Located at the start of the Loire Estuary, Nantes has successfully evolved from its maritime past. During a weekend visit – or longer – step through time, explore a city steeped in history yet also a modern urban area with a great buzz.
In the medieval district of Nantes right in the centre, Anne de Bretagne once welcomed visitors to her magnificent Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Over in the area called Île de Nantes, you’ll find a complete contrast, a prototype of a futuristic ‘green’ city, where naval hangars have been repurposed, created large-scale creatures inspired by the works of Jules Verne and Leonardo de Vinci: these are the ‘machines de l’île’, and include a huge mechanical elephant and a Carousel of sea creatures. Where once stood a banana hangar there are now pavement cafés all along the Loire, where you can sit and admire the Buren Rings art installation or the large cranes. The Tour LU is another good example of repurposing: this former biscuit factory now bubbles away cooking up artistic creations. On Île Feydeau, the leaning houses are unmissable examples of Nantes architectural heritage and finally, if we’re going to mention just one event, the Voyage à Nantes attracts art-lovers and culture-vultures every year for a poetic discovery of the city.