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Hidden treasure: the strongest fortress in the kingdom

The fortress built by Saint Louis in the 13th century was the strongest in the kingdom at the time. The military structure’s stone fortifications and monumental towers bore testimony to the King of France’s power during this period of war.

Anyone wanting to challenge the defensive architecture of the Château of Angers had to be armed with a considerable amount of courage and bravery! Its strategic military strength lay primarily in its location, as it was built on a promontory overlooking the River Maine and from where enemies could be observed from afar. Saint Louis built the fortress around the royal palace to discourage attacks from England and Brittany, using stones destined for the construction of the Cathedral of Angers! The château’s wall covered nearly 800m, with only the north side left unfortified since it opened onto to a sheer slope on the edge of the Maine. The ramparts were punctuated with 17 towers measuring 12 to 13 metres in diameter and built at intervals of less than 20 metres. This close proximity made shooting from the arrow slits, which were later used for canons, incredibly effective. The walls were defended by a moat and steep embankments and the château had only two entrances: the city gate and the field gate which were both strongly guarded by portcullises, deadfall traps and drawbridges. The schist and limestone used to build the structure give it an imposing allure, but it was above all its military architecture, which was extremely advanced for the time, that made the fortress of Angers almost impregnable.
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