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 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
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
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.
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.