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A castle in the Loire Valley of France

Castle and moat with towers   Castle and moat with towers

Probably the first thing to say about Chateau d'Angers is that throughout its long history it has never been conquered. Even the German Nazis couldn't destroy it during the Second World War.

The site situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Maine was once the site of a Roman settlement. The Maine is a tributary of the River Loire and is at the western end of its valley. The first building of a medieval castle took place in the ninth century undertaken by Count Fulk III of Anjou. It was one of a series of fortresses he built to defend Anjou from the Normans.

There was a significant rebuilding in 1234. The fortress was rebuilt in white stone and slate. As can be seen from the photo to the left, the walls are extremely thick and strong. The chapel was built  betwen 1405 and 1412. It was built as a "La chappelle" which means that it housed a holy relic, in this case, a splinter of the "One true cross." At one time during the Napoleonic wars the chapel was used as a prison for captured English sailors.

Duriing its long history the chateau has been used as a fortress, an ammunition store a prison and a military academy. The academy was attended by Arthur Wellesly who became the Duke of Wellington after beating France's greatest general Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.

As you can see from the picture on the left, the chateau was built so as to have a moat on two sides. However, the moat has never held water. During the middle ages the moat was used as a holding pen for animals awaiting slaughter for the nearby market.

The chateau contains a royal palace which was built as the residence of the counts of Anjou. Considering the wealth that Anjou once enjoyed, I was surprised at how small it is.

During his troubled times before he was crowned, King Charles VII of France took refuge in the chateau. Once Joan of Arc won several battles against the English and their allies, Charles went to Reims to be crowned. He was so grateful to her that he abandoned her to the church to be burned alive at the stake in Rouen as a heretic.

The Wikipedia page with much more detailed information about the castle is here.


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