10 largest cities in France
Angers is a town in western France located on the banks of the
Maine, prefecture of the Maine-et-Loire department in the Pays de la
Loire region. Located on the Paris-Nantes axis, Angers was in 2017
the second most populous municipality in the Pays de la Loire region
and the eighteenth in France with 152,960 inhabitants. In 2017, the
city is the central municipality of the pole of attraction of a
populated area of more than 420,000 inhabitants, an urban unit of
nearly 225,000 inhabitants and an inter-municipality, Angers Loire
Métropole, comprising 29 municipalities and 296,390 inhabitants.
Historical capital and stronghold of Anjou, cradle of the Plantagenets dynasty, Angers was one of the intellectual centers of Europe in the 15th century under the reign of "good king René". The city owes its development as well as its political and historical role to its position at the level of a geological, hydrographic, cultural and strategic point of convergence.
Angers stands out today for its specialization in the field of plants: Végépolys is the leading European horticultural competitiveness cluster, the city is also home to the headquarters of the Community Plant Variety Office. Its universities, museums and cultural activity also make it an important cultural center which includes the castle of the Dukes of Anjou built in the thirteenth century which houses the Apocalypse tapestry, the largest set of medieval tapestries known to date. . The richness of its heritage has earned it the label of city of art and history.
The city of Angers is made up of eleven districts:
Lac de Maine (west of downtown)
Belle-Beille (the university district in the West)
La Doutre (district located on the west bank of Maine)
Saint-Jacques-Nazareth (in the North-West)
Verneau (in the North-West)
Monplaisir (north-east of the city center)
Saint-Serge - Place Ney - Chalouère (in the North-East)
Deux Croix-Banchais (east of the city center)
Justices-Madeleine St Léonard (South-East of the city center)
La Fayette-Eblé (in the South)
La Roseraie (to the south)
The Chateau d'Angers, also known as the Chateau of the Dukes of Anjou, is located in the town of Angers in the Maine-et-Loire department of France. The fortress is built on a slate shale promontory which dominates Maine. The site has been occupied since ancient times because of its strategic defensive position. Subsequently, the counts of Anjou set up their homes there, until the end of the Plantagenêt empire which saw the kingdom of France conquer the county of Anjou. Louis IX had the current castle built in the 13th century, while the Dukes of Anjou transformed it into a seigneurial residence in the 15th century. Yolande d'Aragon gave birth to René d'Anjou there. In the 16th century, following the troubles of the Wars of Religion, Henry III ordered the destruction of the castle, but only the upper part of the towers was destroyed. It was subsequently transformed into a prison, then a garrison and ammunition depot during World War II. At the start of the 21st century, it housed the Apocalypse tapestry and was one of the most visited tourist sites in Maine-et-Loire. Its opening to tourism is managed by the Center des monuments nationaux.
The location of the Château d'Angers is strategic
because it is located on the western side of the hill of the Cité,
the highest point in Angers, at 47 meters. The altitude of the
castle oscillates between 35 and 45 meters. It dominates the Maine
which flows at an altitude of about 20 meters. The hill itself is
made up of slate schist whose steepness towards Maine was
accentuated by its extraction in the medieval period.
The first occupations
In 1997, a cairn was unearthed to the west of the courtyard, under the remains of the old count castle. Built around 4500 BC. the cairn consisted of four or five burial chambers. It is about 17 meters in diameter and is entirely built of slabs of schist. In addition, the shaping of these plaques reveals the mastery of slate mining from the Neolithic era4.
The presence of a Gallic oppidum from the Andecaves tribe on the site was rejected for a long time in the face of the few clues to support the assertion. However, the preventive excavation campaign between 1992 and 2003 was finally able to demonstrate the existence of an occupation at the time of La Tène final (around 80-70 BC) until the Augustan period ( 10 BC). The presence of archaeological furniture, the remains of a rampart with horizontal beams and the discovery of pathways delimiting sectors of activity3 allow us to consider again the hypothesis of an oppidum on the site of the castle6.
During the Roman occupation, towards the end of the 1st century, the site was converted into a vast platform of 3,600 m2 surrounded by buttressed walls, overlooking the Maine. A temple and its satellites are built there. At the end of the third century, the migrations of the Germanic peoples brought a growing state of insecurity. The inhabitants of the region then took refuge in Juliomagus and surrounded the city with an enclosure 10 to 12 meters high. Part of the Gallo-Roman ramparts crossed the current castle from west to east, skirting the old promontory of the 1st century, the buildings of which were probably destroyed to build the wall. At its western end, under the gallery of the Apocalypse, at the level of the Saint-Laud chapel, are the remains of a tower of the urban wall. There is also a gate referred to as the “Porte de Chanzé”, the remains of which are buried under the southwestern rampart.
Excavations undertaken between 1992 and 2003 have revealed the occupation of the site between the 7th and 9th centuries. There are buildings of a good quality of construction as well as spaces of crafts and gardens which would correspond to an episcopal residence, the bishop being mentioned as the owner of the site of the castle in the middle of the ninth century.
In 851, the bishop of Angers, Dodon, allowed the count of Anjou
to settle on a piece of land, “near the enclosure”. This position
makes it possible to monitor Maine at a time when Angers was
vulnerable to Norman raids. This will not prevent them from taking
over the city on several occasions. At the same time, the Bretons
carried out raids and seized part of the Angevin territory. It was
once the period of unrest and invasions ended that the Counts of
Anjou built what would become the Count's Palace. This one will
never undergo siege and will be very little fortified because the
counts of Anjou will gradually subjugate Poitou, Maine, Normandy and
Aquitaine. It is then mentioned as an aula and not as a castrum.
Consequently, it will consist mainly of residential buildings. The
Great Hall, or aula, was built at the western end of the promontory,
probably on the old antique terrace while a kitchen was supported by
the old Gallo-Roman wall. The Sainte-Geneviève chapel, which serves
the inhabitants of the site, receives towards the end of the ninth
century the relics of Saint Laud, which will ultimately give it
their name. In the tenth century, an oven was built, the bases of
the pipe columns of which were found during excavations of the
count's palace. In the eleventh century, the Great Hall was extended
to the north, going from 300 to 500 m2.
Around the 12th century, the palace came under the control of the Plantagenets dynasty. In 1131 or 1132, a fire devastated it. During the reconstruction, the Great Hall was redeveloped and equipped with the current door. The apartments continue to evolve towards the north and south of the courtyard. Finally, the new Saint-Laud chapel is erected outside the Roman wall on which it rests its north facade. It is a chapel with a single nave vaulted in a broken barrel, with only one apse on its southern facade. Anjou was then part of the Plantagenêt empire, the palace lost its role as a political center while the Plantagenets sovereigns only occasionally held their court in Angers. The rooms and homes are deteriorating.
The royal fortress
In 1214, after the battle of Bouvines and that of La Roche-aux-Moines, the king of France Philippe Auguste confiscated Anjou from Jean sans Terre and united the province to the royal domain, which brought its limits closer to the duchy. of Brittany, which defends its autonomy in the face of ever more assertive royal power. The Bretons managed to take Angers in 1227 but were quickly driven out by the troops of the regent Blanche de Castille and Louis IX. Blanche began building a royal fortress shortly after. To carry it out, the canons of Saint-Laud, as well as a part of the inhabitants of the city were expelled in order to be able to erect a fortress spread over 2.5 hectares. Almost a quarter of the old canonical district of Saint-Maurice d'Angers was also destroyed to allow the expansion of the fortress. For the construction of the castle, the royal treasury pays more than 5,000 pounds, and a tax is levied on the bourgeois of Angers. The construction took a dozen years (1230-1242) which is the birth certificate of the fortress as it is perceived today: an enclosure over 800 meters long punctuated by 17 towers. Only the steep northern flank facing the Maine was never fortified. Louis IX did not stop there since he also decided to include the city in an urban enclosure.
Anjou will then be left in prerogative to the brother of Louis IX, Charles I of Sicily. He will be at the origin of the Capetian dynasty of Anjou. Although Charles was called by the Pope to Italy, he did not neglect the fortress, ensuring that it was maintained and improved. It is on the model of the castle of Angers that he had the Castel Nuovo built in Naples. His successors left little mark on the castle, which returned to the royal fold in 1290. Angers then lost its political role and its homes deteriorated.
The ducal castle
Anjou became a duchy in 1360, a new dynasty, resulting from the House of Valois, will take place in Angers. Louis I of Anjou rarely stays there, as does his successor Louis II. Louis I, however, renovated the Seneschal's accommodation behind the Porte de la Ville, before 1370, then he rearranged the Great Hall, in which he drilled new, larger windows and where he installed a monumental fireplace. He will also build a new kitchen four times the size of the old count kitchen it adjoins. He entrusted his accountant architect, Macé-Delarue, with the maintenance and repair of the castle. His successor, Louis II, will erect the Royal Lodge around 1410. Yolande d'Aragon, wife of Louis II, had a new chapel built to house the relic of the True Cross of Anjou, which was previously housed at the Abbey of La Boissière threatened by the English. In 1409, she gave birth to her son René in the apartments of the castle. She also had the castle restored to a state of defense, in anticipation of the English incursions. In 1443, the Duke of Somerset, landed in Normandy with 8,000 men, arrived in the suburbs of Angers. A salvo of artillery fired from the castle kills one of the captains of Somerset who decides to raise camp and leaves to besiege the castle of Pouancé. Under the reign of Duke René d'Anjou, the Royal Lodge has a gallery added. René also had the châtelet and a series of main buildings built in the 1450s.
Return to royal authority
René d'Anjou ended up coming into conflict with his nephew the King of France Louis XI over the inheritance of the duchy. Louis XI decides to seize the duchy by force and comes to Anjou in 1474 with his army, forcing René to give up his plan of succession. Louis XI immediately installs a garrison in the castle and entrusts its command to Guillaume de Cerisay. In 1485, Charles VIII had the ditches re-dug, which until now had been simply sketched out. Subsequently, Jean Bourré was appointed captain of the castle and provided it with artillery.
In 1562, it was decided to adapt the castle to new warfare techniques. The architect Philibert Delorme is in charge of the plans for the work to be carried out by Jehan de l'Espine. Artillery terraces are set up to the south, on the courtyard side, and behind the north rampart, between the gate and the governor's house, where cannonballs are embedded. An advanced bastion is built in front of the gate of the fields. The ditches are once again widened.
In 1585, in the midst of the religious war, Catholics and Protestants fought over the castle. Henry III then gave the order to raze him so that neither party could use it against him. It is up to the governor of the castle, Donadieu de Puycharic, to carry out the demolition. The towers are disheveled and the crowning achievement is down. The demolition is slow: the works are suspended six times, then finally abandoned at the end of the struggles. The demolition crane will remain in place until the middle of the 18th century. In 1595, new artillery terraces were built, then some loopholes were changed into gunboats.
The castle was still used in 1648 when the bourgeoisie of Angers revolted against the governor, then again during La Fronde. The castle was then used as a state prison and retirement home for invalids. In 1661, Louis XIV ordered d'Artagnan to arrest Nicolas Fouquet, the superintendent of finance whom the king suspected of having embezzled twelve million pounds from the Royal Treasury. After his arrest at the Château de Nantes, Fouquet was taken to the Château d'Angers where he lived for three weeks. During the eighteenth century, a modest garrison commanded by a lieutenant of the king is housed there, the castle begins to suffer from lack of maintenance.
From the Revolution to today
During the Revolution, in 1789, the castle became the seat of the Revolutionary Committee of Angers. At the beginning of Messidor Year I (end of June 1793), the Vendeans, returning from the Virée de Galerne, unsuccessfully besieged the town and its castle27. The fortress is then used again as a prison during the Terror and the wars of Vendée.
In 1806, the demolition of the advanced work of the Porte des
Champs was authorized in order to set up a boulevard. The castle was
converted the following year into a civil and military prison. In
1813, the chapel was cut off by a storey to accommodate two hundred
English sailors prisoners of the Napoleonic wars. Two years later,
after the emperor's definitive defeat, the Prussians occupied the
fortress. It was reoccupied in 1817 by the French army, which
transformed it into an arsenal and a garrison. In 1857, the General
Council became the owner of the castle for the sum of 20,000 francs
but in return had to take care of the maintenance of the historic
parts of the site. The castle was classified as a historic monument
in 1875 while the army degraded the Royal Lodge and the chapel and
set up military constructions.
In 1912, the city of Angers rented the ditches and developed them into gardens. She placed deer and hinds there in 1936. Negotiations took place between the army and the General Directorate of Fine Arts concerning the castle. In July 1939, negotiations were successful and restoration plans were drafted. The project was interrupted by World War II. The Germans occupy the site and store their ammunition there. On May 15 and 16, 1944, the German army evacuated the men present and their ammunition, for fear of Allied bombardments. Ten days later, on May 25 and 26, Angers suffered its first bombardment. Six bombs fell on the castle, three of which were inside the walls. A vault of the chapel collapsed, the Royal Lodge was set on fire, the roofs were torn off.
In 1945 the reconstruction of the chapel began under the direction of the architect Bernard Vitry. Light military constructions are dismantled. In 1948, the gardens were planted and the castle was opened to the public. The restoration of the chapel was completed three years later and it was inaugurated by the Bishop of Angers. In 1952, the decision was taken to build a building to accommodate the Apocalypse tapestry. This was inaugurated on July 30, 1954. Between 1970 and 1979, the Quai Ligny was progressively razed by the city in order to create expressways on the left bank of the banks of Maine and thus clear the view of the walls.
Between 1992 and 2003, a series of preventive archaeological excavations was carried out by AFAN then INRAP as part of the renovation of the gallery of the Apocalypse. These excavations make it possible in particular to bring to light the remains of the Count's palace, as well as the remains of Neolithic, Gallic and Roman occupations. In 2007, the reception and ticketing area was redesigned. In February 2009, a new reception area for the Galerie de l'Apocalypse was set up. This includes a shop and a glazed space to present the Neolithic cairn and the remains of the chambers of the Count's Palace.
On January 10, 2009, around 4:00 p.m., a fire ravaged the Royal Lodge. It would be due to a malfunction of an electric heater. Thanks to the responsiveness of the employees, the precious tapestries are protected and no work is damaged. The roof of the building, however, was destroyed: the damage was estimated at 2 million euros. The Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, declares that the reconstruction of the damaged building is planned for the second quarter of 200932. Finally, the work will last three years for a budget three times higher. The fire not only destroyed the roof, but the freezing of the extinguishing water the following days greatly damaged all the masonry which had to be changed in large part. In addition, the buildings of France took the opportunity to make the monument accessible to people with reduced mobility by installing an elevator.
From October 2009 to January 2010, the castle hosts the international exhibition “Splendor of illumination. King René and the books ”, organized for the 600th anniversary of the birth of King René. This exhibits 47 illuminated manuscripts and leaflets, 23 of which are exhibited for the first time in France. The exhibition enabled the chateau to attract 190,000 visitors in 2009, the record for the number of admissions over a year, making it one of the most visited sites in Maine-et-Loire. In June 2012, the renovation of the royal residence was completed, and the ground floor is open to visitors pending the installation of a scenography in 2014. This opens in October 2014, putting an end to the restoration work.
The general exterior appearance of the fortress dates almost
entirely from the time of Louis IX and monumentally evokes the
military role of the castle. On the other hand, the interior and
buildings of the court, later, built between Louis I of Anjou and
King René, recall the residential role of the court of Anjou between
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The Champs gate
The Porte des Champs was the link between the castle and the outside of the city. It is the most attractive architectural element of the castle. Its exterior facing is covered with tufa on two thirds. The last third alternates between layers of tuffeau and layers of schist.
Two towers flank a carriage door, which gave access by a dormant walkway, then by a drawbridge which had to be operated by a single chain from an opening above the door.
The defense of the gate was made in the first place by a series of arches arranged in staggered rows on the four floors of each of the towers. Some of these archers will be taken and transformed into gunboats. In the seventeenth or eighteenth century, two of these gunboats were adorned with small semicircular balconies with corbels.
The entrance was then guarded by a series of four archers (two on each side) which ended at the entrance itself. The latter was then defended by a double harrow system, all reinforced with a stunner between the two. The current harrow is an original wooden harrow with iron-reinforced hoofs, probably dating from the fifteenth-sixteenth century. Finally, a door, of which there is a hinge and traces of the closing bar, reinforced this extremely well-defended entrance.
Set back from the entrance is a vaulted thirteenth century room which supported the guard rooms and on which now stands the Governor's House. The interior of the towers is made up of three ribbed vaulted rooms resting on six bases. These are more elaborate than on the other towers of the fortress and represent faces or plant motifs.
For the 600th anniversary of King René, the Ateliers Perrault Frères built a temporary footbridge for the occasion reminiscent of the past of the Château d'Angers.
The city gate
The city gate once provided communication between the castle and the city. Less careful construction than the Porte des Champs, it is mainly made up of schist and punctuated by chains of tufa. The city gate has two circular towers that flank the entrance passage. This passage was altered in the fifteenth or sixteenth century in order to be able to fit two drawbridges: one, with a double arrow, for the cart passage, the other for the pedestrian crossing.
Its defense was similar to the Porte des Champs. The traces of two harrows between which was installed a stunner are still marked. Several archers protect the entrance, some of which have been converted into gunboats.
Behind the door were the guard rooms, supported by an arched passage. These rooms were remodeled by Louis I.
The enclosure and the towers
The fortress built by Saint Louis in 1230 includes seventeen towers erected with alternating shale and tufa layers. They are about thirty meters high, about eighteen meters wide and interconnected. An eighteenth tower previously existed, outside the enclosure, towards Maine, the Guillon tower. It was used to supply the castle. The Guillon Tower was demolished in 1832. The massive ramparts built from 1230 to 1240 at the instigation of Saint Louis have a circumference of about 800 m long. In all, an area of 25,000 m2 is covered by the fortress. On the north side, the steepness of the plateau is such that the architects did not consider it necessary to complete the defenses.
The ditches were dug from the construction of the fortress during the reign of Saint Louis. To the south, they then separated the castle - built on the hill of the same name - from the suburb of Esvière. To the north, they imposed the limit between the City and the castle. They were enlarged in the 14th and then in the 16th century. Two wells are located there: one to the east, the other to the north. Although the Maine passes at the foot of the castle, there was never any question of filling the ditches with water, mainly because of the uneven terrain.
Under King René, the ditches would have been transformed into contests for the conduct of the tournaments that the duke appreciated so much. In the 18th century, the ditches housed gardens and vegetable plots. The city of Angers became the tenant of the ditches in 1912. From 1936 to 1999, hinds and deer settled there. Today the ditches have been turned into gardens.
The inner courtyard
The inner courtyard was divided into two parts. The organization of the buildings constructed between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries divides the interior of the fortress between the poultry yard, or garrison court, and the seigneurial court, delimited by the Royal Lodge, the chapel, the châtelet, and 'other buildings that have disappeared (common areas, kitchens) now replaced by the gallery of the Apocalypse.
The big room
The Great Hall of the Château d'Angers dates from the earliest stages of the Count's Palace in the ninth century. It is an aula, a ceremonial hall where the county power is exercised. The first room, vast of 300 m2, is enlarged towards the eleventh century to finally reach 500 m23. In the 12th century, around 1130, probably after the fire of 1131, the Great Hall was reorganized by piercing small semicircular bays and piercing the current door, also semicircular, decorated with broken sticks. The old Carolingian aula was once again modified towards the end of the fourteenth century: large windows with mullions and double braces are pierced, fitted with cushions. Between these large windows are small bays forming an alternation. A monumental fireplace is set up. The 12th century gate is still preserved. Accounts dating from 1370 mention, on the Maine side, the fitting out of windows and fireplaces.
A chapel under the name of Sainte-Geneviève probably already existed on the site before the end of the ninth century since around this time, it received the relics of the bishop of Coutance, Laud, who gave it its name of Saint-Laud.
Around 1060, the count of Anjou Geoffroy Martel created a chapter of canons to provide worship. The chapel was destroyed for the first time at the beginning of the 12th century, rebuilt and consecrated by the bishop of Angers Renaud de Martigné on June 8, 1104. It was again destroyed in the fire of 1131 and rebuilt by Henri II Plantagenêt. Although partially buried by the reconstruction of the castle of Saint Louis, it served as a chapel for the castle until the fourteenth century, when it was replaced by the new chapel built by Yolande d'Aragon.
The remains of the chapel were discovered in 1953, during the earthworks of the gallery of the Apocalypse. The current Sainte-Geneviève-Saint-Laud chapel is a 12th century chapel built overhanging the Maine but outside the 13th century enclosure. It measures five by fifteen meters and was covered with a stone barrel vault and semicircular arch. Columns with carved capitals still remain on the north wall. It is now visible overhanging at the end of the gallery of the Apocalypse.
The Royal Lodge
The Royal Lodge was built by Louis II of Anjou, around 1410. At the time, the buildings extended as far as the Maine side to return to the Great Hall, thus enclosing the courtyard. Only the dwelling adjacent to the chapel remains today.
Inside the castle, stands the chapel built at the request of Yolande d'Aragon, wife of Louis II of Anjou. Its construction began in 1405 and ended in 1413. It is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. With its single rectangular nave and its three angel vault bays, it bears witness to the architectural style of Angevin Gothic. The building, wide (22.85 meters long and 11.90 meters wide) and not very high (14.90 meters under vaults) presents at the beginning of the fifteenth century, a decoration typical of international Gothic (prismatic ribs, base in bottle). The three keystones are finely carved: the first represents the arms of Louis II and Yolande, the second is adorned with the crowned shield of Louis II. The key of the third vault represents a cross with double crosses, symbol of the True cross of Anjou, reliquary owned by the house of Anjou and present on its coat of arms and which was exposed in the chapel between 1412 and 1456. The current doors of the Gothic-style chapel are the original doors.
On the south face was placed the seigneurial oratory, or seigneurial loggia. This one, built under Yolande, was taken over by René who improved it by adding a triple tri-foliated arch giving a view of the altar. The oratory is adorned on the side of the chapel with stone decorations and moldings, all the salient ornaments were however destroyed during the military occupation of the building. Only the negative traces remain today. It was accessed either through an exterior door or through the chapel. A fireplace, the flue of which was concealed by a buttress and a pinnacle, allowed the room to be heated.
The lighting is mainly provided by the canopy of the flat
bedside, facing east. Each bay is pierced with two windows, one to
the north, the other to the south. The original stained glass
windows have been destroyed. However, one can still find in the
southern glass roof of the first bay the remains of a 15th century
stained glass window originally belonging to the Abbey of Louroux.
Transported in 1812 to the church of Vernante, it was donated in
1901 to the Archaeological Museum and reassembled in the chapel of
the former Saint-Jean d'Angers hospital. It finally returned to the
chapel of the castle in 1951. It represents King René and his wife
Jeanne de Laval on their knees, in prayer, framing the Virgin.
King René's gallery
The King René Gallery was built between the years 1435 and 1453 by Duke René d'Anjou. It is made up of four gables, each separated by a buttress. Under each gable were fitted two windows for the lighting of the two floors of the gallery, served to the south-east by a staircase. The architects of the Duke of Anjou, Jean Gendrot and André Robin, created a largely glazed facade that was unusual in the fifteenth century. The gallery is fifteen meters long and three meters wide. Of the fifteen meters in length, eight meters thirty are open in eleven glazed windows. The four vaults of the four bays on the ground floor are preserved with their key carved but scratched since. The ribs fell on the pellets which were destroyed. The first floor is in a better state of preservation, the fallout of the ribs and the bases with foliage decorations still being in place. The keystones are emblazoned, one representing the coat of arms of René d'Anjou, while another represents the double cross known as the “Anjou Cross”. The wooden frames have been restored from old models. At the end of the gallery, a walled door testifies to the buildings extending from the house which have since disappeared.
The staircase was placed in the corner return formed between the chapel and the royal residence, and serves the first and second floors of the residence. It also provides access to the attic of the chapel. The top of the staircase is covered with a palm vault made up of sixteen quarters of vaults separated by prismatic ribs. At each crossing of the ribs is a key bearing for six of them two letters of the motto of King René: EN. DI. EU. IN. SO. IT ("In God, be it"). The seventh key is erased and the eighth represents a sun. The ribs fall on cul-de-lamp capitals adorned with foliage.
When using the castle as barracks and prison, the gallery is covered by a sloping roof, the bays are walled up and inside the spans are divided by tufa walls. The pediments having disappeared, the restoration work restored them, as well as the slope of the original roof.
The construction of the gallery and the staircase thus allows independent access to the rooms of the Logis which were previously controlled. It also allows to have a double access and an opening on the housing of the Sénéchal d'Anjou and on the north courtyard where the festivals and ceremonies were held.
The châtelet is the portal of entry into the stately courtyard. It was built by Duke René d'Anjou and finished in 1456. It is the work of the Angevin architect Guillaume Robin.
Above the passage, it consists of two floors served by a staircase turret. The châtelet is flanked by three overhanging turrets supported by buttresses and topped with a pepper-roof, as in the châtelet of the castle of Saumur. These are offset from the gable of the building, giving it an asymmetrical appearance. The isolated pepper shakers of the main roof are the result of a modification made during construction. The entrance porch has a lowered arch surmounted by an archivolt with braces and croisettes. Towards the interior of the courtyard, it has a pointed arch with curly archivolt and crosses but one side of which rests on a capital while the other descends to the ground. The building is constructed alternately with a schist and tufa apparatus, using only limestone for the projecting elements (turrets, angles, frames). The arms of Duke René d'Anjou are engraved on the outer gable in a tufa coat of arms.
The interior consists of a floor and attics converted into
housing. The first floor will be inhabited in particular by René's
son, Jean II de Lorraine, then will be mentioned as a prison in
The governor's house
The current home dates from the 18th century, the two wings framing a staircase tower dating from the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century. During the construction of the current homes, a large bay window was drilled outside the wall, on the east side. The house has four rooms upstairs. In the second, the windows have been arranged in baffles in order to optimize the lighting and leave no dark angles. The house also has an attic storey with windows topped with straight pediments.
The gallery of the Apocalypse
The gallery was built between 1953 and 1954 by the chief architect of Historic Monuments Bernard Vitry to accommodate the eponymous wall hanging. It measures nine meters high, being slightly buried so as not to exceed the height of the ramparts. The gallery is set at right angles and is part of the layout of the old buildings which closed the seigneurial courtyard. The first part is 40 meters long, the second 56. In order to harmonize with the surrounding constructions, visible shale rubble covers the entire facades. Inside, the gallery follows the bulge of the towers of the enclosure.
The Apocalypse tapestry has been kept there since 1954, however the large windows that let the sun and moon rays through degrade the colors. Curtains were installed in 1975, then hanging bars to avoid contact between the hanging and the wall in 1980. First presented on a red background, this was replaced in 1982 by a beige background, then in 1996, during the redevelopment of the gallery, with a dark blue background. A constant temperature and a subdued light is put in place to limit the alteration of the colors.
Reception and management
The Château d'Angers is managed by the Center des monuments nationaux, which in 2011 employed 28 people. Its administrator in 2017 is Henri Yannou. He succeeds Patricia Corbett (2011-2014), Antoine Lataste (2009-2011) and Gérard Cieslik (2006-2009).
The visit is free, with visit documents in nine languages or audio guides. Guided tours of the Apocalypse tapestry are offered every day.
A restaurant, the Logis du Gouverneur, is located inside the enclosure. The site also has a boutique area open since February 2009 at the reception of the Galerie de l'Apocalypse.