Nantes has just welcomed its very first Splendia hotel, Sozo Hotel. This brand new 4-star boutique hotel is located in the heart of the city, steps from the plethora of shops, restaurants and bars in this vibrant Breton city. The owners have preserved the walls of this romantic 19th century chapel, integrating a cutting-edge contemporary design into the interiors and creating a smooth fusion of historical architecture and modernity. This unique hotel features furniture from world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, amongst others. Facing the beautiful Jardin Des Plantes and steps from the railway station, the hotel occupies an enviable location in the heart of the city, perfect for an urban retreat. Splendia lets you into the secrets of this brand new destination…
A must-see when visiting Nantes is the Galerie of the Machines de l’Ile on the quayside. The former shipyard now houses magnificent mechanical animals, such as a 12-metre high elephant which will take you on a ride on the banks of the Loire. Explore the savannah and the bottom of the deep blue sea before having something to eat or drink whilst watching the elephant go by.
The medieval Château des Ducs de Bretagne, taking you back in time to the 15th century, is definitely worth a trip. Beyond the inspiring Renaissance facades, the building is now home to a history museum about the city and often welcomes temporary exhibitions. Its battlements and moats are freely accessible and offer beautiful views of the city.
Just in front of the Sozo Hotel stands one of the most exquisite botanical gardens in France. The Jardin des Plantes was founded in the early 19th century and hosts a collection of rare plants brought back by ship captains to France from foreign lands. Located at the top of the garden, the Café de l’Orangerie is perfect for an afternoon tea.
The Lieu Unique is famous for being an atypical art centre home to a bar, restaurant, shop, and even a Turkish bath. A former Biscuit LU factory, it now hosts contemporary art exhibitions, dance and theatre performances and eclectic music sessions. The beautiful tower offers a wonderful panorama of the city.
Where to eat?
If you asked a ‘nantais’ where to have dinner whilst staying in the Cité des Ducs, everyone would advise you to go to the elegant ‘Brasserie La Cigale’ in the beautiful Place Graslin. The frescoed ceilings and gilded tilework of its 1890s interiors create a romantic and refined atmosphere, perfect for savouring the gourmet cuisine on offer. For a truly romantic candlelit dinner, the Bateaux Nantais takes you along the river Erdre to enjoy local Muscadet wines and regional specialties, whilst admiring the changing views. For brunch, head for ‘Tabl’O Gourmand’, where homemade pastries and delicious marmalades are served in a welcoming ambience.
Nantes by night
The pedestrian streets of the ‘quartier Bouffay’ are famous for their vibrant nightlife, with lots of bars and clubs open until early hours. The Hangar à Bananes also hosts a selection of spaces in which to have a drink and enjoy the night.