Nantes’ Tourist Spots

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When I was a teen, I just couldn’t wait to leave Nantes. I had lived my entire life in the city’s downtown core and I was sick and tired of walking the same streets, shopping in the same stores and hanging out with the same people. Nantes is a sizeable city—the 6th largest in France, actually—but it has a small town feel. I guess it can be a good thing, but when you are a teen, it’s not. I felt like I was suffocating. The day I graduated from high school, I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was free!

I wanted to see the world and I did. And now, I can look back and appreciate Nantes for what it is—a lovely city, really. I still wouldn’t live there again for many reasons, but visiting as a tourist feels great. Nantes is relaxing, pretty, affordable for a French city, artsy and historic, easily walkable, and has a lot of free tourist spots. Frankly, I’d encourage anyone traveling to France to stop by—and I’m not even being patriotic here.

After resting from the crazy trip from London, Feng and I took the time to revisit all the city’s main landmarks, from the majestic gothic Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul to the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, from the Ile de Versailles and the Jardin des plantes to the famous Ile de Nantes, with its mechanical elephant and funky art projects.

The weather was much warmer than in London and it felt right to be in a familiar place. Being a tourist in my hometown is no longer strange or disturbing—it’s natural.

You can see all the pic­tures taken in Nantes on Flickr.

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul

Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul

Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul

Bouffay, The Bar District

Saint Croix Church

Waterlily at the Ile de Versailles

Le Jardin des plantes

Ile de Nantes

Ile de Nantes

The Elephant

The New Artsy Merry-Go-Round on the Ile de Nantes

Ile de Nantes

The Loire River

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

10 Comments

  1. There’s a very popular saying in India that goes ‘it is easy to take things around you for granted and forget their true value’ I totally understand how you felt in highschool and how you look at the same city today. I hadn’t heard about Nantes before (sorry!) but it looks like there are numerous things to do! 🙂

    • Few people have heard about the city, really, don’t feel bad about it. I wish I could encourage tourists to visit though, not because I have some kind of pride in my hometown but because it really is a nice place to explore.

  2. What a great selection of pictures! I liked Nantes when we visited too, but it does feel like quite a small town – I was surprised to find out how many inhabitants it actually has. Edinburgh, my home town, is about the same size but feels much bigger.

  3. I experienced the same thing rather recently. Back in 2010, I realized that I’ve already been to 20-something countries, and yet I haven’t actually visited my own. So I decided to pack my backpack and travel around the north, which I repeated the year after, when I traveled around the south. It was a great experience.

    Sometimes, one needs to get out and see what one has, in order to appreciate it.

  4. It kinda sounds like Ottawa!;) Looks like a beautiful city, remind me if I ever go to France to visit there, because it sounds like my kinda place. (Big cities are fine in small doses, but stress me out long term!)

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