Wanderlust Wednesdays – Exploring Nantes

A romantic day in Nantes

Welcome to Wednesday!  Last week we visiting the beautiful Auvergne region of France, and today we are continuing on our Wanderlust Series as we are exploring Nantes with the assistance of Danielle Branje form A Story of Childhood.

Exploring Nantes

Christophe and Daniëlle from ‘Le gite d’océana’ travel and lifestyle blog for Loire Atlantique (west-France), have created an itinerary for a romantic day in Nantes.

Nantes has a gireat vibe. It’s a relaxed city with a lot of green spaces and declared as most livable city in France by Time Magazine.

There are around 100 parks and one hundred percent of the inhabitants have a green space at less than 300 meters of their home.

This city has all the ingredients for a romantic get-away.

We give you some inside tips for an unforgettable day.

Exploring Nantes

1 A French breakfast

Your romantic day in Nantes starts with a visit to a ‘boulangerie’.

How to recognize a good baker in France?

French pastries

There is a waiting line outside of the bakery.

Don’t pass and search for another one: this is the one you should go to.  Our suggestion: Pain, beurre et chocolat in quartier Saint Felix.

This bakery is run by a former-journalist who became a baker. He militates for the best quality of bread, uses local products and offers organic bread.

Boulangerie in NantesThis photo is a general photo of a boulangerie (not the suggestion)

2 A bike or boat trip along the Erdre

After a good breakfast you are ready to make some miles.

We love to take our bike and follow the river “the Erdre” heading north. Nantes is a bike-friendly city with bike roads all along the city center.   You can rent a bike at Bicloo (self-service), vélo campus, métrople en vélo or détours de Loire.

On the website of Nantes Tourisme you can find more information about renting a bike.

If you follow the Erdre you pass by our favorite park: “Parc Floral de la Beaujoire”

bike along erdre near Nantes

In spring and summer it is full of beautiful roses in all kind of colours.

Another great park is the Jardin des Plantes, near the main train station. There are all kind of little jokes in this park, like very big and very little benches. It’s a little bit like Alice in Wonderland.

On this website you can find everything about the 100 parcs in Nantes.

Don’t like to bike? You can also take a boat in this city full of water and formerly known as “La Venise de l’ouest”.

Bateaux Nantais brings you for a trip along the river.

view on the Loire River

3 Lunch in Bouffay 

After a bike or boat ride, we would advice you to visit Bouffay.   Bouffay is the medieval quartier of Nantes.

This beautiful place with old buildings and great architecture is packed with restaurants, bars and crêperies.

In Bouffay you can also visit the Castle of the Dukes of Britain (or of the Duchess Anne) where you will have a view on the city center.

You can walk a whole round in the rampart of the castle and after sunset the yard is very beautiful decorated with a light show.

Bouffay in Nantes

4 L’ile de Nantes

After the lunch you can take the bike or travel by public transport to visit the L’ile de Nantes.  L’ile de Nantes is one of the most innovative places in Nantes. It’s an island full of interesting places to visit.

There are a lot of old harbor buildings re-build again. So if you like industrial architecture, this is a good place to visit.

L’ile de Nantes

On the island you can also find Les machines de l’île. This artistic project has won several international awards.

It’s a tribute to Jules Verne (the most famous Nantais) and Leonardo Da Vinci.  You can visit the famous elephant. This is a 12-meter high mechanical construction which actually can walk and bring people on it’s back.

Les machines de l’île

The dock of this island is decorated with lightning colourful rings: Les Annaux de Berne.

5 Dinner in La cigale 

Where else to have a romantic dinner than in one of the oldest restaurant of Nantes?  This very chic place first opened on 1 april 1895.

Classified as historic monument, it is more than a restaurant. It’s a Nantais institution and one of the most well-known localities in town.

In a 19th century decor of mosaic, created by the artist E. Libaudiere, the ambiance is very romantic.

la Cigale

6  A drink in the Nest 

After a long and busy day it’s time to relax.   We know a great place: Le Nid (the Nest).

You can have a drink at the 32th floor of the Tour de Bretagne in the middle of the center.  When you enter the building, you can walk to the elevator and this will bring you to the top level.

It’s not open every day, so check your day of arrival.  You can go outside and admire a beautiful view of Nantes (panoramic 360 degrees view).

It’s great during the day or in the night.

The Nest Nantes

Some additional tips and ideas around Nantes 

Around 40 minutes from Nantes you can visit the Atlantic coast.

There are a lot of little coves where you can have a relaxed stay. Sometimes we have a little beach just for the two of us. We often visit St Marie sur Mer or Pornic.

Around Nantes, there are a lot of nice places to visit, such as Piriac, St Gilles croix de vie and Guérande.

Here you can find little markets and shops with local delicacies.

 Beaches near Nantes

To explore other areas of France, see our other Wanderlust Wednesday features here

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