NANTES

France

Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, 50 km (31 mi) from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth largest in France, with a metropolitan area of about 900,000 inhabitants.

Info Nantes

introduction

Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, 50 km (31 mi) from the Atlantic coast.  The city is the sixth largest in France, with a metropolitan area of about 900,000 inhabitants.

Nantes is the capital city of the Pays de la Loire region and the Loire-Atlantique département, and it is the largest city in traditional Brittany and in the whole Grand-Ouest (northwestern France). Together with Vannes, Rennes and Carhaix, it was one of the major cities of the historic province of Brittany and the ancient Duchy of Brittany. Nantes is still widely regarded as its capital city.

The Nantes Tramway opened in 1985, a reversal of the trend of tramway closures that had been going on since the middle of the 20th century. The tramway system is one of the largest and busiest in France. The city also has aBusway line, an innovative and notable bus rapid transit. Nantes is served by an international airport, Nantes Atlantique Airportand a major French railway station, the Gare de Nantes.

In 2004, Time named Nantes as "the most liveable city in Europe".  In 2010, Nantes was named a hub city for innovation in the Innovation Cities Index by innovation agency 2thinknow. The city was ranked 36th globally from 289 cities and 4th overall in France, behind Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg for innovation across multiple sectors of the economy. As of 2013, Nantes holds the title of European Green Capital, awarded by the European Commission for its efforts to reduce air pollution and CO2emissions, for its high-quality and well-managed public transport system, and for its biodiversity with 3,366 hectares of green spaces and several Natura 2000 zones which guarantee protection of nature in the area.

Euronantes is the city's central business district, which is currently in development near Gare de Nantes and on Île de Nantes, offering by 2015 500,000 square metres of office space, retail space and upscale hotels. The district is served by Busway line 4 at Cité Internationale des congrès et Tripode stations.

In 2012, Nantes was classified as a global city by the GAMMA GaWC ranking of Loughborough University in England. Nantes is the fourth highest-ranked French city (behind Paris, Lyon and Marseille) according to its classification. Nantes was ranked ahead of cities such as Porto, Florence, New Orleans, Hanover, and Genoa.

info
POPULATION :• Population (2010) 284,970
• Urban (2010) 600,502
• Metro (2010) 873,133
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (GMT +1) (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE : French
RELIGION :
AREA :• Area 65.19 km2 (25.17 sq mi)
• Urban (2008) 52.46 km2 (20.25 sq mi)
• Metro (1999) 2,242.6 km2 (865.9 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 47°13′05″N 1°33′10″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.4%
 Female: 51.6%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 02
POSTAL CODE : 44109 / 44000, 44100, 44200 and 44300
DIALING CODE : +33 2
WEBSITE : http://en.nantes.fr/home.html

Tourism

Nantes was once an important port located 50 km up the Loire River. It grew rich on the triangular trade with Africa and the West Indies. Nantes is also famous for being the home of the science fiction writer Jules Verne. Rain is frequent, and beware if it's sunny because brief but fierce tempests have been known to appear unexpectedly. Always carry an umbrella or raincoat when going out. Winters are typically mild.

Several well known districts in Nantes:

  • Place du Commerce : This is the centre of the city and everybody will be able to direct you here. Near here you will find la Place Royale, le Quai de la Fosse,la rue Crébillon (famous for its posh shops)
  • Place du Bouffay : Old Nantes, with many restaurants and known for foreign food. There are also many bars.
  • Talensac : famous for its market.
  • Decré : A pedestrian shopping district close to Bouffay.
  • Ile de Versailles : An island in the river Erdre close to the city centre (reach it from Tram line 2). The entire island is a Japanese garden and is a pleasant place to relax.
  • Rue Crébillon : Semi pedestrian street at the junction of la place Royale and la place Graslin, where the main clothes shops are situated. Pour ceux qui ne compte pas leur argent (for those who do not count their money).
  • Quai de la fosse : Bars and prostitutes on the week-end. Used to be called by locals Quai de la fesse (Quay of Buttocks).
  • Butte St-Anne : West of the place du Commerce, in the quartier de Chantenay. Old buildings and a view on the former port.
  • Le quai des Antilles : A nice place to get a drink. Lots of bars and restaurants.

History

Prehistory and antiquity

Although there are very few prehistoric archaeological finds in Nantes and its surrounding area (in contrast to numerous ancient remains on the Breton coast), it seems the ancient population was based around mining communities in the north of the current town. During the Gallic period the area belonged to the Namnetes, who were conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 BC. The Romans Latinised the town's name toCondevincum, or Condevicnum, and under Roman rule it became an administrative centre. In the 3rd century it was renamedPortus Namnetum, and during this period a Gallo-Roman surrounding wall was constructed to fend off Saxon invasion; the remains can still be seen today. Nantes was Christianised during this period, and its first bishops took office after the conversion of Constantine the Great.


Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the city rapidly came under the control of Clovis I despite resistance from the Roman garrison of Breton soldiers. During the Frankish period, the town played an essential role in halting Breton expansion from the Armorican peninsula. It became the capital of the 'Breton March' during the reign of Charlemagne; the territory was initially under the dominion of his nephew, Roland, who was given the title of 'Prefect of the Breton March'.


Breton rule

After Charlemagne's death, Breton expansion intensified. In 850, the region was conquered by Nominoë, the ruler of Brittany, who invaded, among others, the towns of Nantes and Rennes. The following year, in the aftermath of the Battle of Jengland, the Breton March, with Nantes as its capital, was integrated into Brittany by the Treaty of Angers. The subsequent eighty years, however, were made difficult by the constant infighting between the Breton warlords, who promoted Viking invasions, the most spectacular of which took place on 24 June 843 and resulted in the death of Bishop Gohard of Nantes. The Chronicle of Nantes recounts that, during this period, "The city of Nantes remained for many years deserted, devastated and overgrown with briars and thorns." From 919 to 937, the town was managed by the Vikings, who were defeated by Alain Barbe-Torte, the grandson of Alan the Great, the last king of Brittany.


The Wars of Succession

In the subsequent period, the Dukes of Brittany fought against the Counts of Nantes. These succession feuds resulted from time to time in Nantes passing under the sovereignty of the house of Anjou. The longest of these periods began in 1156 and lasted 45 years, representing a period of stability. In 1203 Brittany came under the dominion of the Capetians, the French monarchy, and under Peter I, Duke of Brittany Nantes enjoyed a resurgence when the Duke made the town his principal residence.

The Second Breton War of Succession pitted the supporters of two different claimants against one another: those of the half-brother of the deceased John III, Duke of Brittany, Jean de Montfort, who relied on the Estates of Brittany who gathered in Nantes, and those of Charles I, Duke of Brittany, who was supported by King Philippe VI of France and was recognized as Duke of Brittany by the peers of the kingdom. The De Montfort dynasty emerged victorious from the conflict, and it made Nantes an impressive capital of the duchy. During the 15th century the town developed, largely due to its maritime and river-based trade.

At the end of the 15th century, Nantes was of great strategic importance in the war between the King of France and Francis II, Duke of Brittany. The city was conquered in 1488, from which point Brittany was governed by the kings of France. The heir to the duchy, Anne of Brittany, married Charles VIII of France in 1491, and then Louis XII of France, making her Queen of France. At her death in 1514, she bequeathed her heart to the town of Nantes (currently in the Dobrée museum). Claude of France, the eldest daughter of Anne of Brittany, donated the duchy to her husband Francis I of France, but the Estates of Brittany themselves requested the union of Brittany and France in exchange for the continuation of their privileges, which ushered in the next period.


Union of Brittany and France

In 1532 the duchy of Brittany became a part of the French crown lands, as a result of the Union of Brittany and France, an edict declaring a perpetual and indissoluble union between Brittany and France. Significantly, a resulting administrative reorganisation made the nearby city of Rennes the new seat of the Parlement of Brittany in 1560, increasing its role considerably. Nantes, however, retained the Chamber of the Counts of Brittany.

The union with France marked a period of relative growth for the port city. The town’s population increased from 15,000 inhabitants at the end of the 15th century to 25,000 at the end of the 16th century. The 2,000 boats which frequented the port exported wine and imported salt and cod.


Wars of Religion

During the Wars of Religion, Nantes supported the Catholic League and the governor of Brittany, the Duke of Mercoeur, in his fight against the Protestants. The town was one of the last to recognise the authority of Henri IV, which meant that the Edict of Nantes, a decree guaranteeing the right of worship to Protestants, did not reflect the majority opinion of the inhabitants.

The year 1685 was dominated by two major events, the first being the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV, and the second being the announcement of the Code Noir by the same king. The latter law ensured the prosperity of the port of Nantes, as it became a commercial hub where sugar, tobacco and slaves were traded with the colonies.


The slave trade

Nantes developed with the help of its foreign trade, which it inherited from the Middle Ages, and which it expanded during the era of colonists and white settlers who developed the colonial economy in the Antilles. The city's wealth, however, saw a far greater increase as a result of the slave trade in Africa, also known as the triangular trade. Although Nantes was not the only French port to have taken part in the slave trade (Bordeaux, Rouen, La Rochelle, Brest, Lorient and Vannes also sent expeditions), it certainly pioneered the trade: between 1707 and 1711, 75% of the ships carrying slaves were from Nantes. The principal ship-owners in Nantes were Michel, René and Jean Montaudoin, Luc Shiell, Marthurin Joubert, Jean Terrien and Sarrebouse d’Audeville. In 1754 the ship Saint-Phillipe, owned by the Nantes-based Jogue brothers crossed the middle passage with 462 slaves in 25 days, whereas vessels earlier in the century would often take up to nine months. In the period between 1722 and 1744, Nantes was responsible for 50% of the human traffic, a percentage which grew again in 1762, before sinking to 32% between 1782 and 1792. In total, during the 18th century the port at Nantes sent out ships with 450,000 Africans, equivalent to 42% of the French slave trade. Nantes remained the principal slave port until the 1780s. Even after the official end of the slave trade in 1818, the trade continued. Over the next 13 years, 305 expeditions are recorded as having left from Nantes docks for the African coast.


French Revolution

When the French Revolution broke out, Nantes supported the new government, in contrast to the surrounding region, which remained strongly loyal to the deposed royal family. Tensions soon escalated into an open civil war against the new republic known as the War in the Vendée. On 29 June 1793 the town was the site of a Republican victory in this war. The Loire was also the site of thousands of executions by drowning.


Industrial Revolution

In the 19th century, Nantes became an industrial city. The first public transport anywhere may have been the omnibus service initiated in Nantes in 1826.  It was soon imitated in Paris, London and New York. The first railways were built in 1851 and many industries were created.


Second World War

In 1940, the city was occupied by German troops. In 1941, the assassination of a German officer, Lt. Col. Fritz Hotz, caused the retaliatory execution of 48 civilians. The city was twice severely bombed by American forces, on 16 and 23 August 1943, almost 1500 people were killed in the raids. The city was liberated by the Americans in 1944.


Post-war years

Until the 1970s, Nantes' harbour was located on the Île de Nantes, when it was moved to the very mouth of the Loire River, at Saint-Nazaire. In the subsequent 20 years, many service sector organisations moved into the area, but economic difficulties forced most of these to close. In 2001, a major redevelopment scheme was launched, the goal of which is to revitalise the island as the new city centre.

In 2003, the French weekly L'Express voted Nantes to be the "greenest city" in France, while in both 2003 and 2004 it was voted the "best place to live" by the weekly Le Point. In August 2004, Timedesignated Nantes as "the most livable city in all of Europe."

Climate

Nantes has a Western European oceanic climate, with frequent rainfalls all year round and cool temperatures. Autumn and winter days are generally rainy with cold temperatures often falling below zero and moderate snowfalls in the coldest months. Spring and summer days are sunny to cloudy with mild temperatures and occasional summer hot spells especially during the month of July.

Climate data for Nantes

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)18.2
(64.8)
21.4
(70.5)
23.8
(74.8)
28.3
(82.9)
32.7
(90.9)
36.8
(98.2)
40.3
(104.5)
39.2
(102.6)
34.3
(93.7)
30.2
(86.4)
21.1
(70)
18.4
(65.1)
40.3
(104.5)
Average high °C (°F)9.0
(48.2)
9.9
(49.8)
13.0
(55.4)
15.5
(59.9)
19.2
(66.6)
22.7
(72.9)
24.8
(76.6)
25.0
(77)
22.1
(71.8)
17.5
(63.5)
12.4
(54.3)
9.3
(48.7)
16.7
(62.1)
Daily mean °C (°F)6.1
(43)
6.4
(43.5)
8.9
(48)
11
(52)
14.6
(58.3)
17.7
(63.9)
19.6
(67.3)
19.6
(67.3)
17
(63)
13.5
(56.3)
9.1
(48.4)
6.4
(43.5)
12.5
(54.5)
Average low °C (°F)3.1
(37.6)
2.9
(37.2)
4.8
(40.6)
6.4
(43.5)
9.9
(49.8)
12.6
(54.7)
14.4
(57.9)
14.2
(57.6)
11.9
(53.4)
9.4
(48.9)
5.7
(42.3)
3.4
(38.1)
8.3
(46.9)
Record low °C (°F)−13.0
(8.6)
−15.6
(3.9)
−9.6
(14.7)
−2.8
(27)
−1.5
(29.3)
3.8
(38.8)
5.8
(42.4)
5.6
(42.1)
2.8
(37)
−3.3
(26.1)
−6.8
(19.8)
−10.8
(12.6)
−15.6
(3.9)
              
Source #1: Meteo France
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr 

Geography

Nantes is located on the banks of the Loire River, at the confluence of the Erdreand the Sèvre Nantaise, 55 kilometres (34 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean. The city was built in a place where many branches of the Loire river created several islands, but most of those branches were filled in at the beginning of the 20th century (and the confluence with the Erdre river diverted and covered) due to the increasing car traffic.

Nantes is the central point of the land hemisphere (the half of the earth containing the largest possible area of land).

Internet, Comunication

The first part of the WIFI network covers the city center, lieu unique, SNCF train station, Ile de Nantes district. From the Nantes WIFI portal site, the access is free and directs towards some sites of practical information in Nantes Métropole (in English and French).

  • Hotel bookings
  • Cultural and tourist activities
  • Restaurants
  • Traffic information

Many bars and cafés also offer free Wifi to those with a laptop computer. Look for the WiFi logo in the windows.

Prices in Nantes

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.86
Tomatoes1 kg€2.85
Cheese0.5 kg€6.00
Apples1 kg€1.75
Oranges1 kg€1.90
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€5.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€2.05
Bread1 piece€1.25
Water1.5 l€0.55

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€28.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€41.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2€52.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€7.80
Water0.33 l€1.28
Cappuccino1 cup€2.30
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€4.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€4.50
Coca-Cola0.33 l€2.60
Coctail drink1 drink€8.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€16.00
Gym1 month€40.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€18.00
Theatar2 tickets€100.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.26
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€7.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces€5.00
Deodorant50 ml.€2.70
Shampoo400 ml.€3.80
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.70
Toothpaste1 tube€2.00

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€68.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€37.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€68.00
Leather shoes€82.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.26
TaxiStart€3.90
Taxi1 km€1.25
Local Transport1 ticket€1.60

Tourist (Backpacker)  

65 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

189 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

There is an international airport in the south of Nantes (Nantes-Atlantique) [www]. Regular connections to Paris, Lyon and other French cities. Ryanair, British Airways and Flybe operate flights from the UK.

There are three ways to get to the airport from the centre of the town.

  • By bus (TAN AIR) which runs from the center of Nantes (Commerce) taking 20 minutes, or from the Nantes station taking 30 minutes (7,50€).
  • From Commerce take tram line 3 in the direction Neustrie
  1. from the terminus station "Neustrie", take the Aeroport Bus which terminates at Nantes Atlantique airport. This will take around 35 minutes.
  2. get off at the tram stop "Pirmil", then take bus line 98 to the stop "Aéroport". This will also take around 35 minutes plus a two minute walk

The last two methods just require the regular TAN ticket valid for an hour and will cost you 1,50€ (or less if you already have a day ticket etc.) Also, all tram stations have a very clear tram and bus map and you will easily be able to see these methods to get to the airport.

It is easy to find the Aeroport Bus stop at the airport, but if you are not familiar with the area, it is very difficult to find the stop for the number 98 bus at the airport. To reach Bus 98, cross the railroad tracks and walk through the P1 Sud parking lot to Rue Charles Lindbergh. It is just a five-minute walk from the terminal, but there are no signs pointing the way. Note that the Aeroport Bus departs every 20 minutes, but Bus 98 departs every 30-60 minutes.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Nantes is just over 2 hours (depending on the number of stops) by TGV from Paris passing through Le Mans and Angers. Trains run regularly throughout the day. There are also direct connections from Nantes to Charles de Gaulle Airport and to Lille (stopping at Disneyland Resort Paris) which bypass Paris.

It is also possible to go to

  • Roissy CDG Airport in 2h50
  • Grenoble in 5h35
  • Lille in 3h50
  • Lyon in 4h20
  • Marseille in 6h20

SNCF information: 3635 The railways station has two exits usually referred to as "gare nord" and "gare sud".

  • Exit North: tramway to the city centre.
  • Exit South: pedestrian access to Nantes International Convention Centre, car rentals.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

The TAN public transport system links Nantes to several nearby burgs, as does the Lila system of regional buses. [www] (French)

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Car hire is available on many websites if you are travelling to Nantes.

Transportation - Get In

By boat

  • Contact TEL +33 (0) 2 40 37 04 62 for detailed information about the cruises.
  • River Ferries (Navibus) Information & schedule TEL 0810 444 444 (TAN ticket valid for crossings.)


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By Public Transport

There are very good public transportation services provided by the TAN (Transports de l'Agglomération Nantaise). It consists of 3 tram lines, a BusWay (like a tram line and numbered as such but with buses rather than trams), many bus lines, and several Navibus (public boats) lines. A one-way ticket costs 1,50€. Once on the bus, tram, or navibus you must validate the ticket in one of the green ticket validation machines. The ticket is then active for one hour with unlimited transfers. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them in bulk (a "carnet" of 10 tickets costs 12,70€) and there are also 24-hour (4,20€ for one person, or 6,70€ for 4 people). The trams start early and run till after midnight, later on Saturdays, however there are also several night bus lines.

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

Nantes's taxi number is 02 40 69 22 22. There are designated taxi waiting spots near Place du Commerce and the train station, but taxi service is infrequent.

Transportation - Get Around

By bike

Nantes is a very bike-friendly city. There are bicycle lanes alongside most major roads, demarcated by green arrows, and many small streets and trails that are only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Bikes can be rented from Nantes Métropole at one of eight parking lots in the city. You may rent a bike for 1€ for 2 hours, 4€ for a day, 10€ for a week, or 25€ for a month. Additionally, there is a 50% discount for holders of an SNCF or a TAN pass.[www] (French)

Bicloo, Nantes self-service bicycle network at 79 locations, offering 700 bicycles. Registration starts at 1€ for a day (with a 150€ deposit in case of damage to the bike), the first 30 minutes are free of charge, 30 minutes to 1 hour 0,50 EUR, 1 hour to 1:30 h 1,50 EUR, and each additional 30 minutes (up to 24h) 2 EUR. There are 89 Bicloo stations allover Nantes but no Bicloo stations outside of the Nantes area.

 

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

  • La Friendande, 12 rue Paul Bellamy, from caramels, candies, jams to home-made chocolates.
  • Les Rigolettes nantaises, 18 rue de Verdun et rue Franklin, Nantes candies, chocolates and other regional specialities.
  • Bookshop of the Castle of the dukes of Brittany, place Marc Elder [www] , artworks, objects, postcards and collections.
  • Lieu Unique Boutique, quai Ferdinand Favre, LU collections and artists' creations.
  • Tourist Office Boutique, 3 cours Olivier de Clisson et 2 place St Pierre, books, guides, postcards, regional specialties, etc.

Restaurants

Nantes has many restaurants! For its famous and finest wine and seafood. Also, this region of France is famous as the birthplace of crêpes. For a more savory variant, try the galettes de sarrasin (buckwheat crêpes).


Budget

  • Some cafés and crêperies offer affordable prix-fixe menus for lunch.

Mid-range

  • Cafe Molière, located in the Place Graslin next to the Theatre Graslin, offers excellent lunch fare, including sandwiches, croques-monsieur (open-faced sandwiches with ham and melted cheese; a delicious variant is the croque-anana, which also features a pineapple slice), steak-frites (steak and French fries), and salads. Coffee and dessert are also available, and the restaurant becomes a bar at night. Get a table outside if Nantes is experiencing rare sunny weather.

Splurge

  • La Cigale, situated in the Place Graslin, has been called "the most beautiful brasserie in France" for its turn-of-the-century decor. Seafood is a particular specialty (as in all of Nantes), and the chef can be seen preparing seafood in front of the restaurant, where there is outdoor seating during warmer months. Fixed price menus are available for 15 and €25. A cheaper way to experience this delightful place is to go in the afternoon for dessert and coffee.

Sights & Landmarks

  • Château des ducs de Bretagne(Castle of the Dukes of Brittany).Nantes History Museum - Expositions.
  • Cathédrale Saint Pierre. In its two crypts where the treasures and the history of the cathedral are displayed. Next to the Château des ducs de Bretagne.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), Rue Clémenceau 10. A beautiful building with an excellent art collection and temporary exhibitions.
  • La Chapelle de l'Oratoire. Rue Henri IV. Near to both the Castle and the Cathedral.
  • Place Maréchal-Foch. Contains one of the few exisitng statures of Louis XVI, the beheaded king, left in France
  • Le Passage Pommeraye. A shopping mall between la rue Crébillon and la rue de la Fosse built in the 19th century.
  • l'Ile de Versailles, a peaceful island in the Erdre with a Japanese garden.
  • Le Cours Cambronne. 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.
  • Place du Bouffay. A pedestrian area between the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Saint Pierre Cathedral et la Place du Commerce; ancient medieval quarter of Nantesvieux known for its Breton culture and for the pubs and restaurants.
  • Ile Feydeau, 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.
  • Le Maillé-Brézé, a warship (which never saw a battle) which has been moored in Nantes for many years which is open to visitors 
  • The Jules Verne Museum, on the Butte Sainte Anne, which has just been completely restored. Has a very good collection of memorabilia and objects associated with Jules Verne. There is also a very nice view of the port of Nantes.
  • 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, centre of atypical art shelters a restaurant, a bar, a shop, theaters, etc.
  • Musée Thomas Dobrée.
  • Le Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants), situated just outside the main train station (North exit).
  • Le Marché Talensac, the main town market, full of high quality local produce.
  • The Machines de l'Ile (Machines of the Isle of Nantes), an exhibition of fantastic mechanical animals including the Great Elephant on which you can take a ride. Take tramway line 1 to Chantiers Naval, then walk across the bridge. Price is around €6. 
  • Land Hemisphere. According 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 a location in Nantes.

Around Nantes

The beach, especially the resort town of La Baule, is only a short drive away or can be easily reached by train. There are often cheaper deals if you take the local trains such as the TER or Corail (as opposed to the TGV). You can also travel to the beach at Pornic, a very beautiful town and much less of a beach resort than La Baule. The salt swamps at Guerande, where Breton sea salt is harvested, are worth a visit, as well, and feature an exhibit on the salt-harvesting process.

Museums & Galleries


Museums

  • Musée d'histoire de Nantes (Nantes history museum), located inside the Château des Ducs de Bretagne.
  • Musée d'Art de Nantes (Nantes' Art museum), reopening in 2018.
  • Musée Thomas Dobrée (Thomas Dobrée archaeological museum), close to place Graslin and reopening in 2016.
  • Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Nantes (Nantes' natural history museum) close to place Graslin and Thomas Dobrée museum.
  • Musée Jules Verne, world-famous novel writer Jules Verne's museum, on butte Sainte-Anne.
  • Planetarium of Nantes, close to Jules Verne museum on butte Saint-Anne.
  • Mémorial de l'abolition de l'esclavage (slavery abolition memorial), opened in March 2012. Nantes used to be France's main slave trading harbor, this memorial celebrates the ending of slavery.
  • Musée naval Maillé-Brézé (naval museum).
  • Musée des compagnons du devoir, the Pays de la Loire regional contemporary artcollection located inside the "manoir de la Hautière" in Chantenay.
  • Musée de l'imprimerie (print and typography museum).
  • Musée de la Machine à coudre (sewing machine museum).
  • Musée des sapeurs-pompiers (firefighters museum).
  • Musée de la poste (post museum).

Festivals and events


Cultural events

Nantes hosts a variety of cultural events, among which:

  • Estuaire, a contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire (along the Loire estuary).
  • Les Rendez-vous de l'Erdre, a jazz festival centered around the Erdre river.
  • Les rencontres du fleuve, a festival centered around ships and the river.
  • Le Festival Eidos du film d'environnement et de développement durable, a cinema festival themed around the environment and sustainability.
  • The Festival des trois continents, dedicated to African, Asian and South American cinema.
  • La Folle Journée, a classical music festival,
  • Les Utopiales, international science fiction convention,
  • The Festival Voisinages (fr), various theatre performances (Théâtre du Grand T, Théâtre universitaire de Nantes, salle Onyx de Saint-Herblain).

Nightlife

Nantes's nightlife is concentrated in the Bouffay area, although there are also many bars and nightclubs near the Place du Commerce and the Théâtre Graslin.

  • Le Bar du Coin located next to the Église Saint-Croix, with an old-fashioned interior occasionally offering an in house DJ.
  • Les Fées Maison bar decorated in a fairy-tale theme, offering many unique cocktails and local beers, located near Place du Commerce, close to the tram stop.
  • La Maison bar decorated in the style of an old house from the 70's. You can have a drink sitting in a bathtub in the "bathroom" of the house. Located on the rue Lebrun, a small alleyway off the rue du Maréchal Joffre near the Place Foch with great indoor and an enclosed outdoor area.
  • John McByrne (21 rue des Petites Ecuries, +33 2 40 89 64 46) is a popular traditional Irish Pub in the quartier Bouffay that opened in 1998. With great pints of Guinness served by friendly staff from the Emerald Isle and elsewhere around the globe, this is the place to go to enjoy an authentic Irish atmosphere. Gaelic sports are shown live on TV along with English and Scottish Football and the occasional International Rugby match, all commentated in English.
  • Délirium Café (19 Allée Baco, +33 2 40 08 90 77) is a great bar with a good student atmosphere. Offers a lively environment with tables and the bar, as well as an enclosed outside area offering a nice change from the inside scattered with tables. A little bit pricier for the students, but the environment is well worth it. Hosts English themed nights every Wednesday while the local university is in session.
  • Flemming's (22 rue des Carmes, +33 02 40 47 32 86) is a freshly opened Irish pub with a newer, book lined walls, classier interior than the others located around town. Anglophones are typically the only bartenders working, unless the owner is there who is French. As a result if you're looking for the familiarity of the English language or you'd like to improve your English, this is the place to go. Has tables upstairs and down stairs as well as tables outside if the weather is nice enough. Open from 10am to 2pm everyday. Also show's rugby and soccer matches throughout the weekend by way of a screen and projector they have located downstairs.
  • Le Shaft (14 Rue Petites Ecuries, +33 02 40 47 78 56) is a small bar on a corner with a terrace and a friendly, crowded interior. If you're looking for a cheap drink, they offer 3€ pints and Giraffes for cheap.
  • Bier Garten (11 rue de la Juiverie) is located in Bouffay and is perfect for groups of people. Although it looks small, inside it offers 4 rather large back rooms which are more than accommodating for groups. Offers salsa, bands, and various themed nights throughout the week as well.

Try Breton cider, similar to beer, which comes in either a brut or doux (sweet) variety. A variation is a kir Breton, which is cider mixed with a fruit liquor (usually black currant, blackberry, or peach). The Nantes area is also known for its Muscadet wine, inexpensive but surprisingly delicious, which goes well with seafood dishes.


Live Music

Music venues

  • Le Lieu Unique
  • Le Live

Music Festivals

  • Soy Festival
  • Hellfest
  • Les nuits de l'Erdre

Things to know

There is a very strong international presence in Nantes because of the many international students attracted by the large and well-known Université de Nantes. Every Wednesday evening international students meet at Buck Mulligan's bar to meet new people and socialise in a variety of languages. In addition, there are several Irish bars in Nantes in which the bartenders speak fluent English. Most Nantais are fairly friendly and will do their best to help you get by, although obviously they will be happier if you make an effort to communicate in French.

Safety in Nantes

Stay Safe

Nantes is a very safe city in comparison to most major European cities. Police presence is reasonably visible and the trams are patrolled by TAN officials at night. Be prudent and exercise caution after dark. The European emergency number 112 is accessible in Nantes.

Very High / 8.9

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 5.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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