The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

4 months ago


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Brimming with fabulous features combined with stunning photographs – inspiring, entertaining and informative destination features - Provence, Loire Valley, Normandy, Lyon, Brittany, Alsace and more. Delicious recipes, culture and history, what's new, the best tours and much, much more...

Tracking the

Tracking the PLANTAGENETS Page 78 Le Mans cathedral Alone with the Plantagenets Cite Plantagenet, Le Mans Gillian Thornton follows the English kings through Anjou and Normandy Royal dynasties are often complicated, but none more so than the early Plantagenet kings who dominated France and England in the 12th and 13th centuries. Arranged marriages here. Betrayals and treachery there. This was the soap opera that just kept on giving. It all began in Le Mans with Geoffrey, Count of Anjou and Maine, who tucked a sprig of broom, or genet, in his hat after hunting, thus earning himself the name of Geoffrey Plantagenet. In 1128, he married Matilda - granddaughter of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of England – who gave Geoffrey the Duchy of Normandy as her dowry. But it was his son Henry and grandsons Richard and John who really put the family on the political map. I love discovering the shared history of England and France but especially since my husband discovered a distant Plantagenet connection in his family tree. You don’t need any royal relatives, however, to enjoy visiting heritage sites associated with this colourful cast of characters. The Angevin heartland Best place to start any Plantagenet tour is in the historic province of Anjou, today part of Pays de la Loire. Geoffrey was born in Le Mans in 1113, baptised in its soaring Gothic cathedral, and married to Matilda in the Palace of the Counts of Maine, now the city’s Town Hall. The cathedral itself is a stunner, standing at the heart of the historic quarter or Cité Plantagenet. Wander the cobbled streets today past colourful half-timbered facades and it’s easy to imagine life in the Plantagenet era; harder though to grasp that the substantial Roman ramparts were already 800 years old when Geoffrey lived here and are largely still standing. 70 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 71