|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
|Region||Pays de la Loire|
|Intercommunality||Saumur Loire Développement|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Michel Apchin|
|Area1||66.25 km2 (25.58 sq mi)|
|• Density||450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||49328 / 49400|
|Elevation||20–95 m (66–312 ft)
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers, and is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon, etc. which produce some of France's finest wines.
Prior to the French Revolution Saumur was the capital of the Sénéchaussée de Saumur, a bailiwick, that existed until 1793. Saumur was then the location of the Battle of Saumur during the Revolt in the Vendée.
During the Battle of France, in World War II, Saumur was the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940) where the town and south bank of the Loire was defended by the teenage cadets of the cavalry school.
In 1944 it was the target of several Tallboy and Azon bombing raids by Allied planes. The first raid, on 8/9 June 1944, was against a railway tunnel near Saumur, seeing the first use of the 12,000 lb Tallboy "earthquake" bombs. The hastily organized night raid was to stop a planned German Panzer Division, travelling to engage the newly landed allied forces in Normandy. The panzers were expected to use the tunnel. No. 83 Squadron RAF illuminated the area with flares by four Avro Lancasters and marked the target at low level by three de Havilland Mosquitos. 25 Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron RAF then dropped their Tallboys with great accuracy. They hit the bridge, blocked the railway cutting and one pierced the roof of the tunnel, bringing down a huge quantity of rock and soil which blocked the tunnel, badly delaying the German reinforcements.
On 22 June of the same year, nine Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the United States Army Air Forces used Azon 1,000 lb glide bombs against the Samur Bridge; escorted by 43 North American P-51 Mustangs. During the morning of 24 June, 74 American Boeing 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 with palm for its resistance and display of French patriotism during the war.
Saumur is home to the Cadre Noir, 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 school for armored forces (tanks). There is a tank museum, the Musée des Blindés, with more than 850 armored vehicles, wheeled or tracked. Most of them are from France, though some come from other countries such as Brazil, Germany, and the Soviet Union, as well as axis and allied vehicles of World War Two.
The School of Saumur is the name used to denote a distinctive form of Reformed theology taught by Moses Amyraut at the University of Saumur in the 17th century. Saumur is also the scene for Balzac's novel Eugénie Grandet, written by the French author in 1833, and the title of a song from hard rock band Trust (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 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. A giant sequoia tree (which is protected) stands in the grounds of Château de Beaulieu.
Saumur was the birthplace of:
- Anne Le Fèvre Dacier (1654–1720), scholar and translator of classics
- François Bontemps (1753–1811), General of the French Revolutionary Wars.
- Charles Ernest Beulé (1826–1874), archeologist
- Coco Chanel (1883–1971), fashion designer
- Yves Robert, (1920–2002), actor, composer, director, writer, producer
- Jack le Goff (1931-2009), equestrian
- Fanny Ardant, (b. 1949), actress
- Dominique Pinon, (b. 1955), actor
- Youna Dufournet. (b. 1993), French artistic gymnast
The French mathematician Abraham de Moivre initially studied logic at Saumur.
Marquis de Sade was briefly imprisoned in the Château de Saumur (then a prison) in 1768.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
The town is twinned with:
- Verden, Germany
- Warwick, United Kingdom
- Havelberg, Germany
- Asheville, NC, United States
- Ruşeţu, Romania
- "Saumur Tunnel, 9th June 1944". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
- "Campaign Diary June 1944". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
- Saumur Railway Tunnel dambusters.org.uk quoting AIR27/2128
- "8th Air Force 1944 Chronicles". Retrieved 2007-05-25. June[dead link]
- http://cassini.ehess.fr/ Population by city before 1962 (results published on official journals or conserved in departmental archives)
- INSEE : Population since the census of 1962
- Official Website of The French national horse riding school. "The French national horse riding school".
- Augustus John Cuthbert Hare (1890). South-western France. G. Allen. pp. 84–. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saumur.|
- Official website (in French)
- Notre Dame des Ardilliers - Article in the Catholic Encyclopedia about a Catholic pilgrimage center in the town
- Tank Museum of Saumur (Musée des Blindés)
- Chateau de Beaulieu
- Les séquoias géants en Pays-de-la-Loire
- The sequoias trees of Saumur