Angers – Six sound reasons not to bypass the city

Drive south from the western Channel ports and it won’t be long before you see signs for Angers, ancient capital of the historic Anjou region. Located at the confluence of the Loire and Maine rivers, Angers is the western gateway to the chateaux and vineyards of the Loire Valley.

L'Oisellerie B&B timbered house on far left But don’t be in too much of a hurry. This attractive city offers a mix of historic sites, unique galleries, and green spaces, not to mention a buzzing restaurant scene, riverside walks and retail temptations. You could whizz round the highlights in a few hours, but I’d recommend taking your time and staying over, especially if you want to discover one of Europe’s most unusual theme parks, the only one dedicated to the fascinating world of plants.

I stayed at a boutique B&B in a 16th century, half-timbered property just behind the cathedral in the heart of the old quarter. Opened in 2018, L’Oisellerie has been restored with passion and a keen eye for detail by its two young owners, who also run a shop on the ground floor selling local crafts and produce. Atmosphere oozes from every rafter, but if you’re not keen on stairs, book a room on one of the lower floors. Parking is available in a private garage just down the street.

So what are you going to do on your city stay? Here are my top six suggestions:

Tour the riverside castle

Angers Castle

Angers Castle has a very different feel from most of the Loire Valley chateaux built in the Renaissance. Seat of the Counts of Anjou, later elevated to Dukes, this no-nonsense fortress beside the Maine was begun in the 10th century and has high walls of black schist decorated with white tuffeau. Measuring almost half a kilometre in length, they are punctuated with 17 towers. Follow the complete rampart walk and explore the buildings and gardens inside.

Top up your tapestry know-how

Tucked inside the castle precincts, a purpose-built gallery houses the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry, commissioned in 1375 by Duke Louis I to depict the war between good and evil as described by Le Chant du Monde contemporary tapestry St John in the Book of Revelations. Removed from the cathedral after the Revolution, it was eventually cut up and dispersed. But in the 19th century, pieces were gradually tracked down and reassembled, and today, this extraordinary work is the world’s largest medieval tapestry. Then cross the Maine to the Jean-Lurçat Museum inside the former Hospital of St John, founded in 1180, to see stunning contemporary tapestries on the themes of joy and hope after chaos and destruction. 

Admire some outstanding artworks

Galerie David d'Angers You may not know his name but if you’ve been to Paris, you may well have seen his frieze above the entrance to The Panthéon, last resting place of major French figures. Pierre-Jean David was an outstanding 19th century sculptor whose work is displayed here in his hometown in the Galerie David d’Angers. The figures, busts and medallions are outstanding, but so too is the building, a deconsecrated church ruined in the Revolution and now topped with a glass roof for the ultimate in natural light. Then cross the garden to the Fine Arts Museum, housed in another impressive building, this time the former home of a 16th century aide to the king.

Get interactive with plants

Terra Botanica The words ‘plants’ and ‘theme park’ don’t usually sit together in one sentence, but Terra Botanica, just 10 minutes from Angers city centre, is Europe’s only theme park dedicated to plants. Expect a mix of relaxation, fun and education amongst more than 500,000 botanical species from across the world as you explore different climate zones, take a leisurely boat ride, and discover the history of the plant hunters. Enjoy the butterfly house, watch a 4-D movie, and take a bird’s eye view from a tethered balloon. Hours of fun for all ages. 

Learn the art of cocktails

Angers has been home for more than a century to Cointreau liqueur, now produced at Saint-Barthelemy-d’Anjou, on the edge of the city. Tour the museum, enjoy a tasting, and find out how to make a range of cocktails with that distinctive orange flavour at the Carré Cointreau. Also in Angers, close to Terra Botanica is L’Espace Menthe-Pastille, the visitor centre and factory for Giffard, makers of spirits, liqueurs and syrups. Menthe Pastille, the best known, is a white mint liqueur and another delicious cocktail component. Santé!

More information

Angers is 125 miles from the Brittany Ferries terminal at St-Malo and 162 miles from the port of Caen-Ouistreham. For full information on the city and surroundings, visit

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.