dinsdag 12 februari 2013


Ooh, a nightview! Every city looks better during the night.

You can take Nantes out of Brittany (as happened when regional boundaries were redrawn during WWII), but you can’t take Brittany out of its longtime capital, Nantes (‘Naoned’ in Breton).

Spirited and innovative, this city on the banks of the Loire, 55km east of the Atlantic, has a long history of reinventing itself. Founded by Celts around 70 BC, in AD 937 Alain Barbe-Torte, the grandson of the last king of Brittany, established the duchy of Brittany here following a series of invasions. A landmark royal charter guaranteeing civil rights to France’s Huguenots (Protestants), the Edict of Nantes, was signed in the city by Henri IV in 1598. Its revocation in 1685 led to a Huguenot exodus from the region.

By the 18th century Nantes was France’s foremost port, and in the 19th century – following the abolition of slavery – it became a cutting-edge industrial centre; the world’s first public transport service, the omnibus, began here in 1826. Shipbuilding anchored the city’s economy until the late 20th century. When the shipyards relocated to St-Nazaire to the west, Nantes transformed itself into a thriving student and cultural hub. The city centre has now nudged past Bordeaux’s as the country’s sixth-largest metropolis, and it’s growing, with one in two Nantais today aged under 40. Buoyed by its Breton heritage, the city’s renaissance extends from the extensive redevelopment of the former shipyards to its iconic former biscuit factory–turned–cultural centre, and a brand new museum in the former Dukes of Brittany’s magnificent medieval castle. [source: lonelyplanet]

Thank you very much Irina!

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