What to See in Nantes: A Locals' Guide to Exploring the City

What to See in Nantes: A Locals' Guide to Exploring the City

What to See in Nantes: A Locals' Guide to Exploring the City


Nantes, the vibrant city on the banks of the Loire River in western France, is a destination that combines history, culture, and natural beauty. As a local expert, I want to share the best places to visit and things to do in Nantes. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's rich history, immersing yourself in art and culture, or simply enjoying the stunning landscapes, Nantes has something for everyone.

1. The Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Start your journey through Nantes at the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a magnificent fortress that stands as a symbol of the city's history. Explore the impressive ramparts, stroll through the courtyard, and visit the museum inside to learn about the fascinating past of Nantes and the Loire region.

2. Jardin des Plantes

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Jardin des Plantes, a beautiful botanical garden brimming with exotic plants, serene paths, and charming ponds. Take a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or simply find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the tranquility.

3. Les Machines de l'île

No visit to Nantes is complete without experiencing Les Machines de l'île. This imaginative and interactive artistic project combines mechanical sculptures, fantasy worlds, and whimsical rides. Marvel at the grandeur of the Great Elephant, take a ride on the Carrousel des Mondes Marins, and be fascinated by the creative genius of this unique attraction.

4. Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul

Admire the stunning architecture of the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, a magnificent Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city's skyline. Step inside to discover impressive stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and a peaceful atmosphere that invites contemplation.

5. Passage Pommeraye

Indulge in some retail therapy at Passage Pommeraye, a 19th-century shopping arcade that exudes elegance and charm. Wander through the beautifully designed boutiques, admire the ornate staircase, and soak in the unique atmosphere of this architectural gem.

6. Musée d'Arts de Nantes

Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Musée d'Arts de Nantes. With an extensive collection spanning from ancient to contemporary art, this museum offers a diverse and enriching cultural experience. Discover works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Delacroix as you explore the galleries.

7. Île de Nantes

Cross the Loire River to reach the Île de Nantes, a former industrial area that has been transformed into a hub of creativity and innovation. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the quays, admire the modern architecture, and visit the various cultural institutions that have found their home on the island.

8. Loire River Cruise

Experience the beauty of the Loire River with a relaxing cruise. Sail along the tranquil waters, taking in the picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and historic landmarks that dot the riverbanks. It's a delightful way to discover the natural splendor of the region.

9. Nantes Castle Tour

For history enthusiasts, a guided tour of the remaining medieval fortresses in Nantes is a must. Explore the ruins of the Tour LU, once part of a biscuit factory, and learn about the city's industrial heritage. Visit the Tour Bretagne to enjoy panoramic views of Nantes from its observation deck.

10. Local Cuisine

No visit to Nantes is complete without sampling the local cuisine. Indulge in classic Breton dishes such as galettes (buckwheat pancakes) or enjoy fresh seafood delicacies from the nearby Atlantic coast. Wash it all down with a glass of Muscadet, the region's famous white wine.


Nantes is a city that offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From exploring ancient fortresses to immersing yourself in art and indulging in delicious cuisine, Nantes has something to enchant every visitor. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Nantes!