By Maggie LaCoste
Bonjour from lovely Angers! This is a great town, an interesting study in contrasts: a thousand year old fortress and a state-of-the art month old tram system. The town is surrounded by vineyards and has some of the Loire’s best wines. Lucky for us, there are plenty of well-marked bike trails for exploring and tasting. The best map for bicycling around the immediate Angers area is called “Loire a Velo Angers and the region”. It can be found at the Angers Tourist Information Office or online.
At first glance out of the Angers train station, it’s obvious this is a very bike friendly city. Loire a Velo signs are posted at every exit, leaving no chance that you will get lost. Wide bike paths run along all major roads, and motorists who actually yield to bicyclists! A short ride around town reveals a warm and friendly town full of fountains, parks, pretty squares and half-timbered houses. We learn that the flashy new tram system just opened in June, and already it’ s hit.
It took a while of riding through the twisting streets to find the Chateau d’Angers but when I did, it was quite spectacular. Perched high above the Maine, the castle dominates the hillside with its 17 towers made of shale and freestone. The castle houses the famous Tapestry of the Apocalypse, one of the most popular attractions of the region.
Our hotel for the night, Hotel du Mail is perfect. It seems to be very popular with bicyclists, especially families. We’ll take a look at the route for tomorrow, Angers to Saint-George-Des-Sept-Voies. The first full day on the bike is always tough, so I am hoping for great day!