Imagine a city full of spectacular artwork where, in the course of a few hours, you can explore a reinvented shipyard from the back of a 40-foot-high animatronic elephant, whirl past weird and wonderful sea creatures on a surreal carousel, explore the dark story of 19th-century slavery inside one of the Loire's most spectacular castles, wander the narrow streets of a medieval old town and take in the stunning 18th-century architecture of an elegant neoclassic district.
Welcome to Nantes, birthplace of writer Jules Verne and, arguably, the most unusual and fun city in France. Plunged into depression when its long-established shipbuilding industry relocated to Saint-Nazaire in 1987, the city gave itself a shake, refused to bow to a gloomy fate and reinvented itself as a haven for artists and architects and a melting pot of new ideas. As a result, Nantes has been transformed into one of the most creative, innovative and vibrant cities in France (and, indeed, Europe).
Now a gateway for cruises along the Loire River, this delightfully offbeat city certainly justifies a pre- or post-cruise stay, to allow time to discover treasures like the artists' quarter on the quirky island of Trentemoult, the funky restaurants and galleries of Ile de Nantes, and the elegant 19th-century Passage Pommeraye shopping arcade.
Find Cruises to Nantes
Sponsored$500 Onboard Credit w/ Virgin Voyages4-, 5-, & 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami
Virgin Cruises Intermediate Limited
- Sailings begin October 16th
- Cruises from $575 per person
- Flexible booking and cancellation policy
- 20+ eateries, gratuities, WiFi & more included ($600 value)