Saumur is an attractive town with a population of around 30,000, set on the banks of the river Loire.

The town was first centred around a monastery and castle in the 10th century, but saw most development thanks to the arrival of a major Protestant community. By the 16th century, Saumur was a bastion of this religion, with teachers, students, printers and libraries.


In 1763, the Cavalry school, known as the "Cadre noir" after the black uniforms worn by the instructors, was established in the town, and still trains French army officers. The school is open to the public, and often holds performances.

Whilst the old town is full of marvellous medieval buildings, not least of which is the chateau, Saumur is famous throughout the world for one particular house. No. 7 in the street called "la montée du Fort" was Balzac's inspiration in his description of the house in which Eugenie Grandet lived.

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