With a downtown core of about 300,000 inhabitants, Nantes isn’t a huge city. However, there are hundreds of small streets and alleys, and even though I spent 18 years of my life there, I still discover new districts every day, outside the main landmarks such as the Château or the Isle of Nantes.
But no matter which part of the city I’m exploring, spontaneously, I almost always follow the Loire River, the longest river in France. Nantes’ most common nickname is the Venice of the West, a name owing to its position on the river delta of the Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre. Except around the Isle of Nantes and the Quai de la Fosse, the banks of the River are still wild and quiet—it feels like being on another planet.