Sophisticated and relaxed yet vibrant and atmospheric, Angers is one the great French Cities. Proud of its regal past, confident about its future, it boasts great nightlife and is home to the world famous Cointreau liqueur.
Angers is a very walkable city, although it’s also inordinately proud of its new tramway system, completed in 2011 with some 25 stops. A 15-kilometre B line will open in 2015. To avoid overhead lines through the centre of Angers and its Avrillé suburb, a revolutionary ground-level power supply has been used for part of the route. The tramway supplements existing bus services, which use efficient and well-maintained vehicles. Taxis are freely available and metered.
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Top 5 sights for first-timers
Opened in 2010 and with its plants now coming into their best, Terra Botanica is dedicated to fostering a discovery and understanding of plant life and the ways in which humanity interacts with it. Designed to be great fun as well as educational, this quality theme park features rides, attractions and an eco-friendly restaurant.
Route de Cantenay Epinard
Strategically set on a rocky bluff overlooking the broad Maine River, the Château d’Angers was begun in the ninth century by the Counts of Anjou and expanded to its present size 400 years later. While it subsequently partly fell into ruin, the castle’s formidable round towers are mostly intact, as are the central residential portions which today provide a display space for the outstanding Apocalypse Tapestry, completed in 1382 but with its colours still remarkably vivid.
2 promenade du Bou du Monde
Book a guided walking tour of theOldTownthrough the tourist information office and take in the cathedral, the cobbled streets and the picturesque Adam’s House, with its ornately carved facade. Learn of the English royal connections and the slate industry, which earnedAngersits early fortune and the sobriquet ‘The Black City’.
Office de Tourisme d’Angers, 7 place Kennedy
Galerie David d’Angers
Born Pierre-Jean David (1788-1856), David d’Angers was an inspired sculptor, ranking with the likes of Rodin. The gallery is like a roll call of the great and good Frenchmen of his age and earlier. The spectacular collection is housed in the former Toussaint Abbey.
33 bis rue Toussaint
Musée des Beaux Arts
There are two permanent exhibitions housed in this fine Gothic and Renaissance building known as the Logis Barrault. The first floor is devoted to the late medieval history ofAnjouwhile the second floor is given over to the fine arts and contains paintings and sculptures from the 14th century to date. Temporary exhibitions feature contemporary artists.
14 rue du Musée
Top 5 sights for old hands
Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine
The famed Bayeux Tapestry is not a tapestry at all but embroidery. Learn the difference here and marvel at some amazing workmanship. All the greats of this very French art form are on display while the soaring vaulted ceiling is breathtaking in its sheer majesty.
4 boulevard Arago
At the distillery which still produces the famed orange liqueur, discover the secrets of the Cointreau family’s 138 years of success. Vast showcases display former products of the company, posters and other memorabilia. At the end of the visit, savour a tasting of exciting new cocktails based on the product.
Saint Barthélémy d’Anjou
Château-Musée de la Communication
Standing in a large public park only eight kilometres from Angers, this museum, tracing the history of communication from the drum to the satellite, is housed in the splendid 18th-century Château de Pignerolles. In its time, it has also been home to a king’s equerry, the Polish Government in exile, Admiral Doenitz and the US Army!
Saint Barthélemy d’Anjou
Parc Anjou Aventure
Only five minutes fromAngersinEcouflantForest, this adventure park offers the first forest adventure trail in the area. Five trails and over 120 facilities await the intrepid, including monkey bridges, nets and Tarzan jumps.
Standing on the corner of Boulevard Foch and Rue d’Alsace, this remarkable seven-storey art deco building was built in the late 1920s. The overall blue and gold effect is due to the fine mosaic work of Isidore Odorico. Unfortunately, the Maison Bleue is not open to the public, but you can admire it from the outside.
10 boulevard Maréchal Foch
Written by World Travel Guide