Nantes

Nantes (Breton: Naoned) is the capital of the north-western French region of Pays de la Loire. That said, Nantes has strong historical connections with the adjoining region of Brittany, and is the historical capital of the region (though not its official capital since the days of Napoleon).

Nantes seen from Quai de la Fosse

The tiny Canadian town of Nantes (Québec) near Lac-Mégantic is named after Nantes and is a twin town.

Understand

Nantes was once an important port located 50 km up the Loire River. It grew rich on the triangular trade with Africa and the West Indies. Nantes is also famous for being the home of the science fiction writer Jules Verne. Rain is frequent, and beware if it's sunny because brief but fierce tempests have been known to appear unexpectedly. Always carry an umbrella or raincoat when going out. Winters are typically mild.

Several well known districts in Nantes:

Get in

By plane

There is an international airport in the south of Nantes (Nantes-Atlantique) . Regular connections to Paris, Lyon and other French cities. Ryanair, British Airways and Flybe operate flights from the UK.

There are three ways to get to the airport from the centre of the town.

  1. from the terminus station "Neustrie", take the Aeroport Bus which terminates at Nantes Atlantique airport. This will take around 35 minutes.
  2. get off at the tram stop "Pirmil", then take bus line 98 to the stop "Aéroport". This will also take around 35 minutes plus a two minute walk

The last two methods just require the regular TAN ticket valid for an hour and will cost you 1,50€ (or less if you already have a day ticket etc.) Also, all tram stations have a very clear tram and bus map and you will easily be able to see these methods to get to the airport.

It is easy to find the Aeroport Bus stop at the airport, but if you are not familiar with the area, it is very difficult to find the stop for the number 98 bus at the airport. To reach Bus 98, cross the railroad tracks and walk through the P1 Sud parking lot to Rue Charles Lindbergh. It is just a five-minute walk from the terminal, but there are no signs pointing the way. Note that the Aeroport Bus departs every 20 minutes, but Bus 98 departs every 30-60 minutes.

By train

Nantes is just over 2 hours (depending on the number of stops) by TGV from Paris passing through Le Mans and Angers. Trains run regularly throughout the day. There are also direct connections from Nantes to Charles de Gaulle Airport and to Lille (stopping at Disneyland Resort Paris) which bypass Paris.

It is also possible to go to

SNCF information: 3635 The railways station has two exist usually referred to as "gare nord" and "gare sud".

By car

Car hire is available on many websites if you are travelling to Nantes.

By bus

The TAN public transport system links Nantes to several nearby burgs, as does the Lila system of regional buses. (French)

By boat

Get around

Place Graslin and Théâtre Graslin

Public transport

There are very good public transportation services provided by the TAN (Transports de l'Agglomération Nantaise). It consists of 3 tram lines, a BusWay (like a tram line and numbered as such but with buses rather than trams), many bus lines, and several Navibus (public boats) lines. A one-way ticket costs 1,50€. Once on the bus, tram, or navibus you must validate the ticket in one of the green ticket validation machines. The ticket is then active for one hour with unlimited transfers. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them in bulk (a "carnet" of 10 tickets costs 12,70€) and there are also 24-hour (4,20€ for one person, or 6,70€ for 4 people). The trams start early and run till after midnight, later on Saturdays, however there are also several night bus lines.

By taxi

Nantes's taxi number is 02 40 69 22 22. There are designated taxi waiting spots near Place du Commerce and the train station, but taxi service is infrequent.

By bike

Nantes is a very bike-friendly city. There are bicycle lanes alongside most major roads, demarcated by green arrows, and many small streets and trails that are only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Bikes can be rented from Nantes Métropole at one of eight parking lots in the city. You may rent a bike for 1€ for 2 hours, 4€ for a day, 10€ for a week, or 25€ for a month. Additionally, there is a 50% discount for holders of an SNCF or a TAN pass. (French)

Bicloo, Nantes self-service bicycle network at 79 locations, offering 700 bicycles. Registration starts at 1€ for a day (with a 150€ deposit in case of damage to the bike), the first 30 minutes are free of charge, 30 minutes to 1 hour 0,50 EUR, 1 hour to 1:30 h 1,50 EUR, and each additional 30 minutes (up to 24h) 2 EUR. There are 89 Bicloo stations allover Nantes but no Bicloo stations outside of the Nantes area.

See

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre

Around Nantes

The beach, especially the resort town of La Baule, is only a short drive away or can be easily reached by train. There are often cheaper deals if you take the local trains such as the TER or Corail (as opposed to the TGV). You can also travel to the beach at Pornic, a very beautiful town and much less of a beach resort than La Baule. The salt swamps at Guerande, where Breton sea salt is harvested, are worth a visit, as well, and feature an exhibit on the salt-harvesting process.

Learn

Work

The "Maison de l'Emploi" of the Nantes metropolis was created on October 17, 2005. This initiative allows to make employment more accessible and also to act against the discriminations in the districts where the unemployment rate is the highest.

Buy

Eat

Nantes has many restaurants! For its famous and finest wine and seafood. Also, this region of France is famous as the birthplace of crêpes. For a more savory variant, try the galettes de sarrasin (buckwheat crêpes).

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Nantes's nightlife is concentrated in the Bouffay area, although there are also many bars and nightclubs near the Place du Commerce and the Théâtre Graslin.

Try Breton cider, similar to beer, which comes in either a brut or doux (sweet) variety. A variation is a kir Breton, which is cider mixed with a fruit liquor (usually black currant, blackberry, or peach). The Nantes area is also known for its Muscadet wine, inexpensive but surprisingly delicious, which goes well with seafood dishes.

Live Music

Music venues

Music Festivals

Sleep

Budget

When they are not full, sometimes the university residences will rent out rooms for a reasonable price. Contact the director of the desired residence to be sure. Visit CROUS Nantes for more information. (link in French)

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The first part of the WIFI network covers the city center, lieu unique, SNCF train station, Ile de Nantes district. From the Nantes WIFI portal site, the access is free and directs towards some sites of practical information in Nantes Métropole (in English and French).

Many bars and cafés also offer free Wifi to those with a laptop computer. Look for the WiFi logo in the windows.

Stay safe

Nantes is a very safe city in comparison to most major European cities. Police presence is reasonably visible and the trams are patrolled by TAN officials at night. Be prudent and exercise caution after dark. The European emergency number 112 is accessible in Nantes.

Cope

There is a very strong international presence in Nantes because of the many international students attracted by the large and well-known Université de Nantes. Every Wednesday evening international students meet at Buck Mulligan's bar to meet new people and socialise in a variety of languages. In addition, there are several Irish bars in Nantes in which the bartenders speak fluent English. Most Nantais are fairly friendly and will do their best to help you get by, although obviously they will be happier if you make an effort to communicate in French.

Consulates

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.