Saumur & Chinon

Well, what about these two very beautiful and picturesque cities? If we come to them from Anger or Tours, the ideal is to take the road that goes along the Loire. In this area there are several troglodyte settlements that can be visited since they are towns that have been developing using caves, they even have “Troglo hotels” (I stayed in one located in Rochemenier and that I quote below in the section of “other addresses”)

Château de Saumur
  1. Saumur: if you walk through the city center with its cute little houses, you have to go up to the castle that is on top, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Loire, the Church of Saint Peter and the rooftops of the city, having a coffee on its terraces or taking a walk through the vineyards that surround it. What I advise to do, especially at sunset time, is to cross the river through Pont Cessart and take a walk along the path that is laid out along the shore on the Ile Offard and that includes the Quai de la Marine and the Quai du Marronnier. There are people on bikes, walking around, they even ride what is known in France as “guinguette” which is like a kind of open-air beach bar where they serve drinks and tapas. The views of the castle and the city from this side of the river are unforgettable.
Eglise de Saint Pierre

2.In the surroundings there are several castles to visit, such as a) “Chateau de Marson”, b) “Chateau de Brézé”, c) “Chateau de Montsoreau” or, my favorite among all castles, d) “Chateau de la Mothe Chandeniers”. The latter is being restored by an association and is of incredible authenticity and beauty as it is still a bit in ruins. It is my favorite among all the castles I have visited so far in France.

Chateau de Marson
Château de la Mothe Chandeniers
  1. Chinon and its Fortress, “Forteresse Royale”, which is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and from it the “Vienne” is controlled, which is a tributary of the Loire river. Before or after visiting the historic center, I recommend taking a walk along the river from the other side of the bridge. The views of the city are wonderful and if you have time, there is another “guinguette” or beach bar where you can rent bikes and activities such as canoeing. Once inside the old area, you can walk among the little houses that lead to the fortress and there is also a “cave” or wine cellar called “Painctes” and you can also visit or buy there.
La Loire

In the direction of Tours, the a) “Chateau Azay le Rideau” is a most romantic castle, whose history is linked to Chopin. Its Renaissance architecture and surrounded by a lake, you cannot pass through this area without visiting it.

Museé de Balzac

Not far away are the b) Museé de Balzac also in a furnished 19th century castle where the writer made several of his works.

And c) “Château de Villandry” with its beautiful gardens full of flowers and different smells.


1.Saumur, known as “La Perla d’Anjou”, in addition to its Castle (which is part of the list of Loire castles declared a Unesco world heritage site in 2000) and its vineyards, is also known by the horses. There is a high-level riding school, known as “El Cadre Noir” and it constitutes the teaching staff of the National Riding School of the country. Since 2011, Traditional French Riding has been part of the Unesco Heritage and in this school, in addition to teaching, shows are also organized.In this link I leave you a little more about this cultural heritage:

The intangible cultural heritage of humanity

  1. From Chinon I am going to talk a little about its fortress, known by the Kings as “the Three Castles” since the monument has been built in several stages. The place where it was built has been occupied for 3,000 years, going through the Gallo-Roman era, the Middle Ages until the 10th century when the Counts of Blois took it over and then passed into the hands of the counts d’Anjou who were more powerful (if you make the link with the part of the History of Le Mans, this castle became the property of Geoffroy le Bel who gave name to the Plantagenet dynasty and his great-grandson Henri II).
Forteresse de Chinon

Henri II made Chinon his mainland capital as he was of English origin (all this between 1160 and 1189 when he dethroned his wife Alienor d’Aquitaine and locked her in the Castle of Chinon for a time. Henri II passed away in the castle in 1189 abandoned by their children). Several Kings passed through it, until Carlos VII who settled in the castle of Chinon with his court. In 1429 Joan of Arc arrived at court to convince Charles VII to make himself sacred in the Cathedral of Reims since, due to circumstances, he had become King without going through the conversion ceremony. Joan of Arc had to leave to return a few months later offering the Crown and the Ceremony of Recognition to the King and this event had a great importance in the Hundred Years War (1337-1453)


Visit the domaines de los “vignobles” that offer the tasting and sale of wines with denomination of origin of the area, both in Saumur and Chinon.

Le plaisir Gourmand, castle next to Chinon just to see or just eat.

Chateau du Rivau

The restaurant inside the Chateau du Rivau, near Chinon. In addition to eating, you can visit and tell its precious story related to Joan of Arc and the horses of the King of France, Francis I. It is also known for its pumpkins and its beautiful rose garden.

Les caves de Chinon, like Cave Voltaire where the owner will advise you on different wines from castles and vineyards in the area. Les Caves Plouzeau are inside the stone like a cave and you can visit the barrels in which the wine is kept, which gives it a very nice touch of authenticity.

Other addresses

  1. Rocaminori Trogo Hotel, visit the little town that has troglodyte settlements.
  2. Chateau Le Prieuré, a very classy hotel located just before reaching Saumur from Angers, with a good restaurant and unforgettable views of the Loire river.

If you want to stay in the Center of Saumur, I recommend the Hotel Saint Pierre.

If you want to sleep in the outskirts, I fell in love with the “Chateau de Nazé”, with the owner of the castle who is a great hostess and with a restaurant “Hotel Saint Paul” 5 minutes away by car that is great value for the quality they offer and the service.

Chateau de Ternay

A little further south you will find the “Castle of Ternay”, converted into a hotel but it is my favorite among all the “Maison d’hotes” castles that I have been to because it really preserves the essence of the place. The owner organizes and offers aperitifs with champagne in the middle of the vineyards that surround the building before dinner. Guided tours of the castle are also offered, which has an interesting history as well as well-kept architecture

Château d’Artigny & Spa. It is a 5-star castle-hotel on the outskirts of Tours, but the price is affordable for the grandeur of the place and its authentic decoration. The spa is great, small but beautifully decorated and cared for. The rooms are a bit old but I recommend breakfast, as it is in a wonderfully elegant room and is quite copious. The place also has a beautiful history linked to the well-known perfumer François Coty during the Belle Epoque

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