You'll find putting up with the locals’ legendary snobisme well worth it once you get a gander at Saumur's centre historique, a camera-ready quarter studded with elegant 19th-century town houses and anchored by the vast 12th-century church of St-Pierre. Looming over it all is an equally photogenic riverside castle, the Château de Saumur. Architecture aside, this town (one of the largest along the Loire) is known for agriculture—in particular a flourishing mushroom industry, which produces 100,000 tons per year. The same cool tunnels in which the mushrooms grow provide an ideal storage place for the local mousseux (sparkling wines); many of the vineyards hereabouts are open for public tours.
When there was every reason in the world to stay away and see the ruins, one woman traveled to Greece to get to work.More