The treasure of Angers

It is a rainy Mother’s Day Sunday in the town of Angers, which is mostly closed up tight. Guess everyone is at home making Mom feel special.

Lucky for us, some of the major features of this ancient city were open for tourists. We took the little tourist train around to avoid the rain and also to see both sides of Angers, which is divided by a small river, the Maine. There are some spectacular medieval buildings still remaining here.

Then we toured the château, on land which has been occupied since about 3,000 BC. In the 9th century, it became the home of the Count of Anjou, whose descendants continued to enlarge and fortify the site for another 600 years, till the time of Louis I, Louis II and King René.

While not a lot remains, what does is graceful and evocative, with incredible stonework. Once artillery became more sophisticated in the 16th century, the chateau became more of a military installation, and then a prison.

But what we will always remember about Angers and the castle is the amazing treasure displayed here – the Apocalypse Tapestry.

It is a large medieval French set of tapestries commissioned by Louis I, the Duke d’Anjou, and produced between 1377 and 1382, depicting the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation by Saint John the Divine in images spread over a number of sections that originally totaled 90 scenes. Despite being lost and mistreated in the late 18th century, the tapestry was recovered and restored in the 19th century and is now on display in its original home. It is the oldest French medieval tapestry to have survived, considered one of the masterpieces of French cultural heritage, and it is truly spectacular.

So few places were open for lunch today, that we were reduced to very popular but not too sophisticated restaurant, which featured every TGI Friday-ish thing we could imagine – like mojitos, Thai shrimp, smoothies, hamburgers, mac and cheese, brownies and every kind of steak. Lots of kids taking mom out for lunch here. Even I got the obligatory rose. And BTW, macaroni with emmenthal is to die for…..

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