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Nantes from the sky | © ahtcx / Pixabay
Nantes from the sky | © ahtcx / Pixabay
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20 Unmissable Attractions in Nantes

Picture of Holly Howard
Updated: 29 January 2018
Nantes is France’s third-largest industrial city, but don’t think for a minute it’s covered in an unattractive haze because of it – quite the opposite. It’s an innovative and vibrant city that seems to be only getting better. Here are the 20 attractions you definitely shouldn’t miss during your trip.

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

If you’re visiting Nantes, you must start off your trip with a visit to the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. It’s a natural place to start, and is a great place for getting a feel for the city and for the history of the region.

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Château des Ducs de Bretagne | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

Les Machines de l’île

Machine Island is an artistic project where your inner child can come out and play, and is a genuinely unique Nantes attraction.

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Machine Island in Nantes | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre

The cathedral is stunning by day or night, especially the internal arches.

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Nantes Cathedral | © Mypouss / Flickr

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

Nantes’ Fine Arts Museum is vast, with a great collection all year round.

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Exhibition at Musée des Beaux-arts | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

French destroyer Maillé-Brézé

Visit this impressive historic monument and museum ship for a fascinating insight into French naval history.

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Maillé-Brézé ship | © patrick janicek / Flickr

Frac des Pays De La Loire

Just a little to Nantes’ north is this great arts space, specially designed to showcase the newest creative movements.

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Contemporary exhibition at FRAC des Pays de la Loire | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

Île Feydeau

This pretty urban oasis used to be an island, hence the name, and is super-easy on the eyes. It’s a real treat to amble around and explore.

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Île Feydeau in Nantes | © Bournagain / Flickr

Jardin des plantes de Nantes

The Jardin des plantes de Nantes is a must-visit. It’s free to enter and is filled with a riot of delightful plant specimens.

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Botanical Garden in Nantes | © GK Sens-Yonne / Flickr

Passage Pommeraye

Passage Pommeraye is a beautiful bijou shopping mall with an elaborate design. It was named after its developer, Louis Pommeraye.

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Shopping streets in Nantes | © smerikal / Flickr
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Place du Bouffay

Situated in the oldest district of Nantes, Place du Bouffay is a great place to spot some cool modern-art installations.

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Trentemoult

Trentemoult is one of the trendy areas of Nantes, featuring colour and vibrancy just across the river from the main part of the city.

La Tour Lu

La Tour Lu is a striking arts venue offering a little slice of Nantes history.

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La Tour du Lieu Unique à Nantes | © Velvet / WikiCommons

Église Sainte-Croix de Nantes

The ornate bell tower is what puts the Sainte-Croix church on our list. It features beautiful gothic stained-glass windows, too.

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Sainte-Croix Church | © Eusebius@Commons / Flickr

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle

Nantes’ Natural History Museum is the perfect place to be when the weather isn’t playing ball, and features a beautiful facade with an easy-access walkway at the front.

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Le museum d’histoire naturelle de Nantes | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

Notre-Dame de Bon-Port

Make time to visit this attractive Roman Catholic basilica with incredible river views.

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Nantes’ Notre Dame | © gωen / Flickr

La Grue Titan

These majestic cranes could easily be an open-air art installation. In fact, they are a reminder of Nantes‘ industrial maritime heritage.

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Orange crane on the Île de Nantes | © Benoît / Flickr
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Cours Cambronne

Don’t miss this beautiful tree-lined esplanade, overlooked by apartments and town houses you will wish you lived in.

HAB Galerie

The HAB offers contemporary art exhibitions at their finest.

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Exhibition at the HAB Gallery | © gωen / Flickr
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Fountain at the Place Royale

Don’t miss this gorgeous fountain in the heart of the old town.

Château de Goulaine

Just outside Nantes, you can wander the halls of this beautiful castle and grounds.

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Château de Goulaine, Nantes | © Stéphane D / Flickr