Visit the Chateau Saumur in Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire
The castle we now see in Saumur was constructed by Henry II, King of England, towards the end of the 12th century. It stands in the same location as a chateau constructed in the 10th century (and destroyed in battle in the 13th) - an enviable raised position above the confluence of the River Loire and River Thouet.
The following centuries were a period of transition, and frequent battles and skirmishes between the English and French in the region. Transition for the Chateau de Saumur also, as it past from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
As time went by, additional fortifications were added, including the original towers being replaced by the current octagonal towers in the 14th century. The 15th century saw a significant improvment in the living quarters in the castle.
In to the 16th century and Chateau Saumur was further fortified with additional walls added around the outside of the building.
From the early 17th century Saumur was used as an army barracks, and then subsequently as a prison, during Napoleon's era.
The castle has now been faithfully restored and is a popular visitor destination.
(Note - following a significant collapse of part of the ramparts in 2001 the interior has still not properly reopened. Renovation work is well under way and some of the museum exhibits have been brought together and can still be seen)
Map showing location of Chateau Saumur