The city of Nantes is located at a veritable crossroads. Anchored at the confluence of the Loire and the Erdre rivers, it faces the ocean and the Upper Loire. A port city with a highly developed network of fluvial routes, it is particularly well situated for trade and the ideal point of departure for those embarking upon new adventures. Whence its motto “Favet Neptunus Eunti,” or “Neptune, look favorably upon the traveler,” adopted in 1816, a Latin expression that can also be interpreted to mean “Neptune looks favorably upon the audacious!”
The city of Nantes is audacious indeed! The sixth largest French city by population, it is part of the Grand Ouest agglomeration, which counts more than 908,000 inhabitants. According to André Breton, it is “the only city in France where I have the impression that something worthwhile may happen to me… where for me the rhythm of life is not the same as elsewhere, where certain beings still nourish a spirit of supreme adventure.”
Blossoming with creativity, openness, warmth and spirit, Nantes is a modern city of an accessible size. In 2013 it was named European Green Capital in recognition of the outstanding quality of life it offers its inhabitants and its commitment to promoting sustainable development. Beyond its 250 kilometers of rivers and streams, sixty percent of the Nantes territory is made up of farming or natural areas.
A historic city, Nantes is also forward-looking. In 2014 the city received the French Tech accreditation in recognition of its leadership in digital development. From the Halles Alstom on the Île de Nantes to the Chantrerie’s Hub Creatic, the city pulses with a passion for innovation and digital technology. Dedicated sites abound throughout the metropolitan area. Nantes even has its own digital currency, SoNantes!
Summers in Nantes are mild (18°C [64°F] on average), as are winters, when temperatures rarely fall below 0°C (32°F), averaging around 6°C (43°F). And it doesn’t rain as much as one might think! The climate in Nantes is fairer than in Paris (with 1956 hours of sun annually for Nantes compared to 1797 hours for Paris).
Nantes is also known for:
The Petit Beurre LU cookie,
The legendary Nantes Atlantique Football Club, also known as Les Canaries,
The Passage Pommeraye, one of Europe’s most stunning covered passages,
The Sainte-Anne hill and its 121 steps,
The 144-meter-tall (472-foot-tall) Tour Bretagne, the third tallest office building outside Paris, with Le Nid restaurant on the thirty-second floor,
Being the capital of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire region,
The Machines of the Île de Nantes and its iconic Great Elephant.
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