The historical capital of the Britanny region,Nantesis now the capital of Pays de la Loire and is situated in the North West of France. The city itself grew as a port, and benefitted from trade from Africa and theWest Indies. It was ideally located just 35 miles up theLoireriver, and was once a very rich city.
NowNantesis a small port side city, with many beautiful streets and buildings. It is easily accessible, either by Train, or by using the airport, which RyanAir and Flybe both fly to.
As a base to explore the North West of France,Nantesis ideal, and with plenty to do in the city, as well as beach resorts along the Atlantic coast line and the salt swamps at Guerande there is plenty to do in the area.
If you plan on visiting the beaches and the areas outsideNantesthen hiring a car is a good idea, as you won’t have to rely on train and bus timetables, particularly at weekends when they can be scarce.
Things to do if you hire a car in Nantes
Should you choose to hire a car inNantesyou will not be disappointed with the places you can visit. With a range of stunning beaches and some areas of real beauty in and out of the city you really will be spoilt for choice.
Guerande is a medieval fortified town in the Pays de la Loire region and still has ramparts intact. The town is best known for its salt production, and the salt marches which are used to capture and produce the sea salt for sale all over the world.
The 2000 hectares of salt marches are a particularly amazing site, and you’ll be amazed at the scale required to produce so much salt.
With a number of museums inside the town detailing the history of the area you’ll learn a lot about the history of this gorgeous town.
You’ll most likely have had a look through a number of ten best beaches in the world guides and wondered if you’d ever get a chance to visit them. This really is your chance.
One of the longest beaches in the Atlantic stretch, La Baule is a stunning beach with a town at each end. Both Le Pouliguen and Pornichet are worth a visit and this beach is well worth the hour drive from the centre ofNantes.
If the tide is out and you want to swim stick to the Pornichet end of the beach as the Le Pouliguen end is a very shallow natural harbour.
A small seaside town in the same region, Pornic is a very popular destination with tourists fromFranceand all over the world. With a beautiful small harbour, lovely restaurants and cafes and a sandy beach the resort is perfect for a day trip, or for a week’s holiday, and is easily reached in a car fromNantes.
A trip to Pornic wouldn’t be complete without one of the world famous ice creams sold throughout the town.
Chateau des ducs de Bretagne
The Chateau des ducs de Bretagne directly translates as the Castle of the dukes ofBrittanyand is the last Chateau inFrancebefore you reach theAtlantic. Complete with a huge monument, history ofNantesmuseum and guided walks around the building, the stunning walled Chateau offers visitors a wonderful place to visit.
Best of all, visitors can walk around the garden, courtyard and walk the rampart for free.
Hiring a car in Nantes
As with the rest of the French region, you must be over 21 to hire a car inNantes, and drivers under the age of 26 can expect to pay a young driver premium.
Drivers drive on the right hand side inFranceand those wishing to hire a car will need to bring both the photo card and paper part of their driving license. You will also need to present your passport when hiring a car at most depots.