Seaside Day Trips

The city of Nantes is only 50km from the Atlantic Ocean, making a coastal day trip a must. Pack your bucket and spade for the classic seaside town of Le Croisic (population 4036), a pretty, half-timbered fishing harbour where shrimps, lobsters, crabs, scallops and sea bass are sailed into shore and unloaded. Talking of fish, the town's aquarium is well worth visiting. Trains head to Le Croisic (€16.80, 1½ hours) from Nantes. Along the way, it's worth stopping at St-Nazaire (population 68,513; €12.30, 45 minutes), where cruise ships – including the Queen Mary II – are built. Also along this stretch of coast is the glamorous belle époque resort of La Baule (population 15,456; €15, one hour), boasting an enormous beach.

Follow the Green Line

Meandering around Nantes, you will notice a painted pea-green line snaking along the pavement, zipping up unexpected staircases, sneaking along backstreet alleys and prancing with purpose across cafe pavement terraces. This, ingeniously, is Le Voyage à Nantes (www.levoyageanantes.fr), an urban art trail that leads curious visitors to dozens of works of art – sculptures, contemporary art installations, stunning viewpoints, architectural works – all over the city. Many – such as sky-rise bar Le Nid or the slide built into the 15th-century ramparts of Château des Ducs de Bretagne – are amusingly playful and interactive. The trail is 12km long, but can be traced in sections too. Pick up a city map, marked with the trail, at the tourist office or simply follow the green line and see where it takes you.