Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Nantes
Whether you’re climbing aboard a life-size mechanical elephant, riding on a carousel of fantastical sea creatures, or operating a flying machine, a visit to Les Machines de L'île is probably unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Inspired by the creations of novelist Jules Verne, Nantes’ flagship attraction is fun for all ages.
Inaugurated in 1900 and currently undergoing a thorough renovation and extension by the Stanton Williams architect group, the Nantes Art Museum (Musée d'Arts de Nantes) is Nantes’ flagship art museum, celebrated for its large and varied collection of works, dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries.
Highlights of the vast permanent collection include works by Delacroix, Rousseau, Tintoretto, Perugino, Renoir, and Gauguin, among many others, with key pieces including Rubens’ The Triumph of Judas Maccabaeus, Delaunay’s David Triumphant and Chagall’s Le Cheval Rouge. A well-established series of temporary exhibits complement the main displays, with a greater focus on contemporary art, while late openings on Thursday evenings include music, dance and literature inspired events.
In the French port city of Saint-Nazaire, near Nantes, get a glimpse of what life would have been like aboard a historic ocean-going vessel. Escal’Atlantic, an interactive museum dedicated to “the historical ocean-liner experience,” displays more than 200 artifacts, all of which hail from ships built in Saint-Nazaire.
Founded in 1984 and located 45 minutes from Nantes, the Zoo de la Boissière du Doré is home to over 800 animals and 70 different species, from giraffes to panthers to blue poison dart frogs. A popular destination for families, this conservation center and zoo gives visitors the chance to learn about wildlife from around the world.
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