©Nantes|Franck Tomps


Nantes historic city

Although it is now the administrative centre of the Pays-de-la-Loire, Nantes was the capital of Brittany for hundreds of years. Start at the impressive Château des ducs de Bretagne before wandering through the medieval old town then take a ride on a mechanical elephant on the Île de Nantes. Just follow the green line !

Culture vultures

All year long, follow the green line and find the art in the public space. Art lovers should head to the Musée d’Arts whose works date from the 13th to the 19th century; it also has a contemporary art collection. Culture vultures are generally spoilt for choice as Nantes has a vibrant live music scene; it even has its own opera house. There is a full calendar of events including a carnival in April.


Breton palace

Surrounded by a water-filled moat, the imposing Château des ducs de Bretagne is a good place to start any visit of France’s sixth largest city. It was built in the 15th century by Francois II, one of the last rulers of Brittany, and later became the Breton residence of the French monarchy. After an extensive 15-year restoration programme, the castle now houses Nantes’ history museum, where visitors can learn about the city’s past as France’s largest port. Kids will enjoy a walk around the ramparts followed by a picnic on the grassy lawn.

Jules Verne, author of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, was born in Nantes in 1828.

Did you know?

Le Voyage à Nantes

The Voyage à Nantes event has stage set the town every summer since 2012. Forty historical and modern sites make up the sensitive and poetic trail of the same name. This permanent ‘dispersed monument’ can be traced by following the green line along the ground. It’s a summertime stopover where art tips the town upside down! Diversity and free admission to the vast number of its offerings are once again its strong points.


Les Machines de l’île on the île de Nantes

Connected to the mainland by bridges, the once-industrial Île de Nantes has undergone a makeover in recent years. The island now has some  restaurants and quirky bars as well as Les Machines de l’Île: a workshop where artists have created mechanical animals whose centrepiece is a 39ft (12m)-high Great Elephant, which takes passengers on a tour of the surroundings.

Old town

Nantes’ old town can be found in the maze of streets to the west of the château in the Bouffay district. As well as half-timbered houses, you’ll also discover some of the city’s best shopping including speciality food boutiques and the Galeries Lafayette department store. The Passage Pommeraye, a spectacular 19th-century glass-roofed shopping mall, is not to be missed in the newer part of town.

Main points of interest :

All year round, the essential stops along the Green Line

  • More than 120 artworks of Le Voyage à Nantes
  • The castle of the dukes of Brittany (13th-18th centuries) and its Nantes History Museum…
  • Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul Cathedral (15th – 19th centuries).
  • The Jardin des Plantes and the Musée d’Arts.
    – Feydeau island, (18th century), Place Royale, Graslin district, Passage Pommeraye…
  • The new Musée Dobrée and its collections covering 500,000 years of history and 5 continents.
  • On the Ile de Nantes : the Parc des Chantiers (former shipyards) with the Machines de l’Ile, the Hangar à bananes…
  • The Bas Chantenay district, with its extraordinary garden, the Kawamata belvedere, the Jules Verne museum.

Getting there

Getting to Nantes

Nantes Atlantique is the largest international airport in western France after Bordeaux and is the gateway to Brittany. It has more than 100 direct connections with Europe and more… (Montreal for example).
An airport shuttle service will get you to the centre of Nantes in 20 minutes. Good to know : The Pass Nantes includes the airport shuttle. Buy your city pass on line before coming to Nantes !
With 26 trains per day, Nantes is less than 2 hours from Paris on the intercity TGV and TGV InOui services. Eurostar will get you to Paris from London in 2 hours 16 minutes. You could also opt for a low-cost journey to Nantes using the OuiGo trains or long-distance bus companies such as  Eurolines, Flixbus, BlaBlaCar-Bus and Megabus, which run from many towns.
By car, Nantes is 177 km from the ferry port at Saint-Malo, 315 km from Roscoff, 349 km from Bordeaux or 385 km from Paris.

Travelling in and around Nantes

Good to know: The Pass Nantes unites 50 of the sites, sights and services in Nantes, Saint-Nazaire and the vineyards. With a bespoke offer for each of the 4 seasons, the Pass is valid for 24, 48, 72 hours or for 7 days ! Its wide-ranging benefits simplifies the stay of all travellers, from those who travel alone, in couples or with their tribe, to fans of picture, rails and paddles … The Pass Nantes allows everyone to choose their rhythm by uniting the unmissables…and so much more besides …
If you’re driving to Nantes, why not leave your car at one of the many park and ride car parks on the outskirts of town? You can visit the various parts of town on foot, by bus or tram on the Naolib network , by taxi bike with Happy Moov or even by navibus (boat bus) on the rivers Erdre or Loire. Cars are also available on a self-service basis using the Marguerite car-sharing service
To simplify your travel by public transport, use the Destineo route planners for the Pays de Loire and Mobibreizh to work out your journeys and transport services.
It takes about an hour by car to get to Rennes or Vannes using the toll-free dual carriageways.

Official website of tourism in Brittany