Château de Saumur
|Château de Saumur|
The Château de Saumur, originally built as a castle and later developed as a château, is located in the French town of Saumur, in the Maine-et-Loire département. It was originally constructed in the 10th century by Theobald I, Count of Blois, as a fortified stronghold against Norman attacks. It overlooks the confluence of the rivers Loire and Thouet. In 1026 it came into the hands of Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou, who bequeathed it to his Plantagenet heirs. Following its destruction in 1067, the castle was rebuilt by Henry II of England in the later 12th century.
In the early part of the 13th century, Philip II of France made Saumur part of his royal domain. The page for September in the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry depicts the Chateau as it looked in 1410. It changed hands several times until 1589 when the Protestant King Henry IV (of France and Navarre) gave the castle to Duplessis-Mornay.
In 1621 the castle was converted into an army barracks. Nearly two centuries later it was converted into a state prison under Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the first part of the 20th century, the city of Saumur acquired the castle and began a restoration program to house the museum of the decorative arts. In line with the Saumur area's equestrian tradition and its famous "Cadre Noir", the castle also serves as a Museum of the Horse. The castle has a dungeon and watchtower, and houses the Musée de la Figurine-Jouet, a collection of very old toys and figurines of soldiers, kings of France, and clowns.
- Visiting information (French)
- Base Mérimée: Château de Saumur, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
- Photos of Château Château de Saumur and other Loire castles