Pay a visit to the city of the Dukes of Brittany: it has some lovely surprises in store which you won’t find in all the guides! Here we share some of our Nantes favourites for you.
Art in the botanical gardens
This lovely garden attracts a lot of people, with its flowers, trees, shrubs, goats, a merry-go-round and a greenhouse. And for several years, the modern art works from the Voyage à Nantes! We were already familiar with the giant works of Claude Ponti, such as "Bancs processionnaires", "Banc géant" and "Dormanron" - a sort of bear snoozing on the grass. Since last summer, it has been the installations of Jean Jullien which have adorned the garden’s pathways... Hurry and see them!
A star at La Bouteillerie cemetery
Step into La Bouteillerie cemetery, next door to the botanical gardens. Walk along its paths and you will find some eye-catching graves, in particular that of Serge Danot, the creator of the Magic Roundabout. It has been renovated with metal and colour and you will recognise it easily! Artists should remember to bring their sketch pads to copy the drawing on his grave!
Mirror, mirror... of water!
As you continue towards the city centre, you will come across the water mirror, opposite the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. It delights the very young in summer and offers a joyful atmosphere for others to get together. When night falls, the lights which adorn it enhance the location and make it a little more magical.
The Passage Pommeraye... and its new arcade
The famous Passage Pommeraye, the film location for Jacques Demy’s film “Une Chambre en Ville”, amongst others, is one of Nantes’ treasures. Work began on this old city-centre shopping arcade at the end of 1840, and it was opened in July 1843. For some years now, it has boasted an extension, which continues its original use as a shopping arcade.
View of the Loire River from the rooftop of the School of Architecture
As well as being a place of learning, the School of Architecture acts as a venue for artistic performances, temporary exhibitions and the works of the Voyage à Nantes. This concrete building has been occupied for around ten years. If you follow the passageways and keep going up... you will reach the roof and discover an exceptional 360° view over Nantes and the Loire.
Estuary works... to see and to hear
Two of the permanent Estuary works are located between the School of Architecture and the Ile de Nantes. Use your two senses, hearing and sight, to experience them: Rolph Julius's work “Air” on the Manny building, where he presents a relationship between music and sculpture, creating “music for the eyes”. Also at street level, Angela Bulloch’s work “the Zebra Crossing”, creates a unique entrance to Manny… that’s all we will say!
Climb aboard at the Gare Maritime, and head off for Trentemoult !
Roquio is the name of the first steamboat of the Compagnie de Navigation de la Basse-Loire. Today it is used by those who travel from the Gare Maritime to the charming fishing village on the other side of the Loire, Trentemoult. So climb aboard and disembark in this colourful village. You can stroll through its charming back streets, and meet cats, artists and residents… all in a tranquil atmosphere. The façade used in the film “La Reine Blanche” is still there and is easy to find... A clue: it’s right next to the Royal River...