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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.
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 Oregon, wrote:
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 those tapestries!
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.