Kids to Nantes 2

• Open International de Nantes  • 04 - 10 Sep 2017 • France •  










THE GUARDIAN: City breaks with kids
Part 2 - by Carolyn Boyd  (PART ONE)

Cycling away

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "serpent estuaire loire"Nantes is also a great city for cycling. We hired a couple of Dutch-style family bikes and pedalled around for an afternoon, following the green line and venturing up the river Erdre (which runs north out of the city) to an island called Île de Versailles.

We discovered a sweet Japanese garden and weird and wonderful plants and trees, paths and bridges to explore. The cycling route out of the city along the Loire makes for a great adventure, too, with outdoor art installations from the Estuaire Project dotted along the river. Highlights include a house partly sunken in the river, with lights on and smoke coming from the chimney, a fearsome serpent in the water, and a fountain that only shoots up out of the water when you sit on a particular shore-side bench.

Where are all the other kids?

With its huge concourse to belt around on, the Île de Nantes is the obvious place to let them run wild. We loved the small moonscape with trampolines in each crater that provided hours of entertainment, while we sat on deckchairs in the sun sipping cold drinks from a booth.

Not far from the chateau, a large playpark in the Square Mercoeur features a Japanese artist’s monster artwork that doubles as a slide.

Next to this, the Miroir d’Eau (water mirror) is a splash-park where 32 jets shoot up out of a shallow pool. It proved a great place to cool off, but spare clothes would have been useful.

Meanwhile, the botanical gardens, Le Jardin de Plantes, offers nearly 20 acres of green space with huge greenhouses, pretty walkways and bridges, ponds and sculptures to explore.

I’m hungry

When we weren’t picnicking in the many green spaces, there were plenty of family-friendly eateries to tempt us. On the Île de Nantes, the huge La Cantine du Voyage offers a menu of just one dish per course (two courses plus drink: lunch €10, dinner €13) across dozens of refectory tables. The ingredients for the dishes are grown in the neighbouring kitchen garden (there’s an undercover skate park at the other end of the warehouse to watch as you wait).

For something quirky, go to Le Nid (“the nest”) on the 32nd floor of the city’s highest building Le Tour de Bretagne. Designed by cartoonist Jean Jullien, the bar features an enormous outstretched stork: its back provides the counter, and its eggs are the stools and tables. It’s just nibbles and drinks on sale (coffee €2, fruit juice €3, platter of cheese €7.50), but it’s worth a visit for the spectacle and the amazing view of the city.

This being the former Breton capital, it’s a good place to try a crêpe or savoury galette with Le Coin des Crepes serving a good selection of fillings (from €3).

The child-friendly cafe Le P’tit Qu’a Fait (menus from €13.80/€9.30 for children) serves fresh, organic food in a setting designed specifically for kids, with smaller furniture and toys. In the city centre, we had lunch at Le Select, which serves hearty French staples in a bistro rammed with vintage bric-a-brac that fascinated the kids.

One lunchtime, we jumped on the Navibus (river bus) to cross the river to the fishing village of Trentemoult. It’s a pretty little place and has a few good restaurants including La Guingette (lunch menus from €13, child’s menu €8.50).

If you want to take home souvenirs, Petit Beurre biscuits, salted butter caramels (made with Guerande sea salt, from the coast near Nantes) and Rigolette sweets from the city’s much-loved confectioner are the things to seek out.

La ville à vélo

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "serpent estuaire loire"
Huang Yong Ping Snake

Photograph: Alamy

Photograph: Mathieu Chaveau



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