Day 85 – Nantes
In the morning we had a nice lie in followed by an late lunch and then figured we should probably actually go into the town. I’d done a lot of reading about les machines de L’ile and although we decided not to go into the museum, I don’t think you can go to Nantes and not go for a walk along the old docks and watch the walking water-squirting elephant alongside their latest addition of the fire breathing dragon. A lot of the reviews said that it was much more fun to be on the ground watching than actually on board the elephant and I have to say I agree. It was a hilarious way to spend the afternoon trying not to get soaking wet or lit on fire, while being surrounded in huge crowds doing the same, alongside avoiding being stepped on by a giant robotic elephant or dragon.
There was also some crazy looking merry go rounds including this one which is three stories high. I now need a child to borrow so I don’t look completely crazy trying to have a go. If anyone wants to offer one, let me know!
On our way back into town, we went down in the memorial to the abolition of slavery. Nantes was the biggest French shipping port for slaves in the 18th century. This memorial is alongside the river and is meant to symbolise the boat that slaves would have been on. Alongside recordings and writings about freedom from the likes of former slaves, Bob Marley, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln and human rights declarations, you can hear the sounds of the river beneath your feet. There’s a lot of information about slavery not just in France but across the world, but it’s almost beautiful in its portrayal.
We sat down at a bus stop just round the corner to decide via trip advisor where we would have our last meal out. I got bored quite quickly and asked the man sitting at the bus stop with us whether he was local, which he was, and whether he could recommend us a restaurant. He was so quick with his response of Le Patio’nnement that we figured it must be good and decided not to carry on looking. The town of Nantes is very pretty so we took our time wandering towards the restaurant as it was still quite early.
We were one of the first people to be seated in the restaurant, we all know that French people, and people across the south of Europe generally like to eat late, so we even managed to get a table in the pretty little garden. As we’ve not been eating a lot of meat, when choosing our dinner both of us really fancied the burger, so that’s what we opted for. It was really nicely cooked and tasted amazing, but there was definitely room for pudding. We decided to order two different things and share. One was a lime cheesecake with a kiwi sauce and the other caramel ice cream profiteroles with almonds both of which were incredible. To wash it all down we both had a few of the house special cocktail of the night. I think we owe a big thank you to the van who recommended the restaurant as it was pretty amazing. By the time we left, they were itching for our prime outdoor spot, and the queue for tables was out the door.
After dinner we rolled up to the old fort to have a peek around. It looked really pretty all lit up in the evening. I only have pictures of the inside buildings, but the outside with it’s moat and drawbridge was special; especially as it was in the edge of town. There was also a nice view across the town from the fort walls.
We then jumped back on the tram and headed back to the van.
Day 86 – Driving to Vannes
When it came time to leave, we pulled the van around to fill up the water and empty the toilet. As I was unwinding the hose I realised that we had managed to leave the screw cap on the tap back in La Rochelle when we filled up the last time. I then wandered back up to where we’d parked and tried to borrow a hose off someone else. Luckily someone had one, so we were back on track.
We stopped to pick up some food and then moved onto Vannes. The weather continued to get worse and worse, so again we hovered in the van. We had a wander round the site, but other than that the van was too cozy to leave and the wind was forcing us to walk funny.
Make sure you out more of my posts on our Europe Road Trip across 3 months, 7,000 miles and 15 countries. To see our full route, click here.
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