Almost the end of the season for city breaks (though we do have a couple more planned!), nothing could compare with our trip to Venice but this was a good antidote to it and a surprisingly lively and youthful city. We are getting very good at airports now and finding the best way into the city centre. This was very straightforward with a shuttle bus just outside the arrivals gate and a short bus ride of 20 minutes into the city centre at Commerce, where all the trams stop. The transport system in Nantes is brilliant with one ticket usable on trains, trams and buses, without travel zones, you just buy a ticket for an hour, a carnet, 24 hours etc etc. We soon got the hang of it and bought a couple of tickets and rode the tram to the end of the line and saw all sorts of aspects of French daily life as well as having a trip to the Ikea which was on one of the tram lines!
We stayed in an Hotel Ibis for economy’s sake but it was also very centrally placed being in the pedestrian zone and equal distance between two grandes places! The Passages Pommerai were just a short distance from the hotel so we were able to make several visits for photographs as well as shopping!
One excellent thing about the drivers in Nantes was they were all so polite to pedestrians! Usually in French towns you don’t venture onto a crossing unless you are very sure the drivers will stop, which they mostly don’t! In Nantes they have sections where there are no road markings, people just cross hither and thither and the traffic has to make the best of it, in consequence they go really slowly, giving way to those on foot and of course everyone gives way to the trams! There are 3 tram routes in Nantes, you can just make out one in the background of the picture below, sadly I didn’t seem to take anymore of them!
The weather was mostly fine although we had a light shower of rain one afternoon as the picture shows. We knew the the Beaux Arts museum was closed for renovations but we found a good Natural History museum and also a Jardin Des Plantes.
The Beaux Arts museum will have to wait for another visit, they are certainly sparing no expense on it!
Eating out was as usual a joy in France, we tried Vietnamese one lunch time as well as excellent seafood and a good meal at La Cigale Restaurant where we were lucky enough to get a table. We had frequent stops for beer, wine and coffee as well as a variety of salads and deserts. A major diet is now called for.
Nantes is a very user friendly type of city with people offering to guide you, even when you didn’t need it! By our last day though we were somewhat tired out, having done about 5 miles walking around a day, so we decided to go to the cinema and saw Mal de Pierres with Marion Cotillard. It was a film without too much dialogue, beautifully shot, so we had no difficulty following it.
Here are a few more shots of the city, in no especial order, all in all a good trip.