The castle of Nantes is one of the jewels of the Loire castles route. In this case, you are in a large city in Brittany, very close to the Atlantic.

The castle of Nantes is the great monumental landmark of this city in French Brittany . We are talking about a construction that reflects several centuries of the country’s history and that today is much better discovered thanks to the profound restoration it has undergone in recent years. In addition, museum spaces have been opened to discover all the secrets of the castle and of the entire city.

The jewel of Nantes

A city that gave birth to a writer as popular as Jules Verne must always have something special to inspire such fantasies. In fact, today certain places in Nantes are like small legacies of an imaginative writer. This is the case of the Isla de las Máquinas park or the surprising space of Hangar à Bananes.

However, there is no doubt that the great jewel that is discovered during a visit to Nantes is its castle , which was the castle of the Dukes of Brittany and is now known simply as the

Origins and development of the Château de Nantes

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Duke of Brittany decided to build his castle in Nantes, although its appearance would be very different from what we see today. Of those origins, only the one known as the Vieux Donjon remains standing , an old polygonal-shaped tower that still stands out in the complex.

The fact is that very soon, already in the fourteenth century, the fortress underwent important changes , although nothing to do with those that were to arrive in the following century. It was then that various dukes turned it more into a spectacular palace than into a military fortress. So much so that the kings of France themselves, when they traveled to Brittany, stayed there.

Castle or palace?

The duality between a defensive and a residential use becomes very clear when visiting the Château de Nantes . In fact, as we approach it, it seems to us that it is an impassable fortress due to its strong walls and the towers of dark granite and slate that it presents from the outside.

However, when we cross the moat and go through the entrance gate, we discover a most elegant group of buildings , built in brilliant white tuff stone.

It is as if from the outside the Château de Nantes wanted to convey the power and respect that its inhabitants deserved, while inside it sought to dazzle newcomers with a very distinguished construction.

The truth is that the Château de Nantes is part of the group of Châteaux of the Loire . They are constructions that always exude more palatial than military airs. Despite this, in the case of Nantes this duality is much more powerful than in other examples, such as the castles of Chambord and Chenonceau, also known as the Château des Dames.

Abandonment and rebirth of the Château de Nantes

It must be said that there was a moment in history when the building was abandoned by the French aristocracy and became a military barracks. It remained so for several decades during the 19th and 20th centuries. Even when France was occupied by the Germans, the Château de Nantes became a stronghold for the Nazi army .

Obviously, all this military use caused numerous damages and changes in the appearance of the place. For this reason, a few years ago the monument began to be restored. A restoration that lasted from the 90s to 2007, which gives us an idea of ​​the depth of the work carried out.

Despite the length of the restoration, it has been worth it. Today the castle of Nantes has become the biggest attraction in the city  and there are tours that run through it in its entirety.

The Museum of the History of Nantes

The visit to the castle is the most complete . Not only do you walk along the rampart path or go through the most outstanding rooms of the complex, in addition, everything is integrated into an attractive exhibition montage that represents the Museum of the History of Nantes.

This is a museum in which we see hundreds of objects and documents that reflect its urban transformation . This is how the evolution of the city from the Middle Ages to its present is seen looking at the neighboring Atlantic Ocean.

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