With its riverside location and rich history, Nantes in West France is well worth a visit. This beautiful city is the sixth largest in France, and promises an enchanting, romantic city break. Take advantage of the central location of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nantes – a gorgeous hotel within the renovated Palais de Justice. From there, embark upon a trail of the city to guarantee experiencing some of the best sights.
The Voyage à Nantesis a 10 mile, urban tour. It takes you all the way from the SNCF train station up to the western point of the Isle of Nantes. There are 30 stops throughout the trail, and you will witness everything from street art and historic buildings to hidden gems and a magnificent sunset. Read on for some of Radisson Blu’s highlights of the tour (the rest you’ll need to discover for yourself).
Le Lieu Unique
The trail starts very close to the hotel, at the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Le Lieu Unique). Here, you’ll find a mix of different cultures, genres and personalities, all under one roof. Discover a cosy bar, arty restaurant, book shop, nursery and lots more. The centre also plays host to shows, exhibitions, festivals and workshops, so try and find out if there’s anything exciting being held while you’re there.
Next on the tour is an adventurous and magical piece of art on the Saint-Félix canal. You will see the enchanting image of a nymph-like young woman gliding beneath the surface of the water. There is something haunting about this display, which was set up by Ange Leccia – an artist who worked as a painter before moving into video. Access is completely free, so there’s every excuse to fall in love with this popular cultural attraction.
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany – History of Nantes Museum
The last castle along the banks of the Loire before the river reaches the sea. The grounds of this castle has buildings that span from the 15th century to the 17th century, so it looks like it’s straight from the pages of a fairytale. Inside though, there are lots of modern surprises, due to a large scale restoration that took place. If you choose to take a tour of the castle, you’ll discover a fascinating multimedia exhibition.
Du Temps en Temps
This is a captivating, visually stunning and completely innovative cultural site by the River Loire. Artist François Morellet set up a striking light installation to signify the weather four hours ahead of time. A white curve represent clouds, red circles represent the sun and blue dashes represent rain. The overall effect of the lights reflecting upon the water is breathtaking.
Les Anneaux (The Rings)
Another art installation, this was designed by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain to highlight the two different sides to Nantes – the industrial and the natural – and how they are linked by the River Loire. There is a series of 18 rings that offer differently segmented views of the city, allowing observers to question the way in which they interpret what they see.
The Great Elephant
Perhaps the most famous and unique of the tour’s attractions is this awe-inspiring construction, which carries 49 passengers on an exciting 45-minute stroll through Nantes. Passengers sitting inside can watch the gears moving as they listen to information about the elephant’s life. The structure is part of the cultural project, ‘The Machines of the Isle of Nantes.’ The project is a homage to the ‘imaginary worlds’ of Jules Verne, who was born in Nantes.
Many other secrets of Nantes are just waiting to be explored! Make sure you’re perfectly rested and ready to unearth them all with a great stay at Radisson Blu.