City Break Nantes

The Energetic City of Nantes

Nantes existed in the 1st century as the Roman town of Namnètes, it is a very ancient port and for 600 years was the ducal capital of Brittany. Now it is considered part of the Pays de la Loire and the modern day port has been extended down towards St-Nazaire, where the longest bridge in France crosses the estuary.

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See also : Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

Nearly 2000 years of history

Today, Nantes itself is a vigorous contemporary city, with good museums, wide open spaces and chic restaurants, bars and shops. In fact, everything that would encourage visitors to rent an apartment in the city centre and have an extended stay. Probably one of the chicest restaurants is La Cigale in Place Graslin, a fabulous Art Nouveau concoction with Italian tiling.

Exploring Nantes

The most fashionable area of the town is Quartier Graslin. Constructed between 1780 and 1900, the centrepiece is the Neo-Classical theatre approached by a steep flight of monumental steps and fronted with 8 Corinthian columns. On the Ile Feydeau, where Jules Verne was born, there are fine 18th buildings built on the profits from the maritime trade. To the east of Place Graslin, rue Crebillon is the most elegant shopping street in Nantes. There is a remarkable covered shopping arcade, the passage Pommeraye. When it opened in 1843, it must have been a very unusual site for the people visiting its 66 shops. The main tourist attractions not to be missed are The Brittany Tower, Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Cathedral of St-Pierre and St-Paul, the Museum of Beaux-Arts and the Jules Verne Museum.

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