Welcome to Angers! The capital of Anjou, set in the heart of the Loire Valley, just an hour and a half away from Paris (by TGV Train) and two hours from the Atlantic Ocean (by car).
Angers is the administrative centre of the “Maine-et-Loire” department, named after its two main rivers: the “Maine” which crosses the city and the “Loire” which offers beautiful landscapes in the whole department and that is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Originally inhabited by a Gallic tribe, dominated by Romans, invaded by Normans throughout years, Angers became the capital of the historic province of Anjou during the ninth century.
Its very first links with England date back from the twelfth century when Henri Plantagenet, Count of Anjou-Count of Maine and Duke of Normandy, was crowned King Henry II of England in Westminster Abbey.
A dynamic, modern and cosmopolitan city of learning
With a population of around 160,000 people (260,000 within the borough), Angers is the 16th largest city in France. Among the 160,000 inhabitants are 30,000 students based in 3 different universities (2 state universities and one private), but also in graduate schools (e.g. graduate business schools, graduate agriculture schools etc.)
Along with these “learning centres”, the city in itself provides education to the citizens through its past which is present in the city’s monument such as: the Castle (built in the 9th century), the Cathedral (built in the 11-12th centuries), Adam’s House (built in 1500) etc... All these monuments play an integral part in Angers’ history and heritage, as well as in Angevins’ culture and education.
Angers has managed to combine its heritage and historical culture with modernity. Indeed, in a city where history is omnipresent thanks to monuments, a lot of festivals and projects have been created to promote contemporary culture. Many music, film and theatre festivals take place in Angers every year (e.g. European First Film Festival “Festival Premiers Plans”, Street Arts Festival “Les Accroche Coeurs” etc.) To enhance all these cultural activities, Angers also benefits from its new contemporary arts centre “Le Quai” which is one of the town’s recent regeneration projects (along with the tramway, a new botanic garden and many more).
Along with culture, its economy also plays a major role in Angers’ dynamism: the town is home to several international businesses. The major companies that contribute to the development of Angers’ economy include:
- Scania: lorry manufacturer, originally from Södertalje which is the Swedish partner town of Angers;
- Bosch: diversified technologic-based corporation;
- Thomson: electronics and media manufacturer;
- Cointreau: manufacturer of the famous liquor made out of bitter orange peels. 95% of its production is sold abroad (200 countries).
Thanks to its international businesses, but also to the “International Relations” Department at Angers Town Hall and many related associations, Angers is a city ‘open to the world’. Indeed, Angers has no less than 7 twin towns: Wigan (since 1987-88), Osnabrück in Germany (since 1964), Haarlem in the Netherlands (since 1964), Pisa in Italy (since 1982), Bamako in Africa (since 1974), Yantaï in China (since 2006) and Södertalje in Sweden is a partner town (since 1998).
Each year, Angers is visited by thousands of tourists coming mainly from other European countries. The major part of these tourists come from the United Kingdom, this shows how well you will be welcomed in Angers.
So come and discover all about your French twin town: have a glass of Côteaux du Layon (white wine), try the famous blue chocolate “Quernons d’Ardoise” and the many other traditional dishes from the region. Have an ice cream in the Mail Park, learn more about your twin town’s history by walking in the “Vieil Angers” (Angers’ old town).
Twinning offers the chance to discover another way of life, to meet new people and to improve your French.
Come to Angers and discover more about your French twin town!