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Montsoreau is a french town located in the Loire Valley, in the Maine-et-Loire departement, in the region Pays de la Loire.


Château de Montsoreau

The city of Montsoreau is located in a strategic position, at the convergence of two rivers, the Loire and the Vienne, and also at the intersection of three historical political regions Anjou, Poitou and Touraine. It is situated in a nationally protected region, the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park.

Its castle was directly built in the bed of the Loire River, at the foot of the hillside, in tufa - the local bed-rock, still visible in many places. Many local properties are built from this stone and indeed there are many local houses built into the hillsides, and in the local caves. Its topographic position is said to be militarily undefendable, as it is located between two small valleys on a plateau of some thirty hectares with steep slopes to the east and the west.

Get in[edit]

Montsoreau is located 2 hours from Paris, in the Loire Valley, world heritage.

By car[edit]

  • A85 exit n°5 Bourgueil (follow Saumur) D960

By train[edit]

  • Station of Saumur : 17km
  • Station of Tours: 57km

By plane[edit]

Get around[edit]

Cadre noir Saumur

Just close to Montsoreau the Collegiale of Candes Saint Martin is a must see. The collegiale has been builf between 1175 and 1225 and was after fortified on the XVth century. On november 397, saint Martin, bishop of Tours, dies in Candes Saint Martin. His dead body is carried to Tours by night.

Saumur, 10 minutes from Montsoreau is especially known for the Cadre Noir of Saumur is a must see. The creation of the National Riding School was aimed at organizing the teaching of riding in France; its vocation to prepare for high level teaching diplomas and top level competition. Under the wing of the Minister for Health, Youth and Sport, the National Riding School is founded on the knowledge and experience of the ecuyers (Riding Masters) of the Cadre Noir who have rediscovered their ancestry at Saumur; with a mission to develop horse training, to teach riding for sport, and to teach the equestrian professions.

Montsoreau is located in the Parc Naturel Régional Loire Anjou Touraine.Founded in 1996, the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park groups together 128 municipalities around a major project aimed at protecting heritage and enhancing the value of local resources.

See[edit][add listing]

Château de Montsoreau, Art&Language "Mirror Piece", Loire Valley France

Middle Ages[edit]

The first written source describing the site dates back to the 6th century with the domaine de Restis. It was transformed into a fortified castle by Eudes the First count of Blois in 990. In 1001, it was taken by the Anjou realm, and Foulques Nerra gave it to Gautier the First of Montsoreau. Gautier the First belonged to one of the most pro-eminent families of Anjou. Thus, the Castrum Monsorelli became one of the forty fortified castles in Anjou and one of the few to be given the title of lordship at the turn of 1000. A town developed quickly near the castle and in the narratio de commendatione Turonice provincie, edited by Salmon in 1854, the site was mentioned as one of oppidis munitissimi et populosis by the second half of 11th century. A right to raise tax was attested in written sources from the 12th century.

When the Fontevraud order was settled in 1101, Fontevraud Abbey was supervised by Gautier de Montsoreau, who took direct orders from the Count of Anjou. Gautier's mother-in-law, Hersende de Champagne, was the first great prior and co-founder of the Abbey with Robert d'Arbrissel.

Guillaume IV de Montsoreau was on Geoffrey Plantagenet's side against his brother Henri II Plantagenet, the future King of England, and Alienor d'Aquitaine's husband. The latter besieged the castrum and took it at the end of August 1156, despite its fortification. He captured Guillaume and his defenders. Guillaume IV, however, was restored to the castle later. An order of King Henry II of England (about 1068) concerning the landscape project of the Loire was signed by Guillaume de Montsoreau and his son Guillaume. In 1171, Guillaume’s son gave the Turpenay monks the right to build tax-free houses inside the castrum. Gauthier, his eldest son, had no sons and so the lordship passed to the Savary de Montbazon family, on the marriage of his daughter Ferrie in 1213 to Pierre II Savary de Montbazon, lord of Montbazon.

After his victory at Bouvines, Philippe-Auguste chose him in 1214, with Guy Turpin, archdeacon of Tours, to negotiate peace with King John. The second house of Montsoreau disappeared in 1362, with the wedding of the only daughter of Renaud VII and Guillaume II de Craon. The fourth house, one of the Chabot family, lasted only a few decades.

In 1450, in order to pay off various debts, Louis II Chabot sold his domains of Montsoreau and Coutancière to his brother-in-law Jean II de Chambes, who undertook to rebuild the castle at Montsoreau. A descendant of Angoumois (near the city of Angoulême), Jean II de Chambes began in Charles VII service as an esquire in 1426, the years before the famous interview between the King and Jeanne d'Arc in the Castle of Chinon. Baker in chief, Councillor and Chambelain, he became in 1444 "first master of ostel" of the King; at the same time he associated with Jacques Coeur. Jean II de Chambes received a considerable amount of money that was owed to him. He was trusted with several sensitive diplomatic missions and especially sent as ambassador to Venice in 1459 to prepare a new crusade. His lordships of Montsoreau and Argenton, but also his governorship of La Rochelle and Lord Provost and Captain of Niort, Talmont-sur-Gironde and Aigues-Mortes assured him some substantial revenues.

Modern period[edit]

From 1450 to 1460, Jean II de Chambes increasingly played a role as ambassador. He was called frequently out of Anjou, while the castle was being built. These ten years represent a remarkable rise of his political and financial influence including his closeness to Charles VII. Closer to Charles VII than Louis XI, Jean II de Chambes gradually withdrew from politics from 1461.

Jean III de Chambes succeeded his father, who died in 1473 and married Marie de Chateaubriant, who founded in 1519 the Holy Cross Collegiate Church across the moat surrounding the castle. In 1530, Philippe de Chambes, who lived in Montsoreau, married Anne de Laval-Montmorency. His eldest son, Jean VI de Chambes inherited the field of Coutancière and saw his lands made up into a barony in 1560.

Montsoreau was sacked by the Protestants in 1568. The Holy Cross Collegiate and the fortifications of the city were destroyed. Four years later, Jean VI de Chambes acquitted himself with zeal in the organisation of the "Saint Barthélemy Angevine" in Saumur and Angers. His Barony was confirmed by Letters Patent in 1573 and 1575.

After his death in 1575, his brother Charles de Chambes became Count of Montsoreau and the following year he married Françoise de Maridor, whose name remains attached to the murder of Louis de Bussy d'Amboise.

Garrisons of fifty and twenty warriors lived in the castle in the course of the last decade of the 16th century. This ceased to exist during the reign of Louis XIII, and René de Chambes sought a garrison of royal troops but was refused by Richelieu. As a counterfeiter, he was sentenced to death and had to flee to England and was never able to return. After the death of his successor Bernard de Chambes, the castle of Montsoreau was rarely occupied by its various owners. The eldest daughter of Bernard de Chambes married Louis Francis Bouchet, who died in 1716, leaving 400,000 livres of debts. His eldest son Louis I de Bouchet, married Jeanne Pocholle Hamel who brought a 200,000 livres dowry.

Contemporary period[edit]

The widow of Louis Francois II de Bouchet Sourches, Marquis of Tourzel, sold the castle and what remained of the domain of Montsoreau after 1804. Following the sale of the property, the building was occupied by 19 different homeowners who reshaped the site. The external condition of the main building is known through various representations and descriptions made in the second half of the nineteenth century, which reflect the disrepair of the property. In 1910, the château was in a pitiful state, and this moved the members of the French Archaeological Society (Société Française d'Archeologie). Thanks to the tenacity of Senator Geoffre who pleaded with the Maine et Loire department General Council, the situation evolved favorably. The department gradually acquired each property after 1913, and the restoration works were undertaken in 1923, and they continued without interruption until the Second World War.

After a new programme of restoration between 1997 and 2001, the castle opened to visitors on 6 July 2001 with a --Son et lumière (show)|son-et-lumiere]] entitled "The Imaginaries of Loire" which attracted about 35,000 visitors a year.

In April 2016, the Maine and Loire council entrusted the keys of the château to Philippe Méaille who has installed his private contemporary art collection centered on a Conceptual Art group of artists named "Art & Language". The only château in the Loire Valley built in the riverbed itself, the Château de Montsoreau was transformed into a Contemporary Art museum. The Château de Montsoreau is a new art venue just two hours from Paris in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage listed area. Stretching for more than 2,000 m², it boasts a permanent collection of artworks linked to the Art & Language movement, and is believed to be the world’s largest collection of works by this group of artists involved in the founding of Conceptual Art.The Château de Montsoreau organizes numerous events throughout the year; exhibitions, conferences and symposium.

Do[edit][add listing]

Boat cruise from Saumur theâtre to the harbour of the Château de Montsoreau.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Artisanal soaps form Saint Martin de Candres

Eat[edit][add listing]

Cave à manger JEAN 2, Château de Montsoreau, France Loire Valley

The "cave à manger" JEAN 2, located in the Château de Montsoreau, purpose biological, local cheese and delicatessen and a wonderfull terrace overlooking the Loire river.

La Dentellière: close to the Chateau de Montsoreau, in the city center, la Dentellière purposes crêpes and salads.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Anjou wine is produced in the Loire Valley wine region of France near the city of Angers. The wines of region are often grouped together with the wines of nearby Saumur as "Anjou-Saumur". Along with the wines produce further east in Touraine, Anjou-Saumur make what is collectively known as the "Middle Loire" (as opposed to the "Upper Loire" which includes the wine regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Within the Anjou wine region are several Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)s responsible for a broad spectrum of wines including still red, white and rosé produced with varying levels of sweetness. Extending across the Deux-Sèvres, Maine-et-Loire and Vienne départements, the generic Anjou AOC appellation and its various sub-appellations encompasses vineyards across more than 151 communes.

Wine expert Tom Stevenson describes the wines of the area as being a "microcosm of the Loire Valley", featuring wines made from every grape variety and in almost every style produced in the entire Loire wine region.Among the wines of Anjou, Savennières is noted for its dry Chenin blanc wines and the Coteaux du Layon for its sweet dessert wines that includes the botrytized wines of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. Various rosé wines are produced in the region under different AOC designation include Rosé d'Anjou, the most basic level made predominantly from Grolleau, and Cabernet d'Anjou which is usually made from Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon.For most of its history, dry red wines have represented a small percentage of Anjou winemaking but in recent years the numbers have been steadily increasing—aided, in part, by the 1987 establishment of the Anjou-Villages AOC designation for red wines which can be made from only Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The Gamay grape of the Beaujolais wine region has had a long history in the Anjou with its own Anjou-Gamay AOC. Grapes from around the region can go into basic Anjou blanc and Anjou Rouge AOC wines.

The cave "Enfin du vin" located in Candes Saint Martin offers a large selection of local wines. The "cave à manger" JEAN 2, located in the Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art, purpose a selection of natural local wines.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

La Marine de Loire is located in the heart of Montsoreau. The 300m2 Cinq Mondes spa and 11 bedrooms and suites combine comfort and luxury for the greater good of our guests.


Ville de Montsoreau Office de Tourisme de Montsoreau

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