THE GUARDIAN: City breaks with kids
by Carolyn Boyd - Part One
any more … Nantes is a wonderland for kids and parents. The
city, on the river Loire, has seen a cultural reinvention in the
past 10 years and there’s easily enough to do to fill a week –
or a few days en route south, as my family and I tend to do.
The best place to start is the Île de Nantes, the
creative hub of the city on an island in the river. Here, the
Machines de L’ile Nantes have created a steampunk
playground where a robotic elephant carries passengers on
its back (rides €8.50 adults, €6.90 children) and sprays water
Nearby, a carousel inspired by Nantes native Jules
Verne and his novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
whirls visitors around on mechanical masterpieces such as
smoke-breathing dragons, flying fish and fearsome anglerfish
(ride prices as above). It’s possible to tour the workshop and
see future creations taking shape.
The fun isn’t limited to the Île de Nantes: every summer the
city has a makeover with street art installations through a
project known as Le Voyage
à Nantes. The artworks, along with the permanent
attractions, are linked by a route marked with a green line
painted on the pavements. We spent an afternoon walking that
line and hopping on and off the trams to see them.
Château de Ducs de Bretagne
One of the best historic attractions is the
15th-century Château de Ducs de Bretagne, a turreted and
moated castle in the city centre, which is dedicated to telling
the story of the city from the days of Queen Anne de Bretagne.
Displays, videos and exhibits explain the history of Nantes’
kings and queens, the city’s shipbuilding past and links to
slavery, along with its
history of biscuit-making.
The city’s tram system is easy to use and the
Nantes (for one, two or three days; €25, €35, €45) means you
can ride it with the added bonus of free access to many leading
attractions for that one-off fee.