Mémorial de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage


Down by the water, 2000 brick-sized glass plaques embedded in the quay-side pavement scream out the names of slave-trading ships that regularly set sail from the port of Nantes from 1750 until the early 19th century. They form part of an emotive Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery, designed in 2014 by Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and American architect Julian Bonder. Steps lead down into a meditative tunnel beneath the quay, etched with abolitionist texts on a 90m-long glass panel.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nantes attractions

1. Musée d’Histoire Naturelle

0.23 MILES

Nantes' Natural History Museum has a fascinating collection of minerals, fossils, stuffed animals and an impressive whale skeleton. There are frequent…

2. Le Cale 2 Créateurs

0.31 MILES

Edgy temporary art exhibitions, events and happenings fill this old industrial slipway, shaped like a wedge of cheese at the foot of Île de Nantes'…

3. Les Machines de l’Île de Nantes

0.31 MILES

Nantes' quirkiest sight is this fantasy world – a serious and seriously wacky workshop with mechanical contraptions galore displayed in plant-filled…

4. Musée Jules Verne

0.77 MILES

Overlooking the river, this is a magical museum with 1st-edition books, hand-edited manuscripts and cardboard theatre cut-outs. Child-friendly interactive…

5. Château des Ducs de Bretagne


Forget fusty furnishings – light-filled rooms inside the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany house multimedia-rich exhibits detailing the city's history. Look…

6. Cathédrale St-Pierre et St-Paul

0.96 MILES

Inside Nantes' Flamboyant Gothic cathedral, the tomb of François II (r 1458–88), Duke of Brittany, and of his second wife, Marguerite de Foix, is a…

7. Musée d’Arts de Nantes

1.12 MILES

A six-year renovation job by London architects Stanton Williams has done wonders for Nantes’ art museum, open again since 2017 inside the historic Palais…

8. Jardin des Plantes

1.29 MILES

Opened in 1860, this exquisitely landscaped park is among France's most interesting botanical gardens. Century-old magnolia and mulberry trees, Japanese…