You’ve stood in the two-hour line at the Louvre, you’ve sampled the vineyards in Bordeaux and you’ve even ridden a scooter from Nice to Monaco. What else is left for France? Francophiles seeking a constantly-booming art scene, a good bit of fun and all of the benefits of a classic French city without the pretension may be missing the best part. Here are five good reasons to pencil Nantes in next on your travel list:
- The Art
On top of containing a mind-blowing number of galleries, showrooms and community art spaces, the city of Nantes is often turned into a piece of art itself, featuring some of the most groundbreaking street artists in the world. From classic to post-modern to contemporary, there’s art to suit any taste in Nantes.
2. The Fun
Nantes is a vibrant, youthful city full of quirks and tongue-in-cheek references to both its past and the world around it. Visit a nearly-unbelievable world of imagination and mechanical mastery in the famed Machines de l’île or take in the newest art installation while shopping for souvenirs at the trendy Hangar À Bananes.
3. The Food
Although Nantes is not a particularly decorated city by the Michelin board, it contains a cuisine that instead focuses on simplicity, local ingredients and the more whimsical aspects of the culinary world. Take in a high-brow meal at the century-old La Cigale or catch up with a friend over a plate of their regionally-concocted crepes – your taste buds will thank you.
- The Culture
While the thought of French culture may evoke images of cafes, cigarettes, all-black attire and a fierce dedication to fashion, this city offers a more relaxed and multi-cultural atmosphere, in part due to its several universities. Let your guard down in a Spanish taverna, head to an Aussie-themed watering hole or punch your tourist ticket and indulge in all of the classic French cuisines and activities you like.
- The Views
If it’s stunning vistas you’re after, Nantes has something for you as well. From historic castles and cathedrals to modern architecture, classically covered shopping streets and the city’s own island, Nantes does anything but fall short on eye-candy. Be sure to bring your camera!
For more destinations and vacation tips, head to our Travel section.