Exploring Nantes: my favorite things to do in the city

Because I talk a lot about other countries, I decided to talk about my country for once! Lately, I had the chance to go exploring Nantes, a beautiful city in the West of France and…I loved it!

Nantes is a cute city that reminds me a lot of Paris actually, just smaller but in a good way: friendlier, calmer, less polluted…The architecture is alike and from my Air Bnb flat view, I could really think that I was in Paris (that was weird xD). But let’s stop about comparison, now I will tell you my story about exploring Nantes and why it is a good stop during your trip in France. Let’s go!

If you read a bit about my travel articles, you’ll see that I never really plan what I’m going to visit during my trips. I love being surprised and getting the chance to wander and see where my heart wants to go. That is usually the way I discover the most and I encourage anyone to try it at least once to see how it feels!


A bit of history: the Castle


If you’re coming by train like me from Paris, you’ll see as soon as you leave the train station the Castle (Château des Ducs de Bretagne). It is huge and right in the middle of the city, surrounded by water and grass. I didn’t get the chance to visit it but I wandered around and it was beautiful. If you got some time, I’m definitely sure it’s the best spot to have an ice-cream (only for Spring or Summer time of course) on the grass.

If you got time, I also recommend: the cathedral (Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Nantes).


My beautiful Air Bnb

Still holding your icecream? Great! Now let’s finish our walk from the train station, walking along the Castle and let’s continue walking on the tram street to join THE Air Bnb. Truly, it was one of the most beautiful Air Bnb I’ve ever been too (haven’t been doing much though but I really liked it!). The place is huge and well decorated. It’s located in the heart of the city so you can stop there whenever you want during your day, and that is luxury if your feet are easily hurting like me when walking too much! It doesn’t look great on the pics because it’s only the room but trust me the rest of the house is truly perfect.


Book worm? You’re gonna love exploring Nantes


Nantes is full of libraries, like really, I was surprised to see that much libraries in such a small city. After leaving the Air Bnb, I advise you to wander in the city and not caring about the libraries much. Just stop at the first one you see, it won’t take long. Don’t be afraid to go in just to take a look. They are big but not full of terrors! (who spot the reference? 😉 They have a lot of sections, including an English books section (yeeeeh). So if you forgot all your books at home (you Dory) or your Kindle is running out of battery, buy a book and read it at a café’s terrace.


Stop for a drink: Maria


If you want to stop to read your book, you can stop there but also anywhere else (but this place is really good ;). At Maria, they have plenty of healthy juices and tonics and the most wonderful pressed orange juice, I’ve ever had (no kidding).

Located in a quiet place, you’ll be nice seating outside but just make sure to see the interior before you leave because it’s gorgeous!


Go shopping: Pommeraye Passage

France, Loire Atlantique, Nantes, Passage Pommeraye (1843), galerie marchande

Now that you’re hydrated and rested a bit, time to wander again in the numerous shops of the city. Although there are shops everywhere in the city, the cutest place to find some is the Pommeraye Passage. It is an old charming gallery with beautiful sculptures.

I noticed there 3 or 4 socks shops (don’t know why there are so many of them here!!) so if you forgot your sockies, you know where to find some now.


Eat in a chic bistrot: Cambronne


Now that you walked a lot, go back to the Air Bnb and put your feet up because this day has no end xD On another note, if you want to eat in a Frenchy fancy little restaurant, go to Cambronne: bistrot chic. As it is said, it is chic but you don’t need to come there with fancy clothes (my friend came in short/flip-flops and it worked well). The decor is pretty and you can really spot the French elegance in action. I’ve tried their Vegetarian Burger and it was the first one I tried since going vegetarian and it was delicious. So if you want, try it.


Unique tour: the Machines de l’ile


There’s this special thing in Nantes that they call the Island’s Machines, if I would have to translate it, and it’s indeed very special. Some designers have been building big machines of different shapes and sizes and as I noticed there, mostly nature related and it’s impressive. I didn’t have the time to do all the places (there are 2 who apparently take 1h to do each) and didn’t book for the elephant either (that’s the risk when you are wandering randomly) but I did get the chance to see it walking outside. Super…impressive.


Get a drink: Le Nid


Now, time to go change, put nice clothes on and have a drink to this bar that has the most beautiful view in the city. Le Nid, located on top of Brittany’s Tower, around the 30th level, is the perfect place to sip a little champagne cup or nice glass of wine while seeing all the city, with a 360° degrees view. Maybe you are also lucky and well organized and you see the beautiful sun sets over the city.


Got a really long day, nah? Sorry for this long walk. You can basically spread it on as many days as you want and if you try new things, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments so I can visit them next time! 😀

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