As you know, in 2021, I explored a lot our beautiful country, France. I published more than 40 videos on YouTube made in France! Of course, I took advantage of my travels to go back to one of my favorite cities… Nantes! This article aims to share with you my favorites in the 6th largest French city.
What to visit in Nantes ? Guide to my must-sees
Let’s start at the beginning with a little presentation of Nantes NANTES
Population : About 315 000 inhabitants, the 6th largest city in France.
Surface area: 65,19 km²
Prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique.
You will find above a video that will take you to all the favorite places of Elisa, a real local that I had the chance to meet and who knows Nantes better than anyone! That being said, here is the selection of my favorite places in the city
The green line
This is the must for a Nantes city break or a longer stay: the green line
allows you to discover the emblematic places of the city. Among them, there is the Jardin des Plantes, the Place Royale, the Passage Pommeraye but also the Tour Bretagne and the Dukes of Brittany castle. Speaking of this castle, it was built between the 14th and 18th centuries and it is now the home of the Nantes History Museum.
Following this 22km green line traced on the ground of the city, we also pass in front of the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral which is located in the Bouffay district, the historical district.
Le Lieu Unique
This cultural center is located in the Olivettes district, in the heart of the former premises of the LU cookie factory, where the Petit Beurre was born. Its name bears the same initials as the famous brand emblematic of the city. Labeled as a “National Stage”, the Lieu Unique offers not only shows and exhibitions (theater, dance, visual arts) but also a bar, a restaurant, a bookstore, a crèche and even a hammam. All this makes it the perfect place to meet and live a unique moment (no pun intended).
Rue Maréchal Joffre
Often described by the people of Nantes as “the coolest street”, this 550m long pedestrian street is only a few minutes away from the Jardin des Plantes and has many bars, restaurants, shops and activities of all kinds.
Le Jardin des Plantes
The city of Nantes is known for its 101 parks and gardens, of which the Jardin des Plantes is one. In this place labeled “Remarkable Garden”, you can find more than 10,000 living species and 800 m² of greenhouses. Its entrance is free, so it is ideal for an afternoon with children who can have fun in the playground designed by Claude Ponti.
The Bouffay district
This district is the historical district of the city. It is home to the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral.
also in this district that you can find the rue des Carmes, a pedestrian street with many bars and restaurants, the Maison de la Poésie and many other places to stroll.
The Graslin district
This district was designed by the architects Ceineray and Crucy. You can find there the Graslin Theater and the Pommeraye passage which I already spoke about above. It shelters many stores and will know how to amaze the lovers of architecture as well as the cinema lovers. Indeed, for the anecdote, the place is present in the movie Lola by Jacques Demy.
If you stay a few days in Nantes, the Place de la Petite-Hollande will allow you to discover the products of the world thanks to its market which is held there every Saturday morning.
The Island of Nantes (and the Machines of the Island)
I am obliged to speak to you about the Island of Nantes which shelters one of the inescapable elements of the city: the machines of the Island!
You can discover there the Carrousel of the marine worlds and the Big Elephant. Speaking of the Great Elephant, it is possible to climb on it to observe its gears and go for a ride on one of the three proposed routes.
Crossing the Loire via Navibus to discover Trentemoult
Finally I wanted to talk to you about Trentemoult, an old fishermen’s village directly on the other side of the Loire. The houses are colorful and the atmosphere is calm. The village is also the place of residence of many artists whose art galleries can be visited.
To get there, I recommend the Navibus Loire N1 which offers a 10-minute crossing from the Nantes ferry terminal to the village. The Navibus are river shuttles that are part of the city’s public transport network, an original way to get around and discover the surroundings! A ticket costs 1,70€ and can be bought at the vending machines present in the maritime station and everywhere in the city.
What to see around Nantes ?
I couldn’t do this article without telling you about the surroundings of Nantes, because there are also nice things to see when you go out of the metropolis!
Less than an hour away from Nantes, there is Angers. The city is known for its castle and its Saint-Maurice cathedral.
While strolling through its streets, you can also discover many works of street art. The Art Escape route will guide you through the different districts to discover the city from a new angle. Its itinerary is available on <a
Want to relax after a day of sightseeing? The city also offers many parks and gardens like the Jardin des Plantes or the Jardin du Mail. Located in the heart of the city and particularly appreciated in summer, the latter is the ideal place to relax and discover the many varieties of flowers that can be found there.
Belvedere of Rozé
24 meters high, the belvedere is located in Saint-Malo-de-Guersac in the heart of the Brière regional nature park. It is possible to visit this park in which is located the second largest marsh in France and enjoy the magnificent view that the observatory offers! Open 7 days a week and all day long, I advise you to go there at the end of the day to admire the sun going down on the marsh!
Labeled “City of Art and History”, Saint-Nazaire has a little known heritage. I particularly remember the fishermen’s huts (also called “pêcheries”) that can be found along the Atlantic coast. To discover them, I advise you to follow the “sentier des douaniers” (customs officers’ path) which will offer you magnificent views on the ocean. This itinerary follows the coast on 2000km from Mont-Saint-Michel to Saint-Nazaire passing by the peninsula of Crozon which I already talked about in this article.
If you don’t feel like a hiker, a 14km itinerary allows you to reach Saint-Nazaire to Pornichet in about 3h30. Details of this route are available on the city’s website.
Finally, I had to tell you about Guérande. Famous for its salt marshes, this city, also “City of Art and History”, has many other wonders to discover. This fortified city has many small medieval streets in which you can get lost. And if you want to discover the local specialities, I advise you to go to the market in the center of the city. They are open all year round on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm.
The city also offers bike tours and hikes on a dedicated web page. These itineraries allow you to discover the history of the city and its landscapes while going along the coast!
I hope that this article about Nantes and its region has given you the desire to discover this beautiful territory!
This article was realized in partnership with Nantes Tourisme and enpaysdelaloire.com. All the recommendations are however realized by my care in all objectivity
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!