Things to do in Nantes

Pays de la Loire

Nantes is the largest city in the Pays de la Loire region of France and has no shortage of attractions for the many sightseers who flock there in the summer months.

Many holidaymakers choose to stay in accommodation within easy reach of the city, enabling them to combine rural and urban France in one holiday. If you're looking to rent a gite Pays de la Loire has many to choose from making it a great base for a self-catering holiday.

This article explores some of the most popular attractions in Nantes. Ride the Great Elephant The spectacular Great Elephant stands 40ft tall and 24ft wide. This mechanical beast is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nantes and is a must-see for adults and children alike.

The elephant goes on 45-minute walks around the city's docklands and it is an incredible sight. Even better, it was built to accommodate passengers so it's possible to book a ride inside the elephant. Places are strictly limited as the elephant can only carry 49 people so ensure you book ahead to avoid disappointment.

See Nantes Cathedral Also known as the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, this magnificent structure took over 450 years to complete. Famous for its unusual characteristics, including an external pulpit, the Gothic cathedral makes a great place to start a day of sightseeing in Nantes.

Take a tram Nantes is famous for its modern and far-reaching streetcars. The city's tram network is a great way to get around the city and children will enjoy the novelty travelling this way. Reasonably priced, the trams provide an affordable and practical way to see Nantes.

With stops at most major attractions, it's worth buying a travel card which entitles you to jump on and off the trams as many times as you want. Cards are available for 24-hour or 48-hour use. Even if you're staying in a rural gite Pays de la Loire will be easy to explore either by car or public transport.

Visit the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany This incredible castle stands in the centre of Nantes and is a sight to behold. The last and most spectacular of the Loire chateaux and is free to enter and well worth a visit. The inner courtyard is home to a futuristic museum which covers the history of Nantes. Climb to the top of the castle's towers for the best views of the city and surrounding areas.