Saint-Cosme Priory – Ronsard’s house

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.

Saint-Cosme Priory

Saint-Cosme Priory

Roses, beloved of Ronsard.

Roses, beloved of Ronsard.

Gardens and fragances

Gardens and fragances

Around the buildings, the gardens are laid out in twelve themed areas. Symbolic, utilitarian or secular, they all contribute to the charm of the place where Pierre de Ronsard was prior from 1565 to 1585.

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 during the Renaissance, 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, 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.

Another must-see building is the canons’ refectory, with its beautiful pulpit and magnificent contemporary stained glass windows by Zao Wou Ki. It is regularly the site of artistic installations.

2024: 500th anniversary of the birth of Pierre de Ronsard. Priory Saint-Cosme, La Riche, Loire Valley, France.

Prior’s residence.

Visit Saint-Cosme Priory

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. A booklet is also available at reception for self-guided tours. But if you book 24 hours in advance, you can opt for a guided tour (10am and 2.30pm).

In this monument owned by the Conseil Départemental d’Indre-et-Loire, children are not forgotten, with a treasure hunt as well as regular events (storytelling, workshops, the mystery trunk).

Standard admission fee: €6.

The old church

The old church

Saint-Cosme Priory

Saint-Cosme Priory

The Prior's house

The Prior's house

Happy visitors!

Happy visitors!

Saint-Cosme Priory

Saint-Cosme Priory

1524-2024: 500th anniversary of the birth of Ronsard

From 22 June to 22 September 2024, an exhibition will celebrate the half-thousandth anniversary of the poet’s birth. Entitled “Ronsard and the arts“, it will highlight the artists who have paid tribute to him, from the 16th century to the present day. One example is the musical setting of his poems by Gainsbourg.

NB: other events are planned to mark this anniversary at the manor house of la Possonière, his birthplace in the Loir-et-Cher region.

Saint-Cosme refectory, Ronsard's house. La Riche, France.

The canons’ refectory

To find out more

All our magazine articles to make sure your stay is perfect

The castle of Rivau…

Electric Quad: explore the vineyards!