Nantes , Christmas time 2016.

Well, only living about 1h30 from Nantes of course, it  has become a major city favorite destination for me either on business but on this one more as family visits. Christmas season is one of the best if not the best time to visit the city in my opinion. I was here again yesterday with the family in a really nice Christmas spirit afternoon and evening. For info the tourist office is here : http://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en

Information on the Christmas market or Marché de Noêl can be found here for Nantes: https://marche-de-noel-nantes.com/

We arrive there by car of course on the N165 and headed for Nantes Centre, looking for parking was not going to be easy, Saturday weekend, and Christmas market as well as regular day market made the city packed with locals and visitors alike. Knowing this I took a ride in town just to see all the underground parking label Complet or full. So I headed for a safe heaven in the train station north or Nantes gare Nord.  This I know well as always come by here on trains for business trips which is very often. Here we had plenty of parking and for 6 hours we paid 9,90€. The site here: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frnte/nantes/transports-horaires/transports-individuels/parking

And from the Gare Nord parking we set out on foot to see the city; the old Breton castle of the Dukes of Brittany looms big along the quais; we did went in this time but just walking by it is awesome. Well we did a lot of walking all over the city visiting all the Christmas market and ice skating activities and it was very nice. We like it.

We , also, had the opportunity to pass by some well known buildings of Nantes. These were;

Basilique de Saint Nicolas that dates from the 19C replacing an older Church that went back as far as 1196AD , and it is of neo gothic style. Last renovations dates from 1974. Less talk about than the other this one in city center Nantes near Place Royale  is a nice stop indeed. More on heritage of Nantes here: http://www.nantes.fr/home/ville-de-nantes/culture/patrimoine-et-archeologie/decouvrir-le-patrimoine-nantais.html#paragraphe-darticle

We came in by the Jardin des Plantes, as always do when visiting the city even on business trips! ; a beautiful garden in the middle of Nantes next to the train station by the Gare Nord exit. A botanical garden of great luxurious laidout of gardens, trees, and especially sitting benches all over… a wonderful Serre or La Palmeraie. The main entrance is a bit further with a monumental arch grille iron door at rue Stanislas-Baudry. More here: https://www.nantes.fr/sites/nantesfr/home/ville-de-nantes/developpement-durable/espaces-verts-et-environnement/jardin-des-plantes.html

Of course, a must here is the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul or Cathédrale St Pierre-St Paul, a wonderful edifice full of local and regional history. I love the chapel of the Virgin and the Misericordia as well as the tombs of Duke François II and General Lamoriciére.

You are well worth it to see the Church of Saint Clément at rue Maréchal Joffre and the square of same name not far from the Cathedral. There was a Church here from about 490AD , the first name after St Clement dates from 1226. The Church is of neo gothic style done by 1892 and last renovated in 1954. It has a beautiful nave altar and a nice pulpit.

We came into the Church of Saint Croix briefly as there was a service going on. Built in the 17C not far from the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. It was built in the Classic style ;current Church dates from 1828 and last renovated in 1983 after an incident of heavy winds. It is the center of Our Lady of Saviors  or Notre Dame de Bonsecours.

It was good to see the Galeries Lafayette store here and the great window decoration like in Paris with Deers, bears and penguins rather nice.  Of course , do not know why but the petit train or little train is always nice to see if not ride on them. Not to mention the great Passage Pommeraye shopping arcade of Nantes. More here: http://www.passagepommeraye.fr/

And need to pass by the museum of fine arts that the streets are under renovation but the museum is open, this is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the best in France.  More here: http://www.museedesbeauxarts.nantes.fr/

We had our lunch at the Nota Bene pizzeria restaurant at 3 rue Saint Denis, just before getting into the feisty shopping paradise of the rue de Verdun. This was a nice service and food place and we really enjoy our Roma pizza, linguini, calzone, as well as the nice Peroni Italian beer and for desserts we have the Amore Mio with almond ice cream, strawberry syrup, Chantilly etc and we had different ones all for 21.80€ per person. More here: http://www.notabene-restaurant.fr/

We had of course our hot wine and chichis later around the day and visit the places of Christmas market of Marché de Noêl at Place Royale, Place du Commerce, Place du Bouffay, Place de la  Bourse and the chalets of many goodies as well as the wonderful rides such as the deer chariot along a railroad line high up…. and the ice skating or patinoire rink at the Cours Saint Pierre.

All in all a wonderful family time, and still in what is historically  recognize as part of Brittany even if the Vichy change it in 1941 and the government of the Republic did not wanted to go back to the original borders. This is still Bretagne, Breizh.

Enjoy the photos and see you around France. Happy Holidays to all, Cheers and be merry.

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