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Nantes City Breaks

Medieval splendour on the Loire

If you’re looking to dive into the French cultural scene on your trip across the Channel, then a holiday to Nantes is just the thing. With beautiful architecture, museums, fine dining and buzzing nightlife, Nantes offers a true city break, where English voices are little heard and exploring by foot is your friend. When you arrive in Nantes, you can instantly let your imagination run wild. It feels like a medieval flashback. Picture yourself as a knight riding triumphantly through the cobbled streets after victory on the battlefield. The time machine feeling will only increase when you see the imposing castle Chateau des Bucs de Bretagne, at the heart of Nantes. Art lovers should head to the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul to admire its architecture and stained glass windows.There’s something on every street corner to catch your eye.

Explore our map of Nantes City

Your Nantes City questions, answered

The streets around the Place du Boffay and Place du Piori are the place to go if you want to enjoy a stylish night on the tiles.
Nantes is petite enough to discover by foot but you can also get around by tram. Remember to validate your ticket when you board.
The first tourists start arriving for Nantes city breaks during late April and May. The weather is clear and pleasant, although you'll probably see a few spring showers. But they're generally light and pass quickly and it's not a bad trade-off for lower-priced accommodation and a more relaxed feel. June, July, and August are the peak holiday months. Temperatures average around 25°C. Nantes is too far away from the French ski resorts to be popular with winter sports fans.
You can explore Nantes with a one, two or three-day city pass. Tickets cost €26-45 per person. You can also buy family deal tickets at a reduced rate, and there's a discount for students and retired travellers. Children under four go free. As well as unlimited travel on public transport, the pass gives you access to over 30 of the top attractions, including the Marine World Carousel and Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. You also receive tickets for a scenic boat cruise along the Loire River.
You can't leave without trying petit beurre biscuits and muscadet wine. Seafood plays a big part in local cooking, with top notch langoustines and oysters.
Culture lovers are spoilt for choice on city breaks to Nantes. You can start your holiday with an afternoon at the Musee d'Arts. Regarded as one of France's best galleries, it houses works by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Monet. And you'll see plenty of cool public art installations as you stroll around the city, including a gigantic mechanical elephant and a huge sea serpent sculpture near the old shipyard. The food is exactly what you'd expect in France, but you might be pleasantly surprised by the price. A gourmet three-course meal in Nantes can cost just €30 per person.
Hiring some bikes and going on a cycling tour is a good way to keep the kids entertained. Nantes has an excellent network of cycle paths to explore. Then spend a day on Nantes Island. This island is right near the city's centre. It has a huge park packed with fun things for kids, including trampolines, a water park, and a playground designed by the famous Japanese architect and artist Kinya Maruyama. The park features a giant dragon statue that's also a slide. And there's a deckchair area where mum and dad can relax with a coffee or cool drink.
Nantes is famous for its interesting history and culture. It's where you'll find the medieval Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, which was once home to the Dukes of Brittany. And there are many more castles and fortresses nearby. In more recent times, Nantes was an important port city and industrial centre. You can still see signs of the city's proud working-class roots, although many of the older factories have been converted into galleries, independent art spaces, and trendy nightclubs. Nantes is now regarded as one of the hottest cultural hubs outside Paris. There's a thriving art, music, and poetry scene.
Friends and couples need three days to enjoy a Nantes city break. Spend them wandering through the galleries, museums, and bohemian neighbourhoods. Then grab a light lunch at the portside bistros before an evening of fine dining in one of the city's world-class restaurants. Nantes has over 40 restaurants in the Michelin guide. Many offer lunchtime or early evening deals, so you can enjoy some gourmet cuisine without wrecking your holiday budget. If you want to keep the night going, pop in for a few drinks at the lively bars and music venues near Rue des Olivettes Avenue.