Tourism Pays de la Loire

Nantes : a perpetual meeting

Nantes is a link. A meeting between Brittany and Pays de la Loire, between past and future, between culture and city, between land and sea, Loire and Ocean


Nantes is a perpetual encounter. Since always.

Meeting between Brittany and Loire country because even if it is the capital of the Loire countries, it is there that is the palace of the sovereign dukes of Brittany. It is there that was born the Duchess Anne of Brittany. The only woman in history to have been twice Queen of France, she did everything to keep the independence of a duchy that even Charlemagne never conquered. Her father François II left the splendid castle of the dukes. It is a pleasure to visit this beautiful white stone place which always reminds us of fairy tale castles with its ramparts, but also these delicate white stones and its high mullioned windows. A mixture of Middle Ages and Renaissance that reminds us that Nantes is the meeting point between heritage and audacity.

Le château de Nantes côté cour intérieure photo par kamira777/ 

Castle of Nantes photo par kamira777/ 

This is always lived with the famous "folles journées de Nantes" or during the "Voyage à Nantes" in summer. Events that offer invention, art and parades not far from the cathedral with the "lieu unique" or the "quartier créatif" which gathers creative imaginations, with more than forty works located in the streets. 

Nantes is the meeting point between youth and knowledge, since it is a student city, a city of researchers. It is also a meeting point between the Loire and the sea since its port sees the immense river flowing by and leads to the open sea. It is not surprising that France has made it one of its most beautiful views of the world through the trade led by these huge sailing ships which were armed from Nantes and which travelled the seas of the globe to sell, buy, trade. Not always in the right way, since many of them were used to transport slaves to the Americas. 

La Loire se divise en plusieurs bras et passe à Nantes photo par saiko3p/ 

The Loire in Nantes photo par saiko3p/ 

In Nantes, where the Loire River ends, the sea is so close that gulls do not hesitate to perform acrobatics around the famous Cheviré bridge or above the Beaujoire stadium, which has seen the exploits of the canaries, the soccer team, and some of the biggest concerts of the 20th century. If the soul chooses where it is embodied, we wish it to be born in Nantes, an open and curious city, a city of audacity and the gateway to France towards the immensity of the Ocean...

Top 5 things to see in Nantes 

1 The castle of the Dukes of Brittany : 

Vue aérienne du château de Nantes photo par Alexey Fedorenko/ShutterstockCastle of Nantes photo par Alexey Fedorenko/Shutterstock


The oldest parts date back to the 14th century when the Dukes of Brittany reinforced this castle which served to protect one of their capital cities. The Tower of the Old Keep dates from the Middle Ages and saw Gilles de Rais, companion of Joan of Arc and especially serial killer, during his trial. Most of the castle was built during the Renaissance, especially the superb facades with their typical mullioned windows. Inside you can see a museum dedicated to the history of Nantes and more than 1000 works. The 500 meters long walk on the ramparts offers a lot of opportunities to take nice pictures. 

2 The gardens of Nantes: 

Two sumptuous gardens make the reputation of Nantes: the garden of plants and its 7 hectares which make it one of the 4 largest gardens of plants in France. There are 800 m2 of greenhouses, more than 50,000 flowers and, in summer, when it is hot, the fountains are very refreshing. Further on, the Japanese garden of the Ile de Versailles is a little treasure with its rock and waterfalls and a nice house on the Erdre river which presents the local fauna and flora. Starting from the garden of the Ile de Versailles, don't hesitate to walk along the banks of the Erdre river, you will discover one of the rivers that François 1st of France appreciated the most, with nice houses and manors to discover. 

jardin botanique de Nantes photo par Julen Arabaolaza/ 

jardin botanique de Nantes photo par Julen Arabaolaza/ 

3 Nantes city of commerce 

"le passage Pommeraye" Image by edmondlafoto from Pixabay 

The city center is worth a real tour that will take you to the two sites that remind you that Nantes has long been one of France's greatest cities of commerce. The LU Tower and its typical architecture of the Belle Epoque reminds us that it is here that the famous LU butters were born and that they were made until before the war at the foot of the castle of the Dukes of Lorraine. Further on, in the heart of the city, the Pommeraye passage allows to join the Place Royale to the Place Graslin and offers a magnificent scenery with its beautiful ironworks and its nicely decorated facades. 

4 The Saint Peter and Saint Paul cathedral:

It took 457 years to build this magnificent cathedral with its beautiful white stones which erects its two towers on top of which platforms allow to see the city. Damaged by the bombings of Nantes in 1944, by a roof fire in 1972 and more recently a fire in 2020, it is nevertheless constantly reborn and deserves a real detour. 

Cathédrale de Nantes image par RossHelen/ Cathédrale de Nantes image par RossHelen/ 


5 The machines of the Ile de Nantes 

the elephant / Image by Thierry Raimbault from Pixabay 

On the island you can discover this amazing place of invention, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and especially by Jules Verne who was born here in Nantes. It is about machines inspired by animals and that you can sometimes see working. Between the heron tree and the giant elephant of 12 meters high: astonishment and sensations guaranteed.
But I could have told you about the Nantes Fine Arts Museum, ideally located between the castle and the cathedral, or the Bouffay district, with its old houses, including the amazing Apothecary's house and nice little cafés or restaurants to sit around a table. 

Gastronomy in Nantes: 

The most famous culinary specialty is without a doubt the petit-beurre, a simple dry cake invented by Louis Lefèvre-Utile (creator of the LU brand) in 1886, it is greedy and full of symbols since it symbolizes time with its 4 ears (the 4 seasons), its 24 little holes (the 24 hours of a day), and its 52 "teeth" (for 52 weeks in the year). And Nantes is the heart of the vineyard which produces the famous muscadet, which is tasted in many cafés in France, so fresh and lively it comes from here.

Le vin de Nantes c'est le muscadet image par CaftorRossHelen/ 

Le vin de Nantes c'est le muscadet image par CaftorRossHelen/ 

To taste also : 

The Nantes rigolettes, which take their name from "rigolette" the mischievous cat of the confectioner Charles Bohu, who invented them in 1902. A typical candy with a shell that make in the mouth and release a kind of fruit jam. More "hard" than the rigolettes there are the berlingots nantais, typical with their shape of pyramid, and whose recipe would have been given to a canteen girl who had just given alms to a poor woman. A recipe that made a fortune. Finally, we can't forget the Nantais cake, with its almond powder and its little touch of rum.

Where is Nantes ?

Nantes : 300 000 citizens, 50 kms from the Atlantic Ocean and 400 kms from Paris. There is the Nantes Attlantique airport with many international destinations. Paris is 4H00 by car and between 2H and 2H30 by TGV. 

More infos here

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Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.