Our First Holiday – Angers, France

A few weeks ago Andrew found out that he would be able to take a little vacation time.  We are still waiting on our paperwork to be finalized so we had to pick somewhere in France to visit – which is fine because there is a lot to see in France!  Since this is the time of year when a lot of people head to the beaches, we wanted to avoid that and go somewhere else that would be less crowded.  I started looking at the map at towns close to Paris and I noticed Angers.  I sent Andrew the info and he seemed interested so we decided to give it a go!

We opted to take the Eurolines bus to Angers since it was a lot cheaper than the train (I don’t know if it was because it was so last minute or just the time of year).  I had assumed that our process at the bus station would be more involved, but it wasn’t.  We went up to the window showed our tickets and then we were given two boarding passes.

1 - Eurolines

Our bus was supposed to leave at 1:45pm, but the time rolled around and we were all still waiting outside the bus.  Andrew went to see what was going on and they informed him that they were waiting on another bus to arrive that was connecting with our bus.  Shortly after Andrew had inquired about the delay, they made an announcement that our bus would now be departing at 2:45pm.  Moral of the story, be prepared for anything during travel 🙂

The bus departed right around 2:45pm.  We made a short pit stop at this place – I thought the statue out front was interesting.  And then we were on our way!

3 - rest stop on way to Angers

We arrived in Angers sometime after 7:00pm and found the way to our hotel.

3 - walk to hotel 2

That first night we had dinner at Le Tillandsia.

5 - Le Tillandsia

And we spent the rest of the night walking around town.  It was very beautiful at night.

4 - walk around 2 4 - walk around 1

5 - night walk 6 - night walk

The next day we decided to visit Château d’Angers.  This is the castle in the city – it was founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou and was expanded to its current size in the 13th century (thank you Wikipedia!).

7 - castle 24

We opted for the audio tour during our visit and I’m glad that we did – it was nice to go at our own pace while we explored the castle.

7 - castle 4 2

7 - castle 4 1

Here we are up on top walking along the walls.

7 - castle 10

7 - castle 9 7 - castle 8

We saw this cute house from the castle – guess they weren’t moving for the road!

7 - castle 7

There was this piece of artwork titled “Les aveux de la pierre” (this literally translates to “confessions of stone”) by artist Pascal di Peri, in the Mill Tower of the castle.

7 - castle 13 7 - castle 14

This area used to be a prison and up to 60 prisoners had to crowd together in the small area.  The artwork is a tribute to them.  I really thought the piece was moving and very interesting.  We also viewed the “Apocalypse Tapestry” which is on display in the castle.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but here is a link with more information:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_Tapestry.  These tapestries were created between 1377 and 1382 and are amazing!  The detail and artwork of the tapestries themselves depicting the story of good and evil is moving.

Later that evening we took a boat ride on the L’Hirondelle along the Maine River.  The ride was nice, but the entire tour was in French.  We just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.

8 - getting ready for boat ride 4

A little caffeine before the ride.

9 - boat ride 1

9 - boat ride 2

9 - boat ride 4

That evening we hung out in the city center area for a while. We grabbed some ice cream from Jeff de Bruges and relaxed in the chairs they had set out.

11 - ice cream 13 - live music2

They had an art work display in the middle titled “Un bain de nature” which was the winner of the expression gardens contest for the city.  It was neat, but I think I’ve seen regular people’s back yards just like it before.

12 - bath art

There was also a piano set up in front of The City Theatre and a random guy stopped by and started to play.  He was very good.

13 - live music

On Thursday, we set off with our bikes to find Parc Anjou Aventure.

16 - bike to parc aventure 1 16 - bike to parc aventure 2

We got a little lost along the way and had to ask a few nice people for directions, but we eventually found the place.

18 - parc aventure 1

Before the place opened, I decided to use the restroom in the park.  I’m glad that I didn’t have to go #2…oh boy.

17 - bathroom at parc aventure

We spent the next three hours climbing and zipping amongst/between the trees.

18 - parc aventure 2 18 - parc aventure 9 18 - parc aventure 4 18 - parc aventure 10

There was a family there from England and at one point the little boy tells his sister, “Don’t look down, and believe in yourself.”  We all started cracking up and his dad was behind us and said, “Yeah, that’s my boy.  He can be a bit cocky.”  We only made it through 3 of the 5 courses; there were a lot of people there that day!  But we had a good time, even though I ended up with a few bruises and scrapes – I’m just puny I guess.  After we had our snacks, we headed back to Angers for the evening.  Luckily it didn’t rain on us on our way back.

19 - biking back from parc aventure 1

19 - biking back from parc aventure 2 19 - biking back from parc aventure 4

That evening we had dinner at Au Goût Du Jour (aka “a taste of the day”).  The food was pretty good and probably our best meal in Angers.

21 - au goût du jour

After dinner we ran into this cat that was hanging around the Saint Maurice Cathedral.

20 - walk around 11 cat

The Saint Maurice Cathedral was Andrew’s favorite building in Angers.  He loved the architecture.

3 - walk to hotel 1 20 - walk around 3 20 - walk around 4 20 - walk around 7 20 - walk around 8 20 - walk around 9

On Friday, we had planned to ride our bikes to the Cointreau building, but since it was pouring rain we opted for the bus instead.  Cointreau is a brand of triple sec (an orange-flavoured liqueur).

23 - cointreau 1 23 - cointreau 2

We got to go on a tour of their facility…

23 - cointreau 4 23 - cointreau 5 23 - cointreau 7 23 - cointreau 9

…and then afterwards we did a tasting.  Very tasty!

24 - cointreau tasting

Of course we stocked up on a few Cointreau items from the store, including delicious candy!

After the tasting, we decided to walk back to the hotel since the rain wasn’t that bad.  On our way back we passed by a cemetery and decided to explore it for a bit.  I don’t know what it is about cemeteries, but I find them all very intriguing.

25 - cemetery 2 25 - cemetery 4 25 - cemetery 9

It was finally our last full day in Angers and we decided that we would bike part of the “Loire à Vélo” bicycle route.

26 - biking adventure 1 26 - biking adventure 5 26 - biking adventure 12

We loved this weather vane.

26 - biking adventure 8

Of course we spotted some wildlife along the trail.

26 - biking adventure 14 26 - biking adventure 18 26 - biking adventure 27

We stopped for pizza at Le San Marco.

26 - biking adventure 16 Le San Marco

At one point on our journey, we had to cross the river/stream.  Andrew figured out how we had to get across and had asked the others that were waiting if they wanted to go with us or wait.  They decided to wait; I guess they wanted to see if we would make it across.  Andrew really enjoyed this part.  Heck I enjoyed it, it was fun crossing!

26 - biking adventure 20 26 - biking adventure 21 26 - biking adventure 22 26 - biking adventure 23

There was also a Slate Quarry along our ride.  So much slate!

26 - biking adventure 28

There were ruins of old homes in that area.  We explored them for a bit.

26 - biking adventure 29 26 - biking adventure 3126 - biking adventure 35 26 - biking adventure 32

I found this bone, not sure what animal it was (maybe a rabbit?).

26 - biking adventure 33 26 - biking adventure 34

At one point during the bike ride, we were ascending up this steep hill.  Andrew yells back to me, “Don’t look up, and believe in yourself.”  Needless to say, I started laughing and ended up having to walk my bike up the hill.

After we dropped off our bikes we decided to sample some of the “blue chocolates” – this blue chocolate covered brittle is modeled after the bulk of slate found in the area.  I’m not a fan of brittle, so I wasn’t really a fan of this candy.

28 - blue chocolates

 

We decided to make our last meal in Angers all about crêpes.  I can’t remember the exact name of the restaurant, but it was a crêperie.  I enjoyed the dessert crêpe with the bananas and whipped cream the best, go figure.

27 - creperie 1 27 - creperie 2

Angers was a delightful place to visit and I would recommend it to anyone!

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One thought on “Our First Holiday – Angers, France

  1. What a nice summary of a trip to a place I’ve never been! Sounds like a lovely trip. Highlight was definitely the “believe” kid. LOL Thanks for chronicling this! =)

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