Angers Tourist Attractions

St Maurice CathedralSt Maurice Cathedral

Angers, once capital of the county of Anjou and now chief town of the département of Maine-et-Loire, the see of a bishop and a university town, lies half way between Tours and Nantes straddling the river Maine, 8km/5mi above its junction with the Loire. Slate-quarrying is an old-established industry in the surrounding area. Other important industries are textiles and electrical apparatus and appliances.

Castle

On a 32 m/105ft high crag above the left bank of the Maine is the Angers castle, surrounded by stout defensive walls with 17 round towers which now stand 40-60 m/130-200ft high. The castle was originally built by Foulques Nerra in 1230-1240 and renovated by Louis IX of France (St Louis) later in the 13th century. During the 16th century wars of religion Henry III ordered the towers to be pulled down, but in the end only the tops were destroyed. Of the castle's two gates only the one on the north side, the Porte de Ville, can be used. The south gate, the Porte des Champs, is half way up the outer wall between two towers.
From the walls (along considerable stretches of which it is possible to walk), from two truncated towers and from the wall-walk there are fine all-round views.
In the castle courtyard are the Gothic chapel, the Logis Royal and the Logis du Gouverneur. In both the Royal and the Governor's Lodgings are tapestries of the 14th to 18th centuries.
Built in the 13th C., this fortress now houses an important collection of tapestries, with the centerpiece being the Apocalypse Tapestry.
Address: 2 promenade du Bout-du-Monde, F-49100 Angers, France

Tenture de l'Apocalypse

A specially built modern glass gallery houses one of the great masterpieces of medieval tapestry, the Tenture de l'Apocalypse, woven by the Paris weaver Nicolas Bataille in 1375-1380 after drawings by Hennequin of Bruges. 168 m/550ft long and 5 m/16ft wide, it originally consisted of seven parts, of which 70 complete scenes have survived. The theme is the Revelation of St John. The gallery also displays reproductions of the scenes and the relevant passages from the Bible.
At the far end of the exhibition hall, below floor level, the apse of a Romanesque church has been exposed.

St Maurice Cathedral

In the Place du Ralliement, in the old town of Angers, is the Gothic Cathedral of St-Maurice (12th-13th C), to which a handsome ramp and staircase lead up from the banks of the Maine. On the doorway are sculptured figures with remains of their original coloring; in the tympanum is Christ enthroned, surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists, and above this are eight statues of knights (16th C). The facade has three towers; the central tower was built in the High Renaissance period.

The interior is impressive, with fine stained glass (12th, 13th and 15th C) depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin and the martyrdoms of St Catherine of Alexandria and St Vincent, tapestries and a richly decorated 18th C organ gallery. In the cathedral treasury is an antique marble bath converted into a font.

Immediately behind the apse of the cathedral is the Maison d'Adam, a handsome and well preserved half-timbered house (15th-16th C).

Logis Barrault

The 15th C Logis Barrault in Angers, a handsome burgher's house in which Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine de Médicis once stayed, is now occupied by the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with works by Raphael, Murillo, Ribera, Philippe de Champaigne, Watteau, Chardin, Boucher, Fragonard, David, Ingres, Delacroix and Corot.

David d'Angers Gallery

In the little Gothic church of Toussaint (All Saints) is an exhibition of the complete work of David d'Angers (1788-1856), consisting partly of originals and partly of copies.

A little way east is the Early Gothic bell tower of St-Aubin.

Address: 33 bis rue Toussaint, F-49000 Angers, France

Hôtel Pincé

The Hôtel Pincé (1523-1530), the finest private mansion in the town of Angers, now houses the Musée Turpin de Crissé (enamels, prints and drawings, masks, Oriental and East Asian art, Greek vases).

Lurçat Museum

The Lurçat Museum in Angers, housed in the old Hôpital St-Jean (12th C), displays works by the painter Jean Lurçat (1892-1966), best known as the renewer of the art of tapestry. In the large Gothic hall, originally the hospital ward, hangs a cycle of 10 tapestries woven in Aubusson, the "Chant du Monde", depicting the problems of mankind in our day and thus in a sense forming a counterpart to the "Apocalypse".
The hospital complex also includes a Romanesque cloister and a chapel.
Address: 4 boulevard Arago, F-49100 Angers, France

Pont de Verdu

The Pont de Verdun in Angers, the middle bridge of the three in the town center, leads over the Maine into Rue Beaurepaire (houses with beautiful courtyards). At the far end of this street is the Romanesque church of La Trinité, which belonged to Ronceray Abbey (17th C). The abbey now houses the Ecole Nationale des Arts et Métiers (public not admitted). The Pont de la Haute-Chaîne leads by way of Boulevard Ayrault and Avenue M.-Talet to the church of St-Serge, which has a fine Angevin-style choir (13th C). To the southeast is the Jardin des Plantes.

Festival of Anjou

The Festival of Anjou is held in June and July in Angers.
Address: 1 rue des Arènes, F-49100 Angers, France

Surroundings

Les Ponts-de-Ce, France

Seven km/4mi south of Angers is the town of Les Ponts-de-Cé, built on islands in the Loire, with seven bridges over the arms of the river.

Château de Brissac

In the little town of Brissac, 16km/10mi southeast of Angers, is a Château set in a beautiful park, built in the early 17th C on the site of an earlier building of the 13th-15th centuries. The interior is particularly fine and includes some interesting tapestries.

Château of Le Plessis-Bourré

The Château of Le Plessis-Bourré, 20km/12mi north of Angers, has scarcely changed since it was built in the 15th C. It is a rectangular structure with round corner towers surrounded by a wide moat, which is crossed by a 40 m/130ft long bridge. There are a number of rooms with period furniture and, on the upper floor, an unusual painted wood ceiling with allegorical representations.
Address: Ecuillé, F-49460 Angers, France

Le Plessis Macé

The castle of Le Plessis-Macé, 15km/nine mi northwest of Angers, was originally founded in the 11th C, and owes its present aspect mainly to the 15th C. Particularly notable are the inner courtyard and the Flamboyant (Late Gothic) chapel.

Château of Serrant

The moated Château of Serrant, 18km/11mi southwest of Angers, is a sumptuous Renaissance building (16th-18th century) flanked by corner towers and set in a beautiful park. The exterior shows a charming contrast between light and dark-colored masonry. The Château (open to visitors) contains numerous works of art, tapestries and pictures and a library.
Address: St Georges sur Loire, F-49000 Angers, France

Saulges Cave, France

Saulges Cave is known to date back at least 50,000 years. It was inhabited first by bears and then by prehistoric men. Paleontological remains, including bear bones and vestiges of the Solutrian and Roman eras are still housed in the cave.
The cavity was formed by a series of fractures meeting at right angles.
A local legend about a fairy named Margot and her black masses is linked to the cave.
The inner part of the cave was discovered in 1730 and it has since been classed as an historic monument.

La Possonniere, France

Recently restored after being used for agriculture since the 17th C., La Possonniere possesses an interesting combination of sculptures inspired by the Italian Renaissance and maxims engraved in Latin. It was also the home of poet Pierre de Ronsard. Of particular note is its fine Renaissance fireplace.

Musee des Ailes Anciennes de l'Anjou

Opened in 1989, this museum houses a number of notable aircraft in its large hangar. Of particular note is the Curtiss-Wright Jr., the Puss Moth and the Jupiter.
Address: Aerodrome-r Bis, Rue Nationale, F-49240 Avrille, France
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