A Side Trip To Nantes, France

When we originally were making plans for our upcoming visit to Paris we had decided to take a train trip to a place that I had read about in Travel & Leisure magazine....Nantes, France.
Nantes is a city along the Loire River and it is approximately 31 miles from the Atlantic coast.
In the last 20 years Nantes has been transformer probably more than any other city in France. Jules Verne was born in Nantes and some of his literary influences can be seen within the city. Nantes strikes me as a city which is still in a growth and transformation process If it isn't already, it will be on the map as a very interesting "go to" destination for tourists. There really are some interesting things going on in Nantes and we were only there for one night so we could only scratch the surface of all that is happening in Nantes.
We took a mid morning train to Nantes...an approximately 2 hour 20 minute ride from Gare de L'est in Paris to the Nantes train station, which by the way is being expanded and totally re-done. The city tram system stops right in front of the train station making it very easy to get off a train and get on a tram and head directly into the city, which is just up the road approx 1 mile or so.

 Here is the hotel that we stayed at while spending the night in Nantes...Oceania Hotel de France.
It was a very nice hotel right in the heart of the city

Place Royale Fountain

Interior views of Basilique Saint Nicolas

Street art in Nantes

I had heard of these but this is the first time that we had actually seen one. It is basically an outside urinal They are called a Uritrottoir...which is a blending of the French words for urine and pavement. They are supposed to be environmentally friendly. They are filled with straw which soaks up the urine and eventually break down and gets used as compost. Faltazi is the design studio behind these open air urinals and they claim that they solve the problem of the French capital's "wild peeing". A small urinal can hold approximately 200 "pipis" according to the design studios web site. This one subject/object could open up Pandora's Box of numerous questions that need to be answered but unfortunately the number of questions are way to many for this small blog, so they will be left unanswered. Except I do feel the need to answer 3...no I did not try it out, yes I did see someone else try it out and the final answer is No I did not photograph that event.....

One of the squares in Nantes. This was taken after it had rained

Below are photos of one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to Nantes. Below are photos from the attraction called Les Machines De L'ile. This place is all about robotics on steroids. They have several rides to go on like the Grand Elephant Ride as seen in several photos below. They also have film and workshop Terraces and a Prototype Branch within the complex. There is also an elaborate Carrousel Ds Mondes Marins...best way to describe this carousel as an imaginary universe and a mechanical aquarium set in as 360 degree revolving theatre. It has 3 levels to it..In the sea beds, in the abyss and the top level is on the sea surface. This giant carousel is approximately 82 feet high and approximately 72 feet in diameter. 
The elephant can take up to 50 people at a time on a rather slow jaunt around the grounds of the complex. We had got there and stood in line early enough to make the 2nd trip of the day. When we got to the ticket counter to purchase our tickets, we were told that the next trip available was not until  1. We had figured that the next trip was at 11 and we would have plenty of time to take that trip on this huge slow moving elephant and not have to stress about the time. We were only in Nantes for one night and we had to catch a train back to Paris. We had left all of all stuff...backpacks at the hotel which was a walk from where we were. When we questioned why we could not be on the 11 o'clock elephant we were told that they had a large group that booked the elephant ride for that time and then there were those that booked their ride online, which basically bumped us to the 1 o'clock departure time. I should have done more research and booked our tickets online also but unfortunately this elephant ride was not going to happen. So we walked around and looked and watched several of the other robotic displays in action and then headed back into the city to get something to eat and pick up our stuff at our hotel. 
We relaxed in the hotel lobby for a while and then got a cab to a park that was adjacent to the train station. We spent a couple of relaxing hours in the park before heading to the station to catch our upcoming train trip back to Paris.

Below are photos of some of the robotics within Les Machines De Lile 

 Below are photos taken from our visit to the Jardin des Plantes

This ends our visit to Nantes, France. We returned to Paris for a few days and then headed to Colmar, France. 
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