The Département Maine-et-Loire is in the west of France in the historic Region of Anjou. Angers is the largest town and has many hotels to choose from. The castle with walls 60 meters high,sits on a high cliff above the river Maine. It is possible to stroll around the 13th Century fortifications from whence there is a good view in all directions. A huge wall tapestry 168 meters long made by the Paris weaver Nicholas Bataille in the 14th Century is housed in a specially constructed glass building. The cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and a renowned organ screen from the 18th Century. In the Musée des Beaux-Arts works of Raphaél, Chardin and Corot are exhibited.
Saumur is a medieval town known worldwide for its cultivation of mushrooms. The wine cellars here are actually in caves in the chalk. One of the most beautiful castles in the whole Loire valley sits high above the river. It was first constructed in the 14th Century and only became fortified two hundred years later. The Tour du Guet is reached by a spiral staircase and offers a good panorama. Bagneaux has one of the most impressive meglithic graves in the whole of Europe.
Population: 759 000 (2006)
Main towns: Angers, Cholet, Saumur