VIEWPOINT OF THE END OF THE WORLD
At the end of Promenade du Bout du Monde, over the city´s highest natural point, a viewpoint will position us at 27 m over River Maine and the suburb of Doutre.
Doutre was a residential place of part of the bourgeoisie in the XIXth century that emerged when the city´s walls were demolished. Many of its medieval wooden bread houses, convents and abbeys from medieval times are preserved. The Hospital of Saint John, one of the oldest of France dated in the XIIth century, nowadays turned into a Museum of Tapestry.
In the first line, we can see the sports port and its most recent edification, the Theatre of Quai, the National Dance Center headquarters inaugurated in 2,006.
The Sarthre, the Mayenne and the Brionneau, are tributaries of Maine, and this one is from the Loire, the longest river of France with 1,030 km. The five rivers that bathe the city of Angers, a city that forms the western limit of the Valley of the Loire, are included in UNESCO´s World Heritage list. In this settlement are about 80 castles in 280 km of the route of the River Loire at its pass by the centre of France. Also known as the garden of France, kings chose it as a place to rest because of its mild climate and its abundant vegetation, turning it into an ideal hunting place, one of the favourite hobbies of the nobility.
Neighbourhoods on the other bank of the river suffer floods frequently. Every year they are flooded in December, arriving at seven meters!!! This has been its historical maximum, just under the arcades of the Stone Bridge of Verdun. Two bridges are communicating both banks of Maine, in its length of twelve km
Maine historically appointed a county bound to the Nobiliary House of Anjou, whose capital was Angers. The political pacts through the marriage bonds allowed the House of Anjou to reign in Jerusalem, England, Naples or Spain, and its domain in France encompassed Normandy, Touraine and Aquitaine.
Promenade du Bout du Monde
DELICACY OF THE GODS
One of the pleasures of European cuisine is one of the main dishes of the local gastronomy, a delicacy that every good Gourmet cannot stop taking the advantage to taste " White Butter Pike" (Brochet au beurre blanc).
This sweet water fish is also the dream of any fisherman. This species might arrive at 35 kilos in weight and one and a half meters in length in the females. Male does not measure up, not surpassing the 10 kg in importance and one meter in length. The eggs from the females are used even as a substitute for caviar. But the ideal Pike to be cooked is around 3 kg in weight. Over this weight, its meat tastes much like mud.
In the typical Angevine recipe, the meat of the fish is boiled in a fumet with a touch of red wine. The sauce, hot, is dressed with white wine vinegar, parsley and butter, and steamed potatoes accompany it.
Pike abounds in the waters of the River Loire. It has a cylindrical form, elongated head with a mouth that seems like a duck´s beak and a green- coffee colour more apparent as we approach the white belly. Its dorsal fin is elongated and is placed far behind in the body. His habitat is next to the river´s banks, where he finds it easier to hide between the river´s weeds, the vegetation and the rocks.
Despite living a big part of the time hidden, it is an excellent depredator nourishing other fish, batrachian and even some small mammals and birds. They arrive to live 30 years, and their cartilage jaw, different from other fish with bone, is made by their places in rows. The teeth are placed behind the others, so when they lose one of them naturally or accidentally when they bite, another tooth moves ahead to substitute it.
Most of the restaurants are concentrated around the square of the theatre.
Famous Quernon d´Ardoise is a local speciality made of a small square of nougat, the French turrón made of egg, almond and honey with a very soft and creamy flavour recovered with blue chocolate. Its laminated form recreates the famous slate tile that heals the roofs of the houses of Angers.
The history of the Quernons d´Ardoise is unique and closely linked to the region. In 1,960, a local chocolatier, after getting inspired by the original idea of an engraving on the blackboard of a local artist, created unbeatable candy to mark a profound union with the region.
Six years later, its dedication to the new bar won the recognition of the International Confectionery Room of Paris, winning the first prize.
Recognizing for the form and colour with the "Angevine ´´ tile, The distinctive colour of the Quernon d´Ardoise and their delicate shape gives them an unparalleled elegance. As well as being delicious, they have an aesthetic quality that makes them irresistible.
They are, nowadays, an integral part of the gastronomic heritage of the region.
Their peculiar colour and their delicate form provide them with elegance without equality. As well as delicious, they are gifted with a steric quality making them irresistible.
The subtle union of chocolate with caramelized nougat of almonds and hazelnuts provides them with an incomparable flavour and texture. Under this cover of blue chocolate hides a crunchy bite that will make us succumb to the temptation.
Quernons d´ Ardoise unleash under the palate all a sensation of softness and subtlety. Either alone, with family or friends. Without moderation. At any time of the day, they have enjoyed it with renewed pleasure.
It is acquired in confectioneries as the Maison du Quernon, presented in small bags, board boxes or small metal boxes, ideal for a present.
This master chocolatier, producing them in exclusivity for more than half a century, is located in the city´s centre. You can find this confectionery in:
1. La Rue des Lices n. 22 (open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 till 17.30).
2. In the C.C. Grand-Maine, located in Rue du Launay. (Open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 till 17.30).
The square du Ralliement is the city´s heart, an agglomeration point where all the ways converge, a mandatory pass for every walking tourist or citizen.
In the Middle Ages, the place was occupied by three churches that disappeared in the XVIIIth century to leave room for the present square, whose name " Raillement" means meeting point to assist, for example, public executions.
Located then in a residential neighbourhood, it became from the XIXth century an important mall with shops, elegant cafeterias and the Great Theater. It was about a square where thousands of citizens of any age met sometime, as it was in fashion, innovation, and a little bit of everything could be found.
And so on till our days, with the difference that today is pedestrian. Even the tram passed through it from its first appearance at the end of the XIXth century. However, it is true that with the appearance of a faster and more economical new way of transportation as the bus, the tram disappeared from circulation.
In 2,011, the new tram line reappears, with a double electrical power supply, from the ground through the rails and aerial from the wiring.
But if there is a building imposing by its architectural lines, this is the Great Theater. Built at the end of the XIXth century, over the ashes of a first Baroque theatre, this magnificent Neo-Classical building is formed by three bodies, the two lateral ones slightly backwards concerning the central.
On the first floor, columns frame muses representing lyric poetry, comedy, tragedy, and music from left to right. Under the pediment, allegories placed to the right represent renown, eloquence and history, and those to the left are satire, music and drama.
The hall, mainly for concerts, opera and operetta, has small dimensions, Italian style, to improve the visual comfort, allowing the public to be nearer to the artists and the performers
A fountain precedes the square from which we have the perfect framing, while the musicality of its stream invites us to relax.
The castle of Angers is no other than a feudal fortress, strategically placed over a rocky promontory dominating its fluvial valley. Very colourful for the material alternate, granite and slate and guarded by its 17 circular towers with deterrent purposes giving it an aspect of prestige and monumentality. But along the time, facts and characters surrounding its history reveal fascinating data, some of them at least curious.
It was built in the XVIIIth century by order of Blanche of Castile to defend the border against Bretons. But who was this woman of an immaculate name? Blanche was the daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, so she was the nephew of Richard the Lionheart from her mother´s side. She became consort Queen of France by her marriage with Louis VIII and regent after his death. The fruit of this marriage was the future King of France, whom she educated in the most strict catholic values, who would end being canonized, Louis IXth, better known as Saint Louis King.
He was so handsome, tall, blond, and with blue eyes that he would end up giving rise to the saying "More handsome than Saint Louis" (As handsome as sin)
With the good King René, lover and passionate of plants and gardens, the castle became a forerunner of horticulture in the region. With him, apricot was introduced, for example, and we can appreciate native species as the hydrangea Angevin or discover the "Vitex Agnus-castus".
This last one is an ornamental plant with beautiful violet leaves with a solid peppery scent. Known as the "Chaste tree berry", "Monk´s Pepper", "Agnus castus", or Chaste tree berry (gattilier in French), it was used in the Middle Ages in the monasteries, in the meals, as its properties attenuated the sexual appetite of the monks.
In the interior of the castle, there are seven gardens plus the pit.
But perhaps the most surprising will be the Tapestry of the Apocalypse, a masterpiece of medieval art unique in the world. It is a set of six tapestries woven in wool 100 meters long of the 140 it originally had, by 4.5 m high. It is a formidable historical, social and political testimony of its time illustrated according to the Apocalypse of Saint John.
The word Apocalipsis of Greek origin didn´t mean the end of the world but Revelation.
2 Promenade du Bout du Monde
Open every day from 10 to 17.30
Entrance 9€ reduced 7€
LIVE THE BICYCLE!
Angers offers 20km of bikeways in its surrounding areas, outlined by its river plain. We propose a tour of about four km. that can be done in less than an hour bordering the bank of River Maine, always by its bikeway, enjoying the urban landscape as much as the natural one.
Our tour starts in the castle´s double bass, in the Promenade du Port de Ligny. This tour is about 400 m between the ridges of Verdun and Basse-Chaine. This place is one of the oldest in Angers, with an intense maritime activity in medieval times, wood, slate, limestone and later sardines. It was populated by huts of fishers, boatmen, sheppards and coopers. From the XXth century, their inhabitants left the place till every economic activity disappeared.
Crossing the Basse-Chaine bridge across the river, we find ourselves in the affluent residential area of Doutre. Historic buildings alternate with more modern ones, such as the Espace Culturel du Quai, with many librarys, theatres, bars and restaurants, which can be seen next to the marina.
From this bank, we can contemplate a superb view of the castle.
We will pedal straight by the Promenade de Reculée, leaving to our left the Sanitary Complex of the City with the University Hospital, the National League against Cancer and the Medicine Faculty till we arrive at Pont de Segré. Former viaduct of the railway, from where we can see the confluence of the Rivers Mayenne with Maine, today used by pedestrians and cyclists.
Now we have to turn the same way we came, and before crossing back to the other bank, the first bridge of Basse-Chaine, we will pass by the Park Balzac, 500 m to our right. An authentic natural space with 50 ha of meadow, river forest with elms and ash trees, dunes, marshes and variegated flora and fauna.
Détour Angers Loire
16 av. Dennis Papin
If there is a Cathedral that will leave you with an open mouth, it will be this one, one of Angers. The first thing drawing our attention is the large façade, reaching its two towers to 75 m.
It started in the XIIth century under the Count of Anjou and also...King of England, Henry II Plantagenet, was the father of another King of England, Richard the Lionheart. From that century is the doorway in archivolts, typical of the Romanesque, with exceptional polychrome sculptures! Illustrating the Old Testament and a vision of Apocalypse of Saint John: Jesus in all His majesty surrounded by the four Evangelists symbolized by an angel (Saint Matthew), a lion (Saint Mark), an ox (Saint Luke) and an eagle (Saint John).
Further up, we see the martyrs, Saint Maurice, dedicated to the temple and seven partners, members of the Theban Legion. Saint Maurice commanded a Roman Legion formed by Christian soldiers originally from the province of Thebes in High Egypt. Because they refused to accomplish an Imperial order against other Christians, they were executed. There are more than 650 holy places consecrated to Saint Maurice.
But the greatest treasure of the Cathedral is their vitrails. Surprisingly, some of them are more than 800 years old! As the ones dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria who refused two times the pretension of the Emperor to get married to her, he ended up decapitating her, and following the legend, from her body sprout milk instead of blood, as well as the martyrium of Saint Vincent, skinned and burnt alive.
Superb the rosettes, North, recreating the Last Judgement and the South, decorated with the Zodiac signs.
A map at the entrance ubicates the vitrails which fill the interior with colours and light, with its explanations not to lose any detail.
Open every day from 8 till 20.
Place Monseigneur Chappoulie.
A TOUR BY THE WOODEN BREAD HOUSES!
Angers counts 2,892 places of cultural interest, especially those wooden bread houses, medieval living places with several floors, built-in parts with exposed wooden beams, counting about 40, draw special attention. Let´s see the most outstanding!
Let´s start our tour in the "Cité ´´, a medieval neighbourhood with a religious function between the castle and the Cathedral. The street Saint-Aubain is perpendicular in front of the castle. Number 17, we find the House of Chaplain Landemore, the oldest wooden bread house of Angers, dated between 1,399- 1,400. We continue 100 m. till the end of the street corner with Rue, des Filles-Dieu to find the Tower du Croissant. Its main facade in limestone, from the XV th century, topped by a wooden bread capital from the XVI th, contrasts with the lateral. We can still see the pulley system used to upload merchandise.
The street leads to the climb to Saint-Maurice. It is a hill with steps from where we can have a lovely perspective of the port of Angers and contemplate the Cathedral in all its splendour.
Once we have climbed the steps, we descend by the left lateral street of the Cathedral, where it fits in the wall of the III rd century, the Episcopal Palace. With tremendous architectural eloquence, T shape, from there the name Palace of Tau.
At the end of the descent, we turn to the right to arrive soon at the Place de Saint-Croix, where the House of Adam is the most beautiful city. Its name comes from the figures of Adam and Eve framing the Tree of Life that we can appreciate in the foreground. The richness of its carpentry sculpted its six floors and made it one of the most notable buildings of France.
We take the pedestrian street Saint- Aubin to our right. 57 m high, it was built in the XIIth century.
The avenue des Lices will bring us again to our meeting point.
PAUSE WITH PERSPECTIVE!
In the XVIIth century, it was commonplace to see the aristocracy play the Mallet game (Jeu du Mail), where a shovel-shaped racket beat a wooden ball to make it pass under small arches.
Two notable characters as the Queen of France, Marie de Medicis and the Cardinal Richelieu, played this game.
The game disappeared with time, remaining the name, maybe with some nostalgia as in this same place, the Mallet-game was born.
It is about a landscape Alameda Neoclassical style, with tree-lined green hallways and flower beds where between 20,000 and 40,000 flowers flourish. It offers an unforgettable colour show, perfectly divided in symmetry, emphasizing geometry, volume, and relief.
A place very frequented by locals, designing a very rustic and happy perspective starting in the Hotel de Ville, the name given to the City Halls in France. Highlights the Great Hall with 2,000 square meters, white walls covered by vegetables and a wooden roof.
In this park, the kiosk, music, fountain, pond and statues, as the replica of Venus from Arles, which initially is in the Louvre Museum, take centre stage.
The reading boxes are small wardrobes like those of a library from which it is possible to take books whenever you leave another one in return.
The carousel, which has been functioning for 70 years, should be mentioned. Its founder was known as the rail king as he was the only one in France who knew how to manufacture rails for carousels. Because of manufacturing so many for others, he asked himself," and why not manufacture my own?" The business has been transmitted from generation to generation, and nowadays, it is run by his four grandsons.
Take your time to assist in a game of petanque (Jeu de pétanque), the most "French" of all sports. It is about approaching three steel balls nearest to the "cochonnet" (small wooden ball). Several players take part, and skill is needed at the time to throw the balls.
Bd. de la Résistance et de la Déportation.
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