With its rich history, pleasing surroundings, its gorgeous location on the River Loire and, er, a famous mechanical elephant, it is small wonder that Nantes is regularly touted as the best place to live in France. Indeed, in 2004 Time magazine decreed that it was the most ‘liveable’ city in Europe, while in 2013 it was nominated by the European Union as the European Green Capital.
And the good news is that Nantes is also a great place to visit, not just to live. The ambiance is set of course by the River Loire, France’s longest river, which flows through the heart of the city, providing a backdrop for Nantes’ long history as well as its current cultured and relaxed feel. Once known as the ‘Venice of the West’, Nantes is a great place to stroll around on foot, enjoying a walk through different layers of the city’s long past.