The artsy city of Nantes is located on the banks of the Loire River in western France. It is the perfect city to visit during both winter and summer. From restoring old building to transforming factories, festivals and regeneration projects, the city has grown into a dynamic, lively and inventive city.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.LES MACHINES DE Lâ€™LLE
Take a ride on the 12 meters high and eight meters wide the mechanical elephant. During the 45 minute walk you will also get a glimpse of flying herons, jumbo ants and mammoth tree branches. Starting at the old warehouse before ambling out into the square, during your ride you can spray outsiders with water from the elephantâ€™s trunk. You can also ride a carrousel like no other â€“ where fish and sea life take over from horses and fairytale carriages.
2.LLE DE NANTES
With regeneration of 337 hectares of shipyard space currently taking place this eco-friendly quarter is a controversial addition to the city. With vehicles sticking out the side of buildings, the futuristic structures replacing the bland exteriors of what use to be and innovative new urban development. Here you can explore contemporary art first hand.
3.CHATEAU DES DUCS DE BRETAGNE
Once located directly on the Loire River, this 15th century castle and fortress was started under Francois II and completed by his daughter, Anne of Brittany. The impressive outside and intellectually stimulating inside as well as the history of the city is highlighted by multi-media displays. A large water-filled moat is surrounding the seven towers castle in the heart of the medieval quarter of the city.
The Gothic Cathedral is home to an 11th century roman crypt and the final resting place of Francois II. The white-stoned, double tower front is the younger sister of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and is dating back to 1434. Head inside to marvel at the impressive interior, with its beautiful stained-glass windows and high vaulted ceilings.
5.LE PASSAGE POMMERAYE
Classified as a historical monument in 1976, it is lined with boutiques shops. The ornate stairways is lined with cream carved statues and glass ceilings. You will get the most beautiful artistic carved chocolates at Maison Georges Larnicol.
6.THE MEMORIAL TO THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY
The city was once Franceâ€™s largest slave port, but slavery was abolished in the city in 1848. A 400m walkway under the quayside pays homage to all those who have fought again slavery and the underground passage evoking thoughts not only about past slavery experiences but also modern day ones. Outside the 2000 plaques denoting either ships that have left Nantes on slave trade expeditions or African and American trading posts in the hope that it will highlight the enormity of what took place.
7.THE JULES VERNE MUSEUM
The museum is dedicated to the famous author, his influences are apparent across the city from Ã®le de Nantes to Feydeau. It is home to the original books and documents, illustrations and objects from Jules Verne himself demonstrating how the Sci-Fi novel came about. Visit his birthplace on Rue Olivier de Clisson and look at a fresco depicting his Voyages close to the Church of St Nicolas. Visit his country house where it is believed he came up with the ideas for both â€˜From the Earth to the Moonâ€™ and â€˜Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seaâ€™.
The â€˜weird and wackyâ€™ Le Nid is located in The Tour Bretagne. The 32nd floor building is home to the most bizarre bar you ever visited, an enormous white bird, the body of which serves as a bar, and oversized eggshells which function as tables and chairs. Head up there as the sun is setting and you will be able to not only take some great photos but amazing views of the surrounding areas.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
Tramway, bus and navibus, bikes and car sharing service, walking tours... all of Nantes is accessible to you through its many transportation options, where you can visit the city just about every way imaginable.
If you're looking for the very warmest time to visit Nantes, the hottest months are July, August, and then June.