Nantes is a wonderland for kids and parents alike, with easily enough to do and see to fill a week, so that’s what we’re planning for you! Start by arriving at Nantes Airport and be welcomed by your private transfer service, who will bring you directly to your Aparthotel right in the heart of the city.
The 4 star Aparthotel is ideally located in the city center opposite the Ile de Nantes. The old town is easy to reach on foot or by tram and the Château des Ducs de Bretagne is 109 yards (100 m) away. Directly accessible from the north exit of the TGV train station.
Depending on your family size, you will have either a Studio with a large double bed to sleep two, one with a Large double and couch to sleep three, or one with a Large Double bed, couch and pull-out bed or double sofa bed to sleep up to four. All apartments have a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom with bathtub, hair dryer and toilet, TV, WIFI.
Now to start exploring, right across from your accommodation at Île de Nantes, the creative hub of the city on an island in the river Loire. This is the home of Les Machines de L’ile Nantes, the masterminds behind an amazing steam punk playground. A robotic elephant carries passengers on its back, spraying water at bystanders, the Galerie des Machines showcases machines built in the workshops of the theatre company and built and tested in this lab. You can see a Heron with 8m wing span, a mechanical spider climbing its web, or a giant ant working away.
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. You don’t have to stay here to have fun though, as every Summer the city shows off art installations on its streets, and the art works, along with pavement attractions, are linked with a green line painted around the city. Easily hop on and off the tram and spend a day seeing everything.
With its huge concourse to belt around on, the Île de Nantes is the obvious place to let them run wild over the small moonscape with trampolines in each crater to provide hours of entertainment. 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. 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.
There are loads of choices when it comes to eating out, but for something a little different and very entertaining, you should try 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 is an ideal trip for the adventurous, creative and inquisitive kids and parents of all ages, all the while staying in a beautiful city right on the banks of the River Loire. Prices are per family for 7 nights self-catering in a four star Aparthotel, transfers from Nantes Airport included:
1 adult & 1 child – €725
1 adult & 2 children – €795
1 adult & 3 children – €975