When discovering mythical cities like Venice, Salvador de Bahia, or New York, one is struck by the density of their atmospheres, which is often even stronger than what is promised by postcard images of them. These cities, blessed by the gods, are untouchable.

Others, like Nantes, offer up very little of themselves spontaneously, aside from a distinguishing climate, light, perhaps a scent (sometimes if there’s a west wind at high tide, the smell of the sea can reach you in Nantes). Here, one must penetrate the city to love it as it deserves to be loved, but it slinks away; it can lead you down a completely uninteresting path, or bring you to a neighbourhood worthy of a Simenon novel.

This is why we decided to create the culture trail The Journey to Nantes to guide you, even if there is no greater feeling than getting lost in a city. We embrace this paradox because, beyond outstanding monuments and fascinating sites, we made it our responsibility to offer unusual points of view and perspectives on our city, ones that were likely to bring out its poetry and personality.

Throughout the different stages of our eye-opening art trail, perhaps at the end of your journey you will be left with the feeling that you have spent time in a free, upbeat, and surreal city, one where the cultural offerings on hand have been built over time.

We have a reputation here for being very modest. But we know how to measure our assets. Though we may have suffered from having our architectural heritage damaged by the war, deindustrialization, or the filling of the rivers Loire and Erdre, today we benefit from a cultural panorama so rich and diverse that other regional capitals envy us.

Furthermore, over the past 20 years, the city has undergone a renewal; Julien Gracq would surely take pleasure in wandering around the Île de Nantes and the new downtown.

The subtitle of Journey to Nantes, “The city turned upside down by art”, clearly states our intention to sublimate our geographic urban trail through various interventions by artists in Nantes’ hidden corners. Visiting a city is not simply walking around with a map, it is also observing movements and listening to its faint murmurs.

Director of Le Voyage à Nantes

A perennial journey
Le Voyage à Nantes is a 8,5 km urban tour, from the SNCF train station to the western point of the Isle of Nantes. On your way, let yourself be guided from one artwork signed by a today’s great artist to a remarkable element of our heritage, from « inevitable » destinations to unknown treasures, from a historic alleyway to a contemporary piece of achitecture, from a stunning point of view of the city to a sunset on the estuary…
On the whole, there are about thirty stops, from East to West, joining to create a sensitive and poetic tour : Le Voyage à Nantes is all the multiplicity and the uniqueness of a scattered monument.