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Best things to do in Angers

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Where in the world: Europe  /  France  /  Pays de la Loire  /  Maine et Loire  /  Angers

Top 15 things to do in Angers

1. ZooParc de Beauval, Saint-Aignan

Not only is this zoo dedicated to protecting endangered species, ZooParc de Beauval is ranked among the top 15 beautiful zoos in the world. Bring the whole family to learn about conservation and the facility's endangered species breeding program that sends animals to other zoos around the world. Then, visit the tropical greenhouse that houses a rainbow of tropical birds. The raptor show features 20 large birds of prey, with a starring Andean condor with a wingspan over 3 m (9.8 ft) wide. More than 4,600 animals are featured here, including white lions, manatees, tigers, kangaroos, koalas, and giant pandas.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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2. Chateau d'Angers

is a historic castle situated in the city of Angers, Loire Valley, in the department of Maine-et-Loire. This place has a rich history, and you will greatly appreciate this castle, which was built in the 9th century, for its unique structural design. Further construction in the thirteenth century added to the size of this castle. The castle served as a fortress because of its strategic location, overlooking the River Maine. Tourists coming to the castle can view the interiors that are tastefully decorated. Parisian tapestry belonging to ancient ages adorns the castle. The chapel inside the castle is also worth a visit. Despite suffering damages during the World War and later, it has been renovated and is a museum of intricate and priceless tapestry work.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Terra Botanica

Terra Botanica is a collection of some of the world’s most ravishing plant life from Madagascar to South America. The vegetation from different geographic locations isn’t the only exceptional exhibit; you’ll also find greenery from different millennia, such as a living replica of the world’s first forest. If your olfactory senses need a break from the magnificently scented flowers, then visit some of the 4-D sensory shows that transport you from the French countryside to the deck of a barge or to the treetops, all aboard a nutshell.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Chateau de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux

Protected and loved by prominent women in Renaissance history, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médici, Chateau de Chenonceau, is the second most visited château in France, other than the Royal Palace of Versailles. French Renaissance architect Philibert de l'Orme designed the castle and built it on the site of an old mill on the River Cher in the 11th century. The château later saw renovations during the 16th century due to its destruction in the 15th century.

All of its gardens and grounds are open for you to explore, including the castle's architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance. Old masters’ paintings, as well as an extremely rare selection of Flanders Tapestries from the 16th century, comprise the art collection. Visit Catherine de Médicis’ bedroom to view the recently restored Corrège’s painting on wood, "L’Education de l’Amour."
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Les Machines de L'ile, Nantes

Enter the dreamlike world of fantasy that combines the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci and the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne at Les Machines de L'ile. This fantastic project is an absolute must, especially if you have children. Gigantic machines take you on a steampunk journey through time using artistry and magic--some of these mechanical marvels even take you on the ride of a lifetime. Hop on The Great Elephant, a mechanical mammal made from 45 tons of steel and wood, for a 45-minute walk around the grounds. Then, control the movements of the machines at the Marine Worlds Carousel. This massive 360-degree theater on three levels displays mechanical marine creatures--many of which you and your kids can control. The ship sets sail 5 m (16 ft) above the seabed, then plunges you virtually into the depths, where wild creatures like deep-sea lanternfish light your way.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Le Chateau du Clos Luce - Parc Leonardo da Vinci, Amboise

Famous as the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci at the end of his life between 1516 and 1519, Le Chateau du Clos Luce - Parc Leonardo da Vinci is now an interactive museum with forty models of visionary machines designed by Leonardo. You can experiment with Leonardo's inventions by steering his tank, paddling his boat, operating his fan-style machine gun, and spinning Archimedes' screw used to lift water.

Pick up a brochure in English and 14 other languages at the entrance that includes a map of the garden, the park, the château, and the countryside.

Discover the first automobile illustrated in Leonardo's innovative mechanical drawings and the machines he developed using his knowledge of botany and zoology. His studies of body mechanics inspire the workings of many of his machines. View his illustrations for flying machines that parallel modern technologies for helicopters, gliders, and propellers. Explore Leonardo's plan for a functioning city and his famous geometric drawing of a dodecahedron.

Enter Leonardo's universe in the park containing 20 huge interactive machines. Float around the lake in the boat Leonardo designed, walk along the paths with 40 oversized translucent canvases depicting diverse works, and walk across the two-level bridge Leonardo designed to reach his garden that brings his botanical drawings to life. Your children will love this fun exhibit so much they'll forget it's also educational.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Chateau de Villandry, Villandry

Considered by many people to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere, Chateau de Villandry owner, Henri Carvallo, proudly and jovially keeps the property maintained in immaculate condition for your enjoyment. Its famous Renaissance gardens, include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The garden layout includes formal patterns created with low box hedges. You can learn more about the gardens and castle with a guided tour available in English. Take your sweetheart on a carriage ride, and then play tennis on the real grass court complete with free rule sheets for the classic game.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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8. Bioparc - Zoo de Doue la Fontaine, Doue-la-Fontaine

Out of the 55 species of animals at Bioparc - Zoo de Doue la Fontaine, more than 43 are listed as threatened species, with nine of those species considered to be critically endangered. Leap into Leopard Canyon for a look at rare leopards housed in an environment that largely mimics bamboo forests and snow of the Himalayas. Visit the only aviary in the world where Andean condors can fly, then visit the South American exhibit with spider monkeys, giant otters, spectacled bears, tamarins, and maned wolves. Head to the Asian continent to spot a Sumatran tiger and the white-handed gibbon primates. Your admission price helps ensure their long-term survival in captivity.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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9. Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Amboise

With sweeping panoramic views of the Loire valley, it's no wonder why Chateau Royal d'Amboise was a favorite royal residence of several successive kings. Balconies overlooking the valley create an air of grandeur. The tomb of Leonardo da Vinci resides in the Saint Hubert chapel, renowned as a masterpiece of extravagant Gothic architecture. An armored tank designed by Leonardo da Vinci sits on the grounds of the château.

The architecture quintessentially represents the French Renaissance with gardens and the Minimes and the Heurtault towers. The towers, which served as the royal residence, are available for you to explore, but you need prior permission. After the lavish royal pomp, with permission again, you can descend to the mysterious underground, a place few royals ever saw.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Chateau de Brissac, Brissac-Quince

The tallest château in the Loire Valley, Chateau de Brissac has seven stories overlooking the sumptuous curves of the surrounding landscape. It’s also a posh locale for the Val de Loire festival. Once the French location for Brazil's celebrity magazine, “Caras,” the castle was also the stadium for Iron Chef France. Chosen as a spot to showcase French cuisine--and celebrities--because of its elegant rooms, the château is a classic example of austere French elegance, gilded in gold and fit for a king.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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11. Puy du Fou, Les Epesses

The historical theme park Puy du Fou is immensely popular for good reason--it brings periods of history to life through performances of epic proportions. By day, you can watch as gladiators fight for their lives, musketeers engage in swashbuckling sword fighting, and Vikings rise out of the lake on their ship to ransack a village right before your eyes. At night, the main show comes alive behind the ruined castle, depicting 700 years of history. The Cinéscénie dazzles you with its award-winning pyrotechnics and exquisite choreography. More than 1,000 actors, including children and live animals, perform this massive show on an outdoor stage that many boast is the largest in the world. Headphones provide English translations of this and many of the main attractions. Shows sometimes sell out weeks or even months ahead, so book your tickets to the park and the performances well in advance.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Le Grand Defi, Saint-Julien-des-Landes

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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13. Chateau de Breze, Breze

As if the pointed spires atop the carved windows weren’t romantic enough, the grounds at Chateau de Breze are also home to 29 hectares (74 acres) of vineyards. The château itself was built in the 11th century, but the only part of the structure still intact from its early days is the drawbridge. After your tour of the family home, ask to sample some of the house wines, but be careful not to drink too much before touring the fortress beneath your feet. That’s right, this castle rests on an intricate maze of tunnels that were an important component of its defense strategy in days gone by. With its steep walks and tight spaces, the underground is best toured with a clear head.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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14. Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau, Azay-le-Rideau

Set on an island in the middle of the Indre river, Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau is considered one of the foremost examples of early French Renaissance architecture. Built between 1518 and 1527, this picturesque château maintains the fashionable Italian renaissance style in its long proportions and ornate sculptural decorations.

Venture into the interior to view a significant collection of artwork, including "Dame au Bain" (possibly depicting Diane de Poitiers) by François Clouet and several portraits of French monarchs, including Francis I, Henry III, and Catherine de Médici. A climb into the attic provides an insight into the charpente, the handcrafted wooden frame supporting the roof, which was recently restored and available for your view.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes

You'll recognize the medieval Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne by the bright white tufa stone that glistens in the sky as you approach it. This austere fortress is home to the Nantes History Museum and is the last castle of the Loire before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Recent renovations allow you to stroll along the inner courtyard, revealing a 15th-century ducal palace in Renaissance style. In sharp contrast with its rough exterior walls, this castle radiates a certain elegance owed to its fine stone carvings. The rampart walk offers a number of viewpoints of the fortress and its interior buildings and across the city. In the grounds, stroll around the moat and surrounding magnolia gardens. You can download a free app with a tour of the castle to your smartphone.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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