Nantes France

European Rail Guide to Nantes


Local languageFrench
Country France


The capital of the wine-growing Loire region, Nantes is also the sixth biggest city in France. It is claimed that the world’s first public transport system was developed here in 1826 (however it is also alleged that a Manchester gent pipped them to the post). In fact Nantes has always strived to be ahead; in the 18th century it was the main port of France, the following century it was an important industrial centre, and now it’s best known for its university and cultural activities. To understand the history of Nantes, a visit to the Musée d’Histoire de Nantes is worthwhile, as you’ll find a good explanation of Nantes’ part in the slave trade, something which greatly contributed to its wealth.

For fun go to one of the hip warehouses hosting club nights; if you’re travelling with kids head to the Musée Jules Verne, which has interactive displays as well as his original manuscripts.

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