Explore Nantes with ’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!
Located in the Pays de la Loire region, at the mouth of the river Loire, Nantes is the largest city in western France, and is always bustling with events and attractions. Although not officially part of Brittany, Nantes has strong links to Breton history and the dukedom of Brittany. The west of France is too pretty not to explore further while you are in Nantes, so book a Nantes rental car to extend your visit.
Nantes’ maritime heritage inspired the science fiction novels of Jules Verne, born here in 1828. For more on his life, visit the Musée Jules Verne. Go up the 37-storey
Walk through the Jardin des Plantes botanic gardens opposite the railway station. If you are travelling with children, don’t miss the open-air Les Machines de L’Ile, where visitors can ride a 39-feet high wood and steel elephant that walks round the city spraying water – you could not wish for a more fun sightseeing experience.
Flights arrive at Nantes Atlantique Airport, from where you can pick up your pre-booked Nantes hire car. Armed with a vehicle, you can explore some of the most attractive places nearby: La Rochelle is an hour and 40 minutes away, en route to Bordeaux (three hours and 20 minutes). Paris is to the east of Nantes and can be reached in less than four hours. If you appreciate porcelain, it is also worth considering a visit to Limoges, an hour and 40 minutes to the southeast.
At Nantes Airport, a number of car hire companies are available. Some of the brands you can choose from are:
Eastwards up the Loire valley visit Angers (an hour’s drive from Nantes) to see its medieval centre with the Château d’Angers, housing the impressive Apocalypse Tapestry, the largest set of medieval tapestries in the world. Or drive further to Saumur, about an hour and 40 minutes to the east, and check out the fairytale-like Château de Saumur, rumoured to be the castle that inspired Charles Perrault when he was writing The Sleeping Beauty.
Less than an hour’s drive westward is the fishing town of Pornic, a very popular holiday resort, where you can enjoy its dozen beaches and sandy coves. You can also drive northwest for an hour and a half to get to the walled town of Vannes, one of the most attractive sights in Brittany, and wander around its medieval cobbled streets. Take a boat trip on the Golfe du Morbihan.
Two hours and 15 minutes north of Nantes, is a must-see place of breathtaking beauty, where time seems to stand still: the Norman island commune of Mont Saint-Michel,jusrt over half a mile off the northwest coast of France. It is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Visit its 11th century abbey and indulge in stunning views of the bay from the mount.
You must be over 18 to eligible to drive in France. If you have a driving licence issued in city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
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