TAPIF Travels: Voyager à Nantes

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Nantes: not entirely terrestrial nor entirely maritime;
neither flesh nor fish – exactly what it takes to make a mermaid.
— Nantes History Museum Inscription

I found this quote at the Nantes History Museum housed in Nantes' Château des Ducs de Bretagne, and I couldn't have described this magical city better.

Nantes is an amazing city in Bretagne (Brittany) in northwest France. If you're not lucky enough to actually get to work in Nantes, it's certainly worth a visit while you're here in France. Below, you'll some of the highlights that are 100% worth anyone's time and appreciation. Enjoy!

Nantes: Why it's Awesome

  • Friendly, smiling locals who LOVE their city and sharing it with others

  • Quirky places + buildings around every corner

  • The highlighter-green line on the sidewalks guiding visitors through 12 kilometers of all of the best sites (tourist/walking maps available at the tourist office!)
     
  • Sweet, sweet Muscadet wine
  • Cozy cafés + restaurants
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Highlights of Visiting Nantes


The Château des Ducs de Bretagne, which houses its Nantes History Museum, is absolutely SUPERB. Be prepared to spend some time here, as this extremely well-curated history museum spans over the course of centuries and throughout the entire château.

Also, the tourist office is located just across from the château, so don't forget to stop in there for a city map + other event info.

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The Passage Pommeraye is a charming covered passage with adorable shops inside. Full of natural light passing through the ceiling, a stroll through here while exploring the city is simply breath-taking. 

 

 

The Jardin des Plantes on a sunny day in Nantes may just be another one of the wonders of the world. Always delivering on the Nantais quirkiness, you'll find a bench suited for giants and some friendly potted faces (pictured) granting you access to this remarkable spectacle. 

 

 

 

You can't expect to go to Nantes without going to the Machines de l'Île and visiting the friendly mechanical elephant and friends. This edgy amusement park alternative is a perfect example of one of the countless quirks residing in Nantes.

 

 

 

This memorial, commemorating the abolishment of slavery worldwide is a sobering and necessary site to see. Located under a pier along the banks of the Loire River, the sounds of the water lapping against the walls perfectly complement a walk-through while reading inscriptions from notable figures in the history of slavery + abolishment, including Frederick Douglass + Olaudah Equiano.

 

 

 

Full of hip bars + cafés along the Loire River (next to Les Machines de l'Île), a stroll down the Hangar à Bananes is a must. Outside of some cafés, you'll find some comfy lounge chairs. The only trouble is deciding which café to choose! Totally bobo, totally great.

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Local Eats + Drinks in Nantes

  • Galettes 

  • LU Butter Cookies
  • Muscadet Wine
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Sample Itinerary: A Weekend in Nantes

Saturday

  •  Visit the Memorial of the Abolition of Slavery 
  • Find + follow the green line on the sidewalks until you reach the Office of Tourism to pick up a free walking map + info/event information
  • Grab a yummy galette for lunch
  • Spend the afternoon at the Château des Ducs de Bretagne 
  • Grab a drink at the Lieu Unique + maybe grab a program for any spectacles happening that night
  • Take a stroll at Jardin des Plantes

Sunday

  • Stroll around the Japanese Garden at Île de Versaille on the Erdre River
  • Continue to follow the green line back down through town
  • Grab some lunch + a glass of muscadet
  • Head over to the Machines de l'Île for an afternoon of quirks
  • Walk down the banks of the Loire at Hangar à Banane
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Go to Nantes! Go especially if
you love:

 
  • Hidden gems
  • Quirky finds
  • Lovely people
  • Naval Histor