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Angers

Angers (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃.ʒe]) is the main city in the Maine-et-Loire department in western France about 300 km (190 mi) south-west of Paris. Angers is located in the French region known by its pre-revolutionary, provincial name, Anjou, and its inhabitants are called Angevins.

Angers proper has a population of 157,000 inhabitants, while c. 283,000 live in its metropolitan area. The city traces its roots to early Roman times. It occupies both banks of the Maine, which is spanned by six bridges. The district along the river has flourishing nurseries and market gardens. It is known for its fresh produce and cut flowers.

History

The first sign of human presence on the site of Angers is a stone tool dated back to 400,000 BCE (Lower Paleolithic).

The earliest known inhabitants were the Andecavi, a Gallic tribe that was overrun by the Romans. The city, while under Roman rule, was called Juliomagus.

The Council of Angers was held here in 453.

The city suffered severely from the invasions of the Vikings in 845 and succeeding years.

Angers was once the capital of the historic province of Anjou. Beginning in the 9th century, the region was controlled by a powerful family of feudal lords. It is the cradle of the House of Plantagenet who ruled England from the twelfth century and gave name to the Angevin Kings of England. During this time the Hospital of Saint-Jean was built in Angers by King Henry II of England. The edifice still stands to this day, now housing an important museum. In 1204 Angers was conquered by King Philippe II.

An enormous castle, the Château d'Angers, was built during the minority of 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 I 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 dauphin who became King Charles VII, had to flee Paris and was given sanctuary at the Château D'Angers. Louis II and Yolande d'Aragon added a chapel (1405–12) and royal apartments to the castle. 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.

The Huguenots took the city of Angers in 1585, and the Vendean royalists were defeated nearby in 1793 during the siege of Angers. Until the French Revolution Angers was the seat of a celebrated university founded in the 14th century.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the Château D'Angers served originally as a defensive castle, and later as a military training school. The military role of the Chateau D'Angers castle was revived in the 20th century when it was used by the Nazi government of Germany to store arms, ammunition, and explosives. During the war, the latter exploded, causing significant amounts of damage to the castle.
Main sights

In addition to the massive Château d'Angers, the city is also noted for the impressive twin spires of the twelfth-century Cathedral of Saint-Maurice. Other noteworthy churches around Angers include St. Serge, an abbey-church of the 12th and 15th centuries, and the twelfth-century La Trinité Cathedral.

The elaborately sculptured eleventh and 12th century arcades of the famous abbey of Saint Aubin survive in the courtyard of the Prefecture and Hotel du Departement. The tower of the abbey church has also survived nearby[1]

Ruins of the old churches of Toussaint (13th century) and Notre-Dame du Ronceray (eleventh century) are also nearby. The ancient hospital of St. Jean (twelfth century) is occupied by Jean Lurcat's tapestries. The Logis Barrault, a mansion built in 1486–92, houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which has a large collection of paintings and sculptures. In 1984 the former abbey church of Toussaint became the Musee David d'Angers consisting of works by the sculptor David d'Angers, who was a native of the town. In the middle of a main boulevard near the museum stands his bronze statue of René of Anjou, who was born in the chateau of Angers.

The Hôtel de Pincé or d'Anjou (1523–1530) is the finest of the stone mansions of Angers. There are also many curious wooden houses of the fifteenth and 16th centuries. The Palais de Justice, the Catholic Institute, a fine theatre, and a hospital with 1500 beds are the more remarkable of the modern buildings of the town. Angers is the seat of a bishopric, dating from the 3rd century; a prefecture; a court of appeal; and a court of assizes (criminal courts). It has a tribunal of first instance, a tribunal of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, and several learned societies.
Economy

The early prosperity of the town is largely due to the nearby quarries of slate, whose abundant use for the roofs of Angers led to the city's nickname, the "Black City" (or "La ville noire", in French). As of 1911, existing industries noted in the Encyclopædia Britannica for that year included the distillation of liqueurs from fruit (Cointreau, a brand of triple sec orange liqueur, is produced to this day in Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, a suburb of Angers); cable, rope, and thread-making; the manufacture of boots, shoes, umbrellas, and parasols; weaving of sail-cloth and fabrics; machine construction; wire-drawing; and the manufacture of sparkling wines and preserved fruits. The chief articles of commerce, besides slate and manufactured goods, were hemp, early vegetables, fruit, flowers, and live-stock.

Many of these industries in 1911 have since disappeared, though Cointreau continues to produce liqueur. Other contemporary industries include the manufacturing of lorries (Scania) and computers (Bull, Packard-Bell, NEC) as well as research in horticulture and biotechnologies.
Transport

Angers is connected by A11 autoroute to Paris (c. 295 km) and to Nantes (c. 90 km). Gare d'Angers-Saint-Laud railway station has a direct TGV service to Paris (1 hour 35 minutes). The nearest airport is Angers - Loire Airport.

In 1850 a catastrophic failure of the Angers Bridge caused the deaths of over 200 soldiers. The disaster inhibited the construction of suspension bridges in France for two decades.

Angers inaugurated a new light rail system on 25 June 2011. The tramway consists of one 12 km (7.46 mi) line with 25 stops. The line runs from Avrillé-Ardenne in the North to Angers-Roseraie in the south. Service is provided by Keolis using 17 Alstom Citadis trams.[2]
Culture
Maison d'Adam, Adam's House, the oldest house of Angers

Angers has an orchestra, ONPL (Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire), shared with Nantes, a local theatre NTA (Nouveau Théatre d'Angers) and a dance school CNDC (Centre National de Danse Contemporaine).

Angers has a few important museums on the national level:

"Musée des Beaux-Arts" (Art & Sculpture, the permanent collections: 14th to the present) has just reopened, after five years of work.
"Galerie David d'Angers", which is consecrated to the 19th century sculptor David d'Angers.
"Musée Pincé", which holds a collection of Classical art, as well as Egyptian, Etruscan, Japanese and Chinese.
"Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie contemporaine", is a tapestry museum. The famous tapestry series "Le chant du Monde" by Jean Lurçat is in the ancient Hôpital St-Jean, the oldest hospital in France, while another modern building holds the contemporary collections, and also other works by Jean Lurçat.
The Apocalypse Tapestry, or "the tapestries of the Apocalypse", originally made for Louis I d'Anjou in the fourteenth century, are today in the Château d'Angers after their restoration.
Muséum d’histoire naturelle d’Angers is an important natural history museum in the "Hôtel Demarie-Valentin", dating from 1521.

Angers is an important center for tapestries, especially contemporary tapestry.

It calls itself the "most flowered city in Europe", and its displays of live and cut flowers are stunning. The city's Jardin des Plantes d'Angers and Jardin botanique de la Faculté de Pharmacie d'Angers are a historic botanical gardens, and its Arboretum Gaston Allard is a major arboretum. It is also well known for being the seat of important cultural events, such as the film festival Premiers Plans, Tour de Scènes (free concerts in the streets) and Les Accroche-Coeurs (free street festival).
Sport

Angers has many sport teams playing at top levels:

Angers SCO is Angers's football team. The club was created in 1919. In 2010–11 season, Angers SCO is playing in the Ligue 2 (second division) league.
Les Ducs d'Angers is Angers's ice hockey team. The club is playing in the Magnus League (first division).
Anjou BC is Angers's basketball team, playing in second division.
Angers acts as home to the Angers Aviron Nautique (In French), a rowing club which actively competes in regattas across France

Education
Colleges and universities
Angers on the banks of the Maine

A centre of learning, Angers boasts two renowned universities and several specialized institutions, altogether responsible for more than 26,000 students.[3] The city has a Catholic university, the Université Catholique de L'Ouest (Catholic University of the West, or UCO), one of five Catholic universities in France. UCO is best known for its French language studies institute, the Centre international d'étude de la langue française (CIDEF), which provides college students from around the world with college-level course instruction in the French language. The town is also home to a state university, the University of Angers.

Angers's other educational institutions include lycées; training colleges, an engineering school in manufacturing (ENSAM), an engineering school in electronics and computer science (ESEO), and a school of fine art. Its education and research institutes are the driving force behind the city's science and technology industries.

Angers's Business School is ESSCA (Ecole Superieure des Sciences Commerciales d'Angers). Formerly part of the UCO, the school's program is of a duration of five years. ESSCA is recruiting students after the Baccalaureat.

In addition to French schools and universities, an American university St. Edward's University has new expanding campus in Angers. St. Edward’s University is a diverse, Catholic liberal arts institution from Austin, TX. The university has a partnership with UCO, and offers a variety of courses of undergraduate level and professional training.
Public libraries

The city operates the Toussaint Main Library and nine branch libraries.[4]
Miscellaneous
Births

The city is the birthplace of:

René I of Naples (1409–1480)
Jean Bodin (1529–1596), philosopher and jurist, author of Six Livres de la République
Michel Eugène Chevreul, (1786–1889), chemist
Joseph Louis Proust, (1754–1826), chemist responsible for "Proust's law"
Pierre-Jean David d'Angers, (1788–1856), sculptor
Prosper Ménière (1799–1862), physician
Édouard Cointreau, (1849–1923), creator of the "Cointreau" orange-flavoured liquor
René Bazin (1853–1932), writer and educator
Fernand Charron (1866–1921), one of the first cars constructors (Octave Mirbeau dedicated to Charron La 628-E8, 1907).
André Bazin (1918–1958), critic of the French New Wave
Hervé Bazin (1911–1996), writer
Henri Dutilleux (born 1916), composer
Joseph Wresinski (born 1917), humanitarian activist
Paul Poupard (born 1930), Roman Catholic cardinal
Jacques Loussier (born 1934), composer and jazz pianist
Francis Le Jau, (1665–1717), Anglican missionary to West Indies and South Carolina, worked for the humane treatment of slaves.[5]
Nicolas Mahut (born 1982), tennis player
Juliana Mialoundama, basketball player
Eriq Ebouaney (Born 1967), actor

International relations
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France
Twin towns – sister cities

Angers is twinned with:

Netherlands Haarlem, Netherlands, since 1964
Germany Osnabrück, Germany, since 1964
Mali Bamako, Mali, since 1974
Italy Pisa, Italy, since 1982[6]
United Kingdom Wigan, United Kingdom, since 1988
Sweden Södertälje, Sweden, since 1998
Spain Seville, Spain, since 2000
China Yantai, China, since 2006
United States Austin, Texas, USA, since 2011

See also
Portal icon Angers portal

Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps

References

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Notes

^ Eglise Saint Aubin
^ "Angers tram opens". Railway Gazette. June 29, 2011.
^ "Teaching, research and industry". Angers.fr. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
^ "Bibliothèque, mode d'emploi." City of Angers. Retrieved on 1 April 2010.
^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
^ "Pisa – Official Sister Cities". Comune di Pisa. Retrieved 16 December 2008.

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