Christophe Gagneux

Decorative Arts collection

1st floor of the château, self-guided tour.

The municipal museum, housed in the Hôtel de Ville between 1829 and 1912, housed a variety of collections ranging from prehistoric objects and Gallo-Roman antiquities to fossils and minerals, as well as a major natural history collection. The collection was moved to the château in 1912, when the former flats of the Dukes of Anjou were being restored.
Donations and acquisitions provided the museum with a collection of 19th-century paintings and sculptures, many of them by regional artists such as the sculptors David d'Angers (1788-1856), Jules Desbois (1851-1935), Albert Jouanneault (1888-1944) and Alfred Benon (1887-1965).
In 1919, Count Charles Lair (1841-1919), an enlightened collector and keen traveller, bequeathed his collection of works of art to the town, comprising sculptures, furniture and, above all, ceramics (1,300 pieces): it is one of the finest collections of ceramics in France, as all the techniques of this art are brilliantly illustrated and many of the works are benchmarks.

The Lair collection also includes some magnificent pieces such as champlevé enamels from Limousin in the 12th and 13th centuries, sculptures on wood, stone or alabaster from France, Flanders, Spain and Germany, liturgical ornaments and manuscripts...
Since 1965, the museum has also been exhibiting tapestries on secular subjects from the church of Notre-Dame de Nantilly in Saumur, following an agreement between the Monuments Historiques administration, the clergy and the town council. Among these masterpieces from the medieval period is Le Bal des Sauvages, woven in Flanders at the end of the 15th century.
The exceptional collection of tapestries and the unique collection of ceramics now occupy the first floor of the château, along with furniture, paintings and sculptures, offering an artistic journey through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Classical period.

Horse collection

2nd floor of the château, self-guided tour.

The horse collection, assembled in Saumur in 1911 by equestrian enthusiasts under the aegis of the "Société des Amis du Musée du Cheval" and under the impetus of veterinary major Joly (1860-1920), is presented on a rotating basis at the château.

The collection comprises more than 7,200 works and objects, including pieces of harness, spurs, costumes, veterinary instruments and anatomical elements, as well as paintings, sculptures, prints, books, photographs and ceramics relating to horses and equines in general. Donations, acquisitions and government deposits have enriched the initial collection, enabling it to retrace the history of saddle horse harnessing through the ages (from prehistory to the 20th century) and around the world (Europe, Asia, America and Africa, depending on the new displays). In this way, the collection regularly renews the themes presented on the second floor.
This historical and ethnological tour features some exceptional pieces, both from an aesthetic point of view and in terms of the ingenuity of their creation and the technical advances they illustrate.

Christophe Gagneux - collection cheval

Outdoor visitor areas

The gardens of the Château de Saumur are freely accessible, so you can get as close as possible to the monument. A visit to the exterior of the château reveals the ramparts, the lower courtyard and the panoramic views.

The belvedere

It overlooks the château rooftops and has fabulous views of the town and Loire. Going up to it means you can visit the south wing and take a double spiral staircase, a rare example of 14th century architectural genius.

With a guide. 30 mins/up to 8 ppl/3€ supplement (exc. September 11th, 17th and 18th). Subject to safety guidelines

Have fun exploring the Château-Museum

(children aged 7-12)

"Château de Saumur Mystery!" play booklet available in English at reception. No extra charge.