Nantes, located in the mouth of the Loire, since ancient times, was considered the second largest river port of France. It is curious that the city is located not on the coast, but 56 km from the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest port of France with a turnover of more than 20 million tons per year.
Nantes was founded in the 1st century by the namnet galls, which gave the city its name. In the III century Christian teaching came here, and the city became the center of the diocese.
From 834 to 936 Nantes was under the rule of the Normans. But in the IX century, the Franks began to claim Nantes and by 936 the city became the capital of Brittany. By the XIV century, even this fleet appeared in this large port city.
In the days of the Huguenot Wars, Nantes, acting as a stronghold of Catholicism, refused to submit to Henry IV. In 1598, the famous Edict of Nantes was signed, which equalized the rights of Protestants and Catholics.
Nantes flourished in the 17th century, when all the surrounding islets began to be built up, bridges were built between them and Nantes turned into French Venice, becoming the main trade and transport center between Poitou and Lower Brittany. Through Nantes there was a "sugar path", along which sugar cane was transported from the West Indies to France, England and Scandinavia. Colonial cargoes made the city the main port of the country and near it began to open forges and iron foundries, factories for the production of chocolate and canned goods.
Because of the blockade of the Napoleonic wars, cane sugar was replaced with beetroot, which led to a decline in the port's work, and as a consequence to the decline of the entire economy of the city.
In the XIX-XX centuries, in the upper part of the Loire flow, construction of new harbors began and the city received new opportunities for economic growth.
What to see:
The castle of the Breton Dukes (Castle of the dukes of Brittany), was built in the Middle Ages by the Duke of Francis II and his daughter, Anne of Brittany. Their goal was to protect the independent duchy of Brittany from attempts to incorporate it into the French kingdom. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the castle served as the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. In the courtyard of the castle there is a 15th century palace built in the style of the Touf Revival Period. Today on the territory of the castle there is a historical museum, which is considered one of the best museums in France. There is also a museum of applied art in which you can see armor, furniture and clothes of medieval Bretons. In 1862, the French Ministry of Culture ranked the castle to the historical monuments of France.
The Machines of the isle of Nantes, created on the site of the former ship docks and warehouses by the artists François Delarazier and Pierre Orefis, are rightfully considered one of the wonders of Nantes. The basis of their project lay in time and space travel at the junction of the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne and the mechanical wonders of Leonardo da Vinci. The machines were open to the general public on July 1, 2007. Among the presented cars are especially interesting: the Great Elephant, the Carousel of Wonders of the Sea World and the Tree of the Tsapel.
The great elephant, 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, is made of 45 tons of wood and steel. At the same time, he can lift 49 passengers. The length of the walk is 45 minutes. Here you can visit the museum telling the history of the creation of these machines.
The Museum of Jules Verne (Jules Verne Museum)
In 1828 in Nantes was born the famous writer - Jules Verne. On Route de Clisson, the house in which he was born and spent his childhood, but the house is privately owned and closed to the general public.
The Jules Verne Museum is located on 3 Rue de l'Hermitage. It presents books of the first editions of the writer and various documents.
Another symbol of Nantes can be called the Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which was laid in 1434. Construction was conducted 457 years and was completed only in 1891. The temple is built of white limestone. The facade of the cathedral is quite simple, but the interior decoration impresses with its splendor. In the cathedral, Francis II, the Duke of Brittany, and his wife are buried.
In the Museum of Dobra, which is located in the homonymous neo-Romanesque mansion, you can see everyday objects of various ages - from antiquity to the Great French Revolution. The collection was collected by Thomas Dobre himself, a traveler and a collector.
No less interesting is the Museum of Fine Arts, which is considered one of the best and most important museums in the west of France. Here are collections of paintings and sculptures of the 12-19 centuries.
How to get there:
There are no direct flights to Nantes from Russia, so you will have to fly with a transfer in Paris or in another European city. You can buy a ticket to Nantes in the air tickets section.
From Paris to Nantes every two hours a fast train departs. The journey takes 2 hours. The train departs from the Paris Montparnasse stations 1 and 2. The fare is from 62 €. You can buy a ticket on the site or at the ticket offices of the railway station.
From Paris to Nantes 385 km, the journey time is 3 hours 35 minutes. The cost of fuel (diesel) is from 35 €. Fare for paid.
For most of our compatriots, La Rochelle is associated with Alexandre Dumas's novel The Three Musketeers - and correctly. This port city, located on the border of France, became famous for its freedom-loving mores and endless battles.
The first fishing village on the territory of the present La Rochelle appeared in the 10th century. By the 12th century it had already become a major and important port. In 1137 the Duke of Aquitaine granted La Rochelle independence, the first of the French cities. In 1199, his daughter Eleanor of Aquitaine confirms this status and gives the city the charter of the commune. In the 13th century, La Rochelle became the main city of the Knights Templar. The status of the commune allowed the city to mint its own coins and not pay part of the taxes, which led to the economic prosperity of the city. The main goods on which La Rochelle became rich was wine and salt. Until the 15th century, La Rochelle was able to balance between the interests of Britain and France and did not participate in politics, and politicians did not touch La Rochelle. But everything changed radically in the 16th century, when most of the townspeople accepted Protestantism. By the end of the third religious war, the city received the status of a Protestant fortress, while preserving the guarantees of free religion. But this state of affairs did not suit France and in 1573 the Duke of Anjou settled the fortress of La Rochelle. But at that time France did not yet have a decent fleet, and from the land the fortress was difficult to take. All attempts to capture the city ended in failure, and according to the Nantes edict, La Rochelle again had the opportunity to peacefully trade with England. In 1627, the French made a new attempt to conquer La Rochelle - this time successful. Under the leadership of Cardinal Richelieu, the city was besieged for 15 months and the townspeople, exhausted by hunger, were forced to surrender, only 1/6 of the population of La Rochelle survived. In the XVIII century La Rochelle began to actively trade with the New World, which allowed him to maintain the position of a major port city.
What to see:
The main attraction of La Rochelle is considered to be the old port. There are preserved defensive towers erected in the XIV century. In the eastern tower, there is a museum of the history of Protestantism, and on the roof there is an observation deck. From the eastern tower through the fortress wall you can walk to the Lantern Tower - 70 m high, built in the 15th century. Initially, this tower served as a lighthouse, but already in the XVII century there was a prison for English and Spanish sailors.
Nearby there are old city gates, from which one arch and an exquisite dome has been preserved. Going through the gate you can get to the main shopping street of the city. Medieval houses with canopied cornices and old mansions of the 18th century are preserved here.
It is also curious to visit the House of Henry II, built in 1555 in mixed styles and the Cathedral, built in 1784.
How to get there:
From Paris to La Rochelle can be reached by a high-speed train for 3 hours 30 minutes. The train departs from Gare Montparnasse station, Gare Montparnasse metro station. The fare is from 68 €. You can buy a ticket on the site or at the ticket offices of the railway station.
From Bordeaux to La Rochelle can be reached in 2 hours. The fare is from 30 €. You can buy a ticket on the site or at the ticket offices of the railway station.
From Paris to La Rochelle is 471 km, the journey time is 4.5 hours. The cost of fuel (diesel) is from 40 €. The fare on toll roads will cost 40 €.
From Bordeaux to La Rochelle 188 km, the journey time is 2 hours. The cost of fuel (diesel) is from 17 €. The fare on toll roads is 13.5 €.