Essential Architecture-  Loire Valley Châteaux

Château d'Angers

architect

various

location

Loire Valley, north-western France.

date

originally Roman, main fortress built in the early part of the 13th century by Louis IX ("Saint Louis").

style

French Renaissance

construction

Stone In 1562, Catherine de' Medici had the château restored as a powerful fortress, but, her son, Henry III, reduced the height of the towers and had the towers and walls stripped of their embattlements. At the end of the 18th century, as a military garrison, it showed its worth when its thick walls withstood a massive bombardment by cannons from the Vendean army. Unable to do anything else, the invaders simply gave up. The chateau was severely damaged during World War II by the Nazis when a munitions storage dump inside the château exploded.

type

Palace Castle, fortress Now a of medieval tapestry museum.
 
  The Château d'Angers overlooks Angers and the Maine River.
 
  The interior gardens at the Castle
 
  Inside Château d'Angers, taken from atop the castle
 
  The chapel in the interior of Angers Castle
 
  The gardens in the waterless moat of Angers Castle
 
  The current entrance of Angers Castle
 
  The châtelet controls access to the inner wards
 
  The Apocalypse Tapestry at Angers Castle
The Château d'Angers is a castle in the city of Angers, in the département of Maine-et-Loire, in France.

The fortress of Angers, on a rocky ridge overhanging the river Maine, was one of the sites inhabited by the Romans because of its strategic defensive location.

In the 9th century, the fortress came under the authority of the powerful Counts of Anjou, becoming part of the Angevin empire of the Plantagenet Kings of England during the 12th century. In 1204, the region was conquered by Philip II and an enormous château was built by his grandson, Louis IX ("Saint Louis") in the early part of the 13th century.

Nearly 600 m (2,000 ft) in circumference, and protected by seventeen massive towers, the walls of the château encompass 6.17 acres (25,000 m²). In 1352, John II le Bon, gave the château to his son, Louis I. Married to the daughter of the wealthy Duke of Brittany, Louis had the château modified, and in 1373 commissioned the famous Apocalypse Tapestry from the painter Hennequin de Bruges and the Parisian tapestry-weaver Nicolas Bataille.

Louis II (Louis I's son) and Yolande d'Aragon added a chapel (1405–12) and royal apartments to the complex. The chapel is a sainte chapelle, the name given to churches which enshrined a relic of the Passion. The relic at Angers was a splinter of the fragment of the True Cross which had been acquired by Louis IX.

In the early 15th century, the hapless dauphin who, with the assistance of Joan of Arc would become King Charles VII, had to flee Paris and was given sanctuary at the château in Angers.

In 1562, Catherine de' Medici had the château restored as a powerful fortress, but, her son, Henry III, reduced the height of the towers and had the towers and walls stripped of their embattlements; Henry III used the castle stones to build streets and develop the village of Angers. Nonetheless, under threat of attacks from the Huguenots, the king maintained the château's defensive capabilities by making it a military outpost and by installing artillery on the château's upper terraces. At the end of the 18th century, as a military garrison, it showed its worth when its thick walls withstood a massive bombardment by cannons from the Vendean army. Unable to do anything else, the invaders simply gave up.

A military academy was established in the château to train young officers in the strategies of war. In a twist of fate, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, best known for taking part in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo, was trained at the Military Academy of Angers.

Still a part of the French military, the chateau was severely damaged during World War II by the Nazis when a munitions storage dump inside the château exploded. Today, owned by the City of Angers, the massive, austere château has been converted to a museum housing the oldest and largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world, with the 14th century "Apocalypse Tapestry" as one of its priceless treasures. As a tribute to its fortitude, the château has never been taken by any invading force in history.

links

www.paris-architecture.info