The Graslin district, designed by architects Ceineray and Crucy in the mid-19th century, owes its name to the man who dreamt it up and made it a reality: Jean-Joseph Louis Graslin. Elegant, cultural, and open-for-business, the Graslin district is a gem of 18th and 19th century urban planning.
Nantes is the only city in the world where the name of a street — Rue Crébillon – has given birth to a verb: crébillonner, which is a way to say “shopping”. Yes, Graslin is reputed for its chic shops, its gourmet restaurants, its Passage Pommeraye — one of the most beautiful covered arcades in Europe, immortalized by filmmaker Jacques Demy in Lola — and its boutique-filled streets.
This neighbourhood can be appreciated any time, day or night. How wonderful it is to walk through Place Graslin, with its majestic theatre, or Place Royale, where its monumental fountain acts as a meeting place for locals! Graslin, which can be located almost anywhere in the city, thanks to the 85-metre (280-foot) tall white spire of its Basilique Saint-Nicolas — a neo-Gothic church built in 1854. This neighbourhood stretches all the way to the Loire via Cours Cambronne — that enchanting lane, inaugurated in 1848. Quai de la Fosse, lined with its 18th-century homes, built for rich ship-owners, flirts with the river and takes you Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Port church, noteworthy for its dome, which was designed to resemble St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. And since all roads lead not to Rome but to Place de la Petite-Hollande, any visit to Graslin will inevitably take you there. Every Saturday morning, its open-air market celebrates flavours from here and abroad.