Saumur is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Maine-et-Loire
Maine-et-Loire is a department in west-central France, in the Pays de la Loire region.- History :Maine-et-Loire is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. Originally it was called Mayenne-et-Loire, but its name was changed to Maine-et-Loire in 1791....

 department in western France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


The historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet
The Thouet is a tributary river of the Loire in the Poitou-Charentes and Pays de la Loire régions of France. The Thouet rises at Secondigny, close to the source of the Sèvre Nantaise, and joins the Loire just to the west of Saumur...

 rivers, and is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon
Chinon is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France well known for Château de Chinon.In the Middle Ages, Chinon developed especially during the reign of Henry II . The castle was rebuilt and extended, becoming one of his favorite residences...

, Bourgueil
Bourgueil is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France.The inhabitants of the town of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil are "Nicolaisiens St., San Nicolaisiennes."-Bourgueil wine:...

, Coteaux du Layon
Coteaux du Layon
Coteaux du Layon is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée for sweet white wine in the Loire Valley wine region of France. Coteaux du Layon is situated in the Anjou district of the region, along the river Layon, which is a tributary of the Loire River...

, etc. which produce some of France's finest wines.


Prior to the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 Saumur was the capital of the Sénéchaussée de Saumur, a bailiwick
A bailiwick is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and may also apply to a territory in which the sheriff's functions were exercised by a privately appointed bailiff under a royal or imperial writ. The word is now more generally used in a metaphorical sense, to indicate a sphere of...

, that existed until 1793. Saumur was then the location of the Battle of Saumur
Battle of Saumur (1793)
The Battle of Saumur was a battle during the Vendee Revolt. It occurred in the town of Saumur on 9 June 1793.As at the battle of Thouars, the Republican prisoners were released after swearing not to fight again in the Vendée and having had their hair shaved off so they could be recognised lest...

 during the Revolt in the Vendée
Revolt in the Vendée
The War in the Vendée was a Royalist rebellion and counterrevolution in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. The uprising was closely tied to the Chouannerie, which took place in...

During the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Saumur was the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940)
Battle of Saumur (1940)
The Battle of Saumur occurred during the last stages of the Battle of France during World War II, when officer cadets from the Cavalry School at Saumur, led by superintendent Colonel Michon, made a defensive stand along the Loire River at Saumur and Gennes...

 where the town and south bank of the Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

 was defended with great honour by the teenage cadets of the cavalry school.

In 1944 it was the target of several Tallboy and Azon bombing targets from Allied planes.
The first raid, on 8/9 June 1944, was against a railway tunnel near Saumur, seeing the first use of Tallboy bombs. The hasty night raid was to stop a planned German Panzer Division
Panzer Division
A panzer division was an armored division in the army and air force branches of the Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II....

, travelling to the meeting newly landed allied forces in Normandy. The panzers were expected to use the tunnel. No. 83 Squadron RAF
No. 83 Squadron RAF
No. 83 Squadron RAF was a Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force squadron active from 1917 until 1969. It was operative during both World War I and World War II.-Establishment and early service:...

 illuminated the area with flares by four Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

s and marked the target at low level by three de Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

s. 25 Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron RAF
No. 617 Squadron RAF
No. 617 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. It currently operates the Tornado GR4 in the ground attack and reconnaissance role...

 then dropped their Tallboys with great accuracy; one pierced the roof of the tunnel, brought down a huge quantity of rock and soil, and blocked the tunnel for a considerable period, badly delaying the Panzer IV
Panzer IV
The Panzerkampfwagen IV , commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz...


On 22 June of the same year, nine B-24 Liberator
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

s of the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 used Azon
AZON was one of the world's first smart bombs, deployed by the Allies and contemporary with the German Fritz X.Officially designated VB-1 , it was invented by Major Henry J. Rand and Thomas J...

 glide bombs against the Samur Bridge; escort was provided by 41 of 43 P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

s. During the morning of 24 June, 74 American B-17 Flying Fortresses were again dispatched to the bridge; 38 hit the primary and 36 hit Tours/La Riche Airfield without loss; escort was provided by 121 of 135 P-51s.

The town of Saumur was awarded the Croix de Guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

 with palm for its resistance and display of French patriotism during the war.


Main sights

Saumur is home to the Cadre Noir
Cadre Noir
The Cadre Noir is an equestrian display team based in the city of Saumur in western France. The troop was founded in 1828, and gets its name from the black uniforms that are still used today...

, the École Nationale d'Équitation (National School of Horsemanship), known for its annual horse shows, as well as the Armoured Branch and Cavalry Training School, the officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 school for armored forces (tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s). There is a tank museum, the Musée des Blindés
Musée des Blindés
The Musée des Blindés or Musée Général Estienne is a tank museum located in the Loire Valley of France, in the city of Saumur. It is one of the world's largest tank museums....

, with more than 850 armored vehicles, wheeled or tracked. Most of them are from France, though some come from other countries such as Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, as well as axis and allied vehicles of World War Two.

The School of Saumur
Amyraldism primarily refers to a modified form of Calvinist theology...

 is the name used to denote a distinctive form of Reformed theology
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 taught by Moses Amyraut
Moses Amyraut
Moses Amyraut , also known as Amyraldus, was a French Protestant theologian and metaphysician. He is perhaps most noted for his modifications to Calvinist theology regarding the nature of Christ's atonement, which is referred to as Amyraldism or Amyraldianism.-Life:Born at Bourgueil, in the valley...

 at the University of Saumur in the 17th century. Saumur is also the scene for Balzac's novel Eugénie Grandet
Eugénie Grandet
Eugénie Grandet is an 1833 novel by Honoré de Balzac about miserliness, and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter, Eugénie, through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac, all the characters in the novel are fully realized...

, written by the French author in 1833, and the title of a song from hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 band Trust
Trust (band)
Trust is a French rock band closely associated with both AC/DC and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.-History:Trust was founded in 1977 by:* Bernard "Bernie" Bonvoisin * Norbert "Nono" Krief...

 (whose lyrics express their poor opinion of the city: narrow-minded, bourgeois and militaristic).
Amongst the most important monuments of Saumur are the great Château de Saumur
Château de Saumur
Located in the French town of Saumur, in the Maine-et-Loire département, the Château de Saumur was originally constructed in the 10th century by Theobald I, Count of Blois, as a fortified stronghold against Norman predations. It overlooks the confluence of the Loire and the Thouet. In 1026 it came...

 itself which stands high above the town, and the nearby Château de Beaulieu which stands just 200 metres from the south bank of the Loire river and which was designed by the architect Jean Drapeau.

The architectural character of the town owes much to the fact that it is constructed almost exclusively of the beautiful, but also fragile Tuffeau stone
Tuffeau stone
Tuffeau is a marine sedimentary rock which is found in the Loire Valley of France.The Loire Valley formed the floor of a vast sea 90 million years ago...


Notable people

Saumur was the birthplace of:
  • Anne Lefèvre
    Anne Lefèvre
    Anne Le Fèvre Dacier , better known during her lifetime as Madame Dacier, was a French scholar and translator of the classics....

     (1654–1720), better known during her lifetime as Madame Dacier, scholar and translator of classics
    Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

  • Charles Ernest Beulé
    Charles Ernest Beulé
    thumb|Beulé's grave at the [[Père Lachaise Cemetery]] in ParisCharles Ernest Beulé was a French archaeologist and politician.-Biography:...

     (1826–1874), archeologist
  • Coco Chanel (1883–1971), internationally renowned fashion designer
  • Yves Robert
    Yves Robert
    Yves Robert was a French actor, screenwriter, director, and producer.Born in Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, in his teens Robert went to Paris to pursue a career in acting, starting with unpaid parts on stage in the city's various theatre workshops. To support himself, he worked at a variety of jobs...

    , (1920–2002), actor, composer, director, writer, producer
  • Fanny Ardant
    Fanny Ardant
    Fanny Marguerite Judith Ardant is a French actress. She has appeared in more than fifty motion pictures since 1976. Ardant won the César Award for Best Actress in 1997 for her performance in Pédale douce.-Early life:...

    , (b. 1949), actress
  • Dominique Pinon
    Dominique Pinon
    Dominique Pinon is a French actor whose most famous roles have been in the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Jean-Jacques Beineix. In the theatre, he has appeared in the plays of Gildas Bourdet, Jorge Lavelli and Valère Novarina...

    , (b. 1955), actor

The French mathematician Abraham de Moivre
Abraham de Moivre
Abraham de Moivre was a French mathematician famous for de Moivre's formula, which links complex numbers and trigonometry, and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory. He was a friend of Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley, and James Stirling...

 initially studied logic at Saumur.

Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 was briefly imprisoned in the Château de Saumur (then a jail) in 1768

Twin towns

The town is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Verden
Verden, Germany
Verden an der Aller, also called Verden or simply Verden , is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the river Aller. It is the administrative centre of the district of Verden...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Havelberg is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Havel, and part of the town is built on an island in the centre of the river. The two parts were incorporated as a town in 1875...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The City is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center , which is the world's largest active...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Ruşeţu is a commune in the Buzău County, Romania. It is composed of two villages, Ruşeţu and Sergent Ionel Ştefan....

, Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

External links

  • Official website (in French)
  • Notre Dame des Ardilliers - Article in the Catholic Encyclopedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

    about a Catholic pilgrimage center in the town
  • Tank Museum of Saumur (Musée des Blindés)
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.