Chateau d'Angers, Maine-et-Loire visitors guide
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The Chateau d'Angers is a castle in the city of Angers, in the Maine-et-Loire department of the western Loire. The castle is on a rocky ledge above the Maine river, in a site that has been occupied since prehistoric times because of its historically important strategic location, and is listed as a French National Monument.
Explore the Chateau d'Angers
France This Way comment: Angers castle does not have beautifully furnished rooms to explore but it does have an attractive walk around the ramparts, several different garden areas, various buildings of interest and the remarkable Apocalypse Tapestry, so a visit is recommended.
In contrast to the castles in the Loire valley to the east of Angers, the Chateau in Angers is a vast medieval castle surrounded by massive walls and towers: the walls are 500 metres long and include 17 towers. These defences are less foreboding than you might expect, because they include decorative lines of black slate and white limestone, and the moat is now filled with gardens and flowers.
Before you enter the castle you might like to walk around the outside of the walls: this will enable you to see the side of the castle that is near the river and is along a cliff edge rather than surrounded by a moat. The towers were originally 10 metres taller and each had a conical roof so would have presented a very impressive sight!
History of Angers castle
The castle dates in part as far back as the 9th century, when it was built by the counts of Anjou to defend themselves from the Normans. The original fortress at Angers was constructed here because of the strategic position next to the Maine River, in a position that was earlier occupied by the Romans for the same reason.
Major works and reconstruction were carried out in the 12th century by the Plantagenets and then by Blanche de Castille in the 13th century. Most of the current chateau was constructed by Saint-Louis in the early 13th century, between 1230 and 1240, after his grandfather Philip II had captured the region from the English. For the following centuries it remained an important castle as base for the Angevin Kings.
In the 14th century the castle became the residence of the dukes of the region, hence the castle is also called the castle of the Anjou Dukes. Additions to the castle included the chapel that was constructed to hold a fragment of the True Cross. It was during this epoque, in the 14th and 15th centuries, that the Chateau d'Angers was a major centre for local lords and royal visitors.
Although Angers castle was ordered to be destroyed after the Wars of Religion and the upper parts of the towers were destroyed, much of the main structure remains intact. During the 16th and 17th centuries the castle served a military purpose, both as a defensive castle and later as a military training school.
Surprisingly, the Duke of Wellington, later to defeat Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo, received his training here in Angers, France.
The military role of Angers castle was revived in the 20th century when it was used by the Nazis to store arms - these exploded causing significant amounts of damage to the castle, while further damage was caused by a fire in 2009.
Visit Angers chateau
You enter the castle across a bridge and a drawbridge on the east side of the castle. Stroll through the formal gardens to reach the fortified gateway which leads through to a courtyard surrounded by the most important 15th century buildings in the castle, including the royal residence and a small chapel.
The courtyard below here includes a recent addition that includes walls of some of the 10th century buildings that were part of the original fortress in Angers.
It is also here that you can visit the Tapestry of the Apocalypse: one of the most remarkable medieval tapestries in existence and a highlight of your visit: the tapestry is 100 metres long and depicts the Apocalypse as described in the Bible in the Book of Revelations. The famous tapestry dates from the second half of the 14th century, when it was commissioned by King Louis I. See apocalypse tapestry for information.
You can now follow the walk around the ramparts of the castle. The Mill Tower in the north corner is the only tower to have retained its original height, and once supported a windmill. On the southern side of the ramparts near the restaurant you can see the original entrance to the castle with its defensive systems and portcullis.
As you walk around the ramparts you also have lovely views across the roofs of Angers, the flower gardens in the moat, as well as various gardens on the ramparts including a vineyard and a herb garden.
The town of Angers is quite extensive, with an interesting historic centre and a large area developed in the 19th century. Among the other monuments of interest in the town you can visit the Angers Collegial Saint-Martin and Angers Cathedral.
Map of Chateau d'Angers and places nearby
Visit near Chateau d'Angers with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Maine-et-Loire
Plan your visit to Chateau d'Angers, Maine-et-Loire
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- 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)
- La Fleche: recommended detour (44 km)
The French version of this page is at Chateau d'Angers (Francais)