Apocalypse Tapestry, Maine-et-Loire visitors guide
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The Apocalypse Tapestry is a large medieval tapestry, held in a display area in the Chateau in Angers, in the Maine-et-Loire department of north-west France.
Discover the Apocalypse Tapestry in the Chateau d'Angers
France This Way comment: while a medieval tapestry might not be your preferred attraction when you visit France, the size, quality and subject matter of the Apocalypse Tapestry make it fascinating for visitors of all ages.
History of the Tapestry of the Apocalypse
The tapestry was originally ordered by Duke Louis 1st of Anjou in 1375. The drawings were made by Jean de Bruges and the tapestry was completed over seven years. During the 15th century the tapestry was much appreciated: it was displayed in 1400 at the wedding of Duke Louis II, and in 1480 it was bequeathed to the Cathedral of Angers by the last of the Anjou Dukes, King René.
Unfortunately, by the 18th century the beauty of the tapestry was not recognised and it was badly damaged. Happily the pieces remained and were then restored in the 19th century. The tapestry finally returned to the Chateau d'Angers in 1954, shortly after the military occupation following the second world war had ended.
The Apocalypse Tapestry is the largest series of tapestries of its kind that exists, although the form in which we see the tapestry is not the original: in 1382 the tapestry was in just six parts, each six metres high and 23 metres wide and showing two rows of seven scenes on each tapestry.
Visiting the Apocalypse tapestry
The entrance to the display area for the tapestry is in a courtyard in the Chateau d'Angers. Admission is included in the price of a ticket for the castle.
The main exhibition gallery is very dark and even the lighting on the tapestries is rather gloomy - of course, this helps preserve the tapestries but also makes them a bit harder to see. The tapestries are also displayed in two rows, one above the other, so it is a bit harder to see the detail in the upper row. Photographs with flash are not permitted.
The subject matter of the tapestry is the Book of Revelations, the last book in the New Testament of the bible where Saint John tells of the struggle between good and evil. It is outside the scope of this website to describe every tapestry in detail, and while it is quite difficult to follow the original stories as you look at the tapestry, there are many elements that you can see clearly: devils and monsters, temptation and angels...
If you are visiting the Apocalypse Tapestry you will also want to explore the Chateau d'Angers where the tapestry is situated. Other highlights in the town include the Collegiale church of Saint-Martin and the cathedral of Angers. See the Angers travel guide for more details of things to see in the town.
Map of Apocalypse Tapestry and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Chateau d'Angers: national monument
- Angers: town of art and history
- Île Saint-Aubin: site of natural beauty (4 km)
- Jardins du Pin: remarkable garden (24 km)
- Chenille-Change: ville fleurie 4* (27 km)
- Prieuré de Notre-Dame de Cunault (Chenehutte-Treves-Cunault): religious monument (29 km)
- Eglise de Notre Dame (Chenehutte-Treves-Cunault): religious monument (29 km)
- Aubigne-sur-Layon: ville fleurie 4* (30 km)
- Coudray: ville fleurie 4* (36 km)
- Parc zoologique de Doué-la-Fontaine: zoo or wildlife park (37 km)
- Chateau-Gontier: recommended detour (41 km)
- Saumur: secteur sauvegarde (43 km)
The French version of this page is at Apocalypse Tapestry (Francais)