Known as the Market Garden of France, with its soft, warm micro-climate, attractive countryside with lakes and rivers as well as the home of the longest river in France. It is, of course, also the land of the Châteaux. During the long hot summers, the fields are full of sunflowers and wherever you go you will come across vineyards. This is home to some of the most famous wines of France. As the Loire Valley is relatively flat, an excellent way to see the area is by bicycle. In addition, the local people are very friendly and the crime rate very low. It all makes an ideal location for a family break. The Loire Valley is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are many beautiful places to visit in the Loire but the town of Saumur has an abundance of local facilities. Despite this, you can walk around the town in under half a day. It is small enough to feel comfortable, yet large enough so that there is always plenty to do all year round. All of this is within 1½ miles of our home.
La Métairie is situated just under one mile from the bridge over the Loire that takes you into the heart of Saumur. Halfway along the bridge you will find yourself on an island in the middle of the Loire which hosts a number of hotels, restaurants and bars. From this point there are breathtaking views of the Loire River and the famous fairytale Château rising high on the hill above the town.
Saumur town centre boasts many fine restaurants, bars and shops to suit all tastes. From speciality meat shops to cheese shops, boulangeries and pâtisseries. Beautiful gift shops, perfumeries and clothes shops are plentiful. A good selection of cafés and bars offer the perfect excuse to relax and watch the world go by. There are markets every day between Wednesday and Saturday, each in a different part of town, selling everything from fresh fish, meat and vegetables to bric-a-brac, clothes and antiques. Saumur is also the home of French Equestrianism and the famous crack Cavalry Regiment – le Cadre Noire. The area around Saumur boasts several fine Châteaux and museums, a few of which are listed below.
Well worth a visit are the Troglodyte caves. Unique dwellings, hewn from the local “tuffeau” stone, which dominates the Loire Valley. Some of the finest examples of tuffeau stone buildings in Saumur are the Château, the Church of St. Pierre, the Mairie, and of course, our home.
Two pleasant and relaxing ways to see Saumur are by horse and carriage, and by Saumur’s “mini-train”. Another option is to board the “Saumur-Loire” for a 50 minute boat trip.
Activities in and around Saumur
Saumur and the surrounding region offer numerous activities to suit all tastes, and ages, including:
- Horse riding – several Equestrian Centres
- Pony trekking
- Golf – including one of the top 15 courses at Baugé
- Walking – Nature and Heritage Trails
- Theatres and Cinemas
- Watersports – canoeing, water-skiing, yachting, rowing.
For the more adventurous, you can parachute, micro-light or fly above the Châteaux of the Loire Valley with the Aéro-club de Saumur, or take a ride in a hot air balloon.
There are 31 Churches and Abbeys, including the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, the largest in Europe and the resting place Henry II of England, his wife, Queen Eleanor, and their son, Richard the Lionheart.
Châteaux, fortified houses and manors galore, including:
- Brézé (with a Château underneath a Château!)
- Tank Museum
- Contemporary Art Museum
- Motor Museum
- Mushroom Museum – the largest in Europe
- Museum of Craft and Traditions
- The Zoo at Doué-la-Fontaine is unique for its remarkable troglodyte setting.
- The Zoo at La Flèche has been highly recommended by previous guests.
- The League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) offers nature outings throughout the year.
- The Rose-Trail, also at Doué-la-Fontaine, is a magnificent 5 hectare wooded park with more than 10,000 rose bushes.
- Stone and Light Miniature Underground Sculpture Park
Theme Parks (many of these are between one and two hours drive)
- Holly Park at Échemiré – aimed towards younger children
- Futuroscope, near Poitiers
- Le Grand Parc du Puy du Fou - gladiators, chariot races, medieval battles, falconry
- ZooParc at St. Aignan
- Aquarium at Lussalt sur Loire – Europe’s biggest freshwater aquarium
- Mini Châteaux at Amboise
Contact Kelly and Tom to check availability and to make a booking