Wish to visit some historical monuments? You will find what you are looking for in Savonnières or close around. Several of the most renowned castles of the Loire Valley are situated close to the village, for example the Renaissance castles of Villandry and Azay-le Rideau and the medieval castle of Langeais. Some other sites – less famous but just as charming – are also worth a look such as the Saint Cosme priory, Ronsard’s home in La Riche, and the castle of l’Islette in Azay-le-Rideau, not to mention all the other famous castles of the region. You can also stroll around the old centre of Tours and see its famous « Place Plumereau ».
The church of Savonnières is entirely ranked as a historical monument. The first time the church appeared under the name of Saint Gervais and Saint Protais was on silver money stamped in Savonnières around 750. This first wooden church was destroyed during the Normans’ incursions in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The construction of the existing building dates back to the beginning of the 12th century. The splendid porch is in saintongeais style and shows three archivolts sculpted with interlacing, leafage, fantastic animals and demons.
The Church was repaired and extended from 1812 onwards. The two South bays were added in 1862. At the same period, the floor was lowered at its primitive level and the two big capitals were sculpted. At the end of the 19th century, two little apses and a third bay were added as well as a new cedar sculpted altar installed. This latter is an artwork from Sergeff, a student of Rodin.
The church is characterized by its outstanding sculpted porch, but the inside – in Plantagenet style – is also worth a look. There, you can admire stained-glass windows from the 19th century relating the martyrs of Saints Gervais and Protais as well as a rose window from the same period representing Saint Louis in crusade.
Besides, the church also holds a polychrome wooden statue of Saint Roch – patron saint of the boatmen of the Cher – and an “on wood” painting representing the Blessing Christ. Both artworks are from the 16th century and were ranked amongst the historical valuables in 1913.
THE PETRIFYING CAVES
Used as a tuffeau quarry in the old days, the Petrifying caves of Savonnières contain stalactites, stalagmites, petrifying draperies and cascades. They are open to the public and are the siege of the natural bizarre arts and crafts of petrification.
THE FOUNTAINS MILL
This old water mill is located at the beginning of the Rue du Paradis where the ancient Roman soap mill was situated before. It can be visited on request. The buildings date back to the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Although the old bucket wheel has disappeared, the cast ironed mechanisms as well as the grindstone, remain.
THE CASTLE OF VILLANDRY
Located at only 3 km from Savonnières, the castle of Villandry is the last of the grand castles of the Loire Valley built during the Renaissance. This monument is considered one of the jewels of the world heritage thanks to its soberly elegant architecture and to the charm of its remarkable gardens.