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Nantes is the capital of the north-western French region of Pays de la Loire. That said, Nantes has strong historical connections with the adjoining region of Brittany, and is the historical capital of the region (though not its official capital since the days of Napoleon).
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Points of Interest in Nantes
- Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany). Nantes History Museum - Expositions.
- Cathédrale Saint Pierre and its two crypts where the treasures and the history of the cathedral are displayed. Next to the Château des ducs de Bretagne.
- Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), Rue Clémenceau. Very beautiful building with an excellent art collection and temporary exhibitions.
- La Chapelle de l'Oratoire. Rue Henri IV. Near to both the Castle and the Cathedral.
- Place Maréchal-Foch. Contains one of the few exisitng statures of Louis XVI, the beheaded king, left in France
- Le Passage Pommeraye. A shopping mall between la rue Crébillon and la rue de la Fosse built in the 19th century.
- l'Ile de Versailles, a peaceful island in the Erdre with a Japanese garden.
- Le Cours Cambronne. A few steps from la place Graslin containing imperial buildings.
- La Place Mellinet. Contains some of the restored architecture in Nantes and consists of eight perfectly symmetric houses built around an octagon. 200 meters from Port and from Maillé-Brézé.
- Place du Bouffay. A pedestrian area between the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Saint Pierre Cathedral et la Place du Commerce; ancient medieval quarter of Nantesvieux known for its Breton culture and for the pubs and restaurants.
- Ile Feydeau, magnificent architecture of the 18th century. Shipowners' houses in the sculptured mascarons and the balconies of wrought iron illustrate the wealth accumulated at the time of the triangular trade.
- Le Maillé-Brézé, a warship (which never saw a battle) which has been moored in Nantes for many years which is open to visitors 
- The Jules Verne Museum, on the Butte Sainte Anne, which has just been completely restored. Has a very good collection of memorabilia and objects associated with Jules Verne. There is also a very nice view of the port of Nantes.
- The new Palais de Justice on the Île de Nantes, designed by Jean Nouvel and built in 2000.
- La Tour LU (The LU Tower) - a picturesque tower guarding the entrance of a former Lefevre-Utile biscuit factory.
- The lieu unique, centre of atypical art shelters a restaurant, a bar, a shop, theaters, etc.
- Musée Thomas Dobrée.
- Le Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants), situated just outside the main train station (North exit).
- Le Marché Talensac, the main town market, full of high quality local produce.
- The Machines de l'Ile (Machines of the Isle of Nantes), an exhibition of fantastic mechanical animals including the Great Elephant on which you can take a ride. Take tramway line 1 to Chantiers Naval, then walk across the bridge. Price is around €6. 
- Land Hemisphere. According to one measurement, the Earth's land hemisphere i.e. the hemisphere of the Earth containing the largest possible area of land is centered on a location in Nantes.
The beach, especially the resort town of La Baule, is only a short drive away or can be easily reached by train. There are often cheaper deals if you take the local trains such as the TER or Corail (as opposed to the TGV). You can also travel to the beach at Pornic, a very beautiful town and much less of a beach resort than La Baule. The salt swamps at Guerande, where Breton sea salt is harvested, are worth a visit, as well, and feature an exhibit on the salt-harvesting process.
Nantes was once an important port located 50 km up the Loire River. It grew rich on the triangular trade with Africa and the West Indies. Nantes is also famous for being the home of the science fiction writer Jules Verne. Rain is frequent, and beware if it's sunny because brief but fierce tempests have been known to appear unexpectedly. Always carry an umbrella or raincoat when going out. Winters are typically mild.
Several well known districts in Nantes:
- Place du Commerce : This is the centre of the city and everybody will be able to direct you here. Near here you will find la Place Royale, le Quai de la Fosse, la rue Crébillon (famous for its posh shops)
- Place du Bouffay : old Nantes, with many restaurants and known for foreign food. There are also many bars.
- Talensac : famous for its market.
- Decré : Á pedestrian shopping district close to Bouffay.
- Ile de Versailles : An island in the river Erdre close to the city centre (reach it from Tram line 2). The entire island is a Japanese garden and is a pleasant place to relax.
- Rue Crébillon : semi pedestrian street at the junction of la place Royale and la place Graslin, where the main clothes shops are situated. Pour ceux qui ne compte pas leur argent (for those who do not count their money).
- Quai de la fosse : Bars and prostitutes on the week-end. Use to be called by locals Quai de la fesse (Quay of Buttocks).
- Butte St-Anne : west of the place du Commerce, in the quartier de Chantenay. Old buildings and a view of the former port.
- Le quai des Antilles : A nice place to get a drink. Lots of bars and restaurants.
Nantes has many restaurants! For its famous and finest wine and seafood. Also, this region of France is famous as the birthplace of crêpes. For a more savory variant, try the galettes de sarrasin (buckwheat crêpes).
- Some cafés and crêperies offer affordable prix-fixe menus for lunch.
- Cafe Molière, located in the Place Graslin next to the Theatre Graslin, offers excellent lunch fare, including sandwiches, croques-monsieur (open-faced sandwiches with ham and melted cheese; a delicious variant is the croque-anana, which also features a pineapple slice), steak-frites (steak and French fries), and salads. Coffee and dessert are also available, and the restaurant becomes a bar at night. Get a table outside if Nantes is experiencing rare sunny weather.
- La Cigale, situated in the Place Graslin, has been called "the most beautiful brasserie in France" for its turn-of-the-century decor. Seafood is a particular specialty (as in all of Nantes), and the chef can be seen preparing seafood in front of the restaurant, where there is outdoor seating during warmer months. Fixed price menus are available for 15 and €25. A cheaper way to experience this delightful place is to go in the afternoon for dessert and coffee.
Nantes's nightlife is concentrated in the Bouffay area, although there are also many bars and nightclubs near the Place du Commerce and the Théâtre Graslin.
- Le Bar du Coin located next to the Église Saint-Croix, with an old-fashioned interior occasionally offering an in house DJ.
- Les Fées Maison bar decorated in a fairy-tale theme, offering many unique cocktails and local beers, located near Place du Commerce, close to the tram stop.
- La Maison bar decorated in the style of an old house from the 70's. You can have a drink sitting in a bathtub in the "bathroom" of the house. Located on the rue Lebrun, a small alleyway off the rue du Maréchal Joffre near the Place Foch with great indoor and an enclosed outdoor area.
- John McByrne (21 rue des Petites Ecuries, +33 2 40 89 64 46) is a popular traditional Irish Pub in the quartier Bouffay that opened in 1998. With great pints of Guinness served by friendly staff from the Emerald Isle and elsewhere around the globe, this is the place to go to enjoy an authentic Irish atmosphere. Gaelic sports are shown live on TV along with English and Scottish Football and the occasional International Rugby match, all commentated in English.
- Délirium Café (19 Allée Baco, +33 2 40 08 90 77) is a great bar with a good student atmosphere. Offers a lively environment with tables and the bar, as well as an enclosed outside area offering a nice change from the inside scattered with tables. A little bit pricier for the students, but the environment is well worth it. Hosts English themed nights every Wednesday while the local university is in session.
- Flemming's (22 rue des Carmes, +33 02 40 47 32 86) is a freshly opened Irish pub with a newer, book lined walls, classier interior than the others located around town. Anglophones are typically the only bartenders working, unless the owner is there who is French. As a result if you're looking for the familiarity of the English language or you'd like to improve your English, this is the place to go. Has tables upstairs and down stairs as well as tables outside if the weather is nice enough. Open from 10am to 2pm everyday. Also show's rugby and soccer matches throughout the weekend by way of a screen and projector they have located downstairs.
- Le Shaft (14 Rue Petites Ecuries, +33 02 40 47 78 56) is a small bar on a corner with a terrace and a friendly, crowded interior. If you're looking for a cheap drink, they offer 3€ pints and Giraffes for cheap.
- Bier Garten (11 rue de la Juiverie) is located in Bouffay and is perfect for groups of people. Although it looks small, inside it offers 4 rather large back rooms which are more than accommodating for groups. Offers salsa, bands, and various themed nights throughout the week as well.
Try Breton cider, similar to beer, which comes in either a brut or doux (sweet) variety. A variation is a kir Breton, which is cider mixed with a fruit liquor (usually black currant, blackberry, or peach). The Nantes area is also known for its Muscadet wine, inexpensive but surprisingly delicious, which goes well with seafood dishes.
- Le Lieu Unique
- Le Live
- Soy Festival
- Les nuits de l'Erdre
- La Friendande, 12 rue Paul Bellamy, from caramels, candies, jams to home-made chocolates.
- Les Rigolettes nantaises, 18 rue de Verdun et rue Franklin, Nantes candies, chocolates and other regional specialities.
- Bookshop of the Castle of the dukes of Brittany, place Marc Elder , artworks, objects, postcards and collections.
- Lieu Unique Boutique, quai Ferdinand Favre, LU collections and artists' creations.
- Tourist Office Boutique, 3 cours Olivier de Clisson et 2 place St Pierre, books, guides, postcards, regional specialties, etc.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Nantes on Wikivoyage.