Culture and creativity

A stunning heritage, combining tradition and audacity

Nantes, city of art and history, a source of inspiration for Jules Verne’s imagination, offers a wealth of stunning and diversified tourist attractions, from medieval sites to the major maritime adventures and industrial heritage. Definitely offbeat, the city cultivates a taste for astonishment.


Must-see attractions in the city centre:

  • The Château of Anne de Bretagne the first castle in the Loire Valley from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Saint-Pierre & Saint-Paul cathedral
  • The Musée d'arts de Nantes Museum
  • Bouffay Quarter area with its many «crêperies»
  • Place Royale
  • The Pommeraye Passage. Shops in a 19th century arcade.
  • The Graslin quarter, one of the most beautiful examples of 18th-19th century urban development
  • La Cigale, a 19th century style brasserie, a listed historical monument
  • Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery
  • Former LU biscuit factory converted into a national artistic theatre, The Lieu Unique
  • « Les Anneaux » by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain
Culture and creativity
  • The Passage Pommeraye

    Extremely rare are the European cities that can boast having a three-story covered arcade — a true architectural masterpiece from the 19th century (1843)

  • The Machines de l'Ile

    A team of mad builders have set up their workshop in this warehouse : a performance area where each individual machine puts on a mini-show.

  • La Cigale

    La Cigale A Joyful example of art nouveau. Opened in 1895, and a listed historical monument, the restaurant La Cigale offers a never-ending display of ornaments, associating painted wood and ceramic in a variety of blue tones.

  • Graslin Theatre

    It makes along with the walking-gardens of the ‘cours Cambronne’ and the Graslin square a beautiful example of neo-classicism dear to the architect Crucy.

  • The Carrousel des Mondes Marins

    This authentic 360° theatre is also an incredible sculpture dedicated to the sea. Visitors watch as strange and disturbing marine creatures revolve in a huge structure built on three levels. You will discover the sea like never before, from seabed and abyss to sea surface.

  • The Miroir d’eau

    In front of the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

  • The Castle of the dukes of brittany

    At the Castle, fall under the spell of five centuries of medieval history…

Last but not least, Les Machines de l’Ile, an unprecedented art project.

Born from the imagination of François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, this unique project takes you on an imaginary voyage at the crossroads of Jules Verne’s “invented worlds”, Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical world and Nantes’ industrial legacy. It is situated on the amazing site of the former naval shipyards.

  • The «Machines de l’Ile» an invitation to dream and travel.
  • The «Grand Elephant» (The Great Elephant)
  • The «Carrousel des Mondes Marins» an incredible mechanical aquarium, which you can discover at your own pace.
  • The «Arbre aux Hérons» (The Heron Tree)

Firmly worldwide recognised, Les Machines de l’Île (the Great Elephant, the Marine Worlds Carrousel – 2014 Thea Award for Unique Art Installation Worldwide) reflect Nantes’ creativity. They also show the capacity of the destination’s various players to take common action in this city where innovation and creativity rime with audacity.

Major cultural events throughout the year for the national and international outreach of the Destination

In Nantes, each season vibrates with the beat of festivals, street performances, and the most unusual creations: