Situated in the picturesque Loire Valley, the historical town of Saumur is a must for holidaymakers staying nearby.
There is a lot to see and do in this charming town and it's a popular daytrip destination for those staying in one of the many Loire Valley gites. Much of the town's unique appearance and charm comes from the fact that most of the buildings were built using local Tuffeau stone. This beautiful, iridescent stone gives much of the town a fairty-tale-like appearance.
The town's main attraction is its spectacular white chateau, situated high above the town. It's open all day in the summer months, with reduced hours in operation at other times of year. Built in the 14th Century, the chateau has plenty of attractions. The atmospheric dungeons are a must-see, as is the watchtower.
The impressive royal apartments have been converted into a museum with some excellent exhibits. The museum boasts a collection of tapestries dating back to the 15th Century and the attic area is given over to an eclectic mix of horse paraphernalia and saddles from all over the world. Saumur's oldest church is situated near the castle, in a wonderful garden setting. The church is home to a spectacular tapestry collection but is worth a visit for its pretty setting alone.
The Cadre Noir equestrian team are based in Saumar at the famous French National Riding School and anyone with even a passing interest in horses will enjoy a day out at the school. Tours are offered and allow visitors to delve into the 200 years of history of this incredible institution.
Saumur is located in the heart of rich, wine-making territory and there are plenty of opportunities to sample the famous local wines in and around the town. Some of the finest wines in all of France are produced in this area and many are available from local dealers and in the town's restaurants.
Many of the local wine-producers are open to visitors and provide lectures and tours. The local Cooperative WIne Caves are a popular tourist destination and can be reached easily by train or road from Saumur. If you're staying in one of the nearby Loire Valley gites, be sure to head into Saumur on a Saturday to take advantage of the wonderful market. Selling everything from artisan breads and local cheese to fine meats and specialty pastries, the market has a great selection of produce.