© NIGEL HUDSON

Pontlevoy village

A village where the history of France has been played out.

The site of a terrible battle where the armies of the Comte de Blois, Eudes II, and the Comte d’Anjou, Foulques Nerra, clashed. The latter aimed to invade Tours.

The Abbey of Pontlevoy

 

Founded in 1034 by Gelduin, lord of Saumur, Amboise and Chaumont, ally of Comte Eudes II, the abbey housed monks from the Saint Benedict order. They treated the sick and educated children.

Ruined during the Hundred Years War, the abbey experienced a revival in the 17th century.

In 1631, the Congregation of Saint-Maur, a Benedictine reform movement, came to the Abbey. With Abbé Pierre de Bérulle, the director at that time, the abbey prospered spiritually and intellectually. The monks decorated the interior of the chapel with Baroque art and built the monastery buildings which still exist today. They used a white stone, tuffeau, which is typical of the Loire Valley.

In 1644, the monks opened the college again and constructed the buildings for the pupils on the north side of the chapel. In 1776, a Royal Military School was established by Louis XVI in this abbey, which was ranked third among the 12 royal military schools. In the 18th century, it was considered one of the best preparatory schools for military school.

During the revolution, the military school was abolished to make way for a college run by a secularised Benedictine. Occupied during the Second World War by the Germans, the Americans used the abbey as an emergency centre during the First and Second World War. French soldiers were sheltered here, and later the Germans. When the German army left, it burned all except the chapel, the abbey and the closed buildings.

 

The Museum in the street

Explore Pontlevoy village on a walk of around one and a half hours and discover its built and natural heritage, explained on twenty five ‘Musée dans la rue’ signs. They reveal daily life in Pontlevoy in the early 20th century, thanks to a selection of some of the 10,000 shots take by the Pontlevoy photographer, Clergeau.

Home village of the famous chocolatier: Auguste Poulain

 

Auguste Poulain was born on 11th February 1825 in Pontlevoy, at the Bordes farm next to the chateau of the same name (route de Chaumont). His parents, François Bruno Poulain and Jeanne Elise Galloux, were modest farmers and he was one of their 11 children!

After brief studies, he left the family farm at nine and started looking for a job. Apprentice grocer in Bléré then in Blois, at the age of 13 he learned how to make chocolate in a Parisian store, the Mortier d’Argent.

He was the founder of Chocolat Poulain, one of the oldest chocolate brands in France. In 1862, Victor-Auguste Poulain opened his factory, La Villette, on land strategically located between the station and the château de Blois.

The Festival de Pontlevoy

A renowned classical music festival

In a remarkable setting, the Abbey of Pontlevoy, each summer invited individuals and groups perform for a particularly loyal audience.

Nearly 200 individuals and groups have played over 250 concerts in 30 years.

In 2019, 34 years after those first concerts, our aim is still to offer the greatest musical works to the largest audience possible.

Do you know the legend of the midnight stone?

The ‘Pierre de Minuit’ dolmen, which stands to the east of the village has its own legend: on Christmas night fairies, wizards and witches meet there and the stone turns around.
Woe betide anyone who sees this spectacle.