Grand Thêatre de Saumur!

So lets get back in the Loire, and show you another off the beaten path place in my belle France. The city of Saumur has wonderful monuments including Cathedrals, Churches, and a Castle ,not to forget good wines! However, there are so much to see here, and one of my favorite for it’s impressive look by the Loire river was the Theater.

Not just any theater but a Grand Théâtre right along the quays of the Loire river in nice Saumur. One of the things I wrote briefly before, but really needs a visit especially for its dome or even a show…. Let me tell you a bit more on the theater.

Located at the confluence of the shopping squares of Place de la République and Place de La Bilange, at the edge of the Loire river, the Grand Théâtre of Saumur has always wanted since the 18C, the symbol of the modern city. And it is impressive indeed.

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The town of Saumur took advantage of the arrival of the Cavalry brigades in 1763 to begin its modernization.  In the context of the extensive urban redevelopment plan, the creation of the new theater began in 1785. In 1788, the first theater was finished at the location of the current theater, associated with a market hall and a tree-lined walk on the new quays. The expenses were covered by donations mainly composed of Cavalry , notable, entrepreneurs and traders of Saumur and the surrounding area.

A trader of Angers, Joachim-Jean Trottouin, even subscribes an action on the head of Louis Charles de France, the future Louis XVII! (that never reigned murdered in the French revolution).  Very degraded despite successive restorations, the building was finally demolished in 1863. The construction of a new theater was  given to the architect of the city, Charles Joly-Leterme . He opted for an imposing building in tufa and slate.

saumur

The 30 Corinthian columns that belt the building testify to influences from the canons of classical architecture. The outer galleries serve, as in the previous century, a covered market and a trading stock exchange with nice arcades closed by the gates Place de la Bilange. Inside, the Italian style room can accommodate 860 spectators at ease, even 950 a little tight. The interior decoration is entrusted to Antoine-Victor Barbereau dit Saint-Léon, Parisian painter decorator.  The bombardments of June 1940 which damaged the theater,  a new ceiling representing the allegory of opera, tragedy, comedy and dance was done.

saumur

Despite regular attention, the very dilapidated theater closes in June 2008 for security reasons.  The restoration project, launched in 2010, proposes a complete modernization while respecting its architectural envelope.

saumur

In the theater, the stage and the staging area are modified to offer several configurations: theater, Circassian scene, orchestra pit, stand for lyrical and symphonic, opening possible in the background of a plateau. In the foyer, the extension of public staircases to courtyard and garden by destroying the main staircase makes this space free for the reception and the wandering of the public.

saumur

Finally the realization of a dome roof marks externally the transformation of the building. The theater dome marks the entrance to the city on the north side, giving it an important counterweight to the rest of the facades on the Loire. Its new characteristic profile becomes by essence one of the flagship buildings of the city with the dome of the Ardilliers, the Castle and the 3 arrows of the Church of St. Peter, the old City/Town hall and the Church of Saint Nicholas.(see previous posts).

Another nice one to see in Saumur, the Grand Théâtre is great in a wonderful shopping area with arcades fountains and the Loire, as well as great places to eat, see my previous post on the city. For now enjoy the Grand Théâtre of Saumur!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Saumur on the Grand Theatre

Tourist office of Saumur on heritage things to see

Official season’s plays at the Grand Theatre

There you go ,another dandy in the Loire of my belle France, enjoy the movable feast of France! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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