Nantes European Green Capital 2013
Did you know that Nantes has been named European Green Capital for 2013?
Every year, the Green Capital Award recognizes a different European metropolis for its innovative environmental policy. To mark the occasion, the city of Nantes has set up a varied program that will only get richer throughout the year: open houses, conferences, expositions, festivals, workshops, thematic weeks and much more. Now is the time to embrace Nantes' sustainable development!
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Formerly the capital of Brittany,
and Rennes' staunch rival, Nantes is the metropolitan centre of western France. A
dynamic university city, Nantes and its immediate area are home to several attractions.
Moreover, it was here that Henry IV signed the Edict of Nantes (1598), a royal
proclamation that granted religious and civil rights to French
The Place Royale lies in the heart of the
city. Right nearby, the Saint-Nicholas church, with its imposing bell tower, was erected
in the mid-19th century. The Place Graslin is home to the Grand Théâtre, while to the
south stands the statue of Nantais General Pierre Cambronne (1770-1842), in the court of
the same name.
Rue Voltaire leads to the Musée
d'Histoire Naturelle (natural-history museum) and the Musée Thomas Dobrée, which
features such gems as medieval sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, jewellery,
engravings and precious earthenware.
This part of the
city is easily covered, with all its attractions located within close proximity of each
other. The tour of the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, built in the latter half of the
15th century by Duke of Brittany François II, is highly recommended. The birthplace of
Anne of Brittany, the castle also houses the Musée d'Art Populaire Breton et d'Histoire
Maritime de Nantes.
The lovely Saint-Pierre
cathedral, whose construction began in 1434 and was only completed more than
four-and-a-half centuries later, contains the tombs of François II and Marguerite de
Foix. The Musée des Beaux-Arts (museum of fine arts) features a rich art collection,
including some pieces that date back to the 13th century.
Diehard fans of Jules Verne (1828-1905) won't fail to visit the
Jardin des Plantes (plant garden), graced with the statue of the famous Nantais writer.
Also of interest is the Musée Jules Verne, which showcases manuscripts, mementos,
portraits and posters related to the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues
Under the Sea.
Suited to all budgets, Nantes'
various restaurants offer gourmets a wonderful culinary excursion through the region.
Surrounded by the Loire river, the Atlantic Ocean, marshes and market gardens, the city
is perpetually supplied with a profusion of ultra-fresh local products. Lovers of
oysters, scampi, crab, shrimp, shad, lamprey, eel or frog legs can thus satisfy any
craving. Whether enjoyed as an accompaniment or as a simple cocktail on a bistro
terrace, the very fresh, regionally produced Muscadet wine goes down nicely on any
A pleasant outing can be enjoyed in
taking a mini-cruise on the Erdre river, which flows just north of the city, lined with
manor houses and castles.
Where on earth
The capital of the Loire region and of the department
of Loire-Atlantique, Nantes (pop. 250,000) is a major seaport at the mouth of the Loire river.