24 hours in Angers
With amazing museums, charming houses, delightful boutiques and gourmet spots, Angers is bursting with must-visit places and points of interest for a city escape!
9.30 am: Tackling the Château d'Angers
What could be a better site to discover Angers than its remarkable château? Located in the very heart of the city, its 17 towers make it one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in the West. Built in the 13th century by Saint Louis, and then occupied by the Ducs d'Anjou, it was later transformed into a prison. Once inside the drawbridge, you discover its gardens and majestic interiors. Don't miss the room that houses the monumental Apocalypse Tapestry, a globally unique masterpiece of medieval art.
Château d’Angers, 2, Promenade du Bout du Monde
11.35 am: Stroll around the Cité Historique
Located opposite the main entrance of the château, the Cité Historique d'Angers (historic centre) links the château to the cathedral via its paved streets that take you back in time. Rue Saint-Aignan, in particular, unveils superb timber-framed houses. Although most of them were built in the 15th century, the oldest, with its tiny door at number 17, dates from 1399. Many of these buildings once belonged to the Church and were occupied by priests.
12.15 pm: Prepare to be amazed at the Maison d'Adam
Take rue Donadieu de Puycharic, which leads to the cathedral steps, then climb them and open the monument's doors. It is home to a treasure that can be seen all year round, during guided tours that will leave you in no doubt that Angers was once an essential crossroads of religion. Once out of the building, walk round it to find the Maison d'Adam, considered by some to be the city's finest. This half-timbered building, set over six floors, was built in 1490s as an apothecary. It is now home to the Maison des Artisans, and one of its façades still sports a very naughty sculpture indeed...
Maison d’Adam, 1, place Sainte-Croix
12.45 pm: Have lunch at Jacques Chirac's favourite local
In 1998, Le Lucullus welcomed Jacques Chirac, who was visiting Angers. It was a real honour for chef Pascal Houssay, who had previously worked at such prestigious bastions of French gastronomy as Maison Troisgros in Roanne and La Côte Saint-Jacques in Joigny (two restaurants with three stars in the Michelin Guide). The chair that the statesman sat in is adorned with a commemorative plaque, but prices in no way reflect this lofty heritage! The unbeatable set lunch will cost you €15 and features dishes such as duck's leg in orange sauce served with gratin dauphinois and pear poached in red wine, followed by Cointreau crème brûlée.
Le Lucullus, 5, rue Hoche
2.15 pm: Discover the impressive statues by David d'Angers
The tuffeau stone walls of the old Toussaint abbey are home to a museum dedicated to the sculptor Pierre-Jean David, known as David d'Angers. The master's work seems to come to life in this exceptional setting, bathed in light from the imposing glass ceiling. It is mostly original plasters from the 19th century that depict Fénelon, Gutenberg and Ambroise Paré, for example. Alongside these are the preparatory works for the pediment of the Pantheon in Paris, which was entrusted to this humanist and committed artist.
Galerie David d’Angers, 33 bis, rue Toussaint
3.25 pm: Discover the secrets of the Collégiale Saint-Martin
As well as being one of the country's best-preserved Carolingian monuments, the Collégiale Saint-Martin hides a remarkable archaeological crypt under the museum space that tells its story. The remains of the original church, built in Antiquity, gradually appear in the semi-darkness. Throughout the year, the monument hosts major concerts and exhibitions that often showcase contemporary art.
Collégiale Saint-Martin, 23, rue Saint-Martin
4.40 pm: Explore the very chic La Doutre district
Head down along the Maine and cross it over the Verdun bridge to get to La Doutre. This magnificent district houses mansions and half-timbered houses, as well as the Ronceray abbey and the Musée Jean-Lurçat, dedicated to contemporary tapestry. There's also an unexpected detail at number 67 rue Beaurepaire: to the left of the shop located in these walls, you can partially open a red box, inside which hides a nymph sculpted into the wood! This was commissioned by Simon Poisson, the owner of the place in the 16th century, who wishes to pay tribute to the woman he was madly in love with.
6.25 pm: Souvenir shopping at Paillette
Instead of a magnet or T-shirt, why not bring back a souvenir made by a local designer? Cross the bridge again to the rue du Mail, where you'll find this buzzing, colourful little shop, where Lucie reveals local marvels such as very graphic jewellery by Party Pop, screen-printed cards by Delphine Maulion, musical toys by Pieds dans la Étoiles, lamps by Babalove or works by Mathou, a rising star in the French world of comics!
Paillette, 51, rue du Mail
7.15 pm: Enjoy a very tasteful dinner
We recommend booking if you want to enjoy the charms of the elegant Bistrot des Ducs. The chef Kévin Lefaucheux, who has worked at Alain Ducasse among other places, cooks such delights as Angers-style sliced chicken and mushrooms, confit pig's cheek with thyme or fillet of zander served with crushed potatoes with andouille sausage and red butter sauce. Fixed-price menus from €19.90 to €24.90
Bistrot des Ducs, 6, rue des Deux-Haies
9.45 pm: An after-dinner stroll in the Jardin du Mail
After your meal, take a relaxed stroll up to the place du Ralliement, the city's epicentre. As well as café terraces, it is home to the majestic Grand Théâtre. Then take the rue d'Alsace to come out at number 10 boulevard Foch, where the splendid Maison Bleue stands. If you look up, you'll realise that this historic monument is decorated with mosaics and gilding! A little further on is the Jardin du Mail. This park, designed in the 17th century, boasts a charming promenade and a romantic fountain, on the edge of which you can take a well-deserved rest after this discovery-packed day...
Jardin du Mail, boulevard Résistance et Déportation