08 December, 2011

The Angers cité : a path towards the past

Surrounded by traffic and illuminations for Christmas and New Year festivities, the Cité district in downtown Angers, located at the core of the city, is a world apart. After a few minutes through its deserted streets, the most surprising element is the silence, only interrupted by the tenor bell of the nearby Saint-Maurice cathedral. At that period of the year, obscurity invades quickly the cobblestone streets on which only ring out the steps of the pedestrian or the rattle of a bike.

The deep walls of mansions do not let a sound to leak out. Only some murmurs and rays of light escape from the shutters. The Cité district looks to be at bed as soon as nightfall arrives, like its inhabitants did in the ancient times. The pale and flickering street-lamps give a gloomy and even an hostile aspect of that historical district which doesn't want to attract curiosity.

If the architecture has been generally well preserved, thanks to the mullioned windowns and the large carriage-doors, the condition of the medieval timber-framed houses and mansions of XVIIIth century is sometimes unsatisfactory. Some new buidings have recently been erected and the quiet district which shuts itself off from the rest of the town could see its quietness be endangered by an important real-estate project in the former garrison-house. Except an old fashioned creperie is the unique appealing place at night. The cité keeps its mystery.

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