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Churches & Abbeys in the Loire

Exploring history

ChurchThere are over thirty churches in the Saumur region which are maintained through the dedication of town councils and volunteers. They are pleasant to visit and valued as important sources of heritage.

The small selection listed below are all within a 20 minute drive of Le Chardon.

 

L’Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud

This vast monastic site is just 15 minutes from Le Chardon through the forest of Fontevraud. It was founded at the beginning of the 12th. Century and transformed over the centuries.

The Royal abbey of Fontevraud is one of the largest in Europe. Thirty six abbesses, half of royal blood, headed this mixed order (monks and nuns) from1115 to 1792 just as the founder, Robert D’Arbrissel, had intended.

The four youngest daughters of Louis XV were educated at the Abbey. In 1804, Napoleon decided to transform the building into a prison. So there followed a century and a half of prison life which lasted until 1963.

In 1975 the Cultural Centre of Western Loire was created with the intention of promoting cultural activities in the Abbey. In the Abbey are polychrome effigies of the Plantagenet Kings (13th century) Henry II , Allenor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionhart, Isobelle of Angouleme.

The gardens date from the Middle Ages. www.abbaye-fontevraud.com

 

L’Abbaye d’Asniéres

This is a magnificent building dating from the beginning of the 13th. Century. Although the nave has disappeared, the choir and the transept, the most prestigious elements, have been preserved marie.cizay.lamadeleine@wanadoo.fr

 

La Collegiale du Puy-Notre-Dame

ChurchThis Collegiate church, illuminated, lighting the sky like a lighthouse as in the times when pilgrims came to worship ‘Sainte Ceinture’ of the Virgin. This monument, completed in one go at the beginning of the 13th.century, has an Angvin vault and three lofty naves. The beautiful stalls are from the 16th. century.

The village of Le Puy Notre Dame is also the home to no less than – wine growers.

 

Notre Dame de Nantilly – Saumur

The oldest church in Saumur, built in the first half of the 12th.century in Romanesque style. In 15th.century a vast Gothic aisle was added. There are bold vaults in the Romanesque nave of exceptional width. There is also a magnificent collection of tapestries from the16th and 17th centuries.

 

L’Eglise Saint-Pierre - Saumur

The façade of this church was rebuilt at the end of 17th.century, in the Jesuit style. It contrasts with the rest of the church which was constructed in the second half of 12th. century being completed at the beginning of 13th. century.

It has a Plantagenet vault , stalls of lifelike sculptured figures from 15th. century and, during summer, they have on show a magnificent series of tapestries from 16th. century depicting the life of Saint Pierre.

 

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