I confess, before attending the TBU Conference, I had never heard of Nantes. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it and was saying it in a way that rhymes “ants.” Nantes (pronounced nahnt) is located near the western coast of France on the Loire River and is just a short 45 minute flight from Paris.
This city is full of so many splendid surprises that we felt a bit like we had stepped into a whimsical movie. There’s Les Machines de I’lile with it’s larger-than-life mechanical animals reminiscent of a magical steam punk circus. The architecture is a fascinating blend of old and new with a 13th century chateau amid creative modern architecture. There’s also the beautiful Loire and L’Erdre river, where, this time of year you’ll stumble upon Les Rendez-vous de l’Erdre, a jazz festival around the river where you’ll find a many musicians using a boat as their stage.
As much fun as it is to get lost in a new city, it is nearly impossible to not find your way in Nantes. This is one of the most visitor-friendly cities I’ve ever been to with plenty of public transportation, a pink hop-on bus that’s great for seeing the main sites and getting to know your way around, and then there’s the “green line.” This is probably the most genius thing of all as it allows visitors to get their nose out of a map and experience a brilliant walk through the city, guided by a green line that meanders through the streets.
Here’s a visual journey through the historical Province of Brittany …