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Things to do in Nantes

The old heart of Nantes, on the River Loire's north bank, was once capital of Brittany, ruled by its dukes. On the edge of the historic Bouffay quarter, their beautifully restored Château des Ducs de Bretagne, housing the Nantes History Museum, remains the dominant sight. For a great overview of the more modern city centre, climb another landmark, the colourful Tour LU. Most attractions open around 10am-6pm/7pm. Some close Monday or Tuesday.

Botanical Gardens, Nantes. © OTNM/A Delaporte

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Nantes Museum of Fine Arts - Museums and Galleries

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    Nantes Museum of Fine Arts, Nantes. © RegarderVoir

    Located in a grand 19th-century city centre building, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts displays one of western France's most interesting collections. These include fine sculptures and paintings from the 13th century to the present, including some exceptional modern works.Show this on map

    Cost

    €3.50, concessions €2, children free; special exhibitions: €6

    Opening hours

    Wed-Mon 10am-6pm (until 8pm Thu)

    Address

    10, rue Georges-Clemenceau, Nantes 44000

    Telephone

    +33 (0) 2 51 17 45 00

    Transport

    Busway 4 to Foch Cathédral or bus no 11, 12, 21, 22, 23 to Cathédrale, Trébuchet

    Website

    Nantes Museum of Fine Arts

  2. 2. Château des Ducs de Bretagne - Museums and Galleries

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    Château des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes. © OTNM/Katia Forêt

    Mighty stone ramparts surround the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, on the edge of the historic Bouffay quarter. Within the walls, grand white Renaissance buildings house Nantes History Museum, giving a vivid overview of the city's past, present and future.Show this on map

    Cost

    Courtyard, ramparts, gardens: free; Museum: €5; concessions free-€3; children free

    Opening hours

    Jul-Aug: exterior daily 9am-8pm (until 11pm Sat); museum daily 9.30am-7pm; Sep-Jun: exterior 10am-7pm; museum Wed-Mon 10am-6pm

    Address

    4, place Marc Elder, Nantes 44000

    Telephone

    +33 (0) 2 51 17 49 48

    Transport

    Tram 1, Busway no 4 to Duchesse Anne Château, or bus no 11, 12, 21, 23 to Foch Cathédrale, no 24, 56 to Monteil

    Website

    Château des Ducs de Bretagne Website

Attractions

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  1. 3. Nantes Cathedral - Attractions

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    Nantes Cathedral. © OTNM/G Arnaud

    Nantes Cathedral, rising in the city centre, was the last Gothic church ever built in France, completed in the 19th century. The exterior is austere, but the interior beautiful and impressive, with a vast pale nave and Renaissance royal tombs.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily 8:30am-7pm (6pm in winter)

    Address

    Place St-Pierre, Nantes 44000

    Telephone

    +33 (0) 2 40 47 84 64

    Transport

    Busway 4 to Foch Cathédral or bus no 11, 12, 21, 22, 23 to Cathédrale

  2. 4. LU Tower - Attractions

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    LU Tower, Nantes. © OTNM/G Arnaud

    The eye-catching Tour LU, or LU Tower, rises above the city centre and is a symbol of Nantes. This extraordinarily colourful and ornate domed tower, part of the city's industrial heritage, is open to visitors and offers panoramic city views.Show this on map

    Cost

    €2; under 12 yrs free

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sat 1pm-7pm; Sun 3pm-7pm

    Address

    2, quai Ferdinand Favre, Nantes 44000

    Telephone

    +33 (0) 2 40 12 14 34

    Transport

    Tram no 2 to Restaurant Universitaire, or bus no 52, 70 to Boulevard Eugène Orieux

    Website

    Lieu Unique Website

Special things to do

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  1. 5. Botanical Gardens - Special Things to do

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    Botanical Gardens, Nantes. © OTNM/A Delaporte

    The Botanical Gardens (Jardin des Plantes) in the city centre, laid out over 200 years ago, is an elaborate and peaceful garden with greenhouses, ponds, covered walkways and an outstanding collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias.Show this on map

    Cost

    €3; concessions & children free

    Opening hours

    Apr-Oct daily 8.30am-8pm (until 5.30pm/6.30pm rest of year)

    Address

    Boulevard Stalingrad, Nantes 44000

    Telephone

    +33 (0) 2 40 41 65 09

    Transport

    Tram no 1 to Gare SNCF

    Website

    Botanical Gardens Website

  2. 6. Machines of the Isle - Special Things to do

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    Machines of the Isle - The Elephant, Nantes. © OTNM/Nautilus Nantes

    The Machines of the Isle (Les Machines de l'Ile) are gigantic, bizarre and delightful mechanical animals located on the Ile de Nantes, the Loire river island in central Nantes. You can even take a 45-minute tour on the 12-metre-high elephant!Show this on map

    Cost

    €6.50; concessions €5; under-4s free

    Opening hours

    Winter Tue-Sun 2pm-6pm; summer Tue-Sun 10am-7pm; closed early Jan-early Feb

    Address

    Les Chantiers, boulevard Léon Bureau, Nantes 44200

    Telephone

    (France only) 0810 12 12 25

    Transport

    Tram no 1 or bus no 11 to Chantiers Navals

    Website

    Les Machines de l'Île Website

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