Bauge is north of Saumur in the Maine-et-Loire department of the Loire Valley (hence within the Pays-de-la-Loire region, not the Centre region of France).
The 15th century Baugé castle, once home to Duke René of Anjou, while not grand in the way of the more important Loire Valley castles, is central to the town and makes an imposing focus. It will also be your first stop, since the tourist office is inside the castle - incidentally baugé tourist office is worth visiting just to admire the lovely room it is in. Pickup a leaflet with a suggested guided tour of the town.
A curious highlight within the castle is an apothecary, of such importance that it is now a listed historic monument.
On leaving the castle follow the medieval road 'Rue de la Girouardiere' to the 'Hospice de la Girouardiere' and the 'Cross of Anjou' (Baugé falls within the historical Anjou region). It is claimed that the cross is made with part of the cross on which Christ was crucified and was brought back by 13th century crusaders to the Holy Land.
The other main site in Bauge is the ancient apothecary of the Hotel Dieu, the hospital established to help the poor of the region and dating from 1650. The original hospital has a well preserved traditional ceiling and marquetry flooring, and the very extensive collection of medieval and pharmaceutical objects 17th century apothecary has been classed a historic monument and is considered to be one of the most impressive apothecaries in France.
Another curiosity of note in Baugé is the unusual twisted steeple found on the church in the old town - this is style occasionally but not frequently found elsewhere in other regions of France and Europe.
There is also a small museum dedicated to the history of the town and this region of France, featuring various pottery and other historical items.
The best way to explore is to get the waymarked map from the tourist office, which is a route of less than two hours that passes all the most interesting highlights in Baugé.
Places to visit nearby
Be sure to visit the lovely Chateau du Lude with its pretty gardens that have been classified as a 'Remarkable garden' of France. Also nearby is Langeais, home to the Chateau de Langeais which has some impressive 15 and 16th century tapestries and was important historically as the place of the wedding of Anne of Brittany with King Louis XI of France thus uniting France.
Photos of Baugé
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