The city turned upside down by art, do the Voyage à Nantes
Where in Nantes can you get a 360 degree view of the town and its suburbs perched 150 metres up? Which bit of modern art will give you the latest weather forecast? How many acres of green space will the Floral Gardens offer up to the heart of the town? Who are those people painted on the wall fallen from the sky? Welcome and enjoy your visit! You thought you knew the western most metropolis in Europe? You haven’t seen anything yet…
To do, to see
- The perennial journey of Estuaire Nantes<>Saint-Nazaire: in 2012, during the third edition of Estuaire, eight new artworks, signed by internationally renowned artists, will be installed in Nantes, along the 60 km of the shores of the estuary, and in Saint-Nazaire. Today, this path is composed of 17 artworks spread over 9 municipalities. It takes you on the discovery of a fascinating territory, of its environmental and heritage treasures. For further information about the artworks and the invited artists (ed .2007-2009), about the territory, download the audioguide or watch the16 short movies directed by Gaëtan Chataigner that show you this artistic trail.
- The lieu unique: the former factory of the legendary Petit-Lu biscuits is now a multifaceted arts venue drawing acts from all over. A true one-of-a-kind; it’s a national stage, exhibition hall, bar, restaurant, centenary attic and even a Turkish bath! Get up into its ‘gyrorama’ and take in a 360° roof-top view of the town…
- The Cathedral of St Pierre and St Paul: its 2 massive towers solidly plant this flamboyant gothic-styled monument into the heart of Nantes, holding within its very walls the tomb of François II and Marguerite de Foix.
- The Castle of the dukes of Brittany: the final castle on the banks of the Loire before it reaches the ocean; this ducal residence houses the History of Nantes Museum and can take you on a trip that goes back 500 years. With a purpose-built modern set design and multimedia stands, come and uncover the rich history of the castle and of the town.
- The ‘Tour Bretagne’ Weighing in at 80,000 tons and standing at 144 tall, this tower, built in the 1970s is a flagship in the Nantes landscape. From its roof top terrace (reopening in summer 2012) take your time to take in the fabulous view and gaze over the town and for miles around. On a good day you can see St Nazaire!
- The Graslin Opera House Push open the doors to this Italian styled theatre and try to catch the voice of a diva…..
- La Cigale Brasserie: this 19th century Art-Nouveau brasserie has long inspired the surrealist movement and Jacques Demy filmed some scenes from Lola.
- The Passage Pommeraye: it’s a real pleasure to walk up the wooden steps of this XIX century shopping arcade. There are very few towns today who can still boast an undercover arcade of such architectural importance.
- The Memorial to the abolition of slavery: this meditative path, unique in France, was designed by the artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and the architect Julian Bonder. It is punctuated by quotes in over 50 languages, from all ages and all places. 2,000 commemorative plaques serve as a reminder of every expedition ever made by slave ships from Nantes as well as slave trading posts in Africa and the Americas.
- The Machines de L'ile and the Sea World Merry-Go-Round: where once great ships were built, at a crossroads between the 'Imaginary worlds' of Jules Verne, the mechanical world of Leonardo da Vinci and the industrial history of Nantes, these monumental structures, these urban sculptures are open to the public. From the 15th July 2012: The Sea World Merry-go-Round. A gigantic 3-story ride dedicated to the sea. Ride the sea beast from depths to the surface of the oceans...
- The Isle of Nantes / HAB gallery Jean Nouvel, Daniel Buren, Jean Prouvé, Christian de Portzamparc…some of the biggest international names in architecture, have drawn the outlines of this regenerating isle. Former industrial premises, now fully refurbished stand alongside new buildings. Walk the length right up to the most western point of the Isle of Nantes where all year long the 1,400 m2 of the HAB Gallery have been given over to the world of modern art.
- Trentemoult: this former fishing village offers one of the most beautiful views of Nantes and stunning sunsets over the estuary. After having crossed the Loire by Navibus, you can lose yourself in the maze of tiny roads which will no doubt lead you to the oddest of pendulums.
- The river Erdre François I, called it the most beautiful river in France. On foot or by boat, let yourself be charmed by the remarkable natural scenery.
Nantes Saint-Nazaire Estuary Trail On the 60kms of the Loire estuary, this open-air museum will take you on a voyage of discovery of this fascinating land and the rich environmental heritage it holds. In 2012, 8 new perennial installations will join the ranks along this arts trail and bring the total to 29 the number of artworks on show on the whole of its length.
- Festival Hellfest (Clisson), June
- Le Voyage à Nantes, Summer
- Festival Les goûts uniques, Summer
- Carrousel des Mondes Marins, Opens on 15 July
- Rendez-vous de l’Erdre, August - September
- Noël au Château, December
- Noël aux nefs: December
- Festival La Folle Journée: February
Contrary to many other great French cities, Nantes cuisine is not typically characterized through emblematic recipes. Our cuisine is characterized by a singular spirit linked to its history, its geographical location and the figures that had an impact on it. This spirit is the one of the opening to the world, of multiculturalism, of curiosity, of travelling… This is without a doubt because Nantes is at a crossroads between the sea and the land, between the sweet and the savoury, the world of plants and the world of animals, between Britanny, Vendée and the Loire river. And also because Nantes, with its port tradition, has been enriched by the flavours of the world that the explorers and the navigators have brought back over the centuries.
Things to know :
- The savoury flavours: Vegetables (lamb’s lettuce, carrots, leeks..) - Seafood (crabs, scampis, oysters, mussels…) Fish (sardine, sea bass…) fish from the Loire - River (pike, pike perch, eel, elver…) Cheese (Curé Nantais, Mâchecoulais..)
- The sweet flavours: BN or LU biscuits,berlingot sweets,rigolettes - and caramels with salty butter, fouace and Gâteau Nantais, chocolate, nantillais…
- White wine: The Muscadet sur Lie.
Visit Nantes with City Card 24h, 48h, 72h
Free admission to the tourist spots / Travel free of charge on public transport /
Special offer -10% on full rate web sales
Coming to Nantes
- By train / TGV : 2 hours from Paris – Montparnasse train Station
4 hours from Lille and Bordeaux, 4 hours and 1/2 from Lyon, 5 hours 10 from Strasbourg
- Nantes-Atlantique airport : 1h35 from Liverpool, 1h10 from London, 1h30 from Amsterdam, 1h30 from Brussels, 1h25 from Düsseldorf, 1h25 from Mulhouse-Bâle, 1h20 from Geneva, 1h35 from Milan, 2h05 de Barcelona, 1h30 from Madrid
As soon as you arrive, the aiport shuttle takes you to the heart of the city ( 15 to 20 minutes).