France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   What to See & Do in Nantes, France
A medium-sized city at the western end of the Loire, Nantes has lots to see and do.

  LU tower, Nantes
LU tower, formerly the LU biscuit
factory, now the Lieu Unique.




The Bouffay district (map), is the medieval heart of historic Nantes. It's where you'll find the fine Château of the Dukes of Brittany. You can wander the ramparts for free. More...

Nearby is the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul, the most impressive of the city's ten Catholic churches. More...

Look also for the medieval Porte Saint-Pierre, the 18th-century Opéra Graslin, and the proto-shopping mall of the gorgeous Passage Pommeraye (1843).

La Cigale, termed by some "the most beautiful brasserie in the world," is an Art Nouveau masterpiece (1895). This restaurant is just across the square from the Opéra Graslin and well worth a visit, with high quality food and service.

The Place du Commerce is Nantes' main commercial square, with the Palais de la Bourse. Although there's not much there of touristic interest, you'll pass through frequently if you ride the tram, a great way to move through Nantes.

You'll recognize the Place Royale by its large and graceful fountain. Rue Crébillon to the west of the square and the rue d'Orléans to the east, are Nantes's most popular shopping streets, lined with boutiques. But the fun shopping comes in the beautiful Passage Pommeraye. More...

For food and crafts, you can check out the Marché Talensac. It's north of the city center, near the Place du Pont Morand.

Nantes's other claim to culinary fame is being home to the LU Biscuit company. Manufacturers of Petit Beurre cookies, the red and white LU logo is familiar across Europe. More...

Nantes has a lovely and somewhat whimsical Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden) just a 5 minute walk from the train station. More...

Jardin des Plantes, Nantes
Jardin des Plantes, Nantes.

The western side of the large Île de Nantes in the Loire River, once a shipyard, has been repurposed to house Les Machines de L'Île, with its collection of outrageous, steam punk automatronics. This creative space is a great way to spend a few hours in Nantes. More...

As for museums, Nantes has plenty: the Musée d'Histoire de Nantes (in the Château des Ducs de Bretagne), Musée d'Art, Musée d'Histoire Naturelle, and even a Planetarium.

Hotels & Flats in Nantes

Nantes Transportation

About Nantes

Tourist Information

Loire Region

Brittany Region

Poitou-Charentes Region


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel


  Château de Ducs, Nantes

Above, Château des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes.

Below, Giant mechanical spider at Les Machines de L'Ile.



Les Machines de l'Ile, Nantes



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