When most people plan a trip to France, they head to popular destinations like Paris or Nice. However, there are plenty of cities in France, like Nantes, that can definitely hold their own against destinations that are more frequently visited by tourists. Here are five reasons to love Nantes, France (located in the northwestern Bretagne region).
1. The bars and bistros. Nantes has a great casual dining scene. A comfortable ambiance, friendly regulars, a great drink selection and tasty fare that make places like Au Coup de Canon (12, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Café Cult and Webb Ellis popular hang-outs.
2. The markets. For fresh fare and unique souvenirs, head to the Marché de Talensac (at Place de Talensac)! This large covered market is open everyday except Monday, and has everything from fresh pastries to candied fruit to herbed olives. Place Viarme Market is the place to go for antiques, handicrafts and cultural curios.
3. The LU factory. The LU is a former cookie factory that’s been converted into an eclectic gathering space that includes a bar, restaurant, concert venue, gallery, and bookstore. For only 2€ you can go up one of the talk towers to take in panoramic views of the city. Check out their website for an up-to-date calendar of events.
4. The natural beauty. Nantes is built on three rivers, the Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre. Throughout the city, there are many green spaces (espaces vertes in French) in which many Nantais (inhabitants of Nantes) enjoy spending time outside. To experience the natural beauty of Nantes, take a stroll through the Japanese gardens at Ile de Versaille.
5. The annual festivals. Nantes is a social city, as evidenced by the annual festivals hosted there. One of the most popular is Folle Journée, a classical music festival that explores a different theme each year (it typically takes place in late January/early February). Utopiales is a science fiction festival that draws visitors from all over the world. To find out if a festival will be happening during your visit, click here.
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