Fly to Nantes

A city with saltwater in its veins

The western French city of Nantes has long had a strong maritime tradition thanks to its position on the River Loire, around 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Nantes has grown substantially in size since the 1990s, testament to its reputation as an attractive city which has climbed up global 'livability' rankings in recent times.

The French national carrier Air France flies to Nantes
frequently each day from multiple US airports. All flights involve a stopover in either Paris or Amsterdam, with a typical journey from New York to Nantes via Paris Charles de Gaulle airport taking 9 to 10 hours.

Nantes is in the same time zone as the rest of France, so the time difference will range from - 10 to - 6 hours, depending on your home city. It has a typically oceanic climate, with few extremes of temperature, and regular, but generally fairly light rainfall.

Nantes has always had a close relationship with the sea, whether as a port or a shipbuilding center (look out for the famous cranes, the grues Titan, relics of this industry). There are a number of notable historic ships which can be visited, from the relatively modern destroyer, the Maillé-Brézé, to the Belem, a three masted barque which first put to sea in 1896.
A visit to the old fishing village of Trentemoult is also a must. It has now become a trendy district inhabited by artists and other creative talents.

The old shipyards on the Ile de Nantes have been completely transformed, most notably by the creation of a major attraction, the Machines de l'Ile, based in the main Chantiers Dubigeon shipbuilding assembly hall. This center draws on another facet of Nantes' heritage, this time the literary heritage of one of its most famous sons, Jules Verne. Its most striking sights are the Great Elephant, the Marine Worlds Carousel and the Heron Tree. These mechanical constructions are like something straight out of a fantasy novel, and are sure to delight kids and adults alike! The Great Elephant regularly goes on walks, and can carry up to 49 passengers.

Nantes - sit back and relax in Nantes' beautiful parks and squares

Nantes is well-known for its many parks, including the Jardin des Plantes, the city's botanical gardens, which date from 1806. Rose gardens, Japanese gardens and marshland habitats are all to be found scattered around the city.
The Place Royal is now largely pedestrianized and provides a great venue for people-watching. The striking fountain in the middle of the square represents the city itself, the local rivers, and the city's industrial heritage.
Some of the other key sights in Nantes that shouldn't be missed include:
  • The castle of the Dukes of Brittany (le château des ducs de Bretagne
  • the passage Pommeraye, a 19th century shopping mall
  • the cathédrale de St Pierre et St Paul
  • the tour Bretagne skyscraper, with its observation deck
  • Nantes natural history museum
  • the LU factory art nouveau tower
There are some great festivals to be enjoyed in Nantes, especially if you're a music fan or a lover of science fiction. For the former, there's the classical music festival, la Folle Journée, and Aux Heures d'Eté and Les Rendez-vous de l'Erdre for jazz enthusiasts. For the latter, Utopiales, the largest science-fiction festival in Europe, is sure to be a hit.
If you need advice on practicalities and activities in Nantes, why not consult the information section on Air France's website?

Nantes: make travel easy with these tourism websites.