SAUMUR (1 hour and 20min) - This historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers, and is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon, Bourgueil, & Coteaux du Layon, which produce some of France's finest wines. There are various sparkling wine houses to visit – Gratien et Meyer just to the east of the town and Ackerman-Laurance, Bouvet-Ladubay and Langlois-Chateau to the west in St-Hilaire St-Florent. There is also a Musée des Blindes (tank museum). Markets are held in Avenue General de Gaulle on Wednesday and in Place St-Pierre on Saturday. The Château of Saumur has been a fortress, a manor house, a residence for the town governors, a prison, and even an arms and ammunition depot. The chateau now contains several museums, including a Museum of Decorative Arts (with many examples of bone china), the Museum of the Horse and a Museum of Toys ( Musée de la Figurine-Jouet, a collection of very old toys and figurines of soldiers, kings of France, and clowns.). Saumur is also famous for its elite riding squad, Le Cadre Noir, and you can visit their base, the Ecole National d’ Equitation in St Hilaire St Florent, a suburb of Saumur. Various galas and shows take place throughout the year. The region around Saumur is well known for its prehistoric traces such as troglodyte caves and dolmens. Until the dark ages these caves were a very popular place to live and you will see many as you tour the region.