Nantes, capital of Pays de la Loire

  • © Franck Charel

    © Franck Charel

Nantes, capital of Pays de la Loire nantes fr


The artsy city of Nantes on the banks of the River Loire has undergone a shifting identity through the ages, originally part of Brittany after joining the Breton duchy in AD 937, but replaced by Rennes as Brittany’s capital following the Franco-Breton union in 1532. It’s often been praised for its quality of life and is a healthy, green city, awarded the European Green Capital Award in 2013 and offering thousands of hectares of green space. And with a pedestrianised centre and plenty of smart shops to browse, all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Don’t miss…


  • Le Château des Ducs de Bretagne (Château of the Dukes of Brittany)

Home to Nantes’ history museum, this impressive building with its imposing granite towers served as both a residential palace and a defensive fortress in the 15th century. The buildings have been fully restored and its easy access makes it a great place for all the family to visit. Browse a collection of more than 800 exhibits and discover the city’s history through animation. Take a guided tour of 32 themed rooms and learn about Nantes’ heritage – including its connection with Britain, the slave trade and major industrial developments. For the best views across the city rooftops, walk around the ramparts – and wait until nightfall for the floodlit château to take your breath away.


  • Île Feydeau and the former homes of 18th-century ship owners

  • Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes, the city’s 15th-century cathedral


  • Shopping on Rue Crébillon, known for its luxury clothes and jewellery shops 


  • Les Machines de l’Île with its giant elephant and carousel inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne, plus the Hanger à Bananes, a converted banana warehouse with café and restaurant terrace 


  • The Tour de Bretagne, a skyscraper with rooftop bar and panoramic views 


  • Le Jardin des Plantes, an impressive municipal botanic garden 


  • Le Voyage à Nantes, a summertime event showcasing contemporary art installations along a trail marked by a green line on the ground, taking in the city’s key monuments and must-see places 


Further information:
Nantes Tourist Office
9 rue des États
44000 Nantes
Tel: +33 (0)2 72 64 04 79 


Things to see