A Medieval Day in Angers

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We had promised Mark a medieval castle, but the first sight of interest we noticed was a statue of a butt-naked woman.

“Could it get sny more French?” Feng asked.

“I see her bum!” Mark laughed.

“Which one is the wife and which one is the mistress?” my mother wondered.

“Meh. Not that great from an artistic perspective… oh, is that a Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture over there?” my dad added.

At 11:11 a.m., my parents and the three of us had taken the train to Angers, our day-trip destination. Like last year, I had bought the SNCF’s “Tribu” deal—for €45, up to five people get unlimited travel on regional TER lines for 48 hours. Considering the price of a train ticket these days, it’s a steal. Never mind that it was warm but stormy and that Angers probably isn’t on most international travellers’ list—we had rain jackets and our eyes set on visiting the castle.

The TER was older than me but the ride was smooth and the train was on time.

“So, what do we do? Château first? City first?”

As usual, no one could make a decision—it’s apparently a constant in my family.

“Alright, let’s explore, then. It’s not raining.”

We followed the boulevard du Roi René, the rue Toussaint (where we stepped into the lovely Jardin des beaux-arts) and we ended up in the Jardin du Mail, a park with plenty of naked female butts sculpted into stone and a big fountain.

Angers is only about 100 kilometres from Nantes, so I wasn’t expecting a major difference between both cities. Indeed, I could easily find my way around—the streets, the main squares, the stores, the rivers, the tramway all looked familiar. Yet, unlike Nantes, Angers doesn’t have historical or geographical ties to Brittany—no crêpes or Breton folklore here, it’s all about medieval times and King René of Anjou, an historical figure virtually unknown around here.

The Château d’Angers is one of the masterpieces of the city and it looks incredibly massive compared to Nantes’ Château des ducs de Bretagne. We spent time trying to decipher the large Apocalypse Tapestry—just the fact it was produced between 1377 and 1382 and survived to today amazed me.

The city looked lovely from the fortifications, under a stormy sky—the weather matched what I imagined Middle Ages atmosphere could be. Like Feng said, it felt like being in Game of Thrones.

After the castle, we let my parents “binge-arting,” visiting the art museum, while we explored the neighbourhoods on the other side of La Maine river. We made it back in Nantes by 6 p.m. with one question: where would we go the following day?

Nantes train station

The old TER train to Angers

Angers train station

Boulevard du Roi René

Médiathèque Municipale Toussaint

Jardin des Beaux-Arts

Jardin des Beaux-Arts

Jardin des Beaux-Arts

Le jardin du Mail

Le jardin du Mail

Le jardin du Mail

Le jardin du Mail

Le jardin du Mail

Galeries Lafayettes

Rue Toussaint

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry at the Château d’Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry at the Château d’Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry at the Château d’Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry at the Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

Angers from the castle’s towers

Angers from the castle’s towers

Angers from the castle’s fortifications

Angers from the castle’s fortifications

Angers from the castle’s fortifications

Angers from the castle’s fortifications

Angers from the castle’s fortifications

Château d’Angers

Rue d’Alsace

Graffiti in Angers

Place du Ralliement

Downtown Angers

Downtown Angers

Place du Ralliement

Pont de la Haute Chaîne

Pont de Verdun

Downtown Angers, across La Maine

Downtown Angers, across La Maine

Downtown Angers, across La Maine

Lady sheltering from the rain, Angers

La Maine

Back in Nantes

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

11 Comments

  1. Your mom is beuatiful!
    Btw, I just saw the movie Dunkirk. The setting is During the world war 2. Honestly speaking, didn’t know much what happen in Europe around that time. i just knew about the battle after I saw the movie.
    I Was about to give you the idea to go there and take pictures for me. But oh em geee, it’s 700K from your home city

    • Martin Penwald on

      Hey, it is where I was born. I haven’t seen the movie, but critics have said that there are some historical inaccuracies. Let’s say that English have seen their role somewhat embellished.

    • Yep, Dunkerque (that’s the French spelling for it) is a bit far 🙂

      It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t know much about WWII in Europe. Many Europeans have no idea what happened with Japan and in Asia during that time either!

      (I’ll pass along the compliment to my mum!)

  2. That’s a good deal to travel around! And I miss old buildings and the sense of historical perspective found in France, the oldest building here is 100 yrs old! Of course there is a whole native culture that goes back a long way, but it has left less of a trace on the landscape.
    And now that yu mention it, there is plenty of art and street art here, but no naked art in public spaces. Like every other fountain in France that has a little boy peeing naked lol
    PS: you look so much like your mum!

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