Museums in the Loire
Museum of Maurice Dufresne
A good half day, more if combined it with a picnic.
Description: This museum of ‘all things that move’ from the last couple of hundred years is found in a former mill on the Indre River. It is an intriguing if somewhat quirky museum that is the result of over 40 years of collecting by Frenchman Maurice Dufresne. There really is a lot to see, with most of the exhibits being from France but also from other countries around the world. The range of different items on display is vast, ranging from cars, aeroplanes, firefighting equipment and agricultural machinery to childrens’ moving toys, a huge display of guns, bicycles and even a guillotine from the French Revolution. Original posters of all things French adorn the walls. In winter it is quite chilly inside as the site is unheated, so wrap up warmly. In the summer there is a café on site and you can picnic in the grounds.
Location: Just outside Marnay on D120, 7 km S of Langeais.
General Info: 17 route de Marnay, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau.
Musée des Blindes
Description: This museum devoted to tanks is perhaps one for the boys!! – good bonding for fathers and sons while the ladies have a bit of retail therapy in Saumur! However for anyone interested in tracing the history of tanks from WW1 onwards and related military matters this really is a fascinating place – and our daughters enjoyed it. There is a huge selection of over 200 tanks from all corners of the world as well as information boards giving details of tanks and their uses – with for example a thought-provoking section on the D-day landings. There is a large section of the Berlin wall to see as well as some obscure pieces of motorized vehicles in the Salle des curiosités.
Location: In an industrial area just off D93 SE of Saumur centre (not walking distance). It is well sign-posted.
General Info: 1043 route de Fontevraud, 49400 Saumur. Open all year without interruption, from 9.30AM – 6.30PM in high season (but please check on the official website before visiting). Open during lunch.
Our recommendation: Visit between 10AM – 3PM Monday to Friday for free guided tours.
Another indoor wet weather museum particularly appealing to lovers of military history.
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Loire Valley: