Nantes, sparkling Armorican

City of art, culture, and history, Nantes is at a crossroads. Both a land and a maritime city that is proud of its heritage but without undue sentimentality, the city will charm you with its creativity and energy.

Located only a few steps from the famous Tour Bretagne, the highpoint of the Loire-Atlantique, the Radisson Blu Hotel Nantes has taken the historical city law courts at the Place Aristide-Briand and transformed them into a stylish location. An explosive cocktail!

This city in the Loire seems never to stop moving. Get on your Bicloo (bike-share service) and set off to discover the city center of Nantes and its history. Don’t forget that the city used to be the seat of the Dukes of Brittany. It is filled with architectural nuggets from the late Middle Ages such as the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, the last fortress in the Loire before reaching the ocean, which houses the Museum of the History of Nantes. As part of the commemorations for the centenary of World War I, you can visit the “Beginnings of Surrealism” exhibition which runs to May 28.

From the castle, if you’re a culture lover, cross the Cours Kennedy to arrive at the Avenue Carnot. You’ll come face to face with the LU tower, the former premises of the biscuit manufacturers of the same name. Now a “Lieu Unique” (Unique Place), the building was refurbished to become the “National Stage of Nantes” and offers you the choice of theater, dance, or plastic arts, not to mention a restaurant, bar, and as a bonus, a hammam spa. Discover the “Megastructures” exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of the Pompidou Center (from March 30 to May 21).

A little further on, following line 1 of the tramway to Commerce station, you can stop off to walk down the narrow cobbled street of the Bouffay neighborhood. You’ll discover timber-framed houses, small stores and restaurants, and the not-to-be-missed creperie, the Fleur de Sel.

After which, following the Loire river on the Bras Madeleine side, you will be amazed by the famous Machines de l’île (Machines of the Island, including a giant elephant). Last of all, following in Flaubert’s footsteps, you can go down the Passage Pommeraye to admire “its splendid, colorful trivialities that make you dream of other worlds”. Nantes is brimming with different cultures and is enriched with the history of different civilizations. This is what makes it so radiant.

 

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