Rated as one of France’s best places to live, Nantes lies on the banks of the Loire. It is the gateway to Brittany and the Loire Valley and is an incredible base to begin a motorhome rental holiday. Little known treasures and well-trodden historic sites surprise you at every turn, while sunset over the Loire estuary is magnificent. There is a lot to see, so pack up your camper and explore this buzzing city.
Nantes campervan hire – the best deals at great prices
Nantes campervan options are plentiful. At Motorhome Republic we make it easy to choose by bringing together all of the rental companies in Nantes so you can make an educated decision. There are different sized campervans to suit depending on your requirements. Smaller, converted vans have a double bed and camp cooking equipment and are perfect for a couple. There are also plenty of larger options, where you can pack in the family and kitchen sink too.
Road trips from Nantes
The beach is only a short drive away. Head to La Baule for a resort-style afternoon, or to the beautiful town of Pornic for a more casual dip in the sea.
Walls surround the medieval, fortified city of Guerande, famous for its sea-salt production. The salt swamps, where Breton sea salt is harvested, are worth a visit.
For more quaint day trips, Clisson is a small town with a ruined castle. However, every year in June it turns into an open-air heavy metal festival, Hellfest. Le Croisic is smaller still - a fishing town, only a short walk from the scenic Côte Sauvage.
Once you are done exploring the region, you can go explore the rest of the West coast or head to Paris.
Motorhome camping – the places to stay around Nantes
Around 15 minutes from Nantes is the Camp-site Pindiere. Calm and shaded, this site is great for families, or couples alike.
In a lovely setting by a stream sits Nantes Camping. It is located on the tram route so leave the camper when you can and pop on the public transport to town. Or, if you’re a little more spirited, hire a bike at the campsite and try out some of the trails. The staff are warm and friendly and keep the place looking great.
Seafood at sunset – restaurants in Nantes
Nantes has many restaurants and is famous for its wine and seafood. Brittany is also well known as the birthplace of crêpes. The most beautiful brasserie in France is La Cigale in the Place Graslin. Its turn-of-the-century décor and delicate cuisine set it apart from anything else you’ll see in Nantes. Seafood is the way to go here, and you can watch the chef at work at the front of the restaurant, where there is outdoor seating during warmer months. Experience this charming place, even on a budget, by dropping by in the afternoon for coffee.
Next to the Theatre Graslin, Cafe Moliere offers excellent lunches, including croques-monsieur (toasted sandwiches with ham and melted cheese), steak-frites (steak and French fries) and salads. At night the cafe becomes a bar. Try to get a table outside.
In a former fruit and veg warehouse, Jean-Charles Baron runs a trendy restaurant with a deli on the side called Baron Lefèvre. It is expensive but the food is exquisite. Contemporary dishes based on fresh local produce and seafood are rather easy to come by in Nantes, but one of the favourites would be from Le Square with their three-course lunch menu for under €20.
Place du Bouffay is the old Nantes, brimming with many restaurants and known for foreign food. For a nice place to get a drink, try Le quai des Antilles.
No place like Nantes, must-see sights and sounds
For an experience like no other, view Nantes in spectacular style on the back of an elephant. The mechanical elephant is only 7 Euros and has been in operation since 2007, spraying the crowds as it walks by with water from the metal trunk. It’s a mixture between the invented worlds of Jules Verne and the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci. Machines de l'Ile is where you can see more of these mechanical gems.
Château des ducs de Bretagne is a must-see in Nantes - it has a museum of regional history and is a beautiful building in itself. There are interactive displays and you can learn about the slave ships and Anne of Brittany. Next door, the Cathédrale Saint Pierre has two crypts where treasures of old are displayed. Nearby is La Chapelle de l'Oratoire, also worth a look. A pedestrian area between the castle and cathedral is named Place du Bouffay. It’s an ancient medieval quarter of vieux Nantes, known for its Breton culture and the pubs and restaurants that lead to Place du Commerce, centre of the city. Near here you will find la Place Royale, le Quai de la Fosse and la rue Crébillon (famous for its posh shops). Explore the hidden squares and laneways and stop for coffee at almost every corner.
Ile de Versailles is an island on the river Erdre close to the city centre. The entire island is a Japanese garden and is a pleasant place to relax for the afternoon. Look out to the old buildings and a view of the former port at Butte St-Anne, west of the place du Commerce. From here, visit La Place Mellinet. Eight perfectly symmetric houses are built around an octagon and Le Maillé-Brézé, a warship moored in Nantes for many years and open to visitors is only 200m away.
Nantes motorhome guide
Here are a couple of handy things to know for your campervan holiday in Nantes:
If you’re going cycling, Détours de Loire is a perfect bike rental option and costs around nine Euros for a half day.
Museums and restaurants are closed on Mondays, so be sure to plan ahead.
Parking in the CBD can be tricky – think about taking public transport from your site.