A weekend in Angers is about strolling the historic narrow streets of a city with some unique and surprising heritage, relaxing in nature on the banks of the Maine or on Saint-Aubin island, tasting fine wines on a terrace at sunset and taking time to savour every moment. The Angers lifestyle is a sensation you can only understand once you have experienced it!
Day 1: Walking tour of the city
To get this weekend in Angers off to a great start, visit the city’s most emblematic historical building, Angers Castle. Enter via the drawbridge, show your Angers City Pass at the visitor desk and your journey through history can commence. With an astounding 17 towers and some beautiful formal gardens, the fortress stands proudly overlooking the river Maine. It also houses a unique-in-the-world Medieval treasure, the Apocalypse Tapestry. This masterpiece, which is on the UNESCO Memory of the World heritage list, measures over 100 metres long and 4.5 metres wide, so there is plenty of detail to take in. Before leaving the castle, take time to walk along the ramparts which offer a tremendous view of the river and the picturesque Doutre district on the other side.
Around the castle, explore the cobbled streets of the city’s historic quarter and discover the splendid half-timbered houses built in the 15th century. Stop in this part of town to see Saint-Maurice Cathedral, a superb 12th-century Gothic-style building which stands at the top of some impressive stairs known as the Montée Saint-Maurice. Two steps from here, in the ancient Toussaint abbey, is the Galerie David d’Angers, one of the most surprising places in the city. The natural light that bathes the gallery highlights the beauty of the works sculpted by David d’Angers and the white tufa stone walls create an atmosphere of perfect harmony.
Next, head to Place du Ralliement for some lunch. This city centre square is vibrant and bustling at all times of day. Don’t miss the façade of the 19th-century Grand Théâtre which has prime position in the square. Street art fans, make sure to look up and have your camera ready! To see all of the city’s best street art, our tip is to follow the blue line.
A weekend break in Angers is the opportunity to discover a wine region that is renowned for the quality and variety of its wines. The Maison des Vins d’Anjou et de Saumur, opposite the castle, is a tasting centre and shop that showcases the winemaking skills of Anjou producers. Discover appellations like Savennières, Coteaux-du-Layon and Cabernet d’Anjou, with expert advice from wine professionals who know the vineyards inside out.
What would you say to a delicious meal for two? Osé, Sens, and Autour d’un Cep are just a few names among the fantastic choice of restaurants in Angers that offer responsible, local cuisine. Simplicity and refinement make for a memorable dinner.
Day 2: From city life to nature in just one step
After a wonderful night’s sleep, some good coffee and a few croissants hot out of the oven, start your day with a morning walk in the Jardin du Mail in the very heart of the greenest city in France**. Stroll down the floral paths and see the park’s extremely charming bandstand on your way.
Spending a weekend in Angers is also the opportunity to sample some of the local specialities and riches of the area, like Cointreau. Cointreau is a delicious liqueur* perfumed with orange peel. If you have time, you can tour the Cointreau Distillery in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, just east of Angers. Visit the still room and watch on as the barman provides a perfect demonstration of the art of cocktail making. The Giffard company in Avrillé, just a few minutes from Angers, is another local source of pride. The brand is famed for the production of liqueurs* and cordials in a wide array of colours and flavours. On the Giffard tour, you will discover their manufacturing secrets and enjoy a sensory experience that is worth the detour.
For a further taste of the Angers gentle life, head back now to the historic city centre and to the banks of the Maine. Cross the Pont de Verdun bridge and walk along the quayside known as Quai des Carmes. Take time to wander the Medieval streets of the charming Doutre district then continue on to the Cale de la Savatte. This wharf area is the ideal place to sit on the grass and enjoy a picnic, before an utterly relaxing lounge in the sun. Next, continue your walk alongside the Maine, stopping at Balzac Park, a 120-acre oasis of green. Just a few steps from downtown Angers, what better than a moment in connection with nature where time stands still?
End your day at an incredible viewpoint – the rooftop of the Théâtre Le Quai. The view from here of the Maine and Angers Castle in the last glimmers of sunlight is superb. Make the moment last with dinner and a glass of wine on the terrace of the restaurant La Réserve (on the same rooftop), which serves truly delicious “bistronomic” cuisine.
Day 3: A green and bucolic island trip
After this last night in your oh-so comfortable bed, enjoy an easy start to the morning with a totally fresh and homemade brunch at La Cour. This eatery right in the centre of town has a warm and cosy feel. Get your fill of vitamins and fill up for the day on a delicious combination of sweet and savoury treats.
Before this long weekend comes to a close, enjoy a last dash into nature on Saint-Aubin island, on the edge of Angers. This unique and unspoilt site is accessible from April to October. You won’t see a car in sight here. The only way to reach the island is via an original hand-pulled ferry, making a trip to Saint-Aubin a unique and authentic experience.
Once on the island, you’ll feel like you are in another world. Explore this haven of tranquillity, on foot or by bike, at your own pace. As a Natura 2000 site, nature reigns supreme on the island. You will see pristine flora and fauna, including some protected species and meadows as far as the eye can see.
This break in Angers is already drawing to an end. Before setting off home, treat yourself to a last little waterside bite on the terrace of the Guinguette du Port de l’Ile. Savour the Angers gentle life a few moments longer, because once you’ve tasted it, it will be hard to leave behind!
For those lucky enough to still have some time left on their stay, don’t hesitate to continue exploring the outstanding natural surroundings around Angers. The Basses Vallées Angevines wetlands, the Ardoisières Park and the vineyards have plenty of surprises in store for you.
Accommodation for your weekend break in Angers:
Bed & breakfasts, hotels, gîtes…Choose your cosy little home for the weekend.
A must on your trip to Angers:
La Maison du Quernon d’Ardoise (at No. 22 Rue des Lices) is a well-known local chocolate shop whose speciality is the Quernon d’Ardoise. These squares of caramelised almond and hazelnut nougatine are dipped in blue coloured chocolate to look like the slate tiles that cover many a roof in the region. We warn you they are frighteningly good and extremely moreish.
The 72 hr Angers City Pass is a practical and economical way to explore the heritage sites, châteaux and museums of Angers, during a weekend break, just 1 hour 30 minutes from Paris. Visiting Angers for one or two days? That’s not a problem! Just choose a pass to match your length of stay.
*ALCOHOL ABUSE IS DANGEROUS FOR HEALTH. ENJOY IN MODERATION.
**2020 Ranking by the Observatoire des Villes Vertes de France (French Green Cities Observatory)