I am trying to decide if our foursome should sleep in a hotel in Angers or in Saumur. There is plenty to see and do in both places. Between the two, which one would you pick? Asking for a friend.
I have been to Saumur, but not to Angers. I can't answer your question without knowing the rest of your route and if it is by rental car. If you are starting in Tours or elsewhere east, and going to (say) MSM, then Angers could make sense. If you are only doing the Loire, and plan to include the big eastern Chateaux (I mean, east of Tours), you might prefer to be in Saumur. Having been to Fontevraud Abbey and places like Azay-le-Rideau, my vote is for Saumur.
I suppose traffic in the Loire summer may be lower for a while, but I found local travel scenic but tedious. I know some other Americans looooove every moment spent in a car!
Haven't been to Saumur, but really liked Angers. We stayed several nights (apt.), & took off our watches, vacation from our vacation. The Chateau - wow, the Apocalypse tapestries, the Cathedral - look for the very rude little guy in the woodwork behind the pulpit, the seriously old part of town across the river - half-timbered twisty lanes, the park along the river, the amazing Adam house by the carousel, good art museum, excellent hole-in-the-wall patisseries. Weather was great, July 2019.
Thanks Tim. I'm interested in reading about people's preferences without my filters. With that said, we will probably start from Paris, spend a couple of nights in Le Mans, then on to either Angers or Saumur. None of us has enough interest in seeing the "must see" Chateaux to compensate for the crowd conditions. From the Loire we will either fly to Nice or take the train to Brittany or Bordeaux.
Thank you Stewart&Vicki as well!
Angers' Chateau was uncrowded last summer (ditto the whole city). Plus, "Chateau" is misleading, it's much more a hulking medieval castle than a Loire-type fanciness.
I've spent much more time in Saumur than Angers, but have been to both. They are both great places, but I think I'd sum it up by saying Angers has more of a city feel while Saumur is more of a town. Saumur is maybe more picturesque in between the town itself and the surrounding villages, but Angers also has great attractions and amenities. I may be biased, but I would lean Saumur on the strength of atmosphere. If you have time to stop in Angers, it's worth at least seeing the medieval castle and Apocalypse tapestry.
We spent a couple of nights in Angers last spring and loved it. The transport is good and the castle is one of the more stunning and picturesque. The grounds are nice and a good place for a picnic -- we ate at the cafe in the courtyard, but a picnic would be better and there are chairs and nice spots on the walls and under trees in the courtyard to sit.
The Apocalypse Tapestry is a stunning experience. It is enormous -- a series of I would guess at least 70-100 individual tapestries arrayed in two layers and with excellent lighting and spots to sit and stare if you wish. When we were there, there was almost no one there.
We stopped there on a side trip from Paris and on our way to 3 nights in Nantes which was also fabulous -- we particularly enjoined the Machines d'Iles, a Jules Verne inspired carrousel and workshop of mechanical fantasy animals.
If you go to Nantes be sure to book the elephant ride in advance -- it only runs some days and although we were there at a not crowded time, it was booked up and we were glad we had reserved tickets ahead.
I have stayed in Saumur and Anger. The stay in Saumur was rather brief, and was marred by some unpleasant experiences in the hotel we stayed at (Hotel Splendide), so that may have made me biased against it. But I would say that Anger is a very lovely town with an interesting castle, and is right on the river, which I found to be a big plus. However we were there in April, and the place was not overrun with tourists - it might be a much different experience later in the year. Peter