Nantes in Brittany
Nantes and the Dukes of Brittany
Start your visit at the imposing Château des Ducs de Bretagne where Henry IV of France signed the famous Edit of Nantes in 1598.
Residence of the Breton court and then the King of France,the building is a combination of elegant palace and military fortress.
Not far from the castle you'll find Les Rigolettes Nantaises (18 rue de Verdun, Nantes), a shop selling delicious sweets from the region including berlingots and rigolettes.
Continue on towards the impressive Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral where, under vaults extending to almost 40 metres, where, under vaults extending to almost 40 metres, lies the elaborate tomb of François II, the last Duke of Brittany, and his wife.
To round off your trip, wander through the greenhouses at the Jardin des Plantes, a true Nantes institution.
A walk in the city centre
The elegant old quarters in Nantes city centre are certainly worth a detour. Take a stroll round the pedestrianised streets of the medieval Bouffay area and admire the wood-framed façades, some of which date back to the 15th century.
Don't miss Graslin with its elegant boutiques and fantastic Passage Pommeraye. Stop for a break at La Cigale (place Graslin), a late 19th century brasserie which is now a delightful tea room.
Take your children to the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, a beautiful neoclassical building which has for the last 200 years been dedicated to zoology, botanics, earth sciences and prehistory.
Discovering the islands of Nantes
Once a working class industrial area, the island of Versailles has been transformed into a Japanese garden boasting a labyrinth of rich, elaborately planned greenery. Don't miss the Maison de l’Erdre, a Japanese tea pavilion with information about the past activities of the island and the local fauna. It is also worth visiting the island of Nantes to see the ingenious mechanical movements of the island's "Machines", huge wood and metal structures that wouldn't be out of place in a fairground. Why not climb the 12 metres up to the top of "le Grand Eléphant"?
Tip: For an unparalleled view over the city of Nantes, head for the little port of Trentemoult on the other bank of the Loire, south of Nantes.