Ronsard: the rebirth of the Saint-Cosme Priory
Welcome to another world, just 3 kilometres from Tours in the Loire Valley. For the 12th century canons, the Saint-Cosme Priory was already a paradise on earth from where it was possible to reach Heaven itself. Since then, nothing has changed… and yet, everything has changed!
Pierre de Ronsard’s final resting place
“Mignonne, allons voir si la rose”… without a doubt, Pierre de Ronsard’s best known poem, and although it was written far from the Saint-Cosme Priory (inspired by a meeting with a young girl who he compared to a radiant rose, inviting her to enjoy the moment before nature made her wither…), it serves as a perfect invitation to explore the many treasures this site has to offer, including the roses it is so famous for.
Pierre de Ronsard came to the priory in 1565 thanks to Queen Catherine de Medici and her son Charles IX. The prior’s residence tells the story of the poet’s life, the wealth of his works and his passion for botany, gardening and flowers. This haven on the banks of the Loire has been the poet’s final resting place since 1585, but poetry is still very much alive here as you can discover by reading the ‘livres pauvres’, small handwritten artistic books which are the fruit of meetings between painters and poets.
A new look for the Saint-Cosme Priory – Demeure de Ronsard
Although contemporary art has graced the site since 2010 through the stained-glass windows by Zao Wou Ki, visitors can now admire a fine array of contemporary artwork as they stroll through the 12 garden areas which include flower gardens, the heirloom rose pergola, the orchard and the monks’ kitchen garden.
Visitors can follow an interactive trail, at their own pace and as they wish, with touchscreen and sound kiosks, videos, 3D models and flash codes to help them learn about the different facets of this site and its most famous resident. There is also a succession of artistic installations to see throughout the year.
Children will also enjoy their visit thanks to a treasure hunt (aged 8 and over).
Tour of the Demeure de Ronsard, standard admission fee: €6.