One of my favourite districts in Nantes is the one close to the Loire River, by the quai de la Fosse. The former dodgy neighborhood was home to the shipyards and, at the time, prostitutes and brothels were known to satisfy sailors’ needs quai de la Fosse (there are still a number of strip bars along the quay today).
From the crooked buildings quai de la Fosse, you can see the Loire River, the massive brand new courthouse, the Île de Nantes (and its mechanical wooden elephant), the Titan Crane (left as a reminder of the chantiers Dubigeons, the shipyards). A number of historical ships are docked there, including the trois-mâts Belem (a 19th century merchant ship) and the Maillé-Brézé (a destroyer of the French Navy). This is also where the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery was built.
I grew up quai de la Fosse, and then moved a block away when I was a kid. It remains one of my favourite places to hangout. Funny enough, the bourgeois of Nantes dislike the area and would rather gather on the infamous “Boulevard Guist’hau” (a rather dark and windy boulevard with almost no shops around) or in the Cours Cambronne (equally windy and dusty).