Nantes

MAY 07,2017 - MAY 07,2017 (1 DAYS)

France

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Nantes:

Main Attractions: Duchesse Anne Château, Château des Ducs de Bretagne,  St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral, Place Maréchal-Foch, Musée d'arts de Nantes, Jardin des Plantes, Basilique Saint-Nicolas, fresco of Jules Verne, Place Royale, Passage Pommeraye, Place Graslin, La Cigale Brewery, Cours Cambronne, Palais Dobrée, Eglise Notre Dame de Bon Port, Les Machines de l'île.

Start and End: Gare de Nantes. Distance: 15 km. Weather: a bright day only.

Flying to the Loire ?  we found a cheap flight from London to the heart of France (Nantes) by British Airways. The flight's times were perfect. The flight is leaving Heathrow during the afternoon hours and landing at Nantes during the early evening hours (still pleasant daylight hour). We booked, first, a flight from London City Airport to Angers in the Loire valley. This flight had been canceled by BA one month before our planned departure and we had been forced to change all our plans, bookings and itinerary. We chose the BA alternative, default offer of flight from Heathrow to Nantes. It was, still, a budget price option. But, using Heathrow, as a departure airport, instead of London City Airport, is, always, an worse option. Heathrow is far more congested airport with lengthy journey, security procedures, waiting times etc'. We still think that arriving to the Loire Valley via Paris is an worse option. The train connections between Paris and the Loire Valley are very good. But, the hotels prices in Paris are, still, daunting. We advice you to find a flight, from your country, to the Loire region, via London, using cheap connection flights from London (better, via smaller airports in the British capital). Formally, Nantes is not included in Brittany, but, you feel Brittany heritage and tradition in every step in the city.

Introduction:  Nantes is the main north-western French metropolis. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of nearly 300,000 in Nantes and an urban area of 600,000 inhabitants. Nantes belongs historically and culturally (but, NOT, formally, nowadays) to Brittany. It was founded by Celts around 70 BC and in AD 937 it joined the duchy of Brittany. It was conquered by the Bretons in 851. The Edict of Nantes, a landmark royal charter guaranteeing civil rights to France's Huguenots (Protestants), was signed in Nantes by Henri IV in 1598. By the 18th century Nantes was France's foremost port, and in the 19th century – following the abolition of slavery – it became an industrial centre; the world's first public transport service, the omnibus, began in Nantes in 1826. Shipbuilding was the corner-stone of the city's economy until the late 20th century and when the shipyards relocated westwards to St-Nazaire, Nantes transformed itself into a thriving hi-tech and cultural hub. When it comes to Nantes the city is so rich in history just walking through the streets you see the modern industrial out skirts and as you go into the centre you see its historic buildings and its medieval streets.

Tip: Following the Green Line around the Nantes city will guide you to all the tourist sights.

Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France. During the 17th century Nantes gradually became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave trade. The French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed large-scale industries after 1850 (chiefly in shipbuilding and food processing). De-industrialisation in the second half of the 20th century triggered the city to adopt a service economy.

Nantes Airport: Small, intimate, pleasant, very efficient. Quick transfer procedures. You can get the bus to the city (Navette) every 20 minutes.  Price: 8 euros.

The hotel in Nantes: Our hotel was Novotel Centre Gare,  rue de Valmy, 4, Nantes, 15 minutes walk from the the Bus Station. A pleasant walk along the river and its canals. The hotel is new, modern, quiet, a spacious room, very convenient, Shower separated from the WC, a table, chairs, a sofa, kettle with coffee and tea bags, a small frigid, a coffee machine, a safe, free WIFI . Friendly staff members. Good, well stocked  breakfast. This hotel is within walking distance of the Cathedral, the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne and the Botanical Gardens. The location is pretty, quiet, overlooking a branch of the river. You can (hardly) see the river from the dining room. Price: 90 euros/night for a standard double room:

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Our first day in Nantes: From Hotel Novotel Nantes Centre Gare
3 Rue de Valmy, we head southwest on Rue de Valmy toward Avenue Carnot, 70 m. We turn right onto Avenue Carnot and walk along the avenue for 300 m. Continue onto Cours John Kennedy for 40 m. and you see Duchesse Anne Château  (Castle of the Duchess Anne) on your left.

From Gare de Nantes to Duchesse Anne Château (500 m.): From Gare de Nantes, 27 Boulevard de Stalingrad head west on Espl. Pierre Semard, 100 m. Turn right toward Allée Commandant Charcot, 20 m. Turn left onto Allée Commandant Charcot, 220 m. Slight left toward Cours John Kennedy, 55 m. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Cours John Kennedy, 90 m. and  Duchesse Anne Château is on the right side.

Buses arriving near this castle: 1, 4, 23, C3. This is the most east wing of  the Château des Ducs de Bretagn (see below):

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With your face to Duchesse Anne Château head north on Cours John Kennedy, 35 m. Turn left to stay on Cours John Kennedy, 10 m. Turn left toward Rue des États, 300 m. Turn right onto Rue des États, 80 m. The sights of the southern walls of the Château des Ducs de Bretagn are magnificent:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The main entrance to Château des Ducs de Bretagne, 4 Place Marc Elder, is on your right. Adult ticket price: 8.00€, concessions (age 18-25) - 5.00€ ; FREE with the Nantes City Card. Free: under 18 years. FREE entrance to courtyard and ramparts to ALL visitors. Guided tours: Adult ticket price: 12.00€, concessions (age 18-25) - 7.50€. 7 - 17 years - 2.50€, free - under 7 years. Free on the first Sunday of the month. The castle guided tour offers around 34 rooms and lots of stairs to climb. Wear your best shoes...  Opening hours: daily: 8.30 - 19.00. 1 July – 31 August: 8.30 - 20.00. MUSEUM AND EXHIBITION: 10.00 - 18.00 except Mondays. 1 July – 31 August: 10.00 - 19.00, 7 days a week. The castle is closed: 1 January, 1 May, 1 November, 25 December. Allow, at least, 2 hours.

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It is located on the right bank of the Loire, which formerly fed its ditches:

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Near the entrance stands a sculpture of Duchess Anne (1477 - 1514) :

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The Château des Ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is one of the main historical sights in the heart of the French city of Nantes. It is Listed as a historical monument for over 170 year. The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany’ serves not only as a symbol of the city’s intriguing history and home to the Urban History Museum, but also as a gathering place for the residents of Nantes. Over the course of its history, the Castle of the Dukes has served as a military fortress and royal residence, and was home to Duchess Anne of Brittany (twice crowned Queen of France…before the age of 25). It stands on the site of a previous 13th century fortified palace called La Tour Neuve (The New Tower). The present castle, surrounded by a moat and ramparts, was built in the 15th century for Francois II, last of the dukes of Brittany. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French kings. From the 1990s, the town of Nantes undertook a massive programme of restoration and repairs to return the castle to its former glory. It was reopened on 9 February 2007 and is now a popular tourist attraction which now includes the new Nantes History Museum, installed in 32 of the castle rooms.  Night-time illuminations at the castle further reinforce the revival of the site.

Cross the bridge over the moat and step into the fortress courtyard, where you’ll see the octagonal wellhead with its ornate wrought iron crown. Around you are the various buildings that make up the heart of the castle. The Golden Crown Tower, with the nearby well, stands over 100 feet tall, and connects the Grand Logis (the main building) (see below) and the Grand Gouvernement. The loggias at the top were built for Duchess Anne and provide a view of the Loire River:

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Remember: The battlements are free. The castle itself is very picturesque and pretty. The 500-metre round walk on the fortified ramparts provides views not just of the castle buildings and courtyards but also of the town. Made out of giant granite blocks and white stones, the site features 500 meters of curtain walls, seven towers, and a sentry walkway. The residential palace of this historical monument features fine sculpted facades and Renaissance loggias. The walk all around the ramparts and across the courtyard is very well signposted. Absolutely stunning views of the totally rebuilt architecture. The fortifications, consisted of water tunnel and mighty walls, indicate towards the importance of the shelter it provided to residents who resided there. You can slide down from the top of the walls to the bottom but you must be adequately clothed to avoid any friction burns (the slide is not open everyday). The walls are relatively high but nice to walk around to get a different aspect of Nantes. There are spectacular views of Nantes from the heights of the walls. As we said before - descent can be via a slide off the walls downstairs to the ground. The castle also features moat gardens and a rampart walk where visitors can have a picnic or simply enjoy the night lighting of the fortress. Le Grand Logis – this five-story building (six if you count the basement) was built in two stages; the first four levels constructed under the reign of Francois II and the top two under that of his daughter the Duchess Anne:

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Le Grand Gouvernement – formerly the Ducal Palace, this ‘Large Government’ building with symmetrical stairs (left side of the photo below), served as of the Home of the Governor. Rebuilt following a fire in the 17th century, the building bears the Coat of Arms of Louis XIV above the doorway. Inside you’ll see the wood framed ‘upside down ship’s hull’ vaulted ceiling, made of chestnut:

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Le Petit Gouvernement – a simple building, this ‘Small Government’ building, also referred to as Logis du Roi (King’s Home)  (middle of the photo below) dates to the 16th century. It’s believed to have been the site of the signing of the Edict of Nantes, a ‘Treaty of Tolerance’ signed by the duc de Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, and Henry IV, King of France, putting an end to the French Wars of Religion. Le Harnachement – now used for temporary exhibits this symmetrical building served as a munitions warehouse in the 18th century (middle of photo below):

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The museum is very interesting, goes through the history of Nantes in fine detail. Lots of interesting artefacts. The history of the city snakes through the castle (rabbit's warren of rooms) allowing you to see the refurbished structure as you go. The museum is equipped with many multimedia devices. The castle and the museum try to offer a modern vision of the heritage by presenting the past, the present and the future of the city. Particularly interesting is the section on the slave trade and the involvement of the Nantes city. Note: While English audio guides are available the signs with each exhibit are almost exclusively in French. Excellent and impressive museum:

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Model of the castle and a tapestry:

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Crown of Duchess Anne:

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Commercial ships of the Dukes of Bretagne:

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Les Mascarons, masques en pierre:

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Commerce Chambre:

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Le Navire des armoiries:

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Iconne Bretonne:

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We exit the castle from the main entrance in Place Elder and turn RIGHT (north) . On our right is Rue Premon:

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We climb with our face to the north along Rue Mathelin Rodier and within walk of 2 minutes we arrive to the Cathedral of St. Pierre and St. Paul. The cathedral resides on the right side (east side) of Place St. Pierre:

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The 1868 alignment modeled a regular square, in the form of a 60-meter square, bordered by the identical facades of five-storey "Haussmanian" buildings, with shops on the ground floor. Balconies on the upper floors are cast iron:

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St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral , built between 1434 and 1891, dominates the square. The cathedral's foundation stone was laid on 14 April 1434, by John V, Duke of Brittany and Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Nantes (1417-1443). The first architect in charge was Guillaume de Dammartin who was later replaced by Mathurin Rodier. The building started when Nantes and Brittany were commercially prosperous. The cathedral is in the Gothic architectural tradition. Construction of the church began in 1434, on the site of a Romanesque cathedral, and took 457 years to finish, finally reaching completion in 1891. It has a classification as historical monuments since 1862 14 . Gothic style , 63 meters high , light in color due to the use of tufa. At the entrance to the cathedral, the steps of four steps, created during the leveling of the square of 1867, contributes to the majesty of the building. The steps outside seem to be a popular place to hang out, and they overlook the St. Pierre Square. The edifice was damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, on 15 June 1944. On 28 January 1972, a gigantic fire started on the roof. Firemen managed to bring it under control, but the timber frame was severely damaged and many other damages were inflicted. This event led to what was undoubtedly the most complete interior restoration of a cathedral in France:

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The plain façade is largely compensated for by the polish of the interior of the building. The whiteness of the stone, accentuated by recent restoration work, the imposing dimensions of the nave and the aisles and the effect of the immense inner column create a Gothic atmosphere inside the cathedral.

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The Nante Cathedral contains the tomb and recumbent Duke Francis II of Brittany and his wife Marguerite de Foix (the parents of Duchess Anne of Brittany):

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You can leave the Cathedral from its west front or its eastern facade - continue walking northward along rue de L'ereche. Cross the city walls and Louis VI Square (or Place Maréchal-Foch). One of the most famous squares in Nantes , France , is an architectural ensemble designed in the 18th century. In its center the Louis XVI column , erected in 1790 as "Column of Liberty", 28 meters high , surmounted since the Restoration of a statue of the sovereign . It is one of the rare statues of Louis XVI still present in France in the public space. It was established in 1823:

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From Place Maréchal-Foch head north-east onto Rue Gambetta. Turn right to Rue Henry IV, where the mighty Place de L'oratoire on your left. Turn, again, left onto Rue Georges Clemenceau and you'll see, on your left, the Musée d'arts de Nantes (Arts Museum of Nantes) or Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, 10 Rue Georges Clemenceau. The Musée d’arts de Nantes is open daily, from 11.00 to 19.00, except Tuesdays. Late-night opening all year round on Thursdays until 21.00. Closed on 1st January, 1st May, 1st November and 25th December. Prices (to all permanent and temporary exhibitions): adult: €8, concessions: €4. Guided tours: adult: €12, concessions: €8 or €4 or €2.50. The museum offers an overview of all the main French and European art movements, which places its collections among the largest public collections of province alongside some of Museums of Fine Arts of Valenciennes, Grenoble, Lyon, Lille and Montpellier. Artworks in the collection include paintings from the 13th century to modern art. In 2011, the museum was closed for a maximum of 2 years to make major expansion work. Reopening of the museum finally took place in May-June 2017, after 3.5 years of delay. Exhibition space, restored facades, a restaurant and a bookshop all designed by the London's architecture firm Stanton Williams. The more famous painters represented in this museum are: Guido Reni, Peter Paul Rubens, Antoine Watteau (remember Hannah Rothschild's book of  'The Improbability of Love' ?), Camille Corot, Raoul Dufy, Max Ernst, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac  and Alfred Sisley. It is a fabulous, neat, polished architectural gem. The collection is huge. You may spend here a day. A real experience for a rainy day. You can buy a pass for 8 euros entitling unlimited visits in this museum combined with the Château des Ducs de Bretagne ! The visit in the museum's halls is an experience in its own !

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Pietro Perugino, Sant'Antonio da Padova e San Sebastiano, 1476-78:

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Georges de La Tour, The Denial of Saint Peter, 1650:

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Jean-Antoine Watteau, Harlequin, Emperor on the Moon, 1707:

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Nicolas Lancret, Before the Constume Ball, 1743:

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The Wheat Sifters, Gustave Courbet, 1854:

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First Leaves, near Nantes, Camille Corot, 1855:

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Portrait de Mademoiselle Stéphanie Brousset, Jules-Élie Delaunay, 1871:
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Léon Comerre, Le Déluge (The Flood):

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Vassily Kandinsky, Gegenklänge, 1924:

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Wassily Kandinsky, Mild Process, 1928:

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Wassily Kandinsky. Downwards, 1929:

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We leave the Museum of Fine Arts in nantes and head northeast on Rue Georges Clemenceau toward Rue Élie Delaunay, 210 m. We turn right onto Allée des Magnolias, 50 m and face the main entrance to Jardin des Plantes, Rue Stanislas Baudry. Open daily. FREE. The two exhibition greenhouses: Monday to Friday: 12.30 to 18.00, Saturday and Sunday: 09.30 to 18.00. Guided tours for individuals: FREE. From the front of the reception located next to the restaurant north of the garden: Monday 15.00, Visit of greenhouses: → Wednesday 15.00, Friday 15.00, Saturday 11.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00,  Sunday 10.00, 11.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00. The greenhouses are wheelchair accessible. Palm Island's greenhouse: daily from 12.00 to 18.00. The Nantes botanical garden started in 1688 as a small medicinal plant garden outside the city walls. In 1726 it was transformed as a Royal Garden for exotic plants. By 1795 the garden again reverted to a medicinal garden, and slowly declined until its demise in 1877. The current garden was first established in 1806 under the leadership of Jean Alexandre Hectot, and by 1807 contained a magnificent magnolia which still exits (the Magnolia d'Hectot). It became a municipal garden in 1820 and opened to the public in 1829. Under director Jean Marie Ecorchard, it was restyled as an English park containing some 2500 species. The last section was created in the 1850s, including a remarkable fountain (1859) that operated for 130 years without maintenance or repair. After more than a decade of neglect, active restoration began in the early 1890s under the leadership of Paul Marmy, who built the garden's palm house 1895-1898 and orangery in 1899. By 1900 the garden was substantially complete in its current form. From Wikipedia: "Today the garden contains about 11,000 species planted within a web of ponds, waterways, and paths, with an artificial "mountain" and fine collection of statues, as well as pavilions, fountains, and cascades. It features an excellent collection of camellias (600 cultivars), mature specimens of Magnolia grandiflora (219 years old), Liriodendron tulipifera (150 years), Sequoiadendron giganteum (150 years), and Sequoia sempervirens (150 years), Aesculus hippocastanum (140 years), Platanus acerifolia (140 years), as well as fine specimens of Arbutus unedo, Carpinus betulus, Ginkgo biloba, Liquidambar styraciflua, Pterocarya caucasica, and Quercus mirbeckii.". The gardens complex have many entrances. On their southern side resides the Gare SNCF (railway station). The gardens ARE MAGNIFICENT. There many points of interest including topiary, lakes or ponds, waterfalls, sculptures, hot houses and planted structures. Trees and plants from ALL around the world are clearly labeled. Bring your camera as the vistas and the flowers are spectacular. Take your time and walk the entire park. There are tables where you can sit and eat your own picnic if you have brought one with you EXCEPT the grass which is NOT for sitting on. It is a lovely spot and definitely worth visiting:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We took our lunch in the restaurant of the Jardin des Plantes - Cafe De L'Orangerie. 13.50 euros/person for Poulette+Pommes de Terre. Delicious, pleasant and efficient with young friendly staff. The chalk board Menu de Jour is quite limited but good quality. Expect the cafe to be crowded during the weekends. In a bright day it is a good idea to sit in the outside terrace.

We change direction and head, now, to the south-west districts of Nantes. First, we walk 1.7 km. from the Jardin des Plantes to Basilique Saint-Nicolas. From the Jardin des Plantes, Rue Stanislas Baudry, we head southwest and slight left at Volière, 158 m. Turn right toward Rue Ecorchard, 20 m. Turn left onto Rue Ecorchard, 15 m. Turn right onto Boulevard de Stalingrad, 100 m. Continue onto Allée Commandant Charcot, 300 m. We passthrough several hotels (the railway station is nearby) like: Ibis and Kyriad. Turn left onto Cours John Kennedy, 5 m. Turn right toward Rue de Strasbourg, 300 m. Turn left onto Rue de Strasbourg, 20 m. Turn right onto Cours Franklin Roosevelt, 400 m. Turn right onto Allée Cassard, 150 m. Continue onto Allée d'Orléans, 130 m. Turn left onto Rue de Feltre, 50 m. You see the Basilica on your left. Turn left onto Rue Affre and Basilique Saint-Nicolas, 5 Rue Affre is on the right after 70 m. Under the leadership of Felix Fournier , pastor of the parish and future bishop of Nantes, the construction of the current church ranges from 1844 to 1869. The tomb of Félix Fournier (died in 1877), had been installed in 1883 in the basilica. The church is badly damaged during the bombing of September 16 , 1943. The rebuilding project began in 1953 and lasts until 1974 . The damaged great organ, dating from 1901, was later rebuilt, in two sections of work, in 1963 and 1985. Saint-Nicolas is  a church that the father of Jules Verne (see below) helped rebuild in the 1840. His father belonged to the parish council that commissioned the building, and was one of the first subscribers. The old church, which leaned against the ramparts and had threatened collapse for over a century, served as the backdrop to Verne’s first novel, which he never finished and was published by the City of Nantes in 1992 (Un prêtre en 1839, le cherche midi éditeur):

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Next, we walk 250 m. to the new fresco of Jules Verne. From Basilique Saint-Nicolas head north on Rue Affre toward Rue du Pré Nian, 60 m. Turn left onto Rue de Feltre, 110 m. Turn left onto Place du Bon Pasteur and take the stairs, 70 m. Over the stairs in Rue de L'echelle - you see the fresco of Jules Verne depicting Jules Verne and his Voyages Extraordinaires. This large mural to the glory of the most famous child of Nantes, on the wall of a building along the stairs of the rue de l'Echellet is part of the route "in the footsteps of Jules Verne" already existing.  Directed by the muralist painter Jean-Yves Jodeau, this fresco is fourteen meters wide and twelve above. It depicts the port of Nantes as known by the little Jules, but also the Albatross, the Scarecrow, and a Jules Verne with a white beard (although Nantes is rather related to his childhood). The work of preparation of the wall began in November 2007 and the fresco is completed at the beginning of the year 2008:

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With our face to the mural, we take the road on our right, Rue Contrescarpe and turn left to Rue Crebillon and we arrive to Place Royale, where we see the high tower of Basilique Saint Nicholas. The square was designed in 1786 by the Nantes architect Mathurin Crucy . Built in 1790 after the destruction of the medieval ramparts. It has a monumental fountain inaugurated in 1865. The monumental fountain, was designed by the city architect Henri Théodore Driollet and symbolizes the fluvial and maritime vocation of Nantes. Its pyramidal structure is composed of three granite basins superimposed. It shows allegorical figures of Nantes (top), of the Loire river (front) and of its tributaries: the Erdre (front left), the Sèvre nantaise (front right), the Cher (right, hidden) and the Loiret (left, hidden). Architect of the place: Mathurin Crucy (1788). Fountain by Daniel Ducommun de Locle, Guillaume Grootaërs and Simon Voruz (1865). Despite its name, the square had never hosted a monarch statue, like the other Royal squares in France. It is an iconic site in Nantes, and is a popular point of artistic, festive or political gatherings. The site, very damaged during the Second World War , is restored almost identically between 1945 and 1961. The square, entirely paved with granite blocks, is served by nine streets:  Crebillon , the Pit , Gorges , La Perouse , Orleans , Commandant-Boulay , L'Arche-Sèche , Saint-Julien and the Vieilles-Douves. It is located at one of the lowest points of the city:

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Basilique saint Nicholas from Place Royale. Behind the Basilica stands Tour Bretagne with 26 floors:

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We leave the Place Royale from its most southern end and walk DOWN (southward) along Rue de la Fosse. On our right (west) is the pretty Passage Pommeraye. A very special shopping center with very old and luxury architecture and fantastic photo opportunities. A classy, multi-level mall with marvelous, colorful shops. Lovely roof, statues and  staircases. A vintage atmosphere at its best. Named after its property developer, Louis Pommeraye. Construction started at the end of 1840 and was completed on 4 July 1843. Two architects, Jean-Baptiste Buron and Hippolyte Durand Gasselin, contributed to its design:

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We cross and walk through the mall from east to west. We exit the shopping centre at Rue Crébillon and turn left to continue climbing south-west along Rue Crébillon. Walking 300 m. along Rue Crébillon will bring us to the impressive square of Place Graslin. It is served by eight roads:  Crebillon , Moliere , Corneille , Racine , Voltaire , Piron , Regnard and Jean-Jacques-Rousseau. The square is mostly pedestrianized , except the west side serving the streets Racine and Piron (the beginning of the street Voltaire is also pedestrianized) which are open to traffic. On its north side is the Graslin Theater ; south of the square is La Cigale restaurant and brewery. Jean-Joseph-Louis Graslin was the promoter of this square from 1777. In 1960, the place served as an outdoor setting during the filming of Lola (1961) by Jacques Demy. The theatre, in the north side, was built in 1788 , on the plans of Mathurin Crucy . Twelve steps lead to the vestibule , while eight Corinthian columns support the pediment. Ravaged by a fire in 1796 , it was only after the visit of the Emperor Napoleon I , in 1808 , that the theater was rebuilt. This operation was conducted from 1811 , still under the leadership of Crucy. A little later, during the period of the Second Restoration , the sculptor Dominique Molknecht creates the eight antique-style muses overlooking each column, as well as statues of Molière and Corneille overlooking the main staircase, visible from the square.

tThe theater (middle) and the café le Molière (left):

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

La Cigale , which is one of the most beautiful breweries of France in the style " Art Nouveau", faces the theater from the south side of the square, was inaugurated on April 1 ,1895. It is a place very frequented by comedians at the exit of the theater. Thus, the actor Jean-Louis Trintignant (Claude Lelouch classic movie "A Man and a Woman", which at the time was the most successful French film ever screened in the foreign market) said of this brewery that it was "probably the most beautiful brewery in the world":

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We leave Place Graslin from its southern edge. Behind La Cigale resides Cours Cambronne. Head south on Place Graslin and continue onto Rue Piron, 30 m. Turn right onto Cours Cambronne, 100 m. This avenue is approximately 180 meters long and 50 meters wide. You enter this manicured avenue (from both of its sides) via wrought iron gates located at both ends: rue Piron to the east and rue des Cadeniers in the west. The west gate is further framed by two stone sentry posts . The course is bordered by a row of identical buildings on the north side (overlooking rue Gresset ) and south (overlooking rue de l'Héronnière ). The avenue is planted with silver lime trees , magnolias with large flowers , adorned with boulingrins and flower beds

 

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In the center of the avenue is a statue of Pierre Cambronne , created by Paris sculptor Jean Debay . According to a very popular legend, Pierre Cambronne, commanding the last square of the Old Guard at Waterloo, summoned to surrender by the British General Colville , Cambronne would have replied: "The guard dies but does not surrender! ".  During the Waterloo battle, Cambrone was seriously wounded. He was indeed taken prisoner after the massacre of the last squares. Led to England, he wrote to Louis XVIII to obtain permission to return to France. He returns without having received an answer, is arrested, taken to Paris , brought before the council of war. He is released to attend his trial for treason ( attack of France at gunpoint ). Defended by the royalist Berryer, he was set free on April 26, 1816. Cambronne then returned to live in Nantes at No. 3, rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau. He died in the night of January 28 to 29, 1842, at his home in Nantes Street Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, and was buried in the cemetery Misericordia . By an order of December 5, 1842, King Louis-Philippe I authorized his hometown to raise a statue in his honor. The monument is inaugurated on July 28, 1848, and placed in the center of the avenue which since 1936 bears his name . In Paris , a street , a square and a metro station located in the 15th arrondissement bear his name:

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We walked the whole Cours Cambronne from north-east to south-west. We turn right (north) to Rue des Cadeniers and, immediately, LEFT (west) to Rue Voltaire. After passing Rue Mascara, on your left, the street changes its name to Rue Dobrée. In 18, rue Voltaire stands Palais Dobrée hosting the Departmental Museum Thomas-Dobrée. Public transport: Tram line 1 (stop Media Library) or Bus 11 (stop: Jean V). Coming from an old Huguenot family from Normandy , established in Guernsey in the 16th century, Thomas Dobrée abandoned business at twenty-eight years of age. Then he devoted himself to collecting works of art. From 1862, he devoted himself to the construction of his "palace. The palace was intended to accommodate the ten thousand objects of art that he spent his life collecting them. His collections were particularly rich in precious books and old Breton prints and in manuscripts for paintings, autographs, coins and medals, in graphic arts (in particular the German and Dutch engravers). But they also included a large collection of sculptures, paintings and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century. Dobrée then built in the immediate area of ​​the medieval manor of the Duke of Brittany Jean V (dating from the fifteenth century ), a palace that meets his expectations, and was the joint work of architects Simon , Boismen , Chenant and Le Diberder. The palace was not completed until 1899, four years after the death of Thomas Dobrée. Dobrée museum will reside, in the future,  into TWO remarkable buildings: the Dobrée Palace, neo-medieval style, with its tower 30 meters high and the Manoir de la Touche, former episcopal residence. The Dobrée Museum is under renovation and will open on 2021. At the moment visitors can access ONLY temporary exhibitions and the garden around. The gardens are open every day from 08.00 to 18.30 (19.30 in July and August). Closed: January 1st , November 1st and 11th, December 24th, 25th and 31st:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We continue walking south-west along Rue Voltaire and after 150 m. we arrive to the Eglise Notre Dame de Bon Port. The church was constructed in 1846 by the architects Seheult and Joseph-Fleury Chenantais:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

From here we have to walk 750 m. to our final destination in Nantes: Les Machines de l'île. From Notre-Dame de Bon-Port, 1 Rue Dobree we head northeast on Rue Dobree toward Rue Massillon, 35 m. Turn right (south) onto Rue de la Verrerie, 270 m. Continue southward onto Boulevard Léon Bureau and cross the Loire over Pont Anne de Bretagne, 350 m. Turn right toward Mail des Chantiers, 20 m. Turn left toward Mail des Chantiers, 100 m. Turn left onto Mail des Chantiers, 10 m. and the huge site of Machines of the Isle of Nantes, Parc des Chantiers, Boulevard Léon Bureau is on your right. Les Machines de l'île is one of a kind in the world. This park or museum is a very exceptional experience for adults and children. The main player here, a company called "La Machine" is creating giant machines with the form of surreal animals for entertainment - automated animal-machines. You may call them "Outdoor Robots". The Machines of the Isle of Nantes (Les Machines de l'île) is an artistic, touristic and cultural project based in Nantes and aims to promote the city's image and tries to build an identity as a creative metropolis of dream and of fantasy. The site was opened to the public on 1 July 2007 in the old covered buildings of the former shipyards in Nantes that were once used for ship construction (les nefs), and later used as business sites. The Machines of the Isle were, actually, created by two artists: François Delarozière (of La Machine production company) and Pierre Orefice (of Manaus association). 

You can see the workshop where  the giant machines / animals are made and where new projects are starting. The animals are created out of machinery and wood. The only giant animal in motion is the elephant. it is magical and unforgettable to see the elephant walking and carrying people, either from on high (from the magical tree) or by walking alongside it. You have to pay extra if you want to go on it. The other machines are interesting, especially the dragon, a spider, a heron, a worm and an ant. People can go on them and "pilot" them under instruction from staff. The Gallery is a living place with the staging of a real bestiary of machines. It is a laboratory where the machines built in La Machine's workshop are tested. Sale of tickets on the spot, the same day, during the ticketing hours, within the limits of available places. Each ticket gives access to the terraces of the workshop, the film and the Prototype Branch of the Heron Tree. This ticket is different of the Trip in Grand Elephant. In case you want to see the galleries and ride the Giant Elephant - you are obliged to buy to two distinct tickets ! The following prices hold for the TWO tracks of visit. Adult price:8,50 €, concessions - people with disability. Free of charge: Children under 4 years old and the accompanying person of a disabled person. There are MANY other options and types of tickets. The gallery or workshop option is intended only for the persons who can understand French. If you don't, we advice you to skip this attraction. Inside, the employees introduce all the machines one by one in French. They show how they work and, if you are lucky, you might be chosen to ride the machine. During the presentation, the place gets very crowded and you can barely see anything. The machines are FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, they don't work on their own, but rather with a help of a lifting system and under the guidance of the staff members. Very  small number of people can go on the machines and you have to watch them downstairs with herds of other people. Not very well organised and sadly not in English. More or less holds for the Elephant. If we consider adults only -  just standing watching it go for a walk is amazing and well worth a FREE visit. You get better photographs of the mighty elephant from ground level. In the summer months the queues can be long. Beware of the water while the elephant is marching on. Its funny to see the elephant using its trunk to spray water on people. Our advice: just go and see the elephant and carousel from the outside for free. Free entrance if you use your Nantes City Pass. Highly recommended. Allow 2-3 hours.

The Great Elephant is a mechanical elephant (2007) with 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk. It is a non-exact replica of The Sultan's Elephant from the French group Royal de Luxe (from Aix-en-Provence), which toured the world from 2005 to 2007:

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Marine Worlds Carrousel (Carrousel des Mondes) (2012) is a huge carousel, rising nearly 25 m. high and measuring 20 m. in diameter. Visitors move about amidst a ballet of aquatic animals and sea carriages, as well as climb aboard and guide the movements of the Machines. Three carousels are stacked in a genuine concrete lacework topp­ed by a marquee adorned with pediments, and guarded by 16 fishermen from all the oceans of the world. You witness the sea every way, from the depths of the bottom, through the abysses, right up to the surface of the sea:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Arbre aux Hérons (The Herons Tree) is still a model at this moment, though. This future project will consist of a 35 meter tall steel tree with herons nests in it, of which you can already see a prototype branch outside, above the café and gift shop:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Workshop:

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Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

In case you decided to complete your busy 1-day tour in Nantes - it is a 2.7 km. walk to the railway station. From the Carrousel of the Marine Worlds you head northwest, 25 m. Turn right toward Quai Fernand Crouan, 15 m. Turn left toward Quai Fernand Crouan, 65 m, Turn right onto Quai Fernand Crouan, 80 m. Turn left to stay on Quai Fernand Crouan, 160 m. Take the pedestrian tunnel, and, the stairs - approx. 250 m. Continue straight onto Quai François Mitterrand, 90 m. Turn left onto Passerelle Victor Schoelcher, 450 m. Turn left toward Cours Franklin Roosevelt and walk along it for 700 m.  Turn left onto Rue de Strasbourg, 20 m. Turn right at Allée du Port Maillard, 300 m. Turn left onto Cours John Kennedy, 5 m. Turn right onto Allée Commandant Charcot, 300 m. Turn right at Rue Stanislas Baudry, 20 m. Turn left onto Espl. Pierre Semard, 100 m. You are in Gare de Nantes, 27 Boulevard de Stalingrad.

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