Less than an hour’s walk from Tours, Saint Cosme Priory is imprinted with the memory of his renowned prior, Pierre de Ronsard, who stayed there from 1565 until his death in 1585, and was inhumated in the old church. Since 2015, a whole new scenography allows the visitors to be immersed in the privacy of the poet and writer, who was able to be a first—hand witness of the Renaissance in the Loire Valley.
The history of the Priory started in the early 11th century, when Hervé de Buzançais, the treasurer of Saint Martin, chose to have his monastery built there. It was an impressive building, which remains were rediscovered in 2009 during excavations. The Priory that still exists today was built a few years later, in 1092, by the chapter of Saint Martin of Tours. In the 14th century, Saint Cosme Priory received spiritual and financial support from Louis XI and Agnès Sorel, who both liked the region a lot. The Priory was quite an important place, and was visited by royal figures like Charles IX of France, Catherine de’ Medici and the future Henri III.
In the 18th century, the Priory grows splendidly under the influence of the Chétardie family, who brings many changes to the buildings: construction of a sub-priory, development of the infirmary and of the prior’s house.
In spite of these projects, Saint Cosme is faced with serious financial issues and has to close in 1742. Confiscated during the French Revolution, it is then sold as national property.
In the 19th century, seventeen families settle in the Priory, without much concern for its exceptional history. In 1925, the “Sauvegarde de l’art français” (Conservation of French art) association buys the church and part of the prior’s house. The Ronsard Museum is created just before World War Two. In the second half of the century, Saint Cosme Priory is given back its historical character; restorations are made and rose gardens are planted. These efforts have been carried on these past years, with the creation of fourteen remarkable stained-glass windows, made in 2010 by the great painter Zao Wou-Ki to ornate the refectory’s bay windows, or with the construction of new gardens and a scenic tour.
Today, Saint Cosme Priory is a place fit for simple walks and spiritual experiences both. The exteriors are composed of twelve gardens and as many vegetal themes. Through a rich cultural program based around the five senses, but also thanks to the “livres pauvres” (poor books), Saint Cosme Priory is most definitely a living and modern place with deep historic roots.
- Average duration of the individual visit : 01h30
- Group educational visits
- Average duration of the group visit : 01h15
- Panneaux : French, English
- Parlées : French, English
- Specific theme activities
- Adult workshop
- Junior workshop
- Temporary exhibitions
|Monday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Tuesday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Wenesday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Thursday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Friday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Saturday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Sunday||10 AM - 06 PM|
|Monday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
|Wenesday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
|Thursday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
|Friday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
|Saturday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
|Sunday||10 AM - 12:30 PM and 02 PM - 05 PM|
Full adult price : from € 6.00 to € 6.00
Discount rate : from € 5.00 to € 5.00
Group rate : from € 5.00 to € 5.00
Annual subscription pass : from € 16.00 to € 16.00
- Carte bleue
- Debit cards
- Postal or bank cheques
- Holiday vouchers
Services and equipments
- Picnic area
- Bar / refreshment bar
- Film projection room