Angers Guide. Leisure Guides.

 

Sophisticated and relaxed yet vibrant and atmospheric, Angers is one the great French Cities. Proud of its regal past, confident about its future, it boasts great nightlife and is home to the world famous Cointreau liqueur.

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Getting around

Angers is a very walkable city, although it’s also inordinately proud of its new tramway system, completed in 2011 with some 25 stops. A 15-kilometre B line will open in 2015. To avoid overhead lines through the centre of Angers and its Avrillé suburb, a revolutionary ground-level power supply has been used for part of the route. The tramway supplements existing bus services, which use efficient and well-maintained vehicles. Taxis are freely available and metered.

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Getting here

Getting here could not be any easier. We offer many frequent flights from London City Airport and plenty hotel packages. To book flights and hotels please click here.

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Hotels


Angers has a clutch of reliable hotels clustered around the vast, flower-bedecked Jardin des Plantes, right at its heart. Named after the ancient region of which Angers was the capital, the four-star Best Western Hôtel d’Anjou (1 boulevard du Maréchal Foch) is a classic French provincial grand hotel. The lobby is imposing but the guestrooms are on the small side. Close by, the Hôtel de France (8 place de la Gare), another 19th-century edifice, offers similar elegance, as does the less expensive Hôtel Du Mail (8 rue des Ursules), which is housed in a former convent with reasonably spacious rooms. 
 
The reliable Mercure brand has two three-star hotels in Angers (at 2 rue du Grand Launay and 1 place Mendès France). For those who prefer an apartment, the Séjours & Affaires Angers (20 rue de Rennes), located between the Jardin des Plantes and the river, offers the perfect solution. 
 
To book a hotel click here
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Nightlife


Angers has a student population of 30,000 ensuring things stay lively after sundown. There are plenty of cheap eats along Boulevard du Maréchal Foch, Rue Saint-Laud and Rue Saint-Aubin. Popular late-night drinking places include Falstaff (11 rue Bressigny), Bar du Centre (12 rue Saint Laud), Le Sunset Pub (44 rue Saint Laud) and Le Carré (15 rue de la Roe). 
 
The Fnac record store (25 rue Lenepveu) posts flyers for live gigs. Four Irish-style pubs – L’Inishmore, Le James Joyce, Le Dublin’s and Le Kent – stand close to each other in the vicinity of Boulevard du Maréchal Foch. Free salsa lessons are available at Casa de Cuba (23 boulevard du Maréchal Foch), while Le Chabada (56 boulevard du Doyenné) is a favoured haunt for music buffs.
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Restaurants

 
Anjou provides a wealth of superb produce that is fully exploited by some of France’s most inventive chefs. Their offerings include such local specialities as rillettes (minced pork pâté), freshwater fish such as zander (pikeperch) and an emergent lighter, healthier cuisine – Anjou rosé wines are an excellent accompaniment to local fare.
 
There’s a wide range of restaurants in Angers, from the formal to the delightfully casual, and café society flourishes on the pavements, as on the lively square outside Le Théâtre (7 place du Ralliement), a traditional late-closing, Paris-style brasserie that offers a massive plateau de fruits de mer (seafood platter). If you’re near the chateau, try Le Crêmet d’Anjou (21 rue Delaage), named after a famous local dessert. Le Relais (9 rue de La Gare) offers its own take in modern gourmet cooking styles, while the grandiose La Salamandre (Hotel d’Anjou, 1 boulevard du Maréchal Foch), with its recreated 15th-century ambience, is wonderful for a special occasion.
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Shopping


Like any self-respecting French town, Angers has a range of enticing street markets – and it is market day every day of the week somewhere in town. Saturday’s Grand Marché – which incorporates a renowned flea market – sprawls over Place du Maréchal Leclerc, Place Louis Imbach and Place La Fayette. Angers also boasts an imposing branch of the upscale Galeries Lafayette department store (6 rue d’Alsace) – there’s an exceptionally good wedding gift section and look out for the store’s mind-blowingly opulent 19th-century glass wall. 
 
Hypermarkets ring the outskirts, while the centre of Angers has a host of boutiques and speciality shops. Treat yourself to unctuous chocolates at Benoit Chocolats (1 rue des Lices) and a wide selection of coffees at Brûlerie du Pilori (6 rue Saint-Étienne), or try the cookies at La Mie Câline (43 rue Saint-Aubin). For everything else, Espace Anjou (75 avenue Montaigne) is a strikingly modern shopping centre.
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Top 10 sights

Top 5 sights for first-timers

Terra Botanica

Opened in 2010 and with its plants now coming into their best, Terra Botanica is dedicated to fostering a discovery and understanding of plant life and the ways in which humanity interacts with it. Designed to be great fun as well as educational, this quality theme park features rides, attractions and an eco-friendly restaurant.

Route de Cantenay Epinard
www.terrabotanica.fr


Château d’Angers

Strategically set on a rocky bluff overlooking the broad Maine River, the Château d’Angers was begun in the ninth century by the Counts of Anjou and expanded to its present size 400 years later. While it subsequently partly fell into ruin, the castle’s formidable round towers are mostly intact, as are the central residential portions which today provide a display space for the outstanding Apocalypse Tapestry, completed in 1382 but with its colours still remarkably vivid.

2 promenade du Bou du Monde
http://angers.monuments-nationaux.fr


Old Town

Book a guided walking tour of theOldTownthrough the tourist information office and take in the cathedral, the cobbled streets and the picturesque Adam’s House, with its ornately carved facade. Learn of the English royal connections and the slate industry, which earnedAngersits early fortune and the sobriquet ‘The Black City’.

Office de Tourisme d’Angers, 7 place Kennedy
www.angersloiretourisme.com


Galerie David d’Angers

Born Pierre-Jean David (1788-1856), David d’Angers was an inspired sculptor, ranking with the likes of Rodin. The gallery is like a roll call of the great and good Frenchmen of his age and earlier. The spectacular collection is housed in the former Toussaint Abbey.

33 bis rue Toussaint
www.musees.angers.fr


Musée des Beaux Arts

There are two permanent exhibitions housed in this fine Gothic and Renaissance building known as the Logis Barrault. The first floor is devoted to the late medieval history ofAnjouwhile the second floor is given over to the fine arts and contains paintings and sculptures from the 14th century to date. Temporary exhibitions feature contemporary artists.

14 rue du Musée
www.musees.angers.f     


Top 5 sights for old hands
 

Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine

The famed Bayeux Tapestry is not a tapestry at all but embroidery. Learn the difference here and marvel at some amazing workmanship. All the greats of this very French art form are on display while the soaring vaulted ceiling is breathtaking in its sheer majesty.

4 boulevard Arago
www.musees.angers.fr


Carré Cointreau

At the distillery which still produces the famed orange liqueur, discover the secrets of the Cointreau family’s 138 years of success. Vast showcases display former products of the company, posters and other memorabilia. At the end of the visit, savour a tasting of exciting new cocktails based on the product.

Saint Barthélémy d’Anjou
www.remy-cointreau.com


Château-Musée de la Communication

Standing in a large public park only eight kilometres from Angers, this museum, tracing the history of communication from the drum to the satellite, is housed in the splendid 18th-century Château de Pignerolles. In its time, it has also been home to a king’s equerry, the Polish Government in exile, Admiral Doenitz and the US Army!

Saint Barthélemy d’Anjou
www.musee-communication.com/parc.htm


Parc Anjou Aventure

Only five minutes fromAngersinEcouflantForest, this adventure park offers the first forest adventure trail in the area. Five trails and over 120 facilities await the intrepid, including monkey bridges, nets and Tarzan jumps.

Ecouflant
www.parcanjouaventure.fr


Maison Bleue

Standing on the corner of Boulevard Foch and Rue d’Alsace, this remarkable seven-storey art deco building was built in the late 1920s. The overall blue and gold effect is due to the fine mosaic work of Isidore Odorico. Unfortunately, the Maison Bleue is not open to the public, but you can admire it from the outside.

10 boulevard Maréchal Foch
www.caue49.com/La-Maison-Bleue.html

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Top 5 activities


Cycling


Rent a bike and take to the ‘Loire à Vélo’ network of dedicated motor, traffic-free and clearly waymarked cycle routes – 800 kilometres of them and growing fast. Specially recommended is the Natura 2000 route beside the Loire River. A tip: if you are only riding one way, make it upriver. The uphill gradient is barely noticeable and, travelling in that direction, you will usually have the prevailing wind right at your back.
 
Wine tasting
 
The Loire wine district stretches for many kilometres to either side of you and most producers are happy to let you sample their wares, with no obligation to buy. The Domaine du Closel (Savennières) is unusual because the winemaker is a lady – the welcoming Viscountess Evelyne de Jesse Pontbriand.
 
Canoeing/kayaking

This is a land of wonderful rivers. The Maine runs through the centre of town, the Mayenne is close by and they both run into the mighty Loire whose similarly named but far more modestly sized Loir tributary provides some of France’s most delightful paddling and is user-friendly for novices.
 
Horse riding 
 
France’s finest studs are in neighbouring Normandy and this too is equine territory. Mounts can be hired by the hour or the day, and there’s a wide selection of guided treks available.
 
Angling/birdwatching

The Loire and its tributaries are renowned for both coarse and game fishing and there are also many lakes and ponds to welcome the visiting angler, with low fees and few formalities. Though the French have a penchant for shooting, there are masses of waterfowl and other bird species to keep ardent twitchers happy.
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Top 5 events


Festival Premier Plans d’Angers
 
Staged at venues across town, this iconic cultural event is an incubator and showcase for competing young European film producers and also features lessons in filmmaking, discussion groups and previews.
 
Date: January
Venue: Various venues
 
Fête du Vélo

With upwards of 20,000 participants, this is the largest annual gathering of cyclists who come from across Europe to enjoy 120 kilometres of guaranteed car-free pedalling along the banks of the Loire, France’s longest river.
 
Date: June
Venue: Loire riverbank
 
Tempo Rives

Tempo Rives offers an eclectic programme of 11 free concerts featuring world music, classic music, dance and humour from performers from around the world.
 
Date: July to August
Venue: Cale de la Savatte
 
Les Accroche-Coeurs

More than 30 troupes and six brass bands take a noisy three-day parade through the streets for this perambulating spectacle, with street theatre, dance, music and open-air cinema transforming the city. Dancefloors at the open-air cafés ensure everyone can take part.
 
Date: September
Venue: Citywide
 
Soleils d’Hiver

Angers’ squares light up the winter gloom for this heart-warming winter sun festival, featuring a 45-stall Christmas market, entertainment, exhibitions, shows and Father Christmas’ workshop.
 
Date: December
Venue: City squares

Written by World Travel Guide

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