Angers - Day 1

MAY 09,2017 - MAY 09,2017 (1 DAYS)

France

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Angers - 1st day:

Main Attractions: Galerie David d'Angers, Château d'Angers, Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry), Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Rue Saint-Laud, Place du Pilori, Jardin des Plantes, Pont de la Haute Chaîne, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine. 

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Part 1: Galerie David d'Angers, Château d'Angers, Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry).

Part 2: Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Rue Saint-Laud, Place du Pilori, Jardin des Plantes, Pont de la Haute Chaîne, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine. 

Start and End: Ibis Styles, 23 B rue Paul Bert / Le Gare. Duration: 1 day. Weather: Only bright day. Distance: 15-16 km.

Orientation: We spent 2 days in this rich and wonderful city.  The first day is quite busy and involves a long deal of walks on both sides of the Maine river. The second day is more in leisure. A lively university city today, Angers makes an engaging western gateway to the Loire Valley. The old city is on the river’s left bank, with three bridges crossing to Doutre. Despite the damage of past wars, particularly World War II, Angers is still rich in medieval architecture. NOT ALL the attractions are "covered"@ in our two blogs.
Introduction: Angers is located 91 km from Nantes, 124 km from Rennes, 132 km from Poitiers and 297 km from Paris. Getting to Angers By Train (SNCF-TGV) : 35 min from Nantes, 90 min from Paris. The old medieval center is dominated by the massive château of the Plantagenêts, home of the Apocalypse Tapestry, the biggest medieval tapestry ensemble in the world. Before the French Revolution, Angers was the capital of the province of Anjou. Angers enjoys a rich cultural life, made possible by its universities and museums. The Angers metropolitan area is a major economic center in western France, particularly active in the industrial sector, tourism and horticulture. The city’s traditional industries such as slate quarrying, distilling, rope and cable manufacture, and weaving have been supplemented by electronics, photographic equipment, and elevators. Angers is on both the Nantes-Paris and Nantes-Lyon railways. The city has several train stations, all originally built in the 19th century.  The main station, Angers Saint-Laud, is on a TGV line and has a direct TGV service to Paris (1 hour 30 minutes), Lyon (3 hours 45 minutes), Strasbourg (4 hours 35 minutes), and Lille (3 hours 25 minutes), as well as Avignon, Marseilles and Montpellier. Regional trains go to Cholet, Saumur, Tours, Blois, Nevers and Bourges. The nearest airport is Angers - Loire Airport.  The airport is located 20 kilometers from Angers. The mostly pedestrianised old town supports a thriving cafe culture, thanks in part to the dynamic presence of 38,000 students, as well as some excellent places to eat. The city is famous for two sets of breathtaking tapestries: the 14th-century Tenture de l’Apocalypse in the city’s medieval château, and the 20th-century Chant du Monde at the Jean Lurçat museum - both of them are "covered" by our daily itinerary. Largest city of the department of Maine et Loire (795 000 people, 27th most important department in France), Angers is situated in the center of the Pays de Loire Region and is home to 149 017 people, and the urban center of an area with a population of close to 270 000 people (18th city of France). Angers is a very young city with 48% under the age of 30.

Major festivals and events:

  • Festival Premiers Plans (January): an annual competition for promoting young European film makers.
  • Made in Angers (February): more than one hundred companies open their doors to the public for behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Cinemas of Africa (April, biennial).
  • Artaq festival of urban arts (June).
  • Festival d'Anjou (June-July): France’s second-largest theatre festival features some 20 performances, all outdoors and in historic venues.
  • Tempo'Rives (July-August): along the banks of the River Maine. You can enjoy 10 free concerts held in the historic Angers suburb of La Doutre.
  • Festival des Accroche-Cœurs (September): this 3-day pan-European ‘Kiss Curl’ Festival mixes culture, entertainment and fun: street theatre, dance, music, outdoor cinema and art installations.
  • Soleils d’hiver (December): this ‘winter sunshine’ event lights up Angers with a traditional Christmas market and jolly street illuminations.

Angers Loire Tourisme: 7 place Kennedy 49000 ANGERS. Telephone:
02 41 23 50 41. Email: receptif.individuel@angersloiretourisme.com

Our hotel: Ibis Styles, 23 B rue Paul Bert. VERY pleasant hotel. Pretty close to the railway and bus stations. Quiet but central. Clean. Colorful decor. Good, filling, rich buffet-breakfast. Reasonable price. Comfortable beds and bathroom. Coffee and tea were available at reception with take away cups also. A computer for guests use. Turn left out of the hotel, and then up (a modest climb) the street, left again and you reach the heart of Angers.

Our 1-day Itinerary: From the train station or the Ibis Styles hotel, Paul Berth 23 you head northwest (the railway station is on your left) on Rue Paul Bert toward Rue Béclard, 190 m. Continue onto Boulevard du Roi René, 500 m. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Place du Président Kennedy, 70 m. Continue and climb onto Rue Toussaint  (follow the sign of "Jardin de Musee des Baux Arts") and after 140 m. the Galerie David d'Angers, 33Bis Rue Toussain is on your right. You can enter the gallery from the street (through an old stone arch)

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or via the Beaux Artes museum:

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The way from Jardin de Musee des baux Arts:

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The David d'Angers Gallery : beautifully restored, the former 13th-century Toussaint Abbey is now the home containing works by the sculptor David d'Angers. The Angers-born sculptor Pierre-Jean David (1788–1856) (the French Revolution), or David d’Angers, is renowned for his lifelike sculptures, which adorn public monuments such as the Panthéon and can be seen in the Louvre and Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery. You can see, inside, Interesting sculptures of famous historic people. The setting is also exquisite; the 12th-century or 13th-century Toussaint Abbey was in ruins before it was converted for this museum in 1984, with a new glass roof filling the galleries with natural light. Here in the  Toussaint Abbey, you can admire models and most of his creations. The site is very nice with a mix of ancient style and modern architecture. The church fell into ruin but in 1984 it was restored, a glass roof was added. The ruins have been turned into a bright museum space by the use of copious amounts of glass. This all made an ideal backdrop for the works of sculptor Pierre-Jean David, known as David of Angers. While the sculptural artwork is worth the visit to this museum, the fact that they are displayed in such a dramatic setting greatly enhances the experience !

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David d’Angers was a leading sculptor in the 18th and 19th centuries, receiving commissions from all over Europe and even America.  The gallery is not a big one, but it is packed with so many sculptures and drawings that you are overwhelmed. There are 985 statues, medallions and busts in all, including those for preeminent contemporary figures like Goethe, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Chateaubriand, Paganini, Napoleon and La Fayette. On the gallery's upper floor you are invited to make your own drawings of the exhibited pieces of art. Papers, pencils and drawing-boards are made available.

You can buy combined ticket (€10 combined) for the gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts. There is, even, a better , more extensive-combined ticket, 15€,  for 5 museums in Angers and the Castle (that's a bargain !). Photography allowed.

Gutenberg:

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Honore de Balzac:

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Victor Hugo:

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Jean Bart:

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Condé:

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Nicolo Paganini:

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Austerlitz Battle:

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From Galerie David d'Angers, 33Bis Rue Toussaint we head west on Rue Toussaint toward Place du Président Kennedy, 140 m. On our right is the Tourist Information Office. We turn right onto Place du Président Kennedy, 110 m. Continue onto Promenade du Bout du Monde for 85 m. facing Château d'Angers, 2 Promenade du Bout du Monde. The  Castle of Angers  was during the Middle Ages the core of the city defense system, composed of tall city walls and river chains to prevent enemy ships from going up the Maine. In the tenth century the counts of Anjou erected a palace inside the Gallo-Roman town enclosure of Angers. From 1230 onward king Louis IX built a massive fortress boasting seventeen towers and two gates around the palace, incorporating part of the town walls. In 1356 king John II granted Anjou to his second son Louis. Becoming Duke, the latter and his descendants refurbished the great hall, rebuilt the residential wing of the palace and added a ceremonial wing and service buildings. Of particular mention are Louis II (built the chapel prior to 1410) and René I (built the royal residence between 1435-1440 and the chatelet in 1450). At the end of the sixteenth century the fortress was adapted to modern warfare. The towers were cropped, the walls were thickened and artillery platforms were installed. Henceforth the site served as a military camp and a prison. 500 British sailors were imprisoned in the castle between 1779-1781 and some carved their names into the walls. Only a single wall of the tenth century palace still stands. Less than one quarter of the buildings erected by the Dukes of Anjou have survived to this day. Today, portions of wall are still visible in Rue Toussaint and Boulevard Carnot, as well as some towers, like the Tour Villebon and the Tour des Anglais. The massive walls (2.5 m. thick) are about one kilometer long and punctuated by 17 towers - each 18 metres in height. Some imagination will be required to visualize the fortress in its heyday. The remaining structures are unfurnished and are mostly used as exhibition rooms, displaying excellent scale models of the castle in its various phases of construction.

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The castle dominates the river Maine and the old town. You can walk around the top of the castle's ramparts, which afford spectacular views, along the Chemin de Rond (Parapet Walk). Some parts of the parapet walk includes steep steps, one access port does has a gently sloping ramp. The Mill Tower in the north corner is the only tower to have retained its original height, and once supported a windmill. On the southern side of the ramparts near the restaurant you can see the original entrance to the castle with its defensive systems and portcullis:

The Castle Courtyard:

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As you walk around the ramparts you also have lovely views across the roofs of Angers, the flower gardens in the moat, as well as various gardens on the ramparts including a vineyard and a herb garden. There are great views of the Maine and town from the castle walls and you can also take stroll in the sweet formal gardens at the base of the walls in the castle’s former ditches. The interior gardens offer a haven of peace and are well worth lingering. Visitors can discover the stronghold of Angers with the help of a guidebook or an audio guide. They can also participate in a guided tour, lasting about one hour. Allow at least an hour to walk the chateau and perhaps another hour for the tapestries. We spent several hours looking around:

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A purpose built gallery houses the famous tapestry of the Apocalypse, manufactured for duke Louis I between 1373 and 1382. It is the stunning Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry), a 104m-long series of tapestries commissioned in 1375 to illustrate the story of the final battle between good and evil, as prophesied in the Bible's Book of Revelation. it is a majestic work of art. In the 1370s, Louis I, the Duke of Anjou commissioned artist Jean Bondol to make the preliminary sketches for what would become the immense tapestry that is presented inside the castle. The Apocalypse Tapestry was finished in 1382 and would have required as much as 85 accumulative years of labour from its weavers at their workshop in Paris. When it was done it had six sections, each one just over six metres high and 24 metres wide, and is seen by critics as one of the greatest artistic representations of the Book of Revelations and a medieval wonder. The colours are vivid. BUT, to preserve the tapestries, there is little light in the exhibition area, and the interior is painted black, so be aware, it may be difficult to move in there without stumbling. Better guiding lights should have been in place. Each of the panels of the tapestries is labelled so if you don't know what it's about it is difficult to follow the story, which is explained in the guide that you're given but it's too dark to read it. Moreover: the hall with the tapestries is extremely cooled. Bring a sweater or jacket. To see the tapestries in detail - bring your binoculars. Viewing the tapestries is not to be missed. Said to be the largest collection of tapestries in the world. One simply cannot be prepared for the immensity of the tapestries. Words really cannot describe the beauty of a work of art miraculously rescued (for the most part) from having been cut into separate panels. The guided tour of the tapestry leaves from the gift shop:

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From the movie on restoration of the tapestries:

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Now, skip to Tip 2 (below)

Citywalk

Tip 2: Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Rue Saint-Laud, Place du Pilori, Jardin des Plantes, Pont de la Haute Chaîne, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine. 

We head from the Castle to Saint Maurice Cathedral - 400 m. walk. From Château d'Angers - we exit from the north-east corner (exit) and walk north-east along Rue du Vollier, 180 m. We pass through old, charming allies, quaint yards and sleepy, narrow roads:

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Now, we have two options. Option 1: Turn right onto Rue Saint-Christophe, 50 m. Continue straight onto Place Mgr Chappoulie, 45 m and slight left onto Place Freppel, 25 m - to arrive to Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers, 4 Rue Saint-Christophe OR we continue north-east crossing Montee Saint Maurice and turn RIGHT with the stairs (still, Montee Saint Maurice) - climbing to the Cathedral:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip If you look from Montee Saint Maurice down (north-west) - you see the fountain at Prom. Jean Turc. From the square in front, a monumental staircase, Montée St-Maurice, leads down to a fountain and the river:

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The Saint-Maurice Cathedral is a major landmark in the city-scape, with its two spires culminating at 75 meters. The construction of the current building started during the 12th century on the remains of an older sanctuary. The original structure, Romanesque, received Gothic columns and vaults in the middle of the 12th century, giving birth to the Angevin Gothic, a style that quickly spread in Western France. Sculptures and architectural details were added to the façade during the 16th century. The twin spires were built in 1518 and 1523. The neighbouring Palais du Tau, the former episcopal palace, dates from the 12th century:

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Angers' austere, mainly 12th- to 13th-century Cathedral has a striking Norman porch and nave (mid-1100s); the latter's three convex vaults, forming a perfect square, are outstanding examples of mid-12th-century Angevin (Plantagenet) vaulting:

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Facade of the Saint-Maurice cathedral: statuary (statues):

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Angers' austere, mainly 12th- to 13th-century cathedral has a striking Norman porch and nave (mid-1100s); the latter's three convex vaults, forming a perfect square, are outstanding examples of mid-12th-century Angevin (Plantagenet) vaulting.

The Pulpit:

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The stained-glass windows date from the 12th to the 16th centuries. There was a big fire in the 1400s, which took out many of the stained glass windows, but that only gave master glass maker André Robin the opportunity to craft the current fabulous red and blue windows in 1453:

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In the 18th century a humongous organ was erected inside the western façade, facing the very Baroque high altar (1758):

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We opted to take our lunch at Restaurant La Ferme (The Farm) near the Cathedral. Come to this professional, delicious and crowded restaurant AFTER the busy hours. It is targeted by many touristic groups. The prices are average - but, the portions are plentiful and filling. Cunard + potatoes: 9.90 euros:

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Just behind the cathedral (south-east to the cathedral) on Place Sainte-Croix is a renaissance timber building from the late-15th century. The Maison d'Adam ("Adam's House") (now the Maison des Artisans) is an excellent example of the half-timbered houses which were built during the Middle Ages. Many similar houses, although smaller, are also visible along the streets around the castle. The Tree of Life, on the corner, was once flanked by Adam and Eve (another loved-up couple can be seen nearby). WE'LL VISIT this site, LATER, in our daily course. With our back to the cathedral, we turn right  (north-east) to Rue du Chanoine Urseau. We pass Rue de l'Oisellerie on our right. In the intersection of the last two roads - stands a MARVELOUS half-timbered house:

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As we continue to walk down along Place Mondain Chanlouineau, with our face to the north-east we pass, on our left, nice area of sculptures and fountains:Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Rue du Chanoine Urseau  and Place Mondain Chanlouineau continue north-east and change their names to Rue Saint-Laud. A CHARMING STREET - rich with pretty houses, posh shops and splendid cafe's, brasseries, boutiques and craft shops. Rue Saint-Laud is one of the main shopping streets in Angers. It stretches 270 meters , from south-west to north-east connecting the Place Mondain-Chanlouineau to Place Romaine. It has preserved several half-timbered houses dating from the Middle Ages:

Creative Cakes and Chocolates:

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Rue Saint-Laud meets Rue Claveau in the second intersection to the left. Here, stands this nice Art-Deco house:

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Another sculpture in Rue Saint-Laud - La fontaine du dialogue, Sculptor: Gualtiero Busato:

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Rue Saint-Laud ends (slighting right) in Place Romain. Here, you'll find more half-timbered houses. From Place Romain head east on Rue des Poeliers toward Passage des Poeliers,110 m. Turn right onto Rue du Mail, 25 m. Turn left onto Place du Pilori. Again, a square with half-timbered houses, old stone houses and many colorful shops:

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Jeune fille en ville by Leopold Kretz in Place du Pilori:

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Head northeast on Place du Pilori toward Rue du Canal, 15 m.  Continue onto Rue Saint-Etienne, 70 m. Continue straight onto Place Louis Imbach, 50 m. Turn right to stay on Place Louis Imbach, another 50 m. We cross the whole parking lot and take the THIRD road from the right , Rue Botanique and climb along it to cross Rue carnot and continue north-east along Rue Boreau which brings you to the Jardin des Plantes, 39 Rue Boreau. A WONDERFUL FIND !!!  Stunning display of plants and glorious collections of flowers in bloom (middle of spring). Excellent tended garden with inspiring energies and well-educated audience around. Many statues, a lake, petting farm, play park, cafe', plenty of shaded seating. DO NOT MISS a visit. Although the current Jardin des Plantes was plotted in the English style at the start of the 20th century, there had been a botanical garden here, just outside the old walls, since botany became fashionable in the 1700s. The park is four peaceful hectares of lawns, woodland, bushes, flowerbeds, a lake, stream and waterfalls, all embellished with sculptures. If you know your horticulture you might be able to point out the more exotic specimens, like a Paulownia tree, which is native to China and Korea, a Siberian elm and quercus afares, a species of oak that grows in Algeria and Tunisia:

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Église Saint-Samson d'Angers (St. Samson Church) in the most north-west corner of jardin des Plantes:

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In case you want to detour the busier sections of the city Angers - follow this detour. Otherwise - skip to the section beyond this detour of 2-3 km.)

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We exit the gardens from their nort-west corner and continue walking north-east (targeting, at last, the Musée Jean-Lurçat). Head northeast on Rue Boreau toward Rue de Jussieu, 350 m. Continue onto Rue de la Chalouère, 400 m (bustling streets). Turn right onto Rue Victor Hugo, 20 m. Turn right and beyond 90 m. you arrive to Saint-Serge University with La Fountaine des Rose des Sables, Dessert Rose Fountain by A Hoggomat and B Perrin:

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Return from Rue Victor Hugo and turn left onto Rue de la Chalouère, 400 m. Turn right onto Rue de Villemorge, 10 m. Turn left onto Rue Montrieux, 180 m. Turn left onto Avenue Besnardière, 130 m. Continue onto Avenue Marie Talet, 200 m. Turn right onto Boulevard Ayrault, 500 m (here, we connect with our former location of exiting the Jardin des Plantes). Continue onto Pont de la Haute Chaîne, 40 m.

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Skipping the above vibrant, bustling section of Angers - we walk from the Jardin des Plantes to the Pont de la Haute Chaîne - via Boulevard Ayrault.  From the Jardin des Plantes (its north-west corner) - we head southwest on Rue Boreau toward Rue de Buffon, 120 m. Turn right onto Boulevard Carnot, 150 m. Slight left toward Boulevard Ayrault, 55 m. Continue onto Boulevard Ayrault, 450 m and Continue straight onto Pont de la Haute Chaîne, 40 m.  This structure consists of a cast iron deck and three spans supported by two piles. It connects the two banks of Maine, from the Boulevard Ayrault, on one side, to the Rue de la Tour des Anglais on the other side:

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Tour of the Haute-Chaîne, known as the Tour des Anglais, a remnant of medieval fortifications:

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250 m. further resides Musée Jean Llurçat.  The museum is on the 'other side' of the River Maine to the main part of Angers. Head northwest on Pont de la Haute Chaîne toward Rue de la Tour des Anglais, 70 m. Slight left onto Boulevard Daviers, 70 m. Turn left onto Boulevard Arago, and 85 m. further the Musée jean lurçat, 4 Boulevard Arago - resides on your right:

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Museum of Jean-Lurçat and Contemporary Tapestry (Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine): Situated 1.2km north of the château, on the opposite bank of the Maine. Do not miss Jean-Lurçat’s massive modern version of the Apocalypse Tapestry. In what was once the 12th-century Hôpital St Jean. La Grande Salle des Malades (Hall of the Sick), measures 60 by 22.5 metres and has beautiful vaulting, while the granary, 17th-century apothecary and cloister have been almost completely preserved. In the Grand Salle des Malades is the Chant du Monde (Song of the World), a sequence of ten modern tapestries by the artist Jean Lurçat, which are a kind of synopsis of all the good and bad in the world, inspired by the Apocalypse Tapestry on show at the castle. The 20th-century Chant du Monde tapestry has panels up to 43 feet long and 14 feet high. Inspired by Tenture de l’Apocalypse in the château, Jean Lurçat (1892–1966) began his epic tapestry masterpiece, Chant du Monde (Song of the World; 1957–61), 12 years after the end of WWII; scenes depict everything from the delights of Champagne to space exploration to nuclear holocaust.

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

A quintessentially mid-20th-century meditation on the human condition, it is exuberant but contemplative, and only partially optimistic. The museum also exhibits other extraordinarily beautiful 20th-century and 21st-century tapestries. The Song of the World was woven in Aubusson between 1957 and 1966, and comprises ten tapestry panels with a total area of 500 m² ! This monumental and spectacular work, which was interrupted by the death of Jean Lurçat, is the biggest contemporary group of tapestries. Evoking the future of humanity. This veritable textile symphony offers a symbolic and humanistic vision of the 20th century. A MAGNIFICENT MUSEUM and DISPLAY of GRANDIOSE TAPESTRIES. A treasure in Angers. It's truly breathtaking in scale and concept. Lack of crowds made it an almost intimate visit and we could enjoy the huge tapestries by following the well written guide or simple self-guided route. Come here after you've seen the Apocalypse Tapestries in the Castle - juxtaposing the medieval works with the 20th century works of Lurçat !  Lurcat's tapestry is a mind-blowing response to the horrible post-war WW2 consequences. The main issue in the works is the WW2 (and cold war) Hiroshima bombings' results and horror.

Open every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, from 10.00 to 18.00.

L'Archer - Lurçat:

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Le Vent:

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A couple of tapestries - unable to see their names (too dark !):

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Le vin de Lune - Tourloere:

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 Le Vin de Viertige - Borcerie:

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La Douche des Mineurs - Thomas Gleb:

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The Chantier de Monde Section (1957-1966) - Ornamentos Sagrados - Jean Lurçat:

La Poésie:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Conquête de l'espace - Jean Lurçat:

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Champagne - Jean Lurçat:

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L'eau et le Feu - Jean Lurçat:

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L'Homme an Gloire dans la Paixu - 2 sections - Jean Lurçat:

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Le Fin de Tout:

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Le Grand Charnier:

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L'Homme de Hiroshima:

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Le Grande Menace:

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Included in the entrance fee is the adjacent contemporary textile museum, also worth your time. The building itself is also worthy of visiting; it's a former hospital. Don't forget to have a look outside in the interesting cloisters, featuring several architectural pieces "taken" from other buildings.

The Cloister:

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The former orphanage dates from the 17th century and was renovated in 1986 for an extension to the Musée Jean Lurçat. Only the façade has retained the original architectural features, the interior rooms of the structure have been modernized so that their original function is no longer apparent to the visitor:

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From the Jean Lurçat Museum - we took a tram back to the Railway Station Le Gare. Direction: Le Gare). 1.40 euros. Payment in credit card or local coins.  Automatic machines in French only.

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