Château d'AngersEdit profile
The Château d'Angers is a fortress style château located in the Loire Valley that is home of the Apocalypse Tapestry.General information
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). Two pairs of towers form the city and landward entrances of the château. Each of the towers was once 40 metres in height, but they were later cut down for the use of artillery pieces. The Tour du Moulin is the only tower which conserves the original elevation.Location
The Château d'Angers is a castle in the city of Angers in the Loire Valley, in the département of Maine-et-Loire, in France. It is located on a rocky ridge overhanging the river Maine.Ownership
Originally this château was built as a fortress 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 during the minority of his grandson, Louis IX ("Saint Louis") in the early part of the 13th century.
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.
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.Major construction changes
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 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.
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.Damages
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.
On January 10, 2009, the chateau suffered severe damage from an accidental fire due to short-circuiting. The Royal Logis, which contains old tomes and administrative offices, was the most heavily damaged part of the chateau, resulting in 400m2 of the roof being completely burnt. Thankfully, the Tapestries of the Apocalypse were not damaged. Total damages have been estimated at 2 million Euros. According to Christine Albanel, the Minister of Culture, the expected date of completion for the restoration is the second trimester of 2009.