For many centuries, the Loire represented a major route of transport for merchandise and voyagers  alike. The collections  of the musée de la Marine de Loire retrace the history of river navigation involving boats, exchanges and the men and women who drew their livelihood from the Loire.  

Occupying the one-time stables adjacent to the château of Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, the museum retraces the historic saga of Loire navigation and the economic and social activities it generated locally. From the outset, the museum’s collections were remarkably various: prints, fittings and riggings, coffers, home furnishing, religious art objects, earthenware replicas and scale models… At present, they are complemented by the plans, prints, manuscripts and works for bibliophilists in the documentation center, open to the public since 1985.

At the end of the 1980s, stunningly beautiful 18th and 19th-century Nevers ceramics pieces, gold jewelry and rare wooden handicrafts were added to the initial collections. While the museum’s vocation is essentially technical and ethnological, these acquisitions present an opening to the fine arts.

In addition, the museum tells the visitor all about the metal construction industry present in Châteauneuf since 1872, of which suspension bridges and a transporter bridge are the emblematic figures.

The Musée de la Marine de Loire entrance was conceived as an embarkation hall, with a rest area fulfilling the function of boat deck. After which, in the central nave, the visitor will lay eyes on a molded boat hull, a barge with a transversally slanted mast that seems positioned beneath a deck arch. Under brick and stone arcades, the mezzanine suggests the architecture of a quay with its merchandise awaiting loading. More intimate, the floor under the roof recreates in small cells the lives of bargemen onshore, as well as a wide array of terrestrial yet river-related activities.   

Across the street from the mayor’s office, the museum is located at the entrance of a magnificent English-style park, designed between 1821 and 1832 by the botanist Huillard d’Hérou. Accessible and agreeable, the green space contains a play area, picnic space and places to stroll to the Loire and the port of Châteauneuf.



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