Angers is the historical capital of Anjou and was for centuries an important stronghold in
northwestern France. Angers is the cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty and was during the reign of
René of Anjou one of the intellectual centres of Europe.
During the 12th century, after internal divisions in Brittany, the county of Nantes was annexed by Anjou.
Henry II Plantagenêt kept it for more than 30 years. At the same time, he also ruled the vast Angevin Empire, which stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland.
The castle of Angers was then the seat of the Court and the dynasty.
The Empire disappeared in 1204-1205 when the King of France, Philip II, seized Normandy and Anjou. Henceforth there were no more counts of Anjou, as the French king had made Anjou a dukedom.
King René of Anjou contributed to the economic revival in a city that had been diminished by the Black Death (1347–1350) and the Hundred Years War (1337–1453). A man of great culture and generosity, René transformed
Angers into a cultural and political centre and held there a brilliant Court. He transformed the castle moat into a
menagerie and built several gardens. He also founded in Angers a new Ordre du Croissant which was supposed
to compete with the Order of the Golden Fleece, created several years earlier.
Lovely that, the Ordre du Croissant!
'The Confessions of the Rocks'
by Pascal di Péri; fascinating art here on display.
The exhibit was on display in what once was the jail of the castle. Up to 60 prisoners
crowded this jail sometimes.
Sixty hands are projected here in a display of despair.
Considering my visit to this castle, I found these elevated gardens the most rewarding of my visit. To find
high on the castle walls a vineyard and a garden with herbs and spices was something one rarely encounters.
In this church hall there was supposed to be a tapestry I think, but it wasn't there; it wasn't anywhere in the castle. There was very little information to be found anyway and I don't like to walk around as a slave with an audio thingie stuck to my ear. So I thought this castle quite bare of information and lifeless; I consider the intricate garden work, both outside the castle walls as well as inside (and on!) the castle walls, as its best feature.