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Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire

Town, village, neighbourhood in Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire
  • More than a village, Saint-Dyé is a place of history that has stood on the river for over a thousand years.

    For centuries, illustrious or humble pilgrims have passed along the Loire or the Spanish route, glorifying its saintly thaumaturgist and journeying or sailing towards the ocean or Santiago de Compostela.

    At the port of Saint-Dyé, materials for the vast and enduring Chambord construction site were unloaded, and wines and produce from the Garden of France were shipped in.

    Today,...
    More than a village, Saint-Dyé is a place of history that has stood on the river for over a thousand years.

    For centuries, illustrious or humble pilgrims have passed along the Loire or the Spanish route, glorifying its saintly thaumaturgist and journeying or sailing towards the ocean or Santiago de Compostela.

    At the port of Saint-Dyé, materials for the vast and enduring Chambord construction site were unloaded, and wines and produce from the Garden of France were shipped in.

    Today, Saint-Dyé bears all the traces of its rich history, with its paths, alleyways, houses, ramparts and noble, beautiful church set high up as an offering to the river.

    Contemporary life has not altered the town's character, with its many shops, warm welcome, varied and permanent cultural events, and the Maison de la Loire (Loire House).The Maison de la Loire responds to the curiosity of an ever-increasing number of visitors to this land of art, history and work, and the associations that promote discovery and knowledge are active.

    In Saint-Dyé, you can live, stroll, visit, listen to lectures and concerts, go angling, or dream in the serene light and silence of the quays of the port on the banks of the Loire.

    The town's origins go back a long way, taking its name from one of the two hermits, Déodat and Beaumaire, who set out to Christianize the surrounding population as early as the 5th century. When Déodat died in around 530, his followers buried him in a pagan grotto built as a crypt, over which a first chapel was built. This led to four successive buildings, the present-day church dating from the Renaissance. From then on, pilgrims flocked here and the village grew. It wasn't until the 13th century that the village was surrounded by walls and towers, still visible today, to protect its prosperity. These ramparts came into their own in the 15th century during the Hundred Years' War. A recent study suggests that these fortifications were designed less to protect against an army, than to repel the armed bands that roamed the territory at the time. At the end of the 15th century, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Cléry, King Louis XI offered a precious hunt intended to house the relics of Saint Déodat (or Dyé). Displayed for a few years, the hunt subsequently disappeared, probably having been stolen. The Merovingian tomb of the saint that can be seen in the church... is therefore quite empty!

    A town of pilgrimage and fortifications, Saint-Dyé became an important river trading port with the construction of Chambord, as it was here that most of the materials needed to build the château were unloaded. During this Renaissance period, many workers and master craftsmen were housed in the rapidly expanding town, which boasted 12 hostelleries and inns. Courtiers and illustrious figures stopped off or took up residence in Saint-Dyé: King François I (in 1523), d'Artagnan, Jean de la Fontaine and Lulli (in 1653); then later Stanislas Leczinski (King of Poland and father-in-law of Louis XV in 1727), Marshal de Saxe (appointed governor for life of Chambord by Louis XV in 1748). The village prospered until 1773, when the opening of the royal road from Paris to Spain on the right bank of the river diverted trade flows. Subsequently, the cotton industry brought renewed wealth to the village, thanks to the quality of the fabrics and blankets made here, an activity closely linked to river transport. However, this prosperity declined with the mechanization of the industry, and finally disappeared in 1875. From 1782 to the middle of the 20th century, the village's population fell from 1,600 to 500 (currently 1,100).

    Later, Saint-Dyé became a popular holiday resort, particularly during the "paid vacations" period, when its vast sandy beach still allowed bathing in the Loire. Other celebrities such as Léonor Fini (painter), Henri Cartier-Bresson (photographer) and Picasso's grandson also took up residence here.