Angers, the capital of the historic province of Anjou, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in France. Foremost among its many notable structures is the magnificent
twin-spiraled Cathedral of Saint Maurice (12th-13th
century) and the massive Castle of Angers (early 13th century), with its moat and soaring
towers. Angers was once inhabited by fierce Celtic people who tenaciously
opposed the Roman penetration.
The court of Rene on Anjou, known as the Good, regent of Sicily and Jerusalem
resided here. A man of letters and benefactor of the local community, he was
fond of fetes and tournaments where were often held at the castle,
The religious wars later led to the decline of the castle and Henry III
ordered it to be demolished in 1585. The cylindrical towers of the pentagonal
stronghold began to be torn down and the conical roof and the upper part were
dismantled. When Henry IV came to the throne the destruction came to a halt and
Angers was the scene of the engagement of Cesar of Vendome with Francoise of
Lorraine. It was restores in 1950.
THE BIGGEST TAPESTRY IN THE WORLD
The myriad horsemen.
The New Jerusalem
In 1373, the King of France, Charles V, lent his brother Louis I, Duke of
Anjou, the manuscrpt of an "Apocalypse in French fully illustrated and
historiated: This inspired the Duke to commission "large tapestries of the
story of the Apocalypse:.
Today the castle of Angers houses a tapestry museum that includes the famous Apocalypse series of Nicholas
Bataille who did the weaving and Hennequin de Bruges did the painting. It
is 140 meters long.
|Heather Robinson, 24, from Portland
|In 1998, I lived in Angers as a study
abroad student. I attended the University Catholique de l'Ouest
there, and each weekend, we would go on excersions to Chateaux in the
Loire Valley. On my first day there, I met with the other study
abroad students, and our director, and we toured the school. Then,
after lunch, we went on our first excursion of the Chateau d'Angers.
WOW! Not only was it magnificent, but the tapestries blew me away!
I had no idea their importance. It was such privilege, living
in a beautiful (small) city, and with such an incredible monument!
I will add, however, that on our tour, we were told that the tapestries
were once used in parades. Hundreds (or more) years later, a
priest found them in the attic of his church (or cathedral). Some
of the tapestries were actually used as rags! But after their
discovery in the attic, that is when most were salvaged, and proudly
displayed in the Chateau d'Angers. When you walk in, you will
notice that the lights are dimmed -- it takes a minute for your
eyes to adjust, and that is because it helps keep them from
deteriorating. Angers is quite a lovely town to visit! If
you are ever out that way, you must make at least a day trip to visit
|Val, 36, from Minneapolis, wrote:
|I've visited this castle several times,
and each time was struck with the intimacy of the visit. I have
friends who live in the city of Angers, and to me (like many of the
local inhabitants) the castle grounds are a quiet place in the middle of
a small busy city in France, around which to walk on a cool summer
night. The town itself is almost a stereotype of a French village,
extending from the castle walls, and on my last visit in 1992 was
virtually unmarred by modern construction. The castle is modest in
size and does not achieve great historical importance, which is
fabulous, since guests are therefore allowed to linger over something
they enjoy or query the museum staff about some particular feature. The
castle is better furnished than many, and has a courtyard in which you
are allowed to sit -- sometimes they serve coffee and pastries there.
Local rumor: The grass moat surrounding the castle was inhabited by
large African animals that supposedly protected castle inhabitants by
their ferocity...I've heard it was tigers, then lions, then zebras, then
antelopes....well, now there are a small herd of deer grazing there
peacefully, undisturbed by the influx of human visitors. Who knows? Ask
around while you're there, and find some castle stories of your own.
|Ashley, 25, from South Korea, wrote:
|I visited the castle of Anger a year
ago and was so startled by the peace surrounding the castle. Most
pictures of castles look restful and still, this one was. One of
the beauties of the moment was a fawn and her mother grazing not too far
from the meticulous gardeners. A moment to always recall.
|Bonny, 18, from Australia, wrote:
|Angers is not a "pretty"
castle, compared to structures such as Chenonceau. It is built of
dark stone, and rises out of a now empty moat. Visiting it on a
day when leaden clouds swirled above the battlements, I found it very
imposing. The stern Plantaganet chapel behind the castle reminds
visitors of the Anglo threads that are woven into the castle's history,
namely William I. The tapestries of the Apocalypse are
breath-taking. Angers not only has an amazing castle, but is also
a lovely town to spend a few hours in - look for the lovely baguette stall
a couple of blocks away from the castle!
|Pauline Chevalier. 17, from Kansas, wrote:
|I am from France and I'm here in the Us for a school
year. I'm from Angers and I used to see the castle everyday when I
was still living in France. I thought it was nothing
extraordinary. But now that I've been away in a country where
there is no castle at all, I miss "my" castle in Angers, and
all the castles in France. I wanted to thank you for talking about
them. They are wonderful and make me dream.
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