Nantes is the third largest industrial city in France. But don’t think that it’s drowning in smog – Nantes is beautiful and, despite its age, is a very dynamic city. Moreover, every year it only gets better.
Going to Nantes and don’t know what to see in this beautiful city? We’ve prepared the list of the top local attractions that you definitely shouldn’t miss on your trip. It would be great to hire a car and explore all of them, as some places are located outside the city. A hire car will allow you not only to travel wherever you want, but also to move with comfort.
So, if you’re ready, let’s check out where to go and what to see on your car trip to Nantes…
Machines of the Isle of Nantes
This fantasy world is the most bizarre sight in Nantes. Machines of the Isle of Nantes are a serious and at the same time whimsical collection of mechanical creatures gathered together over a vast territory.
Here, you can fly a giant heron or ride a 12-meres-long mechanical elephant. The huge Marine Worlds Carousel, located outside by the river, will give you the opportunity to ride giant mechanical crabs, octopuses and other strange sea creatures.
You can also go to the pavilion and see a magic tree full of giant spiders. The guide will tell you how these amazing creatures are arranged and, perhaps, you will even try to control them on your own. In short, you won’t find such an exhibition anywhere else, so don’t miss this place during your car hire trip.
Address: Parc des Chantiers, Boulevard Léon Bureau, 44200 Nantes
Ticket price: 8.5 € for each ride
This is the next great place to visit with your hire car. Opened in 1860, this exquisite landscaped park ranks among the most interesting botanical gardens in France.
For several centuries of its existence, the botanical garden has experienced ups and downs. Now it has reached his prime. Just imagine: it’s a home to 11 thousand species of plants, among which there’s a tulip tree, a giant sequoia, long-lived magnolias and collections of rare camellias, cacti and orchids.
There is a children’s playground in the northern part of the park, next to the train station. Goats often walk nearby, and you can even pet them. The Nantes Botanical Garden is a great place to take a break while walking in the shade of the mighty trees.
Address: Rue Stanislas Baudry, 44000 Nantes
Ticket price: free of charge, 3 € for visiting greenhouses
After an exhausting flight to Nantes, it would be great to eat a little and relax. Luckily, we know the right place for this! Pick up car hire Nantes airport and drive to Brittany Tower. This is the only city skyscraper – like the Montparnasse Tower in Paris.
A high-speed elevator will quickly take you to the very top of the building. Here’s not just the highest observation deck of Nantes, but a cozy cafe-bar with a unique interior. This is a very atmospheric place where you can sit on chairs in the shape of bird eggs and enjoy the panoramic view from the 32nd floor, while tasting delicious food and listening to music. From this tower, every square meter of the city is visible at a glance.
Address: Tour de Bretagne, Place de Bretagne
Ticket price: 5 €
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
Perhaps this castle is among the most important and fateful landmarks of Nantes, because it was here that the largest religious confrontation in France ended. What’s more, Castle of the Dukes of Brittany was in a special account with the French monarchs: all because it was owned by Anne of Brittany – the duchess who managed to become Queen of France twice in her life.
Now the castle hasn’t lost its former grandeur. Like hundreds of years ago, it’s surrounded by a moat, and travelers enter the territory via a suspended bridge. Inside, you can walk along the fortress walls, go to the Museum of the History of Nantes, and admire the beautiful lighting in the evening. By the way, there’s a public parking near the castle, so you don’t need to worry about where to park your hire car.
Address: 4 Place Marc Elder, 44000 Nantes
Ticket price: free of charge, 5 € for visiting the museums on the territory
The elegant Pommeraye shopping gallery takes us back to the days when the first shopping centers began to appear in the cities of France. It’s easy to imagine the delight of the beautiful ladies of the 19th century, walking in this kingdom of mirrors and choosing whatever they want.
The passage hasn’t changed its purpose even now: on five floors there are many shops and boutiques with goods for any exquisite taste. If you are not planning to seriously lighten your wallet, you can simply come there to enjoy the atmosphere and admire the wrought iron decorations, sculptures and other details of the eclectic interior.
Address: rue de la Fosse, Nantes
Ticket price: free of charge