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Nantes Travel Guide
Nantes, Pays de la Loire (© photlook - Fotolia.com)
Ducal castle, Nantes.

Introduction

Culturally and historically part of Brittany, Nantes is the largest city in Northwest France and the sixth largest city nationwide.

The mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, became Prime Minister of France under the presidency of François Hollande in May 2012.


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History

Nantes was already an important port in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, trading with all the Atlantic coast of Europe, from the British Isles to Iberia.

During the Roman period, Nantes becomes the capital of the local Gaulish tribe, the Namnetes, under the Latin name of Condevincum. The city is renamed Portus Namnetum in the 3rd century, and becomes the seat of a bishopric in the 5th century.

Following the Frankish conquest, Nantes becomes the capital of the County of Brittany. Its most illustrious ruler was Roland, whose death the Battle of Roncevaux Pass (Basque country) in 778 became the subject of one of the greatest medieval epic story, The Song of Roland.

Attractions

Nantes was designated City of Art and History but the French Ministry of Culture. The historical centre is known as Le Bouffay quarter. This is where the main sights are to be found, notably the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, the Gothic cathedral, the Place Royale, as well as some timber-framed houses.

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