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Although Nantes suffered heavy damage during World War II, there is much beauty to discover in this city. The historical center houses, amongst others, the impressive Cathedral of Nantes and the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, where nowadays the historical museum is located. Nantes is also the birthplace of Jules Verne, and you can visit his house of birth on the Île Feydeau in Loire.
The city has almost 3 million inhabitants.
Nantes lies in the west of France on the Loire river, not far from the Atlantic coast. Although the city doesn't officially belong to Brittany, Nantes is indeed a Breton city, where Breton is spoken by many people.
Nantes has always been an important port city. The port activities no longer occur in the city center, but further west, near St. Nazaire. It is one of the major French ports for the import of raw materials and oil. Thus related to the oil refineries and chemical industries. Ship and mechanical engineering are other pillars of local economy, as well as the food industry.
The international airport Nantes Atlantique lies eight kilometers south of the city. It is the largest airport in western France, with connections to several French and European cities.
The airport is easily accessible by rental car: from the Nantes ring road, take the Porte de Grand Lieu exit.
Nantes has an excellent public transportation system, consisting of trams (three lines), buses and the so-called Navibus (ferries).
Although many streets in the historic center of Nantes are only accessible to pedestrians and bicycles, you will have no trouble to drive around the city with a rental car. There are various parking garages in and around the city. We recommend you to explore the various attractions around Nantes with a rental car. Firstly, the prehistoric monuments at Carnac: large single standing stones (menhirs), stone circles and burial mounds. The towns Lorient, Vannes and La Baule are also worth a visit. La Baule is a seaside resort which is easily reachable by rental car: follow the N165 northwest and turn right at Savenay to the west via the D773. Guérandes is a medieval fortress. In the city there are stretched out salt plains and a museum of the salt production.
The city has a good supply of accommodation. Mainly middle class hotels can be found, but there are also cheaper and more expensive options. There are several camp sites near Nantes.
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