Take Five: Quirkiness in Nantes, France

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Take Five: Quirkiness in Nantes, France

Nantes is a vibrant city on the Atlantic coast of France that has fused the traditional French architecture (in what was once the capital of Brittany) with contemporary art installations found all over the city. Only a two-hour train ride from Paris, Nantes is a rich and youthful arts and cultural scene transforming this historic city it into a haven for creatives. If that’s you, these progressive cultural art spaces are worth exploring during your next visit.

Caleigh Alleyne is a travel and lifestyle writer and editor of The Creators Commune.

1. Le Lieu Unique


Founded in 2000 by Jean Blaise, Le Lieu Unique is a national center for contemporary art that is currently under the direction of Patrick Gyger. Housed in what was once a biscuit factory, Le Lieu Unique is a centrally located artistic space where various multidisciplinary forms of art are showcased and where artists have freedom for artistic exploration. Le Lieu Unique also has an on-site bar, restaurant, bookstore, hamman, day nursery, gift shop and more for visitors to explore. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the surrounding area from the top of the iconic tower.
Photo by Caleigh Alleyne

2. Les Machines de L'ile


Nantes is renowned for its experimental and new age art scene, which is why Les Machines de L'ile is right at home. Located in the old shipyards, Les Machines de L'ile was designed by François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice to create an large, contemporary, and interactive art gallery. From a giant elephant to mystical creatures and an underwater-themed carousel, Les Machines de L'ile features a selection of functional industrial pieces that come to life for their viewer's enjoyment.
Photo by Caleigh Alleyne

3. Le Jardin des Plantes


Get lost in the wondrous garden of Le Jardins des Plantes where some of the most imaginative creatures and designs are brought to life. This garden is an escape within the city and free and open to the public. There are two greenhouses located within the park showcasing exotic and tropical plants from around the world.
Photo by Caleigh Alleyne

4. Le Nid


For a breathtaking 360-degree aerial view of the city, travel to 32nd floor of the Tour Bretagne to Le Nid, a bar designed by Jean Jullien and home to the iconic while bird (half-stork, half-heron) that wraps around the space and doubles as a bar with giant eggshell seats. Drop by on a Thursday for their Birdy Party DJ set at 10 p.m. or Sunday for their Sunday acoustic concerts at 7 p.m.
Photo by Caleigh Alleyne

5. Les Fabriques


Les Fabriques is a collection of artistic spaces to help the creation and circulation of local, national and international art. This space spreads over three sites in Nantes. Contemporary artistic projects using mediums like music, image, sound and multimedia are on display and the exhibits are open to the public to help connect art with society and enrich the cultural life within Nantes.
Photo Courtesy of Les Fabriques