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Nantes is known for…

Nantes, the sixth-largest in France, is a city full of interesting landmarks like the castle and the cathedral. In addition, there are plenty of trendy venues and technological fantasy to enjoy. Nantes is famous for its vineyards that produce Muscadet white wine.

Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne

The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany is in the Loire-Atlantique département of France and was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries.

The Nantes History Museum is located inside the castle spread out over 32 castle rooms. The museum tries to symbolize the past dating back to the 17th century, the present, and the future of the city of Nantes.

When you walk the 500 meter round walk on the fortified ramparts you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the town as well as the castle buildings and courtyards.

ANOTHER SIGHTSEEING IDEA near the castle is Place du Bouffay, a pedestrian area between the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Saint Pierre Cathedral et la Place du Commerce. This ancient medieval quarter of Nantesvieux is known for its Breton culture and for the pubs and restaurants.

FRANCE Nantes Chateau des ducs de Bretagne Castle

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes

The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul are next to each other. In other words, it makes for convenient sightseeing.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes took 457 years to finish construction, i.e. from 1434 to 1891 when construction was completed. This Roman Catholic Gothic cathedral is built on the site of a Romanesque cathedral and is listed (since 1862) as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

Damage over the years:

  • In 1944 the cathedral was partly destroyed during World War II after Allied bombings.
  • In 1972 a gigantic fire completely ravaged its roof. This event led to an intensive interior restoration including replacing the ancient wooden roof.
  • In 2020 the main organ was completely destroyed by a fire caused by a refugee. Stained glassed windows at the front of the cathedral were blown out and the fire also consumed a 19th-century painting that originated from Rome.

Inside the cathedral is the tomb of Francis II, Duke of Brittany, and of his wife Marguerite de Foix, the (parents of Anne of Brittany).

In addition, ANOTHER SIGHTSEEING IDEA close by is La Chapelle de l’Oratoire

FRANCE Nantes Cathedral

Machines of the Isles of Nantes

Feel like a ride on an elephant? Well, in the case of The Great Elephant (2007) you will be riding inside the elephant rather than on the elephant. This mechanical elephant (an inexact replica of The Sultan’s Elephant from Royal de Luxe) is made from 45 tons of wood and steel and is 12 meters (39 ft), and 8 meters (26 ft) meters wide. In other words, it can comfortably take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk!

There are many different mechanical animals on display.

How to get to it: Take tramway line 1 to Chantiers Naval. After that, walk across the bridge.

FRANCE Nantes Machines Isle Nantes

Le Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants)

The Nantes Botanical Garden, situated just outside the main train station (North exit), covers 7 hectares of green space in the centre of town. Put on your walking shoes and immerse yourself in this enchanting garden, which is among 4 major botanical gardens in France.

FRANCE Nantes Botanical Garden Green Space Art

Passage Pommeraye 

This beautiful and well-known 19th-century shopping mall is located between Rue Crébillon and Rue de la Fosse. 

FRANCE Nantes Loire Atlantique Passage Pommeray

The Jules Verne Museum

Located on the Butte Sainte Anne, the recently restored museum has a very good collection of memorabilia and objects associated with Jules Verne.

In addition, there is a lovely view of the port of Nantes.

FRANCE Nantes Town Hall Square
Town Hall Square
FRANCE Nantes Jules Verne Statue Garden Park Reading

More sightseeing ideas

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), Rue Clémenceau 10A beautiful building with an excellent art collection and temporary exhibitions. 
  • Place Maréchal-Foch contains one of the few existing statures of Louis XVI, the beheaded king, left in France
  • lIle de Versailles, a peaceful island in the Erdre with a Japanese garden.
  • Le Cours Cambronne is only a few steps from la place Graslin containing imperial buildings.
  • La Place Mellinet contains some of the restored architecture in Nantes and consists of eight perfectly symmetric houses built around an octagon. 200 meters from Port and from Maillé-Brézé.
  • Visit Ile Feydeau for the magnificent architecture of the 18th century. Shipowners’ houses in the sculptured mascarons and the balconies of wrought iron illustrate the wealth accumulated at the time of the triangular trade.
  • The new Palais de Justice on the Île de Nantes, designed by Jean Nouvel and built in 2000.
  • La Tour LU (The LU Tower) – a picturesque tower guarding the entrance of a former Lefevre-Utile biscuit factory.
  • The lieu unique, a centre of atypical art shelters a restaurant, a bar, a shop, theaters, etc.
  • Musée Thomas Dobrée.
  • Le Marché Talensac, the main town market, full of high-quality local produce.
  • Land HemisphereAccording to one measurement, the Earth’s land hemisphere, i.e. the hemisphere of the Earth containing the largest possible area of land, is centered on Nantes.
  • French destroyer Maillé-BrézéQuai de la fosse BP 68721 (Tramway station Gare Maritime),  +33 9 79 18 33 51 A warship that has been moored in Nantes for many years which is open to visitors. 
FRANCE Nantes Tourism Castle France Pierre Colors Sunset
Captivating sunset in Nantes.

Nataniël & Marc Le Rest at Galerie Albane

South African born Nataniël enjoys spending time, with his brother in a famous cooking show (Edik van Nantes), in Nantes. The interview with Marc le Rest is in English, with a brief introduction in Afrikaans.

How expensive is Nantes?

What is the best option to travel from Paris to Nantes?

  • My recommendation is to travel by train which will take you just over two hours from Paris to Nantes.
  • The bus is the cheapest way, but at more than double the time.
  • You can drive by car, or try Rideshare.
  • Alternatively, catch a flight from CDG to Nantes.

How far is Nantes from Paris?

Nantes is about 385 km from Paris.