Gare de Nantes!!!

Well here I am again to tell you about a train station, ho ho ho. Yes folks again, I do take public transports in France as needed. You know my line…. is a custom to do so here ,and I am following right alone the practices. And this is from even before moving permanently to France and before been a French citizen….. train travel is a every day life chores here.

One of the train stations I have used the most in France is the one in Nantes. Simply because in my going out of my area, the Nantes Atlantique airport (see post) is a requirement and from close to my home either Auray or Vannes there is TER connection to the Gare de Nantes, and then an airport express bus to the airport. So when duty calls, and the car is not, then the train it is, and Nantes wins heads down.

Therefore , let me tell you a bit on the Gare de Nantes or Nantes train station. A bit of history I like is call for…

The Gare de Nantes train station ,formerly the Gare Nantes-Orléans train station is the main passenger train station in the Nantes area, located in the Loire-Atlantique department 44, in the Pays de la Loire region. The Gare de Nates replace in the   mid-tw20C the old station of Nantes-Orléans, run by the company of Paris-Orléans. The former central station of Nantes, the Orleans station is built on the site of the Prairie de Mauves which was call as such until 1887, at rue Stanislas-Baudry, that is to say slightly further west of the current station. It was inaugurated in November 1853, two years after the arrival of the first trains from the Orleans Railway Company.

The gare d’Orléans station is then a line terminus coming from Paris-Orléans station, today Austerlitz. It consists of a hall closed by a western frontispiece, surmounted by three sculptures representing the alliance of Nantes with the Loire and the Atlantic Ocean. To the north, the building adjoins another station, that of the Petit Anjou, a local line which served Cholet from the east, while following the tracks of the State network.  The Loire floods, which threaten the collapse of the platforms on which the tracks are located, could thus can cause a significant disruption of rail traffic to the port of Saint-Nazaire and the seaside resorts of the Côte d’Amour, for the authorities, the pretext for starting work to fill the northern arms of the river and its tributary, the Erdre. Severely damaged by the bombings of WWII, the building was gradually dismantled from 1949. The restructuring of the post-war SNCF network leads to the centralization of passenger traffic at Orléans station at the expense of the State station, which keeps only its freight activity.

It was not until 1965 that work was undertaken to build an entirely new station. The works were completed in 1968, and it was not until May 28, 1972 that the gare d’Orléans station took the name of gare de Nantes station. The gare sud or south station was inaugurated in 1989 for the arrival of the TGV. More modern than the gare nord or north station, it has a Richemont stone facade made up of a large glazed hall made of canopies made of cable beams. The roof of the building is made of a polyester fabric and coated with PVC. It has several ticket offices, a tobacconist, a tea room and a cafeteria. The hall also gives direct access to the Mercure hotel. It is connected to the main underground by a large gentle slope, and to the small underground located to the west by a staircase and an elevator. The two stations are thus directly connected by two passages. The whole station includes two passenger buildings to the north and south of the 15 tracks, an administrative building on the north side, as well as two overhead car parks near each of the two passenger buildings. The passenger building covered on the terrace, 160 meters long, has a basement, a ground floor and a first floor with a central hall of 644 m2 rising over the entire height of the building. The administrative building rises 30 meters high with a basement, a ground floor and 7 additional floors to the east of the passenger building and has the same decor and materials on the east and west facades as the latter. On the west side of the departure hall, a large sales area has been set up where you can inquire and buy or exchange tickets. On the east side is a tobacco / press and a bakery / pastry shop. A large underground passage leads to the gare nord in the departure hall by a gentle slope and to the arrival hall by stairs. A narrower underground passage west of it leads only to the departure hall by a staircase and an elevator. It has been closed since 2018 as part of the work planned for the new development which will see the light of day in 2020…. Access to tracks 1, 52, 53, 54 and 55, however, is directly from the departure hall which is open to the platform.



The gare de Nantes train station is connected to Paris Montparnasse in 2 hours + and to Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier directly by TGV. In addition, an international Nantes – Brussels link is open, thanks to the extension of an already existing Nantes – Lille relationship. Intercity trains also serve the gare de Nantes station to Bordeaux and to Lyon. The station is also the point of convergence of the main TER Pays de la Loire lines and in particular the Interloire line, in collaboration with the Centre-Val de Loire region, to and from Orleans. Also, with the TER Bretagne coming from Auray or Vannes the ones I take. A very nice ride indeed and very much on time! One anecdote for the memories’s sake is when having a quick lunch between train and airport , I had it at Class’Croute , they are no longer at the train station in Nantes but all over France. A picture and link for the memories of always:

nantes class croute resto gare sud sep15

I have taken the local train here TER Pays de la Loire as well as Bretagne especially to come to the airport with an express bus service.  The train station in Nantes is at Blvd Stalingrad,very close to the castle. From Nantes you can take the TER to Rennes and then connect with the TGV to Paris Montparnasse in about 2h25. And if going further into Paris to Denfert-Rochereau take the train to Massy TGV, and there take the RER B direction CDG airport and descend at Denfert-Rochereau in 3h or continue to the airport CDG Roissy in 3h24 total trip.  Of course, you can do the same in the opposite direction.



Plenty of interconnection here and even great covered parkings that I have used even when just visiting the city on a personal family visit.


There is the Tramway line 1 direction François Mitterand / Jamet Beaujoire / Ranzay Station located in front of the station, North side or gare nord.


The Gare Routiére or bus terminal is located on the esplanade Pierre-Semard which notably links the city center and the Commerce station. The bus Line 5 which has its terminus at Gare Sud serves the île de Nantes, via Malakoff, and only serves Commerce by night service. The station Duchesse Anne – Château , which connects tram line 1 with bus line 4 is about 400 meters from this tram station. The bus station gare sud has urban and interurbain buse lines, the local ones are the lines C2 Gare SNCF Sud-Le Cardo, line C3 Boulevard de Doulon- Boulevard Charles Gautier, and line C5 Gare SNCF Sud – Quai des Antilles.

The lines Chronobus C2, C3 and C5 as above do the first two connect the city center and the Commerce station: the C2 then joins the Cardo district in Orvault in the north, while the C3 connects the Dervallières district in the west to the Doulon district in the east, via the Malakoff district. There are ,also, 21 departmental and regional bus lines on the TAN network also serve the gare sud or south train station. More info on TAN in French here:

The one I take always is the Airport Express Bus (see airport post). The most practical ,connecting the airport with the train station gare Sud or South station at Quai Malakoff, along the canal St Félix ,on the south side of the train station. The ride is very nice, every 20 minutes or so and leaves you at both in just across the entrances. I have used it extensively these last several years. The cost today (before the virus) was 9€ one way. You go outside cross the arrival road across Hall 2, clearly mark. Official TAN (bus/tramway network of Nantes) schedule and prices are here: TAN bus network of Nantes on the airport express bus

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The SNCF on the Gare de NantesGares et connexions SNCF on gare de Nantes

The Oui SNCF on the Gare de Nantes and local transports: Oui SNCF on gare de Nantes and transports

The TER trains of the Pays de la Loire region on Gare de Nantes: TER SNCF on gare de Nantes

The city metro area of Nantes on public transports and trains: Metropole Nantes on public transports

The Nantes tourist office on Gare de NantesNantes tourist office on Gare de Nantes

You are now well arm to whiz thru the Gare de Nantes in style and feel the breeze of the sea nearby, not to mention easy walk into city center, where I have even stayed in hotels on my travels in and out.

It’s a smallish train station and very easy to navigate with plenty of panels. Once into the tunnels to the platforms you need to compost your ticket in yellow machines at the entrance to the tunnel or underground passage. There is plenty to eat and drink on lighter side of things at entrance to this passages and on the ticket counters facing esplanade Pierre Semard. Not to mention just across the street are my favorite eating outs already mentioned in previous posts. Hope you enjoy the trip and the beaches in Summer and Nantes a wonderful historical city of my belle France.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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