen here that is followed in 1825 by the royal school of Cavalry . This military presence is the origin of this wonderful heritage now in town. It is now barracks of the 18C as well as riding school and stables built around the place du Chardonnet in the 18-19C. This includes today one of the most beautiful examples of European architecture of military horsemen. More here in French from the friends of the cadre noir here: http://www.amisducadrenoir.fr/le-cadre-noir-de-saumur/les-origines-du-manege-de-saumur/

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And the cadre noir presentation here: http://www.ifce.fr/en/cadre-noir/the-national-riding-school/

And the museum of cavalry here: http://www.musee-cavalerie.fr/musee.php

In the barracks Kellermann you have a great show here: http://www.saumur.net/event.html

We had our lunch while marveling at the grand theater or theater at Place Bilange. Just opened in 2014 with 430 seats. The place is very romantic me think and plenty of wonderful shows. This is the presentation of the Grand Théatre in French: http://saisonculturelle.agglo-saumur.fr/infos-pratiques/visiter-le-dome

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The current covered market Halles Saint Pierre is from the 1980’s however, there has been one here for 800 years! It is right in the place St Pierre and overlooking the Church of Saint Pierre. There is ,also, a market here on Sundays morning.

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the Chapelle Saint Jean , this was a commandery done to help visitors and passerbys as a hospital in the 12C, all that is left is the nice Chapel built in the 13C.

Saumur

The Hôtel de ville or city hall; it was here since 1508; with buildings from the 16-19-20C and the main house is from the 16C. The new façade facing the Loire river is from around 1860 with a neo gothic architecture and taste of the 19C.

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You have a nice tower or tour Granitiére from the 15C, at rue des paiens, and wonderful streets such as rue beaurepaire, rue puits neufs, rue Franklin Roosevelt, rue du fort, and place Bilange. We went by the tourist office and the maison des vins de la loire on quai Carnot facing the Loire river and all the wines from the region as well as products. You can have Loire river cruises right off Place Bilange as well as the bridge or pont Cessart. There was ,also, a market day on Saturday at Pl Bilange. The reformist temple on rue des paiens, and the place Saint Pierre.

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Saumur

Did I tell you we had lunch ,yes. Right on place Bilange next to the Grand Théatre we went to the Café Brasserie La Bourse, Tel +33 (0) 2 41 51 02 05. this is a classic French brasserie very nicely done in red fabric walls and wood. Very near the Loire river and the Pont Cessart done in 1770. Here we had our menu du jour, entrée et plat, with aperitifs such as porto red, whiskies and jack Daniels and cola; we had fish of the day haddock on pesto sauce, steaks, chicken on champignons, etc, desserts such as abricot tarte and mousse de chocolat and île flotante etc all wash down with two 50Cl garage of red and white table wines from Saumur and coffee expresso all for 24.36€ per person. They have a facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/brasserielabourse/

Saumur

And finally, a great place to find info on Saumur but in French, too long to write on the blog but if you can read you will have all the info you need, this is Jadis. Webpage by just clicking on the labels of monuments it will take you to the information; here: http://saumur-jadis.pagesperso-orange.fr/lieux/lieux.htm

The tourist office of the area is here: https://www.anjou-tourisme.com/fr/voir-faire/que-visiter/villes-danjou/saumur-tresor-en-val-de-loire

Enjoy Saumur a wonderful town, we like very much, and we will be back soon.  Many photos try some here. Have a great week ,wherever you are. Cheers!!!

February 5, 2018

The drive over three regions: Brittany, PdL, and CvL!

Ok wo we had our trip for the weekend as usual around my belle France. Last weekend we actually passed by three regions by car , sounds a lot but they are actually within 4 hours driving only….!

We started from our pretty Brittany, and went past the Pays de la Loire and finally the Centre Val de Loire. All along the Loire of course, the great river of France. The title is abbreviated for not wanting to post a long title and well not creative enough ::)

We left our house by 7h or 7am taken the D768 to connect to the N165 free roads; we continue to the beltway or periphérique nord in Nantes to get on the A844, here to make a bit faster we took the toll road A11 direction Angers but got off it at the D763 road to Ancenis for only 3,10€ of tolls. Here at Ancenis we found some nice monuments.

These were the wonderful castle (b. 984AD) towers still in pretty good shape, the bridge or pont Bretagne-Anjou ,and  a nice halles or covered market with a belltower at first I thought it was a Church ! An old town founded in 984AD by Duke of Brittany, Guérech. Not to mention, the good wines of Ancenis.

More on the tourist page in French here: http://www.pays-ancenis-tourisme.com/fr/a-voir-a-faire/visites-culture-et-patrimoine/villes-et-villages/ancenis-et-ses-bords-de-loire/

We left Ancenis on the road D17 passing by Le Fuilet to Montrevault and Saint Pierre de Montlimart getting here on the D752 towards to Beaupréau-en-Mauges, where we cut off again on the D756 towards Jallais, and reaching Chemillé-Melay ,and onwards to Vihiers. All wonderful sleepy little towns but this is the pleasure of driving in my belle France! We did a bit of a detour to go into the D39 and passed by Les Trois Moutiers; cheating as actually this is in the department of the Vienne in region Nouvelle Aquitaine!!!. You see a nice Church Saint Hilaire in photo.

A bit on the tourism here in French: https://www.uneautreloire.fr/page/le-fuilet

At Vihiers we got on the D960 towards Saumur, our first real stop. I will put Saumur on a different post to tell you all about it. Some of the towns here on the tourist page in French: https://www.ot-saumur.fr/Villes-et-villages_r178.html

After walking around Saumur and having our lunch , we continue to our hotel and final destination at Tours. This we follow the Loire river on the D952 passing first by Varennes sur Loire, then Chouzé sur Loire and La Chapelle sur Loire . This road continues into Saint Michel sur Loire ,and Langeais site of a famous castle. Also, passing by Luynes and finally crossing the Loire river again on the road D37 at the bridge or pont de Saint Cosmé. Here we made a left turn into Avenue Proudhun that continues into rue des Tanneurs, turning right at rue Nationale , then left at Blvd Heurteloup and then another left at rue Victor Lalou to our hotel ; and we arrive.

More of Tours in a separate posts to tell you about the wonderful things to see there.

On the way back we came back out of Tours in the same way we came in, but this time taking the D37 out of town into the D751 direction Saumur. This time no tolls at all. And passing by another wonderful castle ,that of Azay-le-Rideau. Of course we did not stopped at these castles as no time and seen them years ago, we do need to get back for an update.  We passed by Coudray-Montpensier a nice castle we saw from the road. We continue on the side road of D751E at Chinon, another historical castle where been Sunday, we ate at our always reliable McDonalds amongst the vineyards of Chinon lol!

Some of the towns here in tourist page in English: http://www.tourainenature.com/en/visits-attractions/other-attractions/

And more here on the castles of this area in English: http://www.azay-chinon-loirevalley.com/

We went around Saumur on the same D751 along the Loire river direction Gennes with an interesting bridge over the Loire river. We continue on the D751 getting around Angers. This on road D759 direction Loudun and continuing to Thouars, and getting around this city as well on the road D938TER direction Bressures. Here we connected to the N249/E62 and got around Cholet as well. Taking direction Vallet and Nantes, where it reads the D149 same road, and connects with the beltway of periphérique nord of the N844 which becomes the A844 and hooks up with the N165 direction Vannes.

Something more on this area towns and things to see from the area tourist office: http://www.tourisme-bocage.com/visiter/histoire-et-patrimoine#!/page/1

And we reach home, nice and fresh really. Minimum tolls, which if extend it a bit could have been zero taxes oh yes they call it tolls…::)

We had enough time on Sunday to indulge on the trip and the goodies purchase from handbags, to candies, and chocolates, and of course the nice things we have not far from home that on a weekend can be a huge trip by anyone.

See some photos of the car trip here ,and look out for the Saumur and Tours posts coming up soon. Enjoy your week, mine is back to reports, meetings and a trip to Paris for a meeting by train TGV. Cheers!

 Ancenis  Ancenis Le Fuilet  Les Trois Moutiers  Les Trois Moutiers

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