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11 Things to See and Do in Nantes

By Marlys Schuermann Easy Hiker

Nantes is one of the many charming and interesting small French towns you have to discover. You can easily spend a leisurely week-end there and keep yourself busy sight-seeing the town, either on foot or renting a Bicloo (the equivalent of a Velib in Paris.)

What to See and Where to Go

1. The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and Nantes, which is now a museum. If the weather is fine, you can even settle yourselves on the grassy moat surrounding the castle, either to picnic, play or just to soak in the sun.

2. Make sure you go inside the castle and perhaps look into that well and make a wish.

3. The gothic Cathedral, famous for being the most beautifully restored cathedral in France.

4. Enjoy a stroll at the Place Royale, where right and left, you will find open-air cafes for your coffee break.

5. Bike to or take the tramway line no. 1, to the Gare Maritime to catch a Navibus (river boat) to bring you to the old fishing village of Trentemoult.

6. There are no more working fishermen in Trentemoult but it is worth the while to see the quaint houses and ruelles still surviving.

7. The Ile de Nantes, where “Le Jardin des Machines” is located, is one destination you cannot and would not want to miss, mainly to see and perhaps take a ride on its most popular attraction, the Giant Mechanical Elephant.

To savour the spectacle, I would recommend for you to stay on the ground and just watch the mechanical pachyderm trumpet out steam and slowly stroll around the park.

8. After all that excitement with this circus, you can go back to the mainland and visit the Passage Pomeraye, a 3-level 19th century shopping arcade.

9. See the objects the chocolatiers of Maison Larnicol created out of chocolate – a lady’s stiletto, a handbag, two giant lipsticks and a replica Jaguar.

10. Right near Nantes central train station is the famous Tour de LU. It was in Nantes that the biscuit factory of LU had its main site but has since been turned into a theatre/museum.

On your visit to the old fishing village Trentemoult, you must have seen their sign, too.

11. And where to eat when in Nantes? At the Brasserie La Cigale, of course (4, Place Graslin.) This restaurant has served good food for almost 115 years. Be part of their history. Best to reserve if going for dinner or go after 14h00 to be sure of getting a table. They’re open all day (07h30-00h30)

To help you go and see more of Nantes, check out their Tourism Bureau’s advice HERE.

Image: Dyhorus

By Marlys SchuermannEasy Hiker

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