The weather has taken another turn for the worse today and we woke up to a cloudy and much cooler morning, so after breakfast, dog walk and small shop of baguette, cake and some Frankfurters for tonight’s dinner, we took the 10.15 bus from outside aire to Angers (only 1.40 E return each) to visit the castle and admire its famous Apocalypse Tapestry. The entry fee is only 6E and I thought this was really good value.
The castle looks very impressive from the outside, with its 1km long wall flanked by 17 round towers resembling elephant’s legs gripping the rock below above the river Maine. It started as a look-out post in the IX century set up by the Count of Anjou. In the XIII century, the regent Blanche de Castille had the fortress built for keeping royal troops.
The Tapestry of the Apocalypse is a gigantic piece of cloth made entirely of wool measuring 100 metres long and 4.5 metres high. It was commissioned by Lous I, Duke of Anjou, in 1375 and was probably completed in 1382. It depicts the story of the Apocalypse according to St John and offers a realistic representation of the ravages of war, raids, plague and famine. The original drawings were made by the official court painter Jean de Bruges.
We were really taken by this majestic piece of embroidered art and spent most of our visiting time admiring the story, the representations of the devil and the beast of the sea and the skill involved to complete this medieval masterpiece. I love embroidery myself and I can really appreciate the time, effort, hard work and dedication that a project of that magnitude requires.
After that, we continued our visit of the single-nave chapel, built around 1410 by Yolanda of Aragon (wife of Louis II), with very interesting bas-relief triptic, and the parapet walk on the ramparts with panoramic views of the city and the river Maine below.
After our visit, we got the bus back right by the Tourist Information Office and were back ‘home’ for lunch.
It’s been a lazy afternoon, apart from dog walk, and it will be a lazy dinner too of hot dogs and chips.
We’ll be leaving tomorrow for vet in Broglie and then we’ll head for Boulogne for our big shop before returning to England early on Saturday morning.