Salamanders and ermine are heraldic emblems you will often encounter in the Loire.
Salamanders have a similar symbolic meaning to the phoenix, that is to say, they emerge miraculously unscathed from the fire. It is believed that salamanders acquired this reputation because people would observe them scurrying from fireplaces. The truth is the poor creatures had probably been sheltering in the cool damp conditions of the log pile and only emerged when forced to by the flames. François I made the salamander motif his own by displaying it frequently and prominently, but in fact, it was already an established Valois family emblem.
– emblems of François I and Claude de France –
here depicted on a fountain in Azay-le-Rideau.