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Located in the centre of the city, Nantes train station was originally built in the 1960s. A southern entrance was added in 1989, with a contemporary stone and glass facade. Its eight platforms see 17 high-speed TGV Atlantique trains daily, 24 services to Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (also known as Roissy Airport), and 19 connections between Strasbourg and Nantes. Paris is just 2h00mins away and Bordeaux around 4h00mins, via the regional TER Pays de la Loire. The Interloire connects Orléans to the Atlantic coast at speeds of up to 200 km/h, stopping at Nantes. Public transport linking the station to the city is found at the southern entrance: line 1 of the tram and the number 12 bus go into the centre; the C3 and C5 ‘Chronobus’ traverse the city from east to west; and the Tan’Air shuttle service takes passengers from the station to Nantes Atlantique Airport, and to the centre.
The vibrant port city of Nantes is a fascinating collection of historical buildings and contemporary design, criss-crossed by the canals and waterways of La Loire and l’Erde. Visitors might head south from the station towards La Loire and stroll west along its banks towards the centre. Alternatively, they could make a beeline straight to the city’s crown jewel, the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, which can be reached in less than a 10-minute walk from the station. Adjacent to the castle is a cathedral, an impressive 15th-century Gothic edifice. Théâtre Graslin and its eight Corinthian columns dominate Place Graslin in the 18th-century district of the centre, which is 30 minutes from the station by foot.
Visitors could then cross over the river to explore Machines de l’île, a daring art project located on the site of former shipyards. Marvel at its breath-taking views and climb aboard the surreal mechanical elephant, called Grand Éléphant. The area is reachable after just 20 minutes, walking from the train station. Tourists interested in contemporary art should also head to Le Lieu unique, the city’s modern art space, housed in a former biscuit factory and just a 5-minute stroll from Nantes train station.
There is a great range of bistros and brasseries throughout the Old Town, and crêpes are a particular favourite local Breton dish. With a growing student population, Nantes has a vibrant nightlife, which is evident in the bars and clubs of Place du Bouffay, Place du Pilori, and the network of side streets between them, leading from the station to the city centre.
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