The City of Nantes, the largest and most popular tourist destination in the Port of Nantes-Saint Nazaire, has a rich history and culture that will enchant visitors. Considered by many to be the Venice of the West, it is home to many interesting and entertaining sites that visitors will not want to miss. Here are just a few of the most popular tourist attractions.
The Chateau des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittony) is a 15th Century residence turned museum. In the heart of the city, visitors can stroll the ramparts, the yard, and the moats and learn about the city’s history or stop for a bite at the restaurant in the castle’s tower.
The Jules Verne Museum is located in 19th Century bourgeois mansion dedicated to his memory. Verne was born in Nantes, and the museum holds collections of manuscripts, models, and objects important to the writer’s life.
The Machines de L’ile is located in Nantes’ old shipyards. The Machine Gallery is a fantastical menagerie of great machines and a living exhibition. For example, the Giant Elephant weighs 45 tons and stands 12 meters tall. When he takes a walk, he takes 45 passengers on an amazing trip around the isle of Nantes. Visitors can also tour the workshop where the machines are built.
The Musee des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) houses one of France’s best collections ranging from Italian primitive to contemporary styles. Visitors will enjoy viewing the work of Chagall, Picasso, Morellet, Chaissac, Courbet, Ingres, and de la Tour, among many others.
Nantes offers a varied and exciting nightlife. Visitors will find it difficult to visit all the cafes, terraces, and bars in the city. The city is also a canvas of blue and green with over one thousand hectares of parks, open spaces, and gardens.
Travelers who want to visit Nantes aboard a cruise can find a schedule by searching for “Nantes” on the Cruise Compete website.
The City of Saint Nazaire bills itself as the “town of 20 beaches,” and travelers agree that the beaches are by far the best attraction in the city. Visitors will find a beach to suit their taste near Saint Nazaire. The beaches are wide and clean, reminiscent of the Mediterranean, and sheltered by oaks and pine trees. Saint Marc is the most popular beach in the area. La Grande Plage and Le Petit Traict were popular in the late 19th Century when sun-bathing first became popular. The crowds brought a casino and boulevard to La Grande Plage, which was known as the “society beach.”
The Villes-Martin beach is a favorite, and it’s covered with beach-umbrellas whenever the sun shines. Georama and Trebezy are the quiet, less busy beaches. Nude bathers prefer Les Jaunais. Surfers are drawn to La Courance, and families enjoy Porce, Bonne Anse, and Le Rocher du Lion.
Just five miles west of the port is one of Brittany’s most famous megalithic sites, the six-thousand year old Tumulus at Dissignac, holding two ancient burial chambers.