However, many cities in France are often overlooked which means that you are potentially missing out on something a little different. There are several cities in France that deserve a visit apart from the obvious one of Paris.
For example, I have been to several French cities that I would love to go back to. Amongst those French cities that I have visited are Lyon, Bordeaux, St Nazaire, St Malo and Nantes. These cities often get overlooked when considering a city break in France but they all offer much to see for the holiday visitor. Nantes is on the west coast of France and is located on the River Loire and the area borders Brittany.Dubbed the ‘Venice of the West’ as a result of its numerous canals and waterways as well as being named the greenest city in France and described by Time magazine as being the most liveable city in all of Europe”.
Nantes makes the perfect getaway for a short break.Dominating the centre of the city is the stunning Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, dating back to the 15th century, with work carrying on for more than 300 years.As with the Basillica of St Louis and the nearby Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, the cathedral highlights the fact that for centuries Nantes was the most important city of the historic province of Brittany, being both the commercial and cultural hub.
The cobbled streets of the old city centre are charmingly peaceful though the serenity soon gives way to a bustling nightlife driven by a large student population and thriving local arts scene.
Getting to Nantes
Nantes is easily accessible by train from Paris and it takes about 2 hours by TGV. There are also regular trains from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport.
British Airways, Flybe and Ryanair all fly to Nantes. By train, Nantes is just over 2 hours from Paris and the train goes via Le Mans and Angers.
If you want to drive from the UK we suggest you get the ferry to St Malo (a beautiful town well worth a visit) and then take the N137 to Rennes and the the N137 to Nantes. Its 177 km from St Malo to Nantes which will takes you about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
If you want a trip to the beach Nantes is only a short drive away from the beach resort of La Baulle. I have been to La Baulle several times. La Baulle has some excellent camp sites. La Baulle itself is a quaint little town with a fantastic beach and nice shops and cafes and is well worth a visit.
Where to Stay in Nantes
If you don’t fancy camping in nearby La Baulle there are some good hotels that we can recommend.
Kyriad Hotel, Nantes 3* – This hotel is conveniently located for all the sights and offers comfortable and spotless accommodation and friendly service. Ideally located near the North train station, the Cite des Congres, the business area, the castle, the Jardin Des Plantes and the old part of Nantes, this modern hotel offers newly renovated rooms all air conditioned and sound proofed. They are spacious and offer all necessary modern comforts. Prices from £60 per room per night.
Hotel De France, Nantes 3* – This lovely hotel is situated in a very busy shopping street in the heart of Nantes, close to the Opera house. All rooms are soundproofed and vary in size but are mainly medium. They are simply and modestly decorated for the hotel category although offering all the main facilities. Bathrooms are medium sized and a bit dated but in general good condition.