Nantes day trip: discover Brittany

Nantes, a city nestled in the Loire estuary, 55 km from the ocean, stretches between the confluence of the waters of the river and the ocean. The castle of the Dukes of Brittany reminds us that it was the historical capital of Brittany. Our trip to Brittany starts from here, so let’s go to visit it. Check out the free tour of Nantes!

 

Pommeraye Passage
Pommeraye Passage

HOW TO GET TO NANTES

The region is easy to get to by car, train, bus, plane or boat: the toll-free dual carriageways, six airports and high-speed trains.

From London, visitors from the UK can get to the Gare du Nord in 2 hours 20 minutes by Eurostar. Then, to continue their journey, Brittany has an excellent rail high-speed rail service from Paris abord the TGV Atlantique train.

From Paris Montparnasse, allow 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Rennes and 3 hours for Brest or Quimper by TGV (high-speed train). Equally, direct routes allow you to travel to Brittany without even having to go through capital.

 

Place Royale
Place Royale

WHAT TO VISIT

It’s entering the Pommeraye Passage and being transported back to the 19th century! This is one of the most beautiful covered galleries in France. Its three floors bring together stained glass windows, stone columns and statues in a delightfully decadent and yet very dynamic atmosphere. A few meters away, next to the Opera Graslin, is the legendary brasserie La Cigale and its delirious mosaics.

You can visit the Cathedral, with its evident similarities to the Notre Dame in Paris, and the Maréchal Foch square, with its huge column, dedicated to Louis XVI, also known as the Column of Freedom.

We’ll then walk along the city’s most famous street, Cours des 50 Otages, which will lead us to the Tour de Bretagne skyscraper. Close by, you’ll also have the chance to see the St Nicholas Basilica and the Place Royale, with the statue of Anne of Brittany in the center.

 

The island's machines
The island’s machines

Rails, dry docks, and shipyard cranes have come back to life on the island of Nantes. In the converted hangars lives a fabulous animated bestiary that leads to a universe worthy of Jules Verne, the city’s favorite son. The island’s machines are fascinating and ingenious and surprise children and adults alike. And if you want, a 12-meter elephant will climb on its back and take you for a ride along the quays.

CASTLE OF THE DUKES OF BRITTANY

Located on the banks of the river, this impressive building today houses the Nantes History Museum. The castle of the Dukes of Brittany was rebuilt in the 15th century on the foundations of a first fortress.

 

The castle of the Dukes of Brittany
The castle of the Dukes of Brittany

In doing so, it gained refinement in general and, in particular, in the rooms of the Grand Logis and the Grand Gouvernement. Around the moats are born the streets of the Bouffay district: a cobbled labyrinth where you can find the 15th century Exchange house, the 16th-century residences (rue de la Juderia), and 18th-century buildings.

More Loire Castles? Top 5 Loire Castle to visit

WHERE TO EAT

There is a place in Nantes center that is magical, La Cigale, however, the cost (40€ per person) is a perfect place to have a romantic dinner in an incredible place. There is a brunch option that is the cheapest.

 

La Cigale
La Cigale
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