Nantes – So Much To See

Our last day in Nantes and there are many places we want to visit, even if for just a brief visit.  We’re going to start with a good breakfast at the hotel before we leave.  They really have a decent breakfast buffet with lots of choices.  One of my favorites is pain au chocolate, and their’s was great.  Nice and flaky pastry with just the right amount of chocolate – Yum!

So off we go.  Our first stop along the way was at the Passage Pommeraye.  A passage in France is like a covered walkway between two streets with lots of shops and cafes.  The one here in Nantes is absolutely gorgeous.

We continued on our way to the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne.  It was the home of the beloved Anne of Bretagne,  daughter of Francois II, Duke of Bretagne.  Her family connections led her to be married to two French kings – Charles VIII and Louis XII.  She was well regarded as a conscientious ruler who protected her people from being over run by the French monarchy.

The chateau was beautiful.  It is set up so you can walk the ramparts and courtyard for free.

Inside, it is a museum with artifacts dating from the 16th century through World War II.  It was an interesting museum to walk through.

While in the courtyard, I took a picture of a couple who ended up being from Canandaigua, NY, who live in Paris for three months each year in an apartment they inherited.  Sweet!

Our next stop was the Cathedrale of Saints Peter and Paul.  It’s very understated, built in a Romanesque style.  As is our custom, we stopped by to light candles in memory of our parents and loved-ones.  This time we didn’t even burn ourselves lighting them!

We continued on afterwards to the Jardin des Plantes.  It’s a beautiful park with lots of flowers, trees, ponds, manicured lawns and benches.  Perfect place to stop and relax and just smell the freshness of the air, scented with flowers of all types.  There’s also a children’s playground at one end, so quiet meditation might not be found here by everyone.  Just saying!

Rounding out our whirlwind day was a stop at the Musée D’Arts De Nantes.  It’s said to have one of the finest collections of artworks outside of Paris.  We were really impressed with some of the paintings and sculptures located there.  But I’m still not a Picasso fan.  Say and pay what you will for his art, but give me Botticelli, Monet and Chagall anytime.  Anyways…

By the time we finished at the museum, we were both tired and ready for a rest.  We made our way back to the hotel, made arrangements for tomorrow’s taxi and then relaxed before dinner.

Tonight’s dinner will be at L’Instinct Gourmand.  It’s a small place that has been heralded for their creativity.  Nothing weird, just using the freshest ingredients and melding flavors.  Definitely looking forward to eating there.

We both felt much better after resting.  Time to clean up for dinner and then off we go.  Nantes is definitely a city where you can walk fifteen minutes and find lots of great restaurants, bars and things to do.  Ten minutes later we arrived at the restaurant.  We were looking at the menu posted outside, when one of the guys offered us a card in case we were interested in making a reservation.  We just smiled and said we have one for 8:00 pm, so he said come on in, no need to wait until then.

Again, they were mainly speaking French, but guiding us through with some English.  Our waiter was really friendly and helped us with the menu and wine choice.  Since I’ve gushed about every meal we’ve had so far, I won’t stop now.  Wow!  We both had the same thing, which is highly unusual, and we both were blown away.

When we were seated, there was a glass of spiced popcorn waiting on the table.  Regular popcorn, but with cayenne and chili powder to make your mouth water.  We, of course, started with a Kir Royal and then moved on to a Rhône blend wine.  Our starters were smoked duck with a cucumber sorbet and baked bread crisp that was delicious.  For our main course, we had roasted porcelet (piglet) with roasted artichokes.  Absolutely delicious.

 

For dessert, we strayed.  Sue had a roasted rhubarb dish, while I had a praline ice cream tart.  Wanna guess how they tasted?

Really reasonable prices for a wonderful meal.

We finished the evening off with a nice stroll back to the hotel and a nightcap with our  bartender friend Alexandra.  Wonderful conversation and an excellent Loire Valley Rose’ made in Chinon.

Since we have a train to catch tomorrow, it was time for us to get some shut eye.

We were very impressed by Nantes.  It has a little bit of everything for people to enjoy and has some very friendly people trying to build it up again.  We were so glad we decided to add it to our itinerary.

 

 

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