I have the impression that when the event takes place over couple of days, the second day is always the best one. Maybe because group members know each other better, more familiar with the environment and more relaxed. The second day in Angers got already better for me, maybe also because I didn’t have to wake up at 4am, and I was looking forward for new discoveries. The day was packed with site visits and activities which I’m very happy to share with you in this post. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to be inspired by some incredible and unique venues in Angers region.
The first venue we visited was Terra Botanica. As mentioned in my first post about Angers, one of the main regional industries is plant and Terra Botanica is the first ever theme park dedicated to plants and it’s open only since April 2010. The park is designed for leisure and business groups and we did one of the educational tours which we concluded with a fun activity.
At first we did the “Great Explorations” activity where we watched a short 3D movie letting us to experience the crossing of the Atlantic in search of the New World, taking us through sea life and sailing through violent ocean storms. The staging concluded with “disembarking“ in South America, to discover all the rich plantations. Our tour guide took us on a real journey, explaining us about the different plants, what they are used for, their attributes and flavours. For someone who doesn’t have any background in plant, like me, it was a very informative and interesting tour. We concluded the tour with fun group activity and made delicious, non-alcoholic cocktails from all the exotic ingredients we heard about during the tour. The activity was so simple I really liked it. Sometimes event managers like to complicate things, make it more sophisticated. But really, simple works just fine and it was a good one!
Terra Botanica has also its own event facilities, the business centre. I like the venue because it’s very “green”, meaning it’s both environmentally friendly and has vegetation surrounding the event facilities. If the weather allows, there is also a possibility to conduct meetings outside.
From there we headed to the second vineyard venue Château Soucherie. We had light lunch and started the wine tasting activity strait away. I did some wine tastings before, but that was my favourite one. First of all, what really differentiated this wine tasting from the other ones, is that it was wine tasting, not drinking. During the two hours we were there we tasted only 2 wines and the rest discussed flavours, regions, did blind tasting and really learned about the wine. One takeaway from this was, if you’re planning a wine tasting event for your group, make sure it’s a wine tasting, not drinking. If you want to present different wines to your attendees to drink, then call it wine & cheese evening, French wines evening or alike. Savvy attendees will appreciate it. To conclude our activity we opened a bottle of Prosecco with a knife, a common French tradition called Sabrage and usually used for celebrations. We were lucky to be there on the day because it was also an open day for the venue and they had live jazz music on the terrace. That was such a perfect day, with blue sky and good wine. Couldn’t ask for more. Though it did get better.
From there we headed to Château de Brissac, the tallest castle in France. Till now I visited several castles and always had different experiences. One castle had too many regulations to host events, another felt too ‘cold’ to host an event there (both not in France though), so it’s still an area I have to learn more about and explore. This time I had completely new experience, and I tell you why – The Brissac family still lives there! They live on the upper floor, so of course we were not allowed there, but the place does feel like as someone, royal, lives there and it gives a certain warmth, respect and admiration to this place. Just the thought of knowing you are in someone’s “house” gives a completely different, warm, feeling. We had an excellent guide who showed us around everywhere she could and she knew everything about all the generations of the Brissac family. The castle is also rented for exclusive events. I was very curious about the aspect, how a family can live there and accept tourists during the day? The guide explained that they have to accept it in order to maintain the castle, which is obviously very expensive. That was very impressive, completely new experience to visit a residential castle, I liked it.
I hope you enjoyed it and were inspired by some of the venues and the stories. The next post will be about a super unique venue where we had dinner, so stay tuned and visit the blog soon for updates!! Have a fabulous weekend!
Photos by: Irina Trofimovskaya