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  • Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne Nantes, France
    The Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, or the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, is a huge fortified chateau that is in Nantes, France, in the district or departement of Loire-Atlantique. At one time, this was the center of the historical province of Brittany, before it was divided in 1941. Sitting on the right banks of the Loire River, it was the home of the Dukes of Brittany during the 13th to 16th centuries, and eventually became the home of the French kings. In 1862, it was put on the monument historique of the French Ministry of Culture and is the home of the Nantes History Museum. In the 1990s, the city began a large restoration of the chateau, bringing it back to its former stateliness, and after 15 years of working on it and 3 years of being closed to any visitors, it was reopened in 2007 and has become a magnificent attraction for those coming to the city to visit the marvelous sights. The museum takes up 32 rooms of the chateau, and contains over 850 beautiful objects that are showcased using many multimedia items. Using the passage of time to highlight the past, present and future, the heritage of the chateau and the city are magnified by the examples shown. There is a wonderful walkway around the ramparts that give an excellent view of the buildings and grounds, as well as one of the city. The museum is divided into 7 areas that entail the history of the chateau, beginning with the castle, Nantes and Brittany back to the 17th century; Nantes, daughter of the river and ocean, commerce and black gold in the 18th century; Nantes in revolution; a colonial and industrial port from 1815 to 1940; a new city takes shape from 1940 to 1990 and a great Atlantic city, today and tomorrow. The exhibition finished with a fabulous vision for Nantes, with a spectacular multimedia show created by a contemporary artist, and takes up all the space in the last room. At night, there is a magnificent light show that enhances the architectural nuances of the chateau, set in an urban context and was designed by Pierre Negre and Sylvie Sieg from the Atelier Lumiere, who won the Light Originator Price of the Luminville Trophy in 2007.

  • Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul
    The Nantes Cathedral, or the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul was designed as a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral that is located in the city of Nantes, France, and unbelievably was begun in 1434, and involved 457 years of construction, getting finished in 1891. The reconstruction started in the mid 15th century when the city and province were prosperous commercially, and started these huge projects on a wide scale in the city. This was helped by John VI, whose skill as a diplomat and opportunist was exemplary during the difficult times of conflict with England. The foundation or corner stone was laid in 1434, by John VI, Duke of Brittany, and Jean de Malestriot, Bishop of Nantes, using Mathurin Rodier as the initial architect. The process started on the west facade, the later chapels and the aisles of the nave. The entire process was separated into 5 parts, the first happening during the years 1434 to around the time 1470, and the west facade and tower bay were finished, as was the south aisle of the nave and its chapels, and south arcade pillars. The bottom of the pillars look like the ones at the choir of Mont-Saint-Michel, which has started after 1444. The weapons that belonged to Duke John, dying in 1442, were put in the stairway of the balcony, a bit higher than the ducal portal, that was on the south side of the southern tower bay. The many vaults that existed in the belfry of the south tower, were where the weapons of Bishop Guillaume de Malestroit were hung.

  • Musee Thomas-Dobree
    The Dobree mansion was built in the 19th century, and it is a wonderful example of neo-Romanesque architecture, since its builder, Thomas Dobree was a prominent traveler and collector of antiquities. The mansion sits in the middle of the city, and is next to the 15th century manor home of Jean V, and is where many of the bishops of Nantes briefly stayed. Dobree's eclectic collection was acquired during the Gilded Age of France, and contains many prehistoric and medieval relics, including beautiful paintings by the Flemish masters, like Durer, and object d' art that came from India, as well as the family jewels. The entire collection, the building and grounds were donated to the Departement de Loire-Atlantique when Dobree passed on in 1894.

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Local Restaurants in Nantes
  • L Atlantide
    The L Atlantide restaurant is located on the fourth floor of the commerce building and has the most spectacular views of the city and river. The restaurant is also famous for its excellent cuisine; which include; crayfish ravioli du lac, with spicy broth; royal sea bream roasted kohlrabi; crispy milk chocolate with nougat ice; foie gras with ceps; bar roasted shellfish guld; sweetbreads with roasted seasonal veggies; creamy roasted Tainori and freyssinnette on cocoa shortbread. Other items include; foie gras and sweetbreads; cup refreshed porcini, St. Jacques on swimming pool; section turbot braised with tomato confit and roots; cheese trolley of the provinces; jivara bar, apple crumble; foie gras and porcini; risotto of ceps and legs of frogs milling; half lobster tail roasted with mushrooms; breast of partridge hunting as Romanoff with mushrooms; end choco-hazelnut cake with orange supremes, nougat ice cream; venison roast with sauce Grand Huntsman. Entrees include; foie gras and mushrooms, vinaigrette with virgin olive oil; Jacques scallops in black and white caviar d'Aquitanie; lobster country style sandwich with tomato confit and stewed onions; gulf oysters with foie gras and porcini foam; lobster tails as tempura, pristine porcini and truffle summer; roasted wild turbot with frozen juices, young turnips and chestnuts; back bar contise line with mushrooms, chicken with garlic juice; blue lobster cooked on jumper with verbena; St. Peter stiffened in lanyard with shells gulf sabayon; lievre a la royale boned and stuffed, large stuffed macaroni; aiguillette mallard to the pin and eggplant confit; noisette of venison browned butter; red cabbage and apples as yarrow, pears in red wine.

  • Villa Mon Reve
    Starters offered; foie gras South West Fresh House; oyster gillardeau; scallops St. Jacques au naturel; fish offered includes; Zander roast on his skin; brochet au beurre blanc; legs of frogs; crayfish grand place in the way of head; main course include; duck challandes roast; salmi of mallard; fricassee of sweetbread and kidney French cream mustard. Menu time; fricassee of mushrooms with crayfish Lake Grand Place; pike perched roasted with chorizo; cream brulee chocolate. Menu choice entrees; hen stuffed with duck liver; dressing of green Puy lentils, smoked salmon slightly warm; butter white tradition; pike roasted with bacon; duck challandres in muscadet, apples and grapes; frog legs at Gros Plant; eels country parsley; chef's suggestions; plate of local cheeses; cure nantais fried seasonal salad.

Roasted Breast of Partridge L Atlantide Nantes, France

 

Foie Gras n Mushrooms L Atlantide Nantes, France

 

 

 Scallops St. Jacques Villa Mon Reve Nantes, France


Roasted Pike Perch Villa Mon Reve Nantes, France

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  • The Machines de I'lle Machines de I'lle Nantes, France
    Inside the old hangars and warehouses of Les Machines de I'lle Nantes, France, both the French government and the European Union have donated monies to build a unique and interesting gallery that is run by two artists, Pierre Orefice and Francois Delaroziere, who have been inspired by Jules Verne, the world famous writer who was born in the city, plus the incomparable Leonardo da Vinci. The two artists, engineers and various designers have teamed up to create some of the most intriguing visuals and have been dubbed "moving architecture". One of these incredible objects is a huge elephant made of wood and steel, that was created to honor the centenary of Verne's death in 2005 and cost $5 million to construct, and relates to the story Verne wrote about a sultan who created a time-travelling elephant. Each day, visitors can take a half hour tour around the center on this monstrosity. There is a mini lounge in the beast, with a deck on top giving riders an exciting view. It is powered by hydraulics and motors, with the driver sitting between the front legs in a small compartment for that purpose, and this carry all can handle up to 35 people at a time. As it moves along, slowly and rather cumbersome, the contraption stumps it feet, flaps the leather like ears, trumpets loudly and shots water out of its trunk, onto anyone in its path. These imaginative creators has made other magical creations, that visitors can enjoy by pulling levers to make the giant squid's tentacles vibrate, the pirate fish wiggle and the manta ray flips. It has enlivened the city and given it new life, since Nantes is located at the end of the Loire Valley, and people that are filled with great cuisine and wine come here for a change of pace.

  • Notre-Dame de Bon-Port
    The Notre-Dame de Bon-Port is a basilica in Nantes, France, and built here in 1846, by architects Joseph-Fleury Chenantais and Seheult, with an official name of the Basilica of Saint-Louis. It faces the Quai de la Fosse, and the dome atop it was modeled after the Les Invalides that sits in Paris. On the very top, the archangel Gabriel lies in protection. It became a French historical monument in 1975, and is known also as Saint Louis, the mayor that gave to its construction funding.

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  • Musee Jules Verne de NantesMusee Jules Verne de Nantes, France
    One of the most unique homes in the state is the castle in Proctor, Nantes that was built in Jules Verne, was born in Nantes' Ile Feydeau neighborhood in 1828, which was located on an island in the Loire River, just after the Erdre and Loire Rivers joined. The first 14 years of his life were spent on the island, in a building that looked out across the confluence of these two rivers, and belonging to the family, with its wonderful views of the complete port with all its many facilities and traffic. He didn't see the ocean until he was twelve, although ships, islands and ports were already a part of his early imagination. The Verne family was often involved in writing verses, with births and weddings part of the lifestyle, they were recorded in a family poem, with Jules starting at an early age, later on in 1904, telling a reporter that he began carrying a pencil around with him at the age of 12 or 14. When he was going to school, he was always writing, but mainly practicing his verses. He was just a teenager when he filled two notebooks with poetry, and he continued writing in these books until his death and was published in 1989. Every aspect of genre is employed here, with lyrics to satire and romantic fervor to caberet rhymes, and much later became a lyricist when composer Aristide Hignard put his poetry to music. The songs were published in 1857, and called Rimes et Melodies. Jules moved to Paris in the early 1850s, so he could finish his law degree, not aware of his destiny to become a novelist of great fame and exuberantly enjoyed. He knew deep down that he wasn't destined to become a lawyer, never returning to his father's side to take over the family business as solicitor. Dreaming of fame and fortune, however, he kept writing, and enjoying whatever pleasures he could engage in Paris, with odd jobs to help with the allowance given him by his father. His letters to his parents told about his daily existence, and his continuing attempt at success. One such predicament involved his asking his parents how could he been seen in the fashionable salons of Paris in a tattered shirt; but was eventually writing and publishing works for the Musee de Families, the editor being Pitre Chevalier, a fellow native of Nantes.  The museum contains many wonderful relics of Verne, including ink spots and a magic lantern with glass sides. The island was connected to the mainland after a number of canals diverted the river so that this could be accomplished, although the area is filled with many 18th century homes and is still called I'lle Feydeau.

  • Amboise Chateau
    The royal chateau at Amboise is located in the Loire Valley in France and was constructed on a promontory above the Loire River that could control the ford that was strategic to the province. In the latter middle ages, it was replaced with a bridge, while the chateau was started in the 11th century, by Fulk Nerra, the count of Anjou, who rebuilt the fortress in stone. It was enlarged and improved until 1434, when it was captured by Charles VII of France, after the owner, Louis d'Amboise, was convicted of plotting to overthrow the reign of Louis XI and condemned to die in 1431. The king pardoned him, after confiscating his chateau, which subsequently became a favorite place for royalty to stay. Charles VIII began to restore it in 1492, starting in the French late Gothic flamboyant architecture, and in 1495, after acquiring two Italian stone masons, that started using the Renaissance decorative motifs that is seen in the overall architecture. It was here that the first Italian gardens began to show up, and was thereafter called the French formal gardens, and it was during Charles VIII's reign that an Italian priest, Pasello da Mercogliano started laying out the design. King Francis I was raised at the chateau that belonged to his mother, Louise of Savoy, and it was during his reign that the castle grew to its height of glory and fame. In 1515, Leonardo da Vinci was invited here by the king, and lived in Clos Luce, which was close by and connected by an underground tunnel. Henry II and his wife, Catherine de'Medici, raised their children here, as well as Mary Stuart, who was the child Queen of Scotland and destined to marry Francis II, the next king.

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  • Musee des Beaux-Arts de NantesMusee des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France
    The fine arts museum in Nantes, France is known as the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nantes and was started in 1801, when the Cacault collection was bought and kept in the Palais des Beaux-Arts since the turn of the 20th century. Among the collection of beautiful paintings are the works of Monet, Picasso, Courbet, Ingres, Delacroix, Rousseau, Georges Dufrenoy, Georges de La Tour, Guiseppe Penone and Kandinsky. The construction started in 1893, with designs done by Clement Mary Josso, and opened in 1900, with architecture common to that era. The collection is mostly of paintings, which has continued to be added to since starting, and gives the best history of western painting from the 13th century onward. Its mission of giving the most contemporary artworks of its kind, to the public, has continued into the modern era with works by Flanagan, Henry Moore and Soulages.  The museum is currently showing a major Italian exhibition with works by Picasso, Baudry, Manet, Cabanel, Van gogh, Rodin, Claudel, Dore, Renoir, Degas, Kandinsky and Prouve. The museum is considered to be one of the best provincial museums in the country today. The museum has numerous venues that are included in the museum's attributes, that include seminars, lectures, tours, exhibitions, concerts and internships. The Italian connection exhibition showcases the many talents that influenced all of Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries artists, sculptors and other artisans.

  • Place Royal
    Seated at the heart of the city, the Place Royale was built in 1788 by Nantes architect Crucy Mathurin, who also designed the Place Graslin, and is well respected for his classical architecture, that follows a disciplined line, symmetrical facades and opening prospects. A magnificent fountain sits in front, which has become a wonderful symbol of the city. This beautiful fountain was built in 1865, and it symbolizes the maritime vocation of Nantes, and the river that flows beside it. On the fountain, a woman sits on a large chair, representing the city of Nantes, that watches over the Loire River, and its tributaries, the Loiret, the Cher, the Sevre, and Erde, which helped the city become important in the commerce of shipping. The statues that stand on the fountain were created by Daniel Ducommun of Locle and William Grootaers, as well as the founder of Nantes, Jean Simon Voruz, who made the stairs Passage Pommeraye. The fountain and square's buildings were bombed by the Nazis in 1943, with 8 out of the 9 structures in the square destroyed by the bombs. Chief architect Michel Roux-Spitz, led the rebuilding, although they were moved somewhat away from the square to make more room, and was finished in 1961 and 62. The fountain still has the shrapnel scarring to prove that bombing, and was renamed to the People's Square in 1968, relating it to anything that had to do with social movements. The fountain square was refurbished in 2007, and became part of the Biennle of Contemporary Art in 2007.

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  • Musee d'Histoire NaturelleMusee d'Histoire Naturelle Nantes, France
    The affluence of the natural history collection exuberates the passion of the men and women who traveled around the world collecting the many items from the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the fruition of such wonderful men as Frederic Cailliaud, Francois-Rene Dubuisson, Edouard Dufour, Ernest Marchand and Louis Bureau, whose outstanding scientific works increased the collection as it grew. From 1793, all the way to 2008, the museum of natural history in Nantes, France has blossomed into a majestic specimen of relics and antiquities. The museum was started in 1793, with the Garden of the King, and in 1799, Francois-Rene Dubuisson, a grocer and storekeeper in Nantes, opened the first cabinet of natural history, with his personal collection and that of many other amateurs collectors, that included Kerambard, Deloynes, and Blanchart that contained wonderful relics of ethnology, geology, mineralogy, botany and zoology which mesmerized the public and opened their minds to another world where science and art were brought together to start a scientific establishment. The collection was obtained by the Department of the City and put into the old school of surgery at Saint-Like and after 4 years of work, was opened on the birthday of the emperor in 1810. Francois-Rene was put in charge since he had been so involved in the collection of most of the works. In 1836, Dubuisson passed away and his assistant of 9 years, Frederic Cailliaud is put in charge.  Frederic is more interested in the mineralogy, concholgy and geology than the other areas, and is responsible for the discovery of Meroe, the ancient capitol of Ethiopia. He was the director of the museum for over 30 years and helped it grow tremendously. Towards the end of his tenure, he started the removal of many antiquities since the materials were being damaged by moisture, and oversees the beginning of the new museum, Place Currency. The baron Charles Bertrand-Geslin donates his entire collection of books, in 1863, with over 600 works and makes sure that the collection will be available to the public. Edouard Dufour is the assistant director, and makes sure that this new addition is properly catalogued and organized. When Frederic dies in 1869, Edouard becomes the new director, and since he is a physicist, he becomes more involved in his own field of expertise, and delves into the studies of botany and zoology. The museum is opened at the Place Currency in 1875, and utilizes many fine examples of architecture and furniture that comes from England and it stays this way for almost a century. Dufour passes on in 1882, and Dr. Louis-Marcellin Bureau becomes the director and stays here for the next 38 years, with Louis being considered a fine ornithologist and added much to the authenticity of the collection during his tenure. In 1892, Bureau opens the zoology exhibit that is reserved for regional collections,

  • Nantes Soccer
    When you visit Nantes, France, be sure to visit the home soccer team of Nantes, which started playing in 1943, and this year has 7 wins, 5 losses and 6 ties. Nantes is in the Ligue 2, of the soccer league and is sixth in the ligue's standings. The French national football league that represents the country in the international football league, is controlled by the French Football Federation, and plays as a member of the UEFA. The team was one of the four first teams that started in the first World Cup that was held in 1930, and in the 1980s, it was led by midfielder and captain Michel Platini, with the team going to the semifinals in 1982 and 1986, and won the 1984 European Championship. In 1998, they won the World Cup, and hosted the championships, and then again in 2000 won the European Football Championships, and then in 2006, was second in the World Cup tournament, with midfielder and captain Zinedine Zidane leading the team and becoming one of the most important players in those finals. France and Argentina are the only two countries in the world that have won the three most important championships in the FIFA, the Olympic Tournament, the World Cup and the Confederations Cup.

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May 13, 2011