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  • Janet Radley

Off the beaten path, Nantes, France

When dreaming about the day we can travel again maybe travelling around

the corner from top destinations, such as Paris, is something to think of.

Nantes France

Nantes, France is a city in the Loire River Region which was historically part of the Brittany region of western France. Just 2 hours by train from Paris and 60 kms from the sea this is a great city to see

and use as a base to explore the Loire and Brittany Regions of France.

Nantes was a Gallic tribe’s capital, a commercial centre under the Romans.

It suffered repression during the French Revolution and survived the 2nd World War

to become one of France’s most desirable places to live.

There is a mix of Middle Ages buildings and whimsical animatronic creatures inspired

by Jules Verne’s writings to see and explore in Nantes. For art lovers there is something

for everyone from galleries to street art. For foodies go to Talensac market, a covered

arcade in the heart of Nantes or go eat at the Les Chants d’Avril restaurant.

The Dukes of Brittany chose Nantes as their capital.

Their Chateau des ducs de Bretagne is the final one before the

Loire empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in the 13th century

and occupied for 300 years by the Dukes of Brittany until becoming a French royal

residence in the 1500s.

Nantes Cathedral was started in 1434 and it took more than 400 years to


Les Machines de L’lle (inspired by Jules Verne’s writings). The Grand

Elephant is 12 metres tall and carries 52 passengers on its back for a walk.

Jardin des Plantes is classified as one of France’s “remarkable gardens” with 10,000

species in its 7 hectares.

Passage Pommeraye is a shopping arcade from 1843 which isn’t just a sophisticated place to

shop but also an ingenious piece of architecture. It is built on a steep slope and it was

adapted to the 9 metre height difference with an intermediate floor between 2 street


Nantes is part of the Loire Valley wine region where vineyards mingle with medieval

castles in the beautiful countryside. The Lower Loire region is renowned for producing

a range of crisp, white wines from Muscadet grapes. There are a number of wine tours


There is a choice of accommodation in Nantes for all budgets. Here are just a few:

Oceania Hotel de France Nantes is a 18th century former private mansion.

Mercure Nantes Centre Gare Hotel is modern hotel located close to the city


Citadines Confluent Nantes offers apartments for those travelers looking for

more space.

Here are two recipes to try at home from Nantes France. Enjoy.

Nantes Cake. It is a wonderful blend of sugar, almonds, butter and West Indies’ rum.

A moist desert with exotic flavours. Eat Nantes’ cake the next day, it will be even


Ingredients (4 to 6 servings)

150g caster sugar

15g vanilla sugar – optional

125g lightly salted butter

100g ground almonds

40g flour

3 eggs

60 ml dark rum (approximately)

50g icing sugar

1 round cake pan 22cm in diameter, 5-6cm deep

Energetically whisk the soft butter (creamed) with the sugar.

Add the almonds, then break the eggs in one by one.

Mix well until the sugar has dissolved.

Spoon in the sifted flour -without mixing too much- and 20 ml of rum.

Grease the cake pan generously or line with greaseproof paper, pour

in the mixture and bake the cake at between 325 to 350 degrees for

40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and immediately drizzle with 20 ml of rum. Take

the cake out of the pan, turning it upside down.

When the cake has cooled, mix approximately 20ml of rum with icing sugar

(to obtain a fluid consistency) and cover it with this icing using a spatula.

Nantes Biscuits

This is an easy and quick recipe to make these delicious cookies.


6oz all purpose flour

2oz unsalted butter – cut into small pieces

2oz of sugar

2oz ground almonds

2 egg yokes

½ teaspoon of salt

You can use a processor if you want to mix the ingredients but here are the

instructions for making the dough by hand.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour until it

resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, salt and ground almonds.

Add the 2 egg yolks and mix into the dough until it is smooth.

Place the dough in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to rest.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

Use a small pastry cutter to cut out small round biscuits and place them on a

lightly greased baking pan.

Brush light with egg.

Score the tops with a knife or a fork.

Sprinkle a little ground almonds in the centre and dust lightly with icing sugar.

Bake in at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Cool on a wire tray and when cold keep in an air tight tin.

I hope you enjoyed dreaming about this destination with me. If there is a destination you are interested in hearing about please let me know.


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