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.