Saumur, town (1990 pop. 30,150), Maine-et-Loire dept., W France, on the Loire River. Saumur is noted for its religious-medal industry (dating from the 17th cent.) and for its sparkling white wines. Aluminum products, clothing, and liquors are also produced. Tourism has become important. The town's famous cavalry school was founded in the late 18th cent. Saumur, founded in Roman times, was seized from the counts of Blois in 1026 by Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou, and became an important town in that province. As part of Anjou it was joined to the French crown in 1204 by Philip II. In the 16th cent. Saumur was given by Henry III to the then Protestant Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV). Under Philippe de Mornay, the governor, a famous Protestant academy was founded (1599), and the town became a bastion of the Huguenot movement. With the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, much of the population emigrated, thus destroying the town's economy. Among the monuments in Saumur are a 14th-century château (now a municipal museum), the remarkable Romanesque Church of Notre-Dame-de-Nantilly (begun 12th cent.), the 15th-century town hall, and many Renaissance structures. Collections of art and tapestries are also preserved.

Saumur is a town and commune in the Maine-et-Loire département of France on the Loire River at , with an approximate population of 30,000 as of 2001. The historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers, which join to the west of the town.


Saumur is home to the Cadre Noir, the École Nationale d'Équitation (National School of Horsemanship), known for its annual horse shows, as well as the officer school for armored forces (tanks). There is a tank museum, the Musée des Blindés, with more than 850 armored vehicles, wheeled or tracked. Most of them are from France but some were made in other countries such as Brazil, Germany, or the Soviet Union.

The School of Saumur is the name used to denote a distinctive form of Reformed theology taught by Moses Amyraut at the University of Saumur in the 17th century. Saumur is also the scene for Balzac's novel "Eugénie Grandet", written by the French author in 1833 and the title of a song from hard rock band Trust (whose lyrics express their poor opinion of the city: narrow-minded, bourgeois and militaristic).

Saumur was the location of the Battle of Saumur (1793) during the Revolt in the Vendée.

World War II

Saumar was the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940) during World War II, and 1944 Tallboy and Azon bombing targets:
Bombing of Saumur during World War II
Mission/Target Date Result
Saumur railway tunnel June 8/9, 1944 The first use of Tallboy bombs was against a railway tunnel near Saumur, 125 miles south of the battle area. The hasty night raid was to stop a planned German Panzer Division expected later through the tunnel. No. 83 Squadron RAF illuminated the area with flares by 4 Avro Lancasters and marked the target at low level by 3 de Havilland Mosquitos. 25 Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron RAF then dropped their Tallboys with great accuracy; one pierced the roof of the tunnel, brought down a huge quantity of rock and soil, and blocked the tunnel for a considerable period, badly delaying the Panzer IVs.
Mission 432/Saumur bridge June 22, 1944 9 of 10 B-24 Liberators of the United States Army Air Forces used Azon glide bombs against the Samur Bridge; escort is provided by 41 of 43 P-51 Mustangs.
Mission 438/Saumur bridge June 24, 1944 During the morning, 74 B-17 Flying Fortresses are dispatched to the Saumur bridge; 38 hit the primary and 36 hit Tours/La Riche Airfield without loss; escort is provided by 121 of 135 P-51s who claim 4-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground.


Saumur was the birthplace of:

Twin towns

twinned with:


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