In January, I decided to take a trip to Nantes to visit my friend Elodie. It was an easy train trip from Paris and she met me at the train station. At first glance, I felt like it was a very peaceful place and I knew I was going to feel instantly at home.
We caught a tram to her place and I was amazed to see this mansion of an apartment. In Paris, I live in a shoebox apartment so her spacious, light-filled apartment in the centre of Nantes was a dream. Over the two days, she made some amazing home-cooked meals for us including quiche lorraine, home-made flavoursome soups, lovely honey & goat’s cheese snacks and a first for me, Raclette.
Raclette is the name of a cheese which is heated up and when melted poured on top of cooked potatoes. A couple of these with red wine and salad and my stomach was exploding. It was the most delicious and satisfying traditional French meal for the winter time.
We did a lot of walking and did a bike tour of city and explored many gems of the city. I was looking forward to seeing the famous Les Machines de l’île and the mechanical elephants but unfortunately, they were not running at the time. I guess I will have to come back one day to see this in summer. There was also the building “Air” which is living as it makes bird chirping and industrial chinking noises when you stand close to it.
The first night we went to a bar at the top of the Tour de Bretagne, called Le Nid, designed like the nest of a bird. There is a big half-stork, half-heron who’s head and body are at different ends of the bar. Overall, it’s a cool concept – you can enjoy the views of Nantes from up high and try a nice beer from the region too.
On the bike tour, we stopped at the Jardin des Plantes to check out the natural green beauty in central Nantes. We rode many hours and saw so much of Nantes, it was an incredible experience. Instead of hiring the bikes and having to park them every half an hour, we opted to hire bikes with locks so we were free to move anywhere. We also stopped at La Cigale, a cafe not to be missed. This cafe right in the centre opposite the Opera is a beautiful old historical cafe with amazing interiors and great coffee.
Before I visited Nantes, I also had no idea that the biscuits LU were from there. They are the simplest yet tastiest traditional French biscuits pretty much found in all supermarkets.
Overall, Nantes is a beautiful, calm and friendly city. It is full of street art and eco-friendly buildings. The only distraction are the low flying planes just a minute or so from landing flying over your head which for an aviation lover, is awesome. Honestly, it was a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Paris and sometimes reminded me of Melbourne with the trams and the open space.