Nantes awaits: its history, parks, museums and more!

Nantes has been part of the Loire-Atlantique department since 1790, but its inhabitants are still very much Breton in spirit. It's true that a charming scent of Armorica still hangs in the air in the city, built on the majestic river Loire. A detour via the countless crêpe shops in the quartier Graslin or Cours Cambronne will give you a real, delicious taste of this Celtic nostalgia.

Start your exploration of the city with a visit to the Château des ducs de Bretagne, which will immediately immerse you in the mediaeval atmosphere of the court of Anne of Brittany, who was Queen of France. If you come in the summer, try to book for the illumination of the moat and the ramparts, and unforgettable enchanting spectacle. The museum recounts the history of Nantes over five centuries; entry is free.

Next, take a little time to wander the cobbled streets around the superb passage Pommeraye, whose decorated arcades are filled with beautiful boutiques. The mediaeval area of Bouffay is perfect for a lively meal in the evening, with eel from the Loire, a glass of Muscadet and a salted caramel tart, for example. If you're looking for a waterside atmosphere, the banks of the Loire are charming– a slice of calm in the middle of the city – and the estuary, which goes from Nantes to Saint-Nazaire, is packed with natural and cultural treasures.

Lovers of visual art will be spoiled with two unmissable visits that are perfect for young and old alike. It's impossible to escape the Machines de l’île, which live in the former naval shipyards. Your children will love riding 12 metres up atop the giant mechanical elephant, and straddling the creatures of the 25-metre-high sea creatures carousel. Alongside the Saint-Félix canal, the former Lu biscuit factory (and its famous all-butter biscuits!) is now known as the Lieu Unique. The fantastic industrial building has been turned into an unusual art centre, with regularly changing exhibitions.

Nantes is the capital of the Loire-Atlantique department and you can get there by flying to Nantes Atlanique Airport or by high-speed train (two hours from Paris). In town, you can get around via the tramway.

Known for

Skyscrapers, Historical Buildings and Natural Parks

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Where to stay in Nantes

Nantes Centre
Image for Nantes Centre

Nantes Centre

Shopping, Historical Buildings, Museums

Visitors often come to Nantes Centre for its abundant dining options, but many stay to explore sights like Passage Pommeraye and Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany. Getting around the area on the metro is easy if you take a ride at Commerce Tram Stop.

Centre Ville
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Centre Ville

Historical Buildings, Museums, Cathedrals

Discover Centre Ville, memorable for its historical sites. Popular attractions in Centre Ville include Passage Pommeraye and Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany, and you can see more of the area by hopping on the metro at Commerce Tram Stop.

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Top hotels in Nantes

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for ibis Nantes Centre Tour Bretagne
ibis Nantes Centre Tour Bretagne
3 out of 5
19 Rue Jean Jaures, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique
£44/night
22 Aug-23 Aug
4.2/5Very Good! (394 reviews)

Located in Viarme, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Place Royale and Passage Pommeraye. Nantes Cathedral and Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany are also ...

4.2/5Very Good! (394 reviews)

"Staff were very freindly, especially our room attendant who spoke excellent english, which is uncommon even in UK. Hotel next to tram stop and near Bretagne tower. Breakfast could have included more salad items."…"

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2019

ibis Nantes Centre Tour Bretagne
Image for Hotel Campanile Nantes Centre - Saint Jacques
Hotel Campanile Nantes Centre - Saint Jacques
3 out of 5
16 Boulevard Emile Gabory, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique
£41/night
23 Aug-24 Aug
4.3/5Excellent! (822 reviews)

Located in Nantes Sud, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Hospital Saint Jacques and within 3 miles (5 km) of Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany and Nantes Cathedral. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (822 reviews)

"Excellent hotel with on-site parking and very friendly staff."…"

Reviewed on 16 Jul 2019

Hotel Campanile Nantes Centre - Saint Jacques
Image for Première Classe Nantes Sud - Rezé Aéroport
Première Classe Nantes Sud - Rezé Aéroport
1 out of 5
£37/night
25 Aug-26 Aug
3/5 (441 reviews)

Situated in Reze, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Machines of the Isle of Nantes, Passage Pommeraye and Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany. Nantes Cathedral ...

3/5 (441 reviews)
Great location and friendly staff

"Great location and friendly staff"…"

Reviewed on 13 Jan 2019

Première Classe Nantes Sud - Rezé Aéroport

Popular things to do in Nantes

Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany
Image for Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany

Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany

Learn more about the local history when you visit Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany, a well-known historical site in Nantes. While you're in the area, find time to visit its shops.

Nantes Cathedral
Image for Nantes Cathedral

Nantes Cathedral

Learn more about the local history when you visit Nantes Cathedral, a well-known historical site in Nantes. While you're in the area, find time to visit its shops.

Top activities in Nantes

Nantes City Card
Image for Nantes City Card

Nantes City Card

£23

Plan your sightseeing tour of Nantes and explore the city at your own pace with this exclusive City Card. Take advantage of unlimited transportation, free admission to museums and cultural attractions, and special discounts on various tours and shopping destinations.

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