France is beyond than Paris so I wanted to see other cities by making a mini-France trip from Paris -> Nantes -> Bordeaux. First stop, Nantes!
Whereas Amsterdam is considered the “Venice of the North,” Nantes is commonly referred to as “Venice of the West” because this city connects three rivers, the Loire, Erdre, and Sèvre.
I visited around the middle of March so the weather was still chilly, around 8-10 Celsius (46-50 degrees Fahrenheit), but fortunately the sun was shining during the 3 days I was there. My first impression of Nantes upon arrival was that it was definitely more quiet and cleaner than Paris. It had all the charm of a small European city without the crazy bustling of locals traveling by car or metro, nor overwhelmed with tourists. Price wise, it wasn’t too different than Paris as restaurants and shops were just a tad cheaper, or just as expensive. Since Nantes is located on the West of France, near the Atlantic ocean, my first meal was of course something seafood related. Coming from a country like Germany where seafood is as fresh as last week’s take out pizza and cheap as cavier, I eagerly ordered the seafood dish, even if it was priced at 17€.
I really like strolling aimlessly around Nantes because every corner will impress you with its classy, romantic architecture. The cream color of the walls and statutes gives a very clean, simple, and feminine look.
There’s a huge wall graphic of this man named Jules Verne, who apparently is a famous writer born in Nantes, known as the father of science fiction for his literary influence on avant-garde and surrealism in most of Europe. I’m not a fan of science fiction but the rest of my trip in Nantes showed me how prominent his legacy still remains in this city. There was an exhibition of the world of machines and contraptions that was inspired by Verne’s vision. My favorite was the gigantic moving elephant contraption that looked like it was reeking havoc upon Nantes. #frenchgodzilla
The weather was sunny and beautiful–perfect for a stroll in the park! Jardin des plantes de Nantes is a botanical garden that’s opened daily and free of charge! There’s nice fountains and animals but the best part was the goats! All you can pet!
And don’t forget the classic, clean, and a hint of gothic architecture that Nantes has to offer… The Château des ducs de Bretagne is the famous huge centered in Nantes where it was built in the 1800s. I am very impressed at how the Europeans preserved these historical relics so well with meticulous care.
Of course the most important reason anyone should travel to France is the superb exquisite French cuisine. Be adventurous like I did! I had steak tartare, which is finely minced raw beef and it was very fresh and delicious. I have a thing for raw meats so maybe not everyone shares this same pleasure! Also, the croissant in France is nothing like the croissant you’ve consumed in your home country. For just a few cents ANYWHERE in France, you will taste a crispy, subtle butter sensation with melting flakes in your mouth. It’s just awesome. You can’t get any better than croissants in France.