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In ways, Nantes could most likely be seen because the gateway not just to the Loire Valley, but additionally towards the relaxation of France. It is not first of all due to the numerous wineries found across the Loire Valley, and never mainly because of the architecturally interesting cities and forts that flank France’s longest river (the Loire River is 629 miles/1,013 kilometers lengthy). No, it’s since the Loire Valley has sometimes been known to because the cradle of french - a language that's thoroughly associated with France’s national identity. Nantes Loire sports a subtle charm, which is infectious and grows on you slowly but surely.
Still, Nantes hasn't been part of greater France. Until 1532, Nantes was part of a self-regulating region in north-western France referred to as Duchy of Brittany. Nowadays the sixth biggest city in France, Nantes once constituted the southernmost area of the Duchy.
There is also a good many traces from the occasions when Nantes wasn't part of France - for instance, the Chateau des Ducs - really built to be able to safeguard the town from attacks in the Kingdom of France.
Throughout the 1700s, Nantes progressed into the biggest port in France - partially because of the slave trade. The next century saw the industrialization from the city. Actually, the higher Nantes region continues to be very active if this involves industry. In nearby St. Nazaire, the Chantiers p l’Atlantique shipyard is among relatively couple of yards to focus on the making of luxury cruise ships. This is when Cunard Line’s Full Mary 2 was built. A number of individuals traveling aboard that ship may have showed up for their port of departure aboard an Airbus 380 - the world’s biggest passenger aircraft. A few of the aspects of that plane model are carried out Nantes.
The town of Nantes, using its 800,000 occupants, is found on the Loire River, some 30 miles/50 kilometers in the Chesapeake Bay. The roots from the city could be tracked to some town founded through the Gauls around 70 B.C. using its stone paved roads and also the many half-timbered houses within the Bouffay quarters, Nantes is home not just to an active community of artists but additionally with a 50,000 students.
Venture outdoors the town limits to savor the Loire Valley using its many wineries and forts.
Nantes for Cruise People
The primary cruise terminal can be found within the city center of Nantes. Two terminals are also available in Saint- Nazaire (close to high sea) and Montoir de Bretagne (in the heart of port operations).

Don't Miss
It required 400 many years to complete its cathedral, Cathedrale Saint Pierre Saint Paul. Construction began in 1434. This is actually the resting host to François II, who had been the final Duke of Bretagne.
Not even close to the cathedral may be the Quartier Bouffay area. Stone paved roads and half-timbered houses in the 15th century render el born area a specific charm.
The Chateau des Ducs
François II, the final Duke of Brittany, built the Chateau des Ducs to be able to defend the independence from the Duchy of Brittany in the Kingdom of France. The castle now houses the brand new Nantes History Museum. Should you care more about the environment than the items, it may be worthwhile to learn that viewing city in the castle is splendid.
Jules Verne is among the renowned French authors of occasions. Verne was created in Nantes and also the city has devoted an art gallery to the famous inhabitant: Musee Jules Verne. Using the imagination of Jules Verne, the Machines p l’Ile blends the author’s invented mobile phone industry's using the mechanical world of Leonardo da Vinci and also the industrial good reputation for Nantes.
La Musée des Beaux Arts in Nantes features among the finest collections of art in France. Works of masters for example Monet, Picasso and Chagall, amongst others.
Should you fancy remaining outdoors rather than going to museums throughout your remain in Nantes, Le Jardin des Plantes may well be a good option. This botanical garden features an impressive selection of exotic plants from places around the globe, for example Africa and Asia.
Shoreline Activities
You will find numerous shoreline activities obtainable in Nantes and also the area. Good examples include:
An excursion of historic Nantes, using its wealthy and varied architectural and cultural heritage. Go to the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, the Chateau des Ducs (the Castle from the Dukes of Brittany) and also the Passage Pommeraye - a monumental staircase. Tours particularly concentrating on the cultural sides of Nantes may also be available.
Clisson is really an attractive small town south-east of Nantes. Some shoreline activities incorporate a winery visit on tours to Clisson.
For any more thematic undertake Nantes and also the surrounding region, enroll in a gourmet-oriented shoreline trip. These will typically include appointments with quality restaurants in the region.
An example of the numerous wineries from the Loire Valley could be investigated throughout a shoreline trip. These tours are frequently coupled with appointments with one of the numerous forts in the area.
The city of Angers, in which the Dukes of Anjou held court, could be experienced on the shoreline trip from Nantes. The La Cigale restaurant is really a landmark in Nantes. Time magazine contended in 2004 that Nantes is “the most liveable city in Europe.” While factors for example economy, innovation and growth were most likely important parameters behind that conclusion, one cannot fully assess Nantes’ characteristics without searching at its restaurants. If you'd like more after getting tried crêpes (a niche here), you might like to try L’Embellie or Rental property Mon Reve - two restaurants with higher reputations. The initial art nouveau restaurant La Cigale (1895), faces the Graslin Theatre, where one can enjoy opera. You'll find other options for eating at restaurants.
There are lots of places to visit along the Loire coast and around Nantes. Here we at Discover the French Atlantic Coast provides a list of the top ten most popular Loire coast attractions, based on visitor figure numbers.

Les Machines de l’île – Nantes
Nantes’ top attraction is this quirky area where science fiction, technology, culture and great fun all meet in one inspired creation. Don’t miss the mechanical elephant!

Planète sauvage – Port-St-Père
Situated just south-west of Nantes this safari park offers four different natural world settings – the safari, the bush, marine world and the jungle. You can even stay overnight and listen to the howls of wolves. Website: www.planetesauvage.com

Océarium at Croisic
The French Atlantic coast is fortunate in having a number of top-class aquariums, and the Océarium at Le Croisic is right up there with the best of them. Situated just 400 metres from the sea, it houses 4,000 creatures. It even has sharks from Australia. Website: www.ocearium-croisic.fr

Escal’Atlantic – Saint-Nazaire
This is one of the more unusual visitor attractions you’re likely to come across; a recreation of life aboard a luxury ocean-going cruise ship built inside a Second World War submarine base! See also Saint-Nazaire.

Boissière du Doré Zoo
This popular zoo that’s one of the top Loire coast attractions is about 40 minutes east of Nantes is set over 70 hectares, has around 70 different species and 600 animals in all. Website: www.zoo-boissiere.com

Terre de sel at Guérande
Gives visitors the chance to go on a tour of the salt marshes, understand the work of modern-day salt workers – and buy salt! Website: www.terredesel.fr

Château des ducs de Bretagne – Musée d’histoire de Nantes
This magnificent old building (see photo above),  is both a place to visit in its own right and houses Nantes’ history museum. The castle was the home of the Dukes of Brittany until it and Brittany were incorporated into France in the first half of the 16th century. See also Nantes.

Kerhinet village – St-Lyphard
This lovely old hamlet is set in the heart of the flat marshlands of the La Grande Brière national park near
Saint-Nazaire. Striking scenery!

Museum d’histoire naturelle – Nantes
This museum doesn’t just feature the history of the natural world – it has live snakes too. Website: www.museum.nantes.fr

Château de Châteaubriant
This fine castle about an hour’s drive north of Nantes originally dates from the 11th century, though it took on its current form in the 16th century. Open to visitors all week except Tuesdays in the summer, only at weekends from mid-November to mid-March. Open afternoons only from October to mid November and mid-March to April. Website: www.pays-chateaubriant.fr

Eating Out
You'll find dozens of restaurants in the center of Nantes, traditional and exotic, to suit every taste and every pocket. Of course, we'd recommend our fish and seafood specialities, to be washed down with a lightly chilled Muscadet sur Lie. Or one of our traditional creperies...Further away from the center, the banks of the Loire and the Erdre offer a more original choice in a magical setting. 

Trentemoult: for the Nantes citizens, this delightful little fishing village on the left bank of the Loire is a favourite place for a walk. Here, time is suspended. Find your way through a surprising maze of huddled coloured houses before returning to the quay for a drink or a bite overlooking the river. A delightful way of getting there easily: the Navibus (river shuttle) links the city center to the banks of Trentemoult.

In Nantes, they don't talk about window-shopping, the verb is "crébillonner", from the name of the Rue Crébillon, the town's smartest shopping street. It opens onto the famous Passage Pommeraye, the 19th Century shopping arcade with elegant, original boutiques. 

Rue Jean Jaurès: with antique and bric-à-brac shops and art galleries.


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