I didn’t want to rush to the Isle of Nantes because I know we will end up there several times during our “French summer”. The home of the giant mechanical elephant and other Jules Verne-inspired art projects is a fun place to hang out and it’s still fairly new to me—at least compared to the Château des Ducs or the Jardin des plantes, where I spent all my Wednesdays afternoons as a kid.
I’m amazed to see how touristic Nantes has become. It’s good, though, I’m not complaining about it. In a way, it’s not that surprising that travelers add Nantes to their itinerary. This is still a big city, there is plenty to see and to do and the cost of living is affordable by French standards. Most European tourists know all the tricks to travel by rail, coach or air, thanks to useful travel planner such as GoEuro, and they definitely found Nantes. Just today, I heard Spanish, German, English and Italian being spoken in the street!
The Isle of Nantes had a few new cool attractions, including a 18-metre-long ball pool (with a “lifeguard!) and the HAB art gallery dedicated to contemporary art. The elephant is still here and I wasn’t sure how Mark was going to react since he is much more aware of his surroundings than he was last year, as a baby. He watched with a mix of fear and curiosity, it was actually funny to see his face.
The best part of the Isle of Nantes, to me, isn’t the slightly gimmicky attractions and art projects, but the walk along the Loire River. The view is beautiful and during the day it’s peaceful since most bars only open in the evening. We strolled along the Buren’s Rings and the Hangars à Bananes, and then back to the Quai de la Fosse, under a beautiful sunshine.
You can see the complete set of pictures taken in France on Flickr.