Candes-Saint-Martin !!!

So this was the surprise of the trip to the Loire Valley. I intended to go for our wines in St Nicolas de Bourgueil and see the fortress of Chinon,(see posts), but as road warrior trip has it on our way back home we stop at Candes-Saint-Martin. I have heard of all the wonders of this little town , especially the Collegiale Church Saint Martin,(see post), the reason to stop by finally!!! I told you we have endless opportunities of seeing wonders in my belle France. This will be an introductory post to Candes Saint Martin, sure we will be back for more; hope you enjoy it as I.

The town of Candes-Saint-Martin or Candes is in the department of Indre-et-Loire,37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Located at the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne rivers, by Tours and towards Saumur, Tours,is only 50 km ,Chinon, 14 km ,Saumur, 12 km . Access to the town is exclusively by road, with the D 751 (our route) which runs along the south bank of the Vienne river and which links Chinon to Saumur via Candes-Saint-Martin and the D 147 which, from Candes, joins Loudun south. No public transport offer is available in the territory of Candes-Saint-Martin itself.

Candes St Martin bridge over vienne river nov21

Things to consider, amazing!  The area of Candes-Saint-Martin is exposed to the risk of flooding, either by overflow of the Loire and the Vienne rivers, or by reflux of the Loire in flood in the valley of the Vienne. The subsoil of Candes-Saint-Martin, dug many cavities and several quarries linked to the past exploitation of tuffeau stones, is thus weakened and exposed to landslides on the escarpments or on the slopes or even cavity collapses. A plan for the prevention of natural risks of land movements, approved on August 12, 1991, establishes a zoning of the territory according to the intensity of this risk. Candes-Saint-Martin is one of the 23 towns of Indre-et- Loire concerned in 2015 by the special intervention plan (PPI) for the Avoine nuclear power plant set up within a radius of 10 km around the power plant and which provides, in the event of a crisis and under the responsibility of the prefecture, sheltering or total or partial evacuation of the population.

A bit of history of the town I like

Founded by Martin de Tours on the western border of his diocese in the last quarter of the 4C, Candes was one of the first parishes in Tours. Saint Martin died in Candes on November 8, 397, which established the notoriety of this small parish where, in the Middle Ages, stood a collegiate church famous for the richness of its sculpted decoration. The precise time when Martin founded the parish of Candes is not known, perhaps around 387, at the same time as he destroyed a pagan temple nearby. In October 397, Martin came to Candes to settle a dispute. , of an unspecified nature, between religious folks ; he was then about 81 years old, was very tired and knew that this trip could be fatal for him. On the spot, he managed to restore peace, but he was so weakened that his return was not possible. Finally, he died on November 8, 397 in a building on the site of which a chapel of the Collegiate Church of Candes (see post) may later be built.

After the death of Martin, Candes quickly becomes a place where pilgrims come to meditate in the cell where he died, after having prayed on his tomb in Tours; From the second millennium, they sometimes continue their journey to Santiago de Compostela, Many personalities make the trip to Candes, such as Saint Geneviève, the queens Clotilde and Radegonde, or King Charles the Bald who thus inaugurates a long tradition among French sovereigns, King Louis XI made several trips to Saint-Martin de Candes; before him, Philippe Auguste and Charles VII had made the same trip, but the reasons for all these royal trips are not known.

The first fortified castle, near or connected to the city wall, damaged during the Hundred Years War, was repaired at the end of the 14C and the beginning of the 15C. No source makes it possible to restore its appearance or to determine the time of its construction. It was demolished in 1485, replaced by a less austere castle and more in line with the requirements in terms of comfort. This castle, whose construction was completed in 1525, bears the name of Château Vieux; it continues to welcome the archbishops and their guests In the 15C,

The wars of religion cause significant damage to Candes. In 1781, the castle new purchaser hastens to destroy the castle to rebuild it in 1820 a little further to the south the terrace of the new castle is built on the site of the old house demolished; this new castle, baptized Château Neuf, is now a private residence. In 1791, the chapter’s property was seized, the religious dispersed and the church closed to worship. The church was finally reopened in 1802.

The municipal territory of Candes-Saint-Martin is registered in the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes, registered in 2000 as World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its landscapes, historic sites, monuments and agricultural activities.

Other than the collegiale church, which is a must (see post) other things to see in Candes Saint Martin are :

The Château Vieux or old castle of the archbishops of Tours was built from the 15C to the 17C to replace a fortified castle that has disappeared. it was until the end of the 17C a summer residence for the archbishops of Tours; without being demolished, it is then replaced by a new castle. The Château Neuf or new castle, replaced after the French revolution replace and older construction built from 1682 and which fulfills the same function of episcopal residence. A semicircular portal surmounted by machicolations gives access to its courtyard and a semicircular avant-corps of its north facade juts out onto the terrace.

The mansion of the provost was the seat of the local court until the 18C under the presidency of one of the canons, elevated to the rank of provost. A staircase turret accompanies its north facade. Near the collegiate church, four houses or residences from the 15-16C ; these are the Old Logis de Candes from the 16C has a stone spiral staircase turret .  A 16C house had, until the enlargement of its bays , Renaissance capitals; they have disappeared but the moldings framing the oculus and the door still remain. Another house from the 16C, was from 1769 until the French revolution the presbytery of the churches; located to the north of the latter, it retains its staircase turret, the roof of which has disappeared. Built in the 12C and remodeled in the 16C a canonical house served as a presbytery after the French revolution; its west facade is pierced with a Romanesque window and it has, overlooking its inner courtyard, a stone staircase turret.

The Puits-Saint-Michel cellar mill, of a type common in the west of Touraine and in Anjou, is still in good condition, rue du Puits-Saint-Michel ,The miller’s accommodation, adjacent to the mill, is also preserved . The castle with its park located outside the medieval wall, spans this street, like the one which adjoins the tour l’Enfant or tower of the child and tour d’Aubigny tower. Built in 1490 but extensively altered later, this tower kept one of the city gates, more specifically reserved for the use of lords.

The 15C garrison house, which was very much altered later, is part of the medieval defensive system of Candes on the old Fontevraud road, near the Porte de Torché. The Maison-Dieu or chaplaincy, route de Compostelle, was in the 16C a hospice welcoming patients and pilgrims. Founded by one of the canons of Candes ten years before the French revolution, the house of charity, also known as the canon’s house, is a place where the instruction of young girls is then carried out under the guidance of nuns of the congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Saumur; the latter also provide care for the needy in the parish. Once the revolutionary episode has passed, nuns continued their activity there until WWII, limiting themselves to medical aid from 1905.

The city of Candes St Martin on its heritage

The Touraine Val de Loire tourist office on one of the most beautiful villages of France, Candes St Martin

The Saumur tourist office on Candes St Martin

There you go folks, a dandy in my lovely Loire Valley of my belle France. Another nice surprise to finally stop by Candes Saint Martin, really needs a revisit ,and I will. Hope you enjoy the post and do make it here too.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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