The worst part of our trip to Nantes hands down…
were the museums.
There are two reasons for this…
The first reason is that it’s really easy to overlook such a vital part of a vacation when you are so engaged in the exhibit! The curators work so hard to capture our attention, we barely had time to take an unnecessary amount of pictures in the first place.
I suppose that’s a good thing.
The second irritation is the pictures I did manage to snap of the family enjoying themselves…were victims to some sort of snafu at home that ended up eating the days pictures! I have no idea how the file corruption happened, but it made sharing some of the best parts of Nantes a little bit harder…
Now I know that not everyone loves museums as much as I do. As shocking as is to me, some people believe they cannot afford the visit! Others believe it takes too much time away from the fun stuff. Various collections and public spaces are the cornerstones of understanding our culture. Culture is the spirit of fun. I have never met a boring culture… only places where the culture is suffering or lacking in presence. You can always tell when culture has a strong hold in a community. It’s vibrant. It’s speaks in a language that celebrates life.
Public spaces and private collections bring our attention to the characteristics and values we champion. They are either messages from the past or a message for the future. It takes times to create a space that honors and preserves that. If we neglect our culture, we prevent ourselves from attaining our potential.
As human beings it is natural for us to learn and absorb all that we can about our culture when we are relaxed and when we are playing. With that in mind I have gathered a few budget friendly and time worthy places for you to consider!
1. Museum d’histoire Naturelle
We loved the Museum d’histoire Naturelle! The natural history museum had everything from mineralogy to zoology. It’s a very impressive collection with a special exhibit on ants! Wow! Did I just become excited about ants? As an adult learning about how their society of individuals functions was interesting… watching them scurrying back n’ forth was mesmerizing. The most humorous part of this visit was seeing the exhibit for snakes… and coming across breeds from Texas!
2. Musee de l’Imprimerie
I saw this in passing and I really wanted to visit the Musee de l’Imprimerie, but the crew was done. I realize a museum on the history of the printing press and graphics might not excite everyone, but I think it’s worth checking out! We found this on the way to the natural history museum, but it’s on the main road near the Commerce Center. The museum offers themed events on Sundays and classes for both adults and children.
3. Jules Verne Museum
Did you know that Jules Verne was a native of Nantes? In essence when you read Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Leagues Under the Sea you are reading French literature! The Jules Verne Museum showcases the life and inspiration of the imaginative author. He wrote extensively and to many he is consider the father of science fiction. If you are a hard core Jules Verne fan you might already know at least 8 ideas he invented came true. 3€ per person, 1.5€ after 5pm. Children under 18 are free.
4. Memorial de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage
Did you know that Nantes was the largest slave port in France? This is something we discovered in one of the rooms in the Chateau Bretagne… including how both slaves and criminals were forced into wooden boxes where they were forced to die by drowning.
In 2012 the people of Nantes decided that instead of ignoring one of the darkest parts of their past, they built a monument to honor the slaves who struggled and died there.
I really regret not seeing this in person but it’s easy to miss if you are not walking along the river front. You will find the Memorial de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage right before crossing over to the Isle of Nantes, across the river from the Palace of Justice…
5. Gardens of Nantes
We arrived one morning too early and decided to find a quiet park to relax in. The Isle of Versailles is the smallest botanical garden in the area but it sounded intriguing so we made the effort to find it. The amazing thing about this park is that it once was used by tanners and carpenters.
Now transformed as a lovely little Japanese garden with calming path ways, and a small playground for kids, it’s a good place to rest and maybe have a light breakfast or picnic. A little out of the way but it makes for a nice walk through the shopping areas, with a couple of opportunities to grab a bite from a bakery on the way. You can also catch a tram at Commerce to take you to the entrance of the park.
The other gardens that sounded interesting was the Jardin des Fonderies. It’s another botanical garden that has been cultivated to take over an old smelting factory! A nice endeavor if you are looking to explore the Isle of Nantes a little further.
Did I mention the best part?
Each of these places are either open to the public the first Sunday of the month, have a friendly price for admission, or you can visit for free using the Nantes City Pass!
When you are ready, explore a few places near Nantes.