Fun things to do in Nantes

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Nantes

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    Museum of Natural History

    by gwened Updated Jun 23, 2013

    le musée d'histoire naturelle is at rue Voltaire in a nice mansion. It is open every day from 10h to 18H, and admission is 3,5€ adults.

    The museum in Nantes is unique in France as the building was done to house the museum!! on 1799, and finally open as a museum in 1875. It is located in a nice residential area of Nantes.

    the most interesting part here is the paleontology and pre history section on animals and dinoseurs that was recently renovated this year, here http://www.museum.nantes.fr/pages/18-expo_evenement/galerieSdelaT/accueil.htm

    Great for the family and the kids will love it.

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    Museum Dobrée

    by gwened Updated Jun 23, 2013

    an arqueological ,historical, and artifacts museum from a family of great collectineurs ,the Dobrée.
    the museum is under renovation until 2015, but keep it handy I was here many years ago, and it is wonderful. I will tell you when its ready.

    sculptures, decorated arts, swords, weaponry, medals, paintings, Chinese arts, Graphics arts, items from the Americas to Oceania, you name it ,and it is here. All house in a manoir mansion house of great historical value. It is the old property of the bishop of Nantes in the middle ages. here the Manoir de la Touché was built and it is still the name given today to the building. In 1862, Thomas Dobrée (1810-1895) buys the building and renovates into a roman house to house his rich collections.

    For now you only imagine the beauty inside, back then I was not into photos and travel forums but it will come.
    Across the museum you see the manoir de la Touche; open while there is expositions, built in the 15C by the bishop Jean de Malestroit. Jean V duke of the house of Montfort died here in 1442.

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    Church Notre Dame de Bon Port

    by gwened Written May 9, 2013

    also known locally as Church Saint Louis to honor the sailors who look after Saint Louis for help at sea. The Dome is 60 meters high similar to the Invalides of Paris.

    It replaces the previos one done in 1827, the new was done in 1852. It is form by a Greek cross with equal branches, forming a square of 38 meters on the side by 30 meters high.

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    church Saint Nicolas

    by gwened Written May 9, 2013

    a church basilica of Saint Nicolas was built over one from the 11C, by the priest and later bishop of Nantes Félix Fournier between 1844-1869 and the materials were from the region such as granite and stone from the chalks of Tourain.

    In 1882 the church was elevated to Basilica.

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    museum of fine arts or Beaux-Arts

    by gwened Written Sep 29, 2012

    It is located between the Château des Ducs de Bretagne ,and the jardin des Plantes, this museum housed many wonderful works of arts, and Italian collections from the Renaissance to the present. We can find the paintings from Ingres, De la Tour, Chagall, Picasso, and Kandinsky...A wonderful place to feast on the art of painting and its history.

    Admission is 6 euros.
    The museum is now closed for renovations, and temporary exhibitions are held in the Chapelle de l'Oratoire at Place de l'Oratoire. Something worth waiting to reopen.
    the official website tells about the renovation and info
    http://www.museedesbeauxarts.nantes.fr/lang/en/Accueil/Projet-musee/pid/18914

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    Basilique Saint-Nicolas

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    This basilica is a catholic roman church that was built in 1869 by Jean-Baptiste Antoine Lassus in neo gothic style using local granite and limestone. It’s probably my favorite church of any other in Nantes.

    There was a church on the same spot since 11th century.

    I liked the exterior (pic 1), especially the tower but we also loved the interior spending our time checking small side chapels and other details but what I really liked was the elegand combination of the colors coming together with the smooth natural light.

    By the way the church was seriously damaged during WWII as many parts of the city anyway but it was repaired in the 50s and 60s.

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    Quai de la fosse

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    On our way to the famous wooden elephant we passed by Quai de la fosse, the dock area which used to be full of prostitutes during weekends but also full of bars. During the day it was just another working class area, we stopped at some of the cafes for a small coffee break although we were surprised that 95% of the locals were enjoying their first wine of the day :)

    There are a lot mansions that date from the 18th century, probably owned by rich shipowners. Its reputation as a red light district started many years before when the brothers opened to satisfy the sailors needs. That’s why the locals call the area quai de la fesse (dock of the buttocks). In 18th century Nantes was the largest port in Europe with transatlantic trade bringing goods from america or west Indies such as coffee, sugar, spices etc

    From the dock we passed the bridge Bd Leon Bureau, it was time to meet with the famous elephant. From the dock we passed the bridge Bd Leon Bureau, it was time to meet with the famous elephant. But before that we took some pictures of the brown ugly Loire river (pics 2-3-4) which splits the city in two. It’s the longest river in France (1000km long)

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    des tables memoriales pour nos morts

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    After visiting the canal we passed by the ugly square du Maquis de Saffre(pic1), obviously the modern building at the corner was much more interesting!

    Anyway, then we visited the des tables memoriales pour nos morts (memorial tables for our war heroes) (pics2-3) which is located opposite square du Maquis.

    The info sign in front of the monument gives all the information we need to know about it: In 1918, mayor Paul Bellamy decided to pay homage to the people of Nantes who died in combat. He selected the proposal of M Robida for three memorial tables, “a noble and simple architectural monument”, bearing the names of the 7500 soldiers who died for France. On July 1927, the monument was inaugurated in the presence of Paul Painleve, Minister of War.

    We walked up the stairs, the french flag stands proud and two statue at the corners (pic 4) while there is big open air area with nothing on it, I think a little green, some trees and maybe some extra statues will make it look more attractive for those passing by and for the Vters who want to read something more interesting for the readers of their pages :)

    At the other end I could see (pic 5) the column with Louix XVI statue that I talked about on previous tip

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    Versailles:an isle of boats (l’ile aux bateaux)

    by mindcrime Updated Jul 3, 2011

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    A park that is actually a small island inside the canal! Lovely place, very quite early in the morning, full of green and some great picturesque corners. There’s even a japanese garden there! The restaurant may be a good choise for those who want to have view over the canal during their lunch but we prefered to walk around.

    Info sign at the entrance reads:When the canal between Nantes and Brest was built at the start of the 19th century, the Barbin marshes were filled, giving birth to a new island. The island became a varourite spot for pleasure boats. The island was also home to laundry boats, tanneries and repair and construction yards for boats. By 1987, the city council owned the entire island and built a contemporary Japanese garden there

    While another Info sign reads:with its fisheries and mills, the traditional Barbin carriageway, built in the 6th century by bishop Saint Felix, was a major channel of navigation until the 19th century. Once it had become obsolete, the carriageway was destroyed. Barbin isle or Legal Isle(now known as the Isle of Versailles) was a mooring point for small boats and barges. It was the home of repair workshops, shipbuilding yards and boat hangars

    It is open 8.30-20.00 (in winter till 18.30) there’s a also a small area for the kids
    There’s no entrance fee of course

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    the canal

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    One of the best moment we had in Nantes was the lovely walk along the canal. We started from monument aux cinquante otages et la Resistance and walked up to the north stopping only for a coffee break along the way when we found some nice cafes next to the canal with outdoor seating (it was great under the sun)

    We passed through several small bridges, nothing special about them to mention although small signs here and there were giving information about the area like this one near a metal bridge(pic 5): the bridge of the General of the Motte Rouge, inaugurated on 25 July 1886, was designed by Jean Resal, one of the leading metal bridge builders of the late 19th century, who also built the Alexandre Ill bridge in Paris. The bridge is a technical and aesthetic feat, with a single 80-metre wide arch that is decorated with the arms of the City of Nantes.

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    Museums in Nantes

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    I was surprised of the numerous museums in Nantes! Most of them were very peaceful though as there are not many tourists in town (we were there late june)

    -Museum of Natural History
    We tried to enter from rue Voltaire but a lady came screaming pointing outside! We thought we did something wrong but the entrance is from Louis Bureau square, the one at rue Voltaire is for school groups etc

    -Musée Jules Verne
    It’s located on the Butte Sainte Anne, a recently renovated building with a lot of item that will remind you your childhood when you could travel through Verne’s books. Most of the items are memorabilia associated with Jules Verne’s life (that was born in Nantes) but I think everyone that loves science fiction will be interested in this. What’s more the view over the port is nice.

    -Musée des Beaux-Arts
    The Fine Arts Museum is located at rue Clémenceau. It is housed on a nice building and supposed to have a good art collection but we didn’t have time to visit it.

    -Musée Dobrée
    It’s the archeology museum of Nantes. We were a bit tired so we stayed a bit at the grounds of Place Jean V that is open to the people for free anyway (in front of the museum) so if you are not interested about museums you can just stroll around and take some pictures of the buildings.
    Address: 18, rue Voltaire 3e 13.30-17:30

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    eglise Sainte Croix (Holy Cross)

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    Church of Holy Cross is a catholic roman church that was built in 1685. We passed many times from this church due to its location at the center of the old part of the city where all the restaurants, cafes and brasseries are.

    Most of the times there was a happening in front of the church, a bazzar with second hand vinyls, a choir, a small orchestra of little children etc! It was hard to pay attention to the exterior of the church due to the cheerful music of the little kids but the facade and the portal dates from 1685 while the weird tower at the top from 1860 (later I learnt that it was the old belfry of Bouffay tower that stood at the corner of the square until 1848)

    We entered inside some minutes later and we realized that it was very dark comparing to the enormous natural light that we saw at the cathedral an hour before. The stained glass windows arent something special and they dont allow much light to come inside anyway. We took some pictures of some details but after 10’ we were off to the near by brasserie :)

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    Porte St. Pierre

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    Just behind the Cathedral there is an old gateway from 15th century that was built on the remains of a old medieval wall. It gives an opportunity to imagine the old fortified town (ok, you have to use your imagination to the maximum...)

    We noticed many tourist groups stop there for pictures on their way to other parts of France. Those days the gate was part of the roman road from Paris to Atlantic ocean.

    I took a picture of the gate but there was nothing more to see there so we turn our head at the other side where I saw a 20 meter high column with a statue on top. It’s the statue of Louis XVI, one of the last 3 statues of him in France.

    Behind the statue starts a long square/park but first we walked a bit towards the train station but we noticed nothing than a few old men enjoying the sun and a monument with statues a few meters away (pic 4) so we returned back to the column and checked the buildings like the one on pic 5.

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    monument aux cinquante otages et la Resistance

    by mindcrime Written Jul 3, 2011

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    On 22 of October a tragedy took place in Nantes when Hitler ordered the execution of 50 hostages as a revenge for the death of Felkommandant by communist rebels near Nantes’ cathedral.
    The monument erected in 1952 in front of pont Morrant. It was made by the sculptor Jean Mazuet and shows 2 women that hold a sword and a wheat represending the power of women and the renaissance of France.

    It is located at the end of the avenue with the same name (Cours des Cinquante Otages). We walked a bit there, it’s a wide avenue (pic 4) with one of the tram lines in the middle of it. According to the info sign this avenue was redesigned in 1990 by I. Rota, B. Fortier and T.Bloch. When the Erdre River was filled in, the avenue became a corridor for automobiles. The goal of the redevelopment scheme was to bring the medieval district(on the eastern side) and the 18th century district(on western side) together, while adding a new tram line and large pedestrian zones. It was widened leaving room for a river of green down the middle as a reminder of the river that has since disappeared. Although we enjoyed walking at the avenue we found no interest on the several big stores along the avenue while small side streets seems much more interesting.

    Later in the evening when we returned back to the hotel I tried to take a nightshot of the monument but it was hard to do because there was a non stop light rain (pic 3)

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  • An unseen way to discover Nantes

    by slgonid Written Jul 16, 2009

    Greeters are like keys, each opening a door to a different view of Nantes.
    They offer custom visits to show you the typical sights but also unusual addresses, hidden treasures, special encounters, local customs and the great history of Nantes.

    Looking for an enriching and original holiday or trip, off the beaten track, meeting new people?
    Do you think tourism can be a source of cultural exchange both for visitors and locals?
    In your past travels, haven't you noticed that you had a better time when you met up with one or more of the local inhabitants who shared your same interests?

    If you agree with the above, then come with us on a trip to see what this other tourism is like... The Nantes Greeters, inhabitants of Nantes and surrounding area, who love the place they live in, are open to other cultures, of all ages and backgrounds, are volunteering to give up some of their spare time to meet with you and show you round the town and the surrounding area, depending on your interests and tastes. And it's free !

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