Nantes is the capital of the Pays de la Loire region of France, and the erstwhile capital of the historical province of Brittany. Today, the city retains much of the culture and technology that helped it flourish during its peak.
On your Nantes holiday, you can get a feel of the city’s rich heritage with stops at the Gothic Nantes Cathedral and the 15th-century Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, which houses a history museum. Once you’ve had your fill of the stunning architecture, you can head to the 17-acre Botanical Garden – a tranquil setting featuring sculptures, ponds and over 10,000 species of plants, including exotic flowers.
With an impressive history of shipbuilding, glimpses of Nantes’ industrial past can be seen in one of the city’s most popular attractions, Les Machines de l'Île. This amusement park is built in a vintage shipyard and offers ingenious rides, including a gigantic mechanical elephant and a three-level carousel inspired by the sea. For art and history enthusiasts, the Nantes Arts Museum and the Natural History Museum are well worth visiting. Another interesting venue for art, culture and music is Le Lieu Unique – a contemporary exhibition space housed in a former biscuit factory.