Flights to Nantes
Nantes was an important historical city and today remains important as the capital of the Pays de la Loire region in western France. Nantes’ successful background has meant that many beautiful buildings were constructed and the majority of them still stand today.
Flights to the Nantes Atlantique Airport (airport code: NTE) will take between 14 and 18 hours from South Africa, including lay-over times when connecting. There are shuttle buses and taxis for the trip to and from the city which is 8 kilometres away from the airport. Flights to Nantes with Iberia will go via Madrid, and Virgin Atlantic has a route with a stop in London. KLM also offers a flight to Nantes, and their flight has a connection in Amsterdam.
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The Tourist Attractions of Nantes:
Known as Nantes Cathedral or more officially as the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, this is a beautiful Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in the centre of Nantes. Though construction started in 1434 it took a staggering 457 years to complete, finally finishing in 1891!
Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany)
Though Nantes is the capital of the Pays de la Loire region it was historically the capital of neighbouring Brittany as well. One of the top attractions in Nantes today is the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, which is a large fortified chateau that served as the home of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries.
The castle was originally built in 1207 and then rebuilt in 1466, and since the 1990s has been undergoing restoration. It was reopened to the public in 2007 and now houses the Nantes History Museum which has over 850 pieces displayed in 32 of the castle’s rooms. Visiting the museum gives tourists the chance to explore more of the castle, while a walk around the fortified ramparts, a total of 500 metres, provides great views of the castle and Nantes.
Jules Verne Museum
Another popular museum in Nantes is the Jules Verne Museum. It’s housed within a lovely 19th century building that has no direct connection with the author, but reflects the time in which he lived. The museum is a good visit whether or not you’re a fan of Verne as it contains some interesting exhibits, including some personal items, plus the views from the elevated position of the museum gives visitors great views over Nantes and the River Loire.
Jardin des Plantes de Nantes
Nantes has some lovely historical buildings, and a number of museums in addition to the Jules Verne Museum, but it’s not all urban architecture here. The Jardin des Plantes de Nantes is a botanical garden and was first established in 1806 though there have been earlier gardens similar to this in Nantes. You can stroll through the gardens for no charge and they’re open daily, or if you’d like to go into the historic greenhouses there is a small charge to do so. There are around 11,000 species in the gardens altogether.
When Should You Visit?:
Nantes has a mixture of sunshine and showers throughout the year, so pack an umbrella as the weather can sometimes change quickly! During the summer temperatures are warm and just right for sightseeing. Winters are mild to cool and in mid winter there are freezing days. Summers are definitely the better time to visit Nantes, and rainfall is at its lowest between June and August.