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On the banks of the Loire, not far from the Atlantic coast, lies the historic capital of Brittany, Nantes. This ancient and arty university city has culture to burn and a friendly cosmopolitan vibe, thanks to its large student population. Whether you are after history, beaches, cultural attractions or amusement parks, Nantes has it.
The summer months from June to September are peak season in Nantes, as the crowds flock to the city to soak up the sun – although there is always the chance of a shower.
There are fewer visitors and cheaper flights to Nantes available in spring and autumn, when the weather is still mild. The city’s carnival takes place in April.
Winters in Nantes are mild but wet, but there is still plenty to enjoy. The city’s cheerful Christmas market is the biggest in the region.
There are plenty of ways to find a cheap flight to Nantes when you book with Expedia, but planning ahead and being flexible with your dates are key to getting the best deals.
There are flights from several regional UK airports to Nantes, including Bristol and Southampton, and several alternative French airports within a two-hour drive of Nates. Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option to check different routes.
The ‘Show flexible dates’ option also allows you to compare prices on different days of the week, which can make a difference to prices.
You can filter your results by criteria including airline, ticket type, time of departure and price, using the ‘Show options’ drop down and the buttons on the left of the search screen.
Optimal flight times from UK cities to Nantes include:
Nantes Atlantique Airport is the third biggest airport in the west of France, after Toulouse and Bordeaux, with more than 5 million passengers each year. It is located five miles south-west of the city.
Airlines that fly from the UK to Nantes include:
From the airport there are buses and shuttles into Nantes and the town’s main train station, which has good connections to other parts of France. There are also car rental facilities at the airport.
Nantes was the first city in the world to have a public transport system – an omnibus service that began in 1826. Today the city is served by buses, trams and ferries – a Nantes Pass allows you to use all three.
The city is bike-friendly and has a shared bike scheme called Bicloo.
The bizarre but brilliant Machines de l'Ile de Nantes amusement park is home to a metallic menagerie of giant mechanical animals including a 12-metre tall elephant.
Get a taste of Nantes’ rich history as a major port, industrial centre and cultural hub at the imposing Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, now an impressive modern museum.
Near the castle is the old medieval quarter, which is pedestrianised and home to many bars and restaurants.
Jules Verne grew up in Nantes and exploring the old docks you can understand where he got inspiration for some of his outlandish tales.
The city is also famous for its crepes, so make sure you try some in one of the many local creperies.
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