The Place Royale of Nantes!!

Here is another from the vault, have written briefly on it as part of the Christmas market of Nantes (see post). However, feels it needs a post of its own on the architecture and history on the Place Royale or royal square of Nantes!! Therefore here is my again historical version of it; hope you enjoy it as I.

The Place Royale is located in the city center of Nantes, was designed in 1786 and laid out in 1790 after the destruction of the medieval ramparts, it constitutes the central element of a homogeneous set of buildings responding to classical architecture built for the occasion . It has a monumental fountain inaugurated in 1865. Dedicated from the start to trade, it has housed brands that have marked memories, and in the 21C retains its commercial vocation. It has a symbolic value in the city, and is a popular point of artistic, festive or political gatherings.  The royal square is shape of a rectangle and a hemispherical part, giving it a shape known as “toilet mirror”. A fountain, symbol of the city, sits in the center of the rectangular part. The square, entirely paved with granite blocks, is served by nine streets : rue Crébillon, rue de la Fosse, rue de Gorges, rue La Pérouse,rue d’Orléans, rue du Commandant-Boulay ,rue d’ Arche-Sèche, rue Saint-Julien and rue des Vieilles-Douves, The square is located at one of the lowest points of the city.

Inaugurated in 1865, the monumental fountain symbolizes Nantes‘ river and maritime vocation. Its pyramidal structure is made up of three superimposed granite basins, the one at ground level forming a square. The city is represented by an allegorical statue in white marble (all the others are in bronze) with the features of a crowned woman holding a trident. It stands facing the rue Crébillon,( closer facing resto la Taverne Royale) perched on a pedestal surmounting a circular basin overlooking the lower level. She watches over a series of allegorical statues representing the Loire and its tributaries. The Loire is represented by a woman, seated in the direction as the statue of Nantes, and who pours water from two amphorae. Its tributaries are symbolized by two statues of women and two statues of men, half-elongated and pouring water through an amphora: the Erdre, the Sèvre, the Cher and the Loiret rivers. Other statues symbolize the eight geniuses of industry and commerce: blowing water through shells and perched on dolphins spitting water through their nostrils, they recall the major role of the port in the economy of the city. Behind it the Taverne Royale resto.

nantes place royale fountain and statue city of nantes my13

A bit of history I like

Originally, the site was occupied by an advanced bastion built around 1500, defending access to the Porte Saint-Nicolas, itself pierced into the enclosure of Peter I of Brittany, and rebuilt since 1444 (it opened between two towers named in honor of the bailiff and his wife: Pierre de Bretagne tower, to the north, and Alix de Bretagne tower, to the south).  This bastion, surrounded by ditches, was demolished in 1773. In 1769, part of the land was given by Louis XV to his new mistress, Madame du Barry. The level of Boulevard Saint-Nicolas is lowered, the old moats partly filled in to give access to the Place du Bon-Pasteur. In 1784, a negotiation led to the transfer of land from Madame du Barry to the city of Nantes, against the payment of a very large sum. The city also acquired the possessions of Jean-Joseph-Louis Graslin (theater see post) in 1789. The city of Nantes,then launched a major urban planning program.

Articulated around the royal square or Place Royale. This is rectangular, and in a semicircle. The rue des Vieilles-Douves and the rue Saint-Julien were created to respect the symmetry with the openings of the rue de la Fosse and rue de Gorges. Around the square, the facades are uniform the buildings have four floors, including an entresol, a first floor with openings onto a balcony, two floors with high windows and a slate roof pierced with dormers. This ordered set is characteristic of French royal squares. The Porte Saint-Nicolas and its two towers (read above) were demolished in 1790, the work planned around the square completed in 1794.

When the project was launched, the existing esplanade was called Place Saint-Nicolas. In the project, the future square must be called Place Louis XVI, a name it bears between 1789 and 1792. But the French revolution makes this name obsolete. The square then took the names of champ de la Liberté and champ de l’Égalité, or place de l’Égalité until 1806. Under the First Empire (Napoleon I) it became Place Impériale. During the Restoration (revolution of 1815) , it could not find its initial name: in fact, it is the Place d’Armes, in the middle of which stands one of the rare statues of Louis XVI, who takes the name of this king. Between 1814, Place Impériale was renamed Place Royale. The Revolution of 1848 brought about a new change, the Place de l’Égalité was once again in the air in 1849. Finally, in 1852, the Place Royale took its final name. However, it has never housed a monarch statue, which distinguishes it from other royal places in France.

The bombing of September 16, 1943 devastated the esplanade , destroying eight of the nine buildings which surround the square. It was decided after the war to rebuild it identically, The buildings were rebuilt, this time in concrete, slightly set back from their old alignments. However, they include some modifications such as the enlargement of the windows and skylights, or the access to the buildings, which is now carried out at the rear to favor shops on the square side. In doing so, the latter, with wide sidewalks, was enlarged to facilitate traffic., The work was carried out in 1961 , The fountain, long confined to the role of ornamental roundabout, was renovated from February to March 2007. The square was changed in order to make it more pedestrian. This transformation was inaugurated on April 6, 2007. Since 2011, Place Royale has become entirely pedestrianized.

For memories of shopping and we come always for the Christmas market held here (see post) you have by the axis of the rue Crébillon, since the end of the 19C, there had been the Café Continental, which offered 750 seats, contained a mezzanine and housed a orchestra. The Cafe Continental became the Taverne de Maitre Kanter and later currently the Taverne Royale. We have been to the later two nice splendid views, Between rue des Vieilles-Douves and rue Saint-Julien, the Pharmacie de la place Royale holds the record of presence on the esplanade, having been founded in 1793, and not having disappeared until 2010. The Grande Pharmacy de Paris, now call the Pharmacie de Paris, founded in 1900, is still the oldest store active on Place Royale. Another memorable spot which just found me a picture in my vault is the Amorino ice cream stand, we love it, the boys die for it and gosh its time it is in my blog and on this post. Enjoy the Amorino Gelato al Naturale ! webpage:

nantes amorino italian ice pl royale may13

No specific mention as a tourist spot but it is really. Leave you with two sites for reference on Nantes.

The Metro agglo of Nantes :

The Nantes tourist office on the green trail of monuments to see

There you go folks, another dandy spot in nice Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region in pretty Nantes. Hope you enjoy the walk to the Place Royale, worth the detour indeed. Thanks for reading me and hope you enjoy it as I

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

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