Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Last Friday we went to this lovely city called Nantes. It is about a two and half hours' drive from our home in central Brittany. It used to be the capital of Brittany until the evil Vichy government separated it from the region in 1941 and, since 1971, it has been part of the French region known as the Pays de Loire.

It is everything that our region is not. Nantes has gorgeous shops and I seem to recall driving through a street that had mainly shoe shops and another that had haute couture fashion. There were cafes everywhere, with pretty people sitting outside. I even found a pet shop, something which is sadly lacking in our area.
Every road we turned into seemed to have statues, fountains, planted floral patterns. The transport system is very modern and the main way of getting about is by tram or on buses that run on natural gas - no, I didn't make that bit up.

In the last 15 years the population of Nantes has increased more than any other city in France. Many Parisians are moving there for a better quality of life so, consequently, property prices have been pushed sky high. I'd like to live there but one has to be a millionaire now to afford a house in the city. There are lots of rental agencies and we could always put our Breton house up for sale and rent a flat there for a while. However, our little dog would miss a garden and we would as well.

For the moment we've decided to remain where we are and make frequent trips to this lovely place.


uber said...

Nantes is great, and crucially it's big enough to have a city feel rather than a middle of nowhere isolationism. The same is especially true of La Rochelle if you get the opportunity to get that little bit further south, or fancy a couple of days away rather than a visit.

I found the fleshpots of La Baule and Pornic too soul-destroyingly familiar to really be enjoyable, but if you want somewhere a little quieter, the St Nazaire bridge is worth crossing if you're passing close enough, as it takes you to the town of Vannes and the nearby Golfe du Morbihan which is a fabulously atmospheric place for quiet walks with beautiful seascapes.

I always hoped to get back to Morbihan one day, there's something about watching the early morning mist rise off the bay with no other soul in sight.

boogiebabe said...

Never been to Nantes, but your description makes me want to go very badly indeed! I'm getting the same feelings of envy that I got when my penfriend from Brest got a flat of her own in St Malo with an apricot tree in the courtyard - sort of "that's the life for me!" You certainly have a talent for describing settings. Maybe a career as a travel writer beckons!

Hmm. Must get passport for youngest son who was born 2 weeks too late for the old system, when he could have been put on mine...

French Fancy said...

Thanks uber and Boogie. Uber, I had no idea you knew so much about France.

Boogie - Nantes is definitely worth a trip.