Situated on the Loire River 30 miles inland from the Atlantic Coast, Nantes is France’s sixth largest city, and an important port. A hub for technology, aeronautics, and biotech, Nantes is also known for its excellent quality of life and its focus on sustainability and environmentally-friendly civic projects. It is a modern, vibrant city with strong historical roots as the traditional capital of Brittany. Nantes has been named a European Capital of Innovation, a European Green capital, and “Most Livable City in Europe”.
In Nantes, art is everywhere. You can ride on the back of a 40-ft-high mechanical elephant that sprays water from its trunk onto passers-by. The botanical garden features ever-changing whimsical installations by contemporary French artists. An 82-ft waterfall gently mists exotic plants in a former quarry, inspired by the works of Nantes-native Jules Verne. Each summer new temporary installations pop up all over town, such as a wall of water covering the façade of the neo-classical opera house. The Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany, the cathedral, the art deco indoor Passage Pommeraye, the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery along with 50 other attractions can all be found along the Green Line, which is painted on sidewalks throughout the city to guide visitors.
The Seattle Channel offers a wonderful history of our sister city. Check out the video.
France24 provides a marvelous overview on how the intersection of maritime history and contemporary arts has shaped the cultural identity of Nantes.