Since August 1, 2022 all COVID-19 restrictions applied to international travelers entering France have been lifted.
There is quite a bit of hotel news—particularly in the Loire Valley, with new luxury hotels in Blois and Tours or significant re-openings, like in Amboise.
For more information, visit the Nantes Tourism at www.nantes-tourisme.com.
City region: At the crossroads of Brittany and the Loire Valley / Pays de la Loire
Population & what they are called: 298,029 inhabitants (2014 census), called Nantais
Access from Paris:
- by road: about 3 h 45 min (238 miles) via the A11 autoroute L'Océane
- by train: about 2 h 15 min by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse
- by plane: about 1 h 15 min to Nantes Atlantique Airport
Famous native daughters & sons:
- Jules Verne, writer | Jacques Demy, French New Wave film director | Christine and the Queen, singer and songwriter
Most distinctive,trait, unique fact or little known fact:
- Nantes will be one of the nine host cities of the Rugby World Cup that will take place in France in the fall of 2023
- One of the best ways to discover Nantes is by following a green line along the sidewalk. It leads visitors to Nantes' architectural, artistic, cultural and historical highlights.
- Nantes is considered the birthplace of Surrealism, since André Breton (the founder of the movement) met Jacques Vaché (one of the movement's chief inspirations) here in 1916.
- Les Machines de l’Île – quirky mechanical automatons, including a 39-foot-tall walking Grand Elephant, with a little something to satisfy adults and kids. lesmachines-nantes.fr
- Château des ducs de Bretagne – former ducal residence and now home of the Musée d’Histoire de Nantes with exhibitions about the city. chateau-nantes.fr
- Cathédrale St-Pierre et Saint-Paul – Flamboyant Gothic cathedral housing royal tombs from the Renaissance
Top annual events:
- La Folle Journée – the largest classical music festival in France. follejournee.fr
- Le Voyage à Nantes – a summer event highlighting contemporary art exhibitions across the city. levoyageanantes.fr
- Rendez-vous de l'Erdre – couples a free jazz festival with a pleasure-boating show on the Erdre. rendezvouserdre.com
Most notable museums:
- Musée d'Arts – an extensive fine arts collection ranging from Italian Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculpture. Musée d'arts de Nantes
- Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery – Inaugurated on 25 March 2012, it is the only memorial dedicated to slavery in mainland France. Mémorial de l'abolition de l'esclavage
- Musée d’Histoire de Nantes – located in the Château des ducs de Bretagne, the museum retraces the story of the city. Musem of the History of Nantes
- Musée Jules Verne – interactive exhibitions bring to life the work of Jules Verne, the city’s native son. Musée Jules Verne
- beurre blanc – a butter sauce made with Muscadet wine and a popular accompaniment for fish
- biscuits – the Petit Beurre of Nantes (mass produced by the LU company) is the best-known shortbread in France
- caramels au beurre salé – salted butter toffees made with some world-famous product from the famous Guérande salt marshes
Local wines & spirits:
- Pays Nantais AOC wines – the largest vineyards of the Loire Valley and the heart of Muscadet country (the greatest single-varietal white wine vineyards in the world)
- Le Nantillais – a natural syrup that, when used in small quantities with dry white wine, results in a satisfying aperitif
- Marché de Talensac – a covered market, the largest and best-known in town
- Passage Pommeraye – ornate, old-fashioned (built in the mid-19th century) three-level shopping arcade with a glass roof
- Rue Crébillon – the street along which the most important designer stores are found, plus some interesting local labels
Most popular night spots:
- Le Lieu Unique – former biscuit factory converted into a space that hosts art exhibits, drama, music and dance performances
- La Cantine du Voyage – an outdoor (seasonal) bar/restaurant/shop on the quays of the Isle of Nantes
- Le Hangar à Bananes – a former banana warehouse that today hosts an exhibition hall, concert venue, restaurants and bars overlooking the Loire.
Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):
- Ile de Nantes – a wander on the Isle of Nantes takes in the creativity and modern architecture of this eco-friendly district, now a model of city living after 30 years of urban regeneration iledenantes.com (French language only)
- Estuaire Nantes<>Saint-Nazaire – with 30 permanent works of art, an open-air trail that provides an unusual way to discover the river estuary. Nantes<>Saint-Nazaire Estuary
- the beach – the Atlantic Coast at Baie de La Baule is a bay with five miles of fine sand
- Aeronautics – Airbus produces its fleet's wingboxes and radomes in Nantes, the second-largest center for aeronautics in France
- Atlanpole – a technopole that includes nearly 500 companies and research and higher-education facilities that specialize in biopharmaceuticals, information technology, renewable energy, mechanics, food production, naval engineering and creative industries
In Pop Culture:
- Jacques Demy movies – Lola (1964) and A Room in Town (1982) were both shot by this French New Wave director in Nantes, his native city
- Jacquot de Nantes – a 1991 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda recreating the early life of her husband, Jacques Demy, in Occupied France
Ms. Olivia Grégoire was appointed to succeed Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne as Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Small-Scale Industry and Tourism.
After four years of work, the Hôtel de Cambis was Inaugurated April 1, 2022 in the heart of Avignon, famed for its bridge and impressive Palace of the Popes.
This exhibit of over 200 photographs is accompanied by screenings and a new musical composition by French composer and performer, Jean-Michel Jarre.
In June La Villa Méditerranée—Marseille’s ultra-contemporary edifice on the old harbor, will welcome a replica of the remarkable underwater prehistoric cave known as the Grotte Cosquer
The next Rugby World Cup will take place In France from Friday, September 8 to Saturday, October 28, 2023. The exciting opening match will be between two rugby heavy weights: New Zealand & France.