Saumur is a commune in the Maine-et-Loire district in western France, approximately two hours south of Paris.
City coat of arms from 1699 to 1985
City coat of arms since 1986
The historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers, and is surrounded by breathtaking vineyards including Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon, and Vouvray which produce some of France's finest wines.
Prior to the French Revolution Saumur was the capital of the Sénéchaussée de Saumur, a communce that existed until 1793.
During Germany’s occupation of France in World War II, Saumur was best known as the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940) where the town and south bank of the Loire was defended with great honor by the teenage cadets of the world famous Saumur cavalry school, also known as the Cadre Noir.
In 1944 it was also the target of several Tallboy and Azon bombs launched from Allied planes. The first raid, on June 8-9, 1944, was against a railway tunnel near Saumur in an attempt to stop a planned German Panzer Division from reaching Normandy where they were to reinforce other German Divisions resisting the Allied invasion commencing two days earlier. One bomb pierced the roof of the tunnel bringing down a huge amount of rock and soil successfully blocking the tunnel for a considerable period, badly delaying the Germans and contributing to Allied success.
After the war, the town of Saumur was awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm for its resistance and display of French patriotism.
Among many celebrities calling Saumur home, most notably it was the birthplace of internationally renowned fashion designer Ms. Coco Chanel (1883-1971).
For more historical information about Saumur or any of the surrounding Loire Valley, please click on any of the links below: