Nantes, Loire Atlantique

Off on the train today to Nantes. It’s about 10 minutes late and very busy but we find a couple of seats. The trains look newish and seem roomier than ours.  It’s a direct train but the service only stops at Saint-Hilaire-de-Chaléons a few times a day.

Forty five minutes later and we arrive around midday. It’s hotter here definitely but we checked the weather forecast and are suitably lotioned up.

Opposite the station is a lovely park, Les Jardin des Plantes, Nantes Botanical gardens, which we walk into whilst trying to work out where we want to go.

Decision made we leave the park and walk past the impressive Chateau des ducs de Bretagne with its moat and find the tourist office.

Load up with useful maps and the tram timetable and then find a side street restaurant and enjoy a bit of lunch. We share a portion of chicken and chips which is huge and delicious and make a plan. Also fall in love with sauce algérienne.

First stop is the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul. It’s closed due to major renovations following a fire. We wander around outside and wish we could go in as some of the windows look amazing. One side of the cathedral is built right up to the surrounding buildings but on the other side there’s a large courtyard area with nothing but trees.

Our next target is Des Machines de I’Ile on the Ile de Nantes. After passing the chateau again which looks heaving, we hop on a tram which is free on the weekend for a few stops and then cross the Loire onto the island. Luckily the elephant machine, which we came to see, is out and about, so we get a close up view. You can ride it for less than €10 but there’s quite the queue. Snap some photos as we wander around and buy a Christmas decoration in the shop.

We are hot again so find a bar and enjoy a cool pint of Moretti, that’s a first in France!

Back on the tram to the park. We considered going into the Chateau but decided the outdoors won instead. A lovely wander around this green space in the heart of the city which has plenty of seats and shade.

Finally back to a cafe opposite the station before catching the 5:11pm train. This time it’s quiet and we get a table seat.

Homemade spag bol and garlic bread followed by a Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise that was just ok. Tony’s wasp stung lip is starting to look like he’s had fillers that went wrong even after anti-histamines! So a visit to a pharmacy in his future.

A tiring but enjoyable day.

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