Just a few kilometers from Saumur, the Manoir de Launay is an intimate, human-sized monument, a far cry from the giant Loire valley castles. And yet, this freestone residence, isolated as it is from the bustle and tumult of urban centers, is triply royal; no less than three kings of France held court there: Louis XI, Charles VIII and Louis XII.
However, the manor of Launay remains closely associated with the memory of another historic figure. In 1444, it was acquired by the renowned King René: a grand aristocrat writer and poet in his spare time, King of Jerusalem, of Hungary, of Naples, of Sicily and, finally, of Aragon – but also duke of Bar, of Anjou and of Lorraine up until the death in Launay in 1453 of Isabelle of Lorraine, his first wife. The “Good King René”, as he was known, particularly appreciated this small monument that he affectionately called “le Manoir du Bon Repos” (the manor of rest and relaxation). The estate was frequently the scene of large-scale tourneys and sumptuous parties lasting 40 to 45 days and offering renewed proof of the munificence of the Duke of Anjou, reputedly unusually close to his subjects.
Architecturally, Launay presents an altogether astonishing shape, that of an upside-down “S” rendering it quite atypical in Anjou. Built in the late 14th century (north section) and the mid-15th century (south section), the Manoir de Launay is surrounded by moats procuring a modicum of protection. Persons exploring this winsome castle will have the opportunity to relive more than 600 years of history; not only has its medieval character been conserved, but the successive innovations that have remained visible allow the visitor to see for himself how its architecture evolved until the dawn of the Renaissance. The interior rooms permit visitors to follow in the footsteps of King René as they discover an astonishing Italian gallery, his retiring room, the “warming zone”, and, last but not least, his study. One may likewise admire the amazing oak wood frames; sturdy skeletal château structure having held strong for several centuries.
Private property since the death of Louis XII in 1515, the Manoir de Launay was officially recognized in 1966 as a historic monument. Guided tours, organized activities and permanent exhibitions breathe life into an uncommon monument amply deserving discovery by travelers traversing the Saumur countryside.
- Guided individual tours
- Average duration of the individual visit : 1h30
- Groups welcome from 5 people
- Guided group tours
- Guided group tours on request
- Average duration of the group visit : 1h30
- Pets are accepted
- Parlées : French, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
- Temporary exhibitions
Children's price 6 à 12 ans
- Cheques and postal orders
Services and equipments