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Saumur (Municipality, Maine-et-Loire, France)

Last modified: 2017-03-29 by ivan sache
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Flag of Saumur - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 22 June 2002

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Presentation of Saumur

The municipality of Saumur (27,301 inhabitants in 2014; 6,635 ha) is located at the confluence of rivers Thouet and Loire.

Saumur emerged around a fortified monastery founded by king of France Charles the Bald (823-877) to shelter the relics of the local evangelist St. Florent (4th century), which was lotted during the Norman invasions. In the 11th century, Saumur was strongly disputed by the Counts of Blois and Anjou, until king of France Philip II Augustus (1165-1223) seized the town in 1203. The castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. It was totally rebuilt by Louis I, first Duke of Anjou, at the end of the 14th century.

At the end of the 16th century and during the 17th century, Saumur became one of the most brilliant Protestant towns in France. King of France Henry III (1551-1589) offered the town as a "safety place" to king Henry of Navarre, later king of France as Henry IV (1553-1610). Henry of Navarra appointed as Governor of the town Philippe de Mornay, a.k.a. Duplessis-Mornay (1549-1623) and nicknamed by the Roman Catholics "the Huguenot Pope", who founded in Saumur the first Protestant Academy in 1599. After the assassination of Henry IV, a general assembly of the Protestant churches gathered in Saumur in order to strengthen their organisation. In 1623, King Louis XIII (1601-1643) ordered the demolition of the town walls in order to decrease the Protestant power. The Gilded Age of Saumur ended in 1685, when King Louis XIV (1638-1715) revocated the Edict of Nantes. Several Protestants fled Saumur and the Protestant temple was desecrated.

In 1763, the Carabineers' Regiment owned by Monsieur, the king's brother, was sent to Saumur. The grounds built from 1767 to 1770 to host Monsieur's Regiment host nowadays the College of Cavalry, renamed since 1943 as École d'application de l'Arme blindée et de la Cavalerie. École Nationale d'Equitation (National College of Equitation), which includes the famous Cadre Noir, and whose duty is to train civil equitation instructors, was founded in Saumur in 1972.
In June 1940, the officers and the cadets of the College of Cavalry of Saumur heroically defended the bridges of the Loire river between Gennes and Monsoreau against the German troops from 18 to 20 June.

Saumur is the French capital of mushroom cultivation. Abandoned tufa quarries, in which relative humidity and temperature (11-14 °C) are quite constant, are extremely suitable for the production of champignons de Paris. Mushroom cultivation started during the Fisrt Empire and has became industrial: 800 km of galleries yield more than 120,000 tons of mushrooms per year, which represent 70% of the total French production.
Saumur is also known for its wines, white (either dry or sparkling) or red (Saumur-Champigny).

Ivan Sache, 22 June 2002

Flag of Saumur

The flag of Saumur is white with the greatermunicipal arms in the middle and "SAUMUR" written below the coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Saumur is "Gules a fess counter-bretessed argent masoned argent in base a letter'S' or a chief azure three fleurs-de-lis or".
The countercrenelled fess symbolizes the town walls, which were suppressed in 1623, after the last Protestant governor Duplessis-Mornay had been sacked.

The Latin motto of the town, placed on a scroll below the shield, "Moenia fallunt hostem dextra domat tormentum", reads "The walls shall impose upon the enemy, courage shall tame the cannon".
The two horses supporting the shield refers to the Cadre Noir, the National School for Equitation.
Saumur was awarded the War Cross (1939-1945) for its heroic resistance in June 1940.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 8 December 2003

Other reported flag of Saumu


Other flag of Saumur - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 June 2002

Franciae Vexilla [frv], No. 26/72, June 2002, reports a vertically divided blue-red flag for Saumur.

Ivan Sache, 22 June 2002