Candes-Saint-Martin, a beautiful village in the Loire Valley

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Visit Candes-Saint-Martin

Candes-Saint-Martin is a beautiful village in the Indre-et-Loire department and sits on the confluence between the River Loire and the River Vienne. It is about half way between Saumur and Chinon. Candes-Saint-Martin was nominated for the preferred village of the French in 2016 in a competition held by the France 2 television channel.

Explore Candes Saint Martin

The village of Candes-Saint-Martin winds uphill to its imposing church and from its hillside position offers commanding views over the river confluence below.

As with most towns and villages of the Loire valley the buildings are built of a white stone and have steep grey slate roofs giving them a very elegant look. The attractive buildings, view and the imposing church and castle all add to make the village one of the "plus beaux villages de France", "most beautiful villages of France".

Candes Saint Martin castle

The church, the Collegiale Saint Martin, is at the heart of the village and was a popular pilgrim site after Saint Martin of Tours died here in the 4th century. The original church fell to ruins but was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 12-13th century but keeping in tact the cell where Saint Martin died.

Saint Martin's tomb is at Tours but many illustrious personalities made the pilgrimage to Saint Martin where he died. These include Saint Genevieve, Queen Clothilde and King Charles the Bald. Many pilgrims continued on to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

In the 15th century some defensive elements were added to the church including buttresses and battlements.

Also at the top of the village is the castle of Candes Saint Martin called the Chateau de Candes. The castle has panoramic views over the river and the village and has been converted into luxury accommodation.

Candes Saint Martin

Follow the signs to the panorama above the village from where you get great views of the river confluence below.

The port of Candes Saint Martin is home to some traditional boats called "gabares" and it is possible to take a trip along the river on one of these. The village is also on the 'La Loire en vélo' cycle path which is a very popular cycle route in the summer.

Just a couple of kilometers away on the banks of the river Loire is the village of Montsoreau which is also a "most beautiful village of France".  If you have the time walk along the rivers edge from one village to the other.

Places to visit nearby

Saumur is a very pleasant town which is a good base for visiting the Loire Valley. The Chateau de Saumur is not one of the top Loire Valley castles but it is in the town centre and worth a visit. Also nearby is Chinon which is a lovely village which would also make for a good base for visiting the area. The Chateau de Chinon is a more medieval style castle than most of those in the area.

The Abbaye de Fontevraud and the Rabelais museum are also attractions that can be found nearby.

See also:

Map of Candes-Saint-Martin and places to visit

Places to visit near Candes-Saint-Martin

Montsoreau

Montsoreau

Montsoreau is a beautiful village with a castle, art gallery and mushroom caves to visit.

Montsoreau

Chateau de Saumur

Chateau de Saumur

The Chateau de Saumur is one of the least striking of the Loire chateaux but sits above the pretty town of Saumur.

Chateau de Saumur

Saumur

Saumur

The attractive town of Saumur is home to the Chateau de Saumur and the renowned School of Cavalry riding school famous for the 'Cadre Noir'.

Saumur

Chinon

Chinon

Chinon is a beautiful little Loire Valley village dominated by its imposing fortress.

Chinon

Chateau de Chinon

Chateau de Chinon

The Chateau de Chinon retains more of its medieval characteristics than many of the other Loire chateaux which were redesigned in the Renaissance period.

Chateau de Chinon

Chateau d'Ussé

Chateau d'Ussé

The Chateau d'Ussé is a very pretty chateau said to be the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

Chateau d'Ussé

Chateau de Langeais

Chateau de Langeais

The Chateau de Langeais has some fine 15 and 16th century tapisteries and furniture.

Chateau de Langeais

Langeais

Langeais

Langeais is best known for its castle, the Chateau de Langeais but it has an attractive town centre.

Langeais