Whispers in Château d’Angers
The Angers castle towers over the town and in the truest sense. From its walls you have a wonderful view down over the town and the river Maine. Constructed in the thirteenth century, the powerful character of the former royal fortress still dominates the landscape. The inside of the castle is really worth a visit. Waiting for you are a church, the mill tower and a very special highlight: the gallery of the Apocalypse tapestry commissioned by Duke Louis I in 1375 – a really impressive masterpiece of medieval art.
Château d'Angers - 2 Promenade du Bout du monde - www.chateau-angers.fr
Dinner in the inconspicuous oasis: ‘Autour d’un cep’
The ‘Autour d’un Cep’, from outside rather inconspicuous, is a restaurant that might commonly be called ‘intimate but excellent’. The dishes of the day are written up on a blackboard and change depending on what’s available at the market. Traditional cuisine is served made from regional ingredients that are presented all the more extravagantly and creatively on the plate. Delicious, cosy, informal. And the wines come from the Loire valley. Tradition meets modern cuisine. What more could you want?
Autour d’un cep - 9 Rue Baudrière
Make like the residents: a nightcap in the ‘La Cour’ bar
Whether for an aperitif or the nightcap, the ‘La Cour’ is just the place you’ve been looking for. The frontage might make you think of an uber chic restaurant, but inside an unconventional and wonderful classically furnished bar awaits. It’s the summer? Even better, because in the backyard an ancient terrace awaits, which couldn’t be more cosy. Ring in or out an evening at ‘La Cour’, where Angers comes for a chat.
La Cour - 23 Rue de la Roë
Just follow the Loire: by bike to the vineyards
Angers is the ideal starting point for an extended bike ride along the Maine. Not only can you rent bikes there at Vélo Horizon, but even in the town there is greenery all around. From Château d’Angers it’s only a few hundred metres down to the Maine. Then onwards on proper cycle tracks along the river to the tranquil Lac de Maine. If you can tear yourself away from this idyll, then you must cycle on to the tiny hamlet, Bouchemaine. Why? Because here awaits a wonderful picture-book France – and the estuary to the eponymous river of the region, the Loire.
Vélo Horizon - 23 Rue Paul Bert - www.velo-horizon.fr
Lunch to the sound of accordion music in ‘Café des Piplettes’ on the Loire
A small farm right by the water. Old ruins and the sweet scent of summer. A few metres away an old man plays an accordion and sings along heartrendingly. This is the exact scenario you find in Bouchemaine. Café des Piplettes on the square promises authentic cuisine à la carte. Made using local products naturally, mostly organic, naturally. And naturally, everything tastes even better. How can it be anything else in this enchanting bit of France? Chapeau!
Café des Piplettes - 7 Place Ruzebouc
Into the vineyards above the Loire at Château d’Epiré
Behind Bouchemaine lie the most famous vineyards of the Savennières appellation. Famous mainly because the soil here is enriched with schist, which lends the Chenin an extraordinary minerality. Certainly the most beautiful wine cellar belongs to Château d’Epiré in the vault of a former church. Château d’Epiré is family-owned and has been passed down from father to son for five generations. Every Monday, Paul Bizard invites visitors to the wine cellar and the unbelievably photogenic vineyards, from which you have a breathtaking view of the Loire’s valley. In the subsequent wine tasting (possible daily), the Chenin Blanc tastes even better.
Château d’Epiré - Rue de l'Ancienne Église - 49170 Savennières - www.chateau-epire.com
Dinner in the town centre at ‘Brasserie de la Gare’
‘Brasserie de la Gare’ lies right opposite Angers station and surprises with its long history and a timeless interior, reminiscent of the swish buffet car on a train. The food is modern and authentic, the staff friendly and approachable. In good weather you really should ask for a table on the pleasantly shaded patio. Seafood-fans will love the abundant choice of oysters, mussels and more.
Brasserie de la Gare - 7 Place de la Gare
Small but luxurious: Stay overnight in ‘Hotel 21 Foch’
Small, stylish and in the best location: ‘Hotel 21 Foch’ is located near to Place du Ralliement, in an old mansion house from the nineteenth century. Inside however, it surprises with its unusual furnishings in the Art Deco style and 14 beautifully decorated rooms. A special treat is the small outside terrace on the first floor. Going against the breakfast buffet trend, it is served here in a relaxed atmosphere – and includes cheese from the region and homemade jam.
Hotel 21 Foch - 21 boulevard Foch - www.21foch.fr
The high point: a visit to Château de Brissac
Hard to believe, but in the seven-storey Château de Brissac, a part of the family who bought the tallest Château in France in 1502, still lives here. Visitors can’t roam the living room of the marquis now, but over the first two storeys of the Château you get an impression of what it’s like to live there. And that not only includes frescos, tapestries and massive furniture, but also the Château’s own theatre.
Château de Brissac - 49320 Brissac Quincé - chateau-brissac.fr