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Nantes is a beautiful city on the Loire and it is the perfect starting point for a road trip: whether to the French Atlantic coast, to the castles of the Loire or to Brittany. The French city is located in the northwest of France and is only 55 kilometres away from the Atlantic Ocean.
Using public transportation to our roadsurfer station
From the main train station: It’s only a 5-minute taxi ride. Alternatively, you can take bus C3 from “Gare Sud” to “San Francisco”; then it’s about a 10-minute walk.
From the airport: The best way is by taxi – about 20 minutes by car.
Parking in Nantes
There are no suitable parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the roadsurfer station.
A free car park “Le Grand Blotterau” is located about 20 minutes away on foot, another paid car park “Prairie des Mauves” only about 10 minutes away on foot.
Longing for an adventure with your loved ones or your beloved dog? Roadsurfer has many different camper models to suit you and your needs. Check out which models are waiting for you in Nantes:
2nd driver included
Free rebooking and cancellation up to 48h before the trip
Road assistance and comprehensive insurance
Nantes is a large city directly on the Loire and is well connected if you want to travel to France, for example to explore the Loire castles on a camping holiday. Nantes is also the perfect starting point for a road trip along the Atlantic coast. Are you more attracted to the north and to Brittany? You will reach the Breton part of France in just one hour’s drive. Apart from that, the city near the Loire is also worth a visit! Hiring a camper in Nantes means you are almost spoilt for choice: sightseeing, medieval towns, wild Atlantic coast, pine forests, wine roads and outdoor adventures – decide for yourself what you want!
By the way, Nantes is easy to get to by plane or train. You can fly to Nantes-Atlantique Airport with various airlines from major German cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf. Or you can decide to take the train. There are several direct TGV connections from Paris to Nantes every day. On site you can rent a campervan at our roadsurfing location in Nantes and your road trip can start.
Rent a VW California Beach and discover the city on the Loire! Nantes is fascinating – in this city, literally “old meets new”. The contrast between the historic old town and the alternative charm of the “Hangar à Bananes” makes Nantes a city with nooks and crannies that is interesting. Artists have claimed old places like the harbour area or the old biscuit factory for themselves and created unique places. As a student city, Nantes is of course also full of things to do in the evenings: whether concerts, pubs, improv theatre, jazz cellar or bistros and restaurants – in Nantes you can have a great time.
1. The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany (“Château des ducs de Bretagne”): In the middle of the old town of Nantes, the “last castle on the Loire before the ocean” is probably the most famous sight in Nantes.
2. Giant mechanical animals and puppets (“Les Machines de l’île”) on the Île de Nantes: This is a French exhibition project by the performance group “La Machine”, inspired by Jules Verne and the genre of steampunk, including the 12-metre-high moving elephant of Nantes (“Le Grand éléphant”). By the way: Jules Verne was born in Nantes and the installations are great spots for special photo motives!
3. Saint-Pierre Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul): The gothic church in the old town of Nantes with its beautifully decorated main façade is unfortunately not open to visitors since a fire in July 2020.
4. Old port area at the Banana Hangar (“Hangar à Bananes”): Industrial charm and art and culture come together on the old port area on the Île de Nantes. Old dockyard cranes, exhibition rooms and concert halls as well as nightclubs make this area particularly exciting.
5. Former biscuit factory Lefèvre-Utile (“Tour LU”): The famous LU biscuit, which is known throughout France, originally comes from Nantes. The old biscuit factory from 1846 was replaced by a modern factory in La Haie-Fouassière. The LU tower was preserved and the biscuit factory became a “Lieu Unique” – a unique place. Today the old factory is a lively experimental forum for contemporary art with a programme of events ranging from theatre, dance, literature, visual arts, music to numerous festivals.
6. “Passage Pommeraye”: Shopping luxury in the centre of Nantes! A beautiful shopping arcade from the 19th century, built on the Parisian model. You will find the shopping arcade between the Rue Santeuil and the Rue de la Fosse. Be sure to visit the arcade in the evening light!
7. Brasserie La Cigale: The 19th century bistro on the Theater Square is considered one of the most beautiful in France. From breakfast with oven-fresh croissants to fresh oysters with white bread and beurre salé, there is something for any time of day.
8. Parks in Nantes: The Jardin des Plantes, Île de Versaille and the Jardin Extraordinaire, with its 25-metre-high waterfall, provide peace and relaxation in the city’s hustle and bustle.
9. Walks or bicycle rides along the rivers in Nantes: The Loire, Erdre and Sèvre are the three rivers in Nantes. Especially if you follow the river Erdre, the urban flair suddenly turns into a rural environment.
1. The former fishing village “Trentemoult”: On the south bank of the Loire lies the old village of Trentemoult with its colourful houses and music pubs on the quay – nowadays a centre for real artists, bobos and dropouts. Here you will also find, for example, the art installation “Le Pendule” by Roman Signer, which was built in 2009 on the occasion of the Estuaire. You can take the Navibus from the “Gare Maritime” to Trentemoult by boat every 20 minutes every day.
2. Water fun on the Erdre: By kayak or canoe, you can explore the Erdre – the “most beautiful river in France” (according to François I) from the water. On its banks you can admire the luxurious residences of the shipowners – called “folies nantaises”.
3. Nightlife in Nantes: There are many bars, bistros and pubs around the “Place Bouffay” in the medieval Bouffay quarter. Often also with live music, like in the “Chat noir” or in the “Live Bar”. In wine bars like “La Comédie des Vins” or “Chez Manu” you can also taste fine wines from the surrounding area. In the “Maison des Vins de Loire” in Nantes you can also get to know the regional wines, like the Muscadet.
4. Chill out at the banana hangar: On the west side of the Île de Nantes, trendy cafés and restaurants have set up shop in an old banana warehouse. La Cantine du Voyage” is also located here, a café-restaurant that changes every year and includes a small shop and outdoor deckchairs where you can bask in the sun in spring and summer.
5. Rent a bike and follow the art route of L’Estuaire: Either rent a city bike or rent a proper bike or e-bike for a whole day. Between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, you will find dozens of contemporary works of art along the river, which will be full of surprises! The works of art were created in 2007, 2009 and 2012 during the “Estuaire” art project. They include “The Rings” (Les Anneaux) by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain, “The House in the Loire” (La maison dans la Loire) by Jean-Luc Courcoult and “Villa cheminée” by Tatzu Nishi.
6. Discover the sights of Nantes with Nantesians: Have you ever tried Air BnB Experiences, Getyourguide or Couchsurfing? Meet up with locals who will show you their home town in a different way.
7. Excursion to the beautiful Atlantic beaches around Nantes: La Baule, Pornic and other beaches are not far away If you are very sporty, you can also make the trip from Nantes by bike.
roadsurfer tip: “Nantes Camping” is located in the middle of the city, right next to the University of Nantes. From here, you can explore the city on the Loire river, either on foot, by tram or on the city bikes “Bovelo”. Rent a camper in Nantes, set up your home base directly in Nantes and make Nantes your own!
Of course, the city of Nantes already provides a well-filled programme, but you may be drawn to the coast or the rural Loire region after a few days in Nantes. If so, we have selected the most beautiful destinations around Nantes and in the Pays de la Loire region for you. Whether as a family, a couple or with friends, the region has an exceptional cultural heritage with many places of interest and vineyards. Whether it’s French-style enjoyment with wine and seafood or action, your road trip in the Pays de la Loire will have it all. If you enjoy discovering a region by bike, you’ve come to the right place. A 3000 km network of cycle paths awaits you. And if that’s not enough outdoor adventure for you, the Atlantic coast and the Loire or Erdre rivers are sure to bring you luck. Allez hop! Rent a camper in Nantes and discover the beautiful region around Nantes!
From Assérac to La Faute-sur-Mer, the 450 kilometres of Atlantic coast in the Pays de la Loire region are dotted with resorts, beautiful beaches and campsites. The port city of Saint-Nazaire is also special, with its history closely linked to the Atlantic and shipping. Well-known seaside resorts are Pornichet, La Baule, Saint-Jean-de-Monts and La Tranche sur Mer, as well as the two islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier.
Popular beaches include “La Plage Du Veillon”, “Plage des Sableaux” and “Plage de la Terrière”. If you are interested in windsurfing, surfing or other water sports, you will find a wide range of activities on the coast around Nantes. To find a pitch, you won’t have a hard time finding a place here. France has one of the densest and best campsite infrastructures and of course all around Nantes!
The salt marshes in Guérande and on the island of Noirmoutier are also worth seeing. Surely you are familiar with the good “Sel de fleur”. Here you can take a closer look at salt fields and learn more about how sea salt has been extracted in the traditional way for centuries.
Fancy a bit of pomp and luxury in the middle of the beautiful nature of the Loire Valley? The “Garden of France“, as the Loire Valley is also called, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, and this is of course due to the numerous castles that once housed the most famous French kings. Some châteaux in the Loire are among the most visited castles in France after the Château de Versaille.
If you rent your camper in Nantes, your route along the castles starts directly in Nantes with the “Castle of the Dukes of Brittany” and takes you along the Loire to the castles of Angers and Saumur and on to the other regions of Centre-Val de Loire and Burgundy. There are more than 400 châteaux to discover along the entire route of the Loire from west to east. Quite a lot! That’s why we’ve picked out the most famous ones for you.
Some of the most beautiful and famous Loire châteaux
The Loire Valley is not only famous for its magnificent chateaux, but also for its vineyards. The Loire wine region stretches from Sancerre to the Atlantic Ocean. The major AOC regions are Sancerrois, Orléanais, Touraine, Saumurois, Anjou and Pays Nantais. So if you feel like it, you can combine your tour of the Loire castles with regional wine tastings! The wine routes along the Loire, with their old cellars, magnificent castles, abbeys, cave houses and gardens, are ideal for a road trip by camper to taste the wines of the region directly at the winery (provided you park the camper afterwards).
A visit to Le Mans: Everyone knows Le Mans through Formula 1, but few know that the old town is a small jewel, with cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, elegant hotels and an almost perfectly preserved medieval old town. If you rent a camper in Nantes, Le Mans is only about two hours away.
A visit to the medieval town of Guérande: Besides the famous Guérande salt marshes, the small town of Guérande is also a real gem.
Local cuisine: On your road trip, be sure to try regional specialities such as the ‘hollow’ oysters of the Vendée, the sardines of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, the rillettes from Le Mans or a rillaud (pork cooked in its own fat) from Angers. A regional cheese speciality is the “Curé Nantais” or a “Crémet”. Besides a Muscadet wine, you can also taste Cointreau (orange liqueur) from Angers. As a sweet to go with the café, don’t miss the Berlingots from Nantes or the Pommé or Brioche from the Vendée.
Parc du Puy du Fou (tip for families): Just one hour from Nantes, you will find one of the most exciting attraction parks dedicated to history and different eras. Vikings, knights or a trip back in time to the 18th or 19th century, the Parc du Puy du Fou in the commune of Les Épesses lets you choose the period of history you want to immerse yourself in.
Terra Botanica in Angers (tip for families): in Angers you will find a park dedicated to flora. Besides rare plants, there are many discoveries, attractions and animations for children.
Visit the Cointreau distillery in Angers: Besides wines, the orange liqueur Cointreau is a speciality of the region. Take a trip with your camper to Angers where you can take part in guided tours of the Cointreau Carré. Angers is also worth a visit for its medieval old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you feel like it, rent your camper in Nantes for a longer period of time and explore other popular French corners from Nantes. Brittany, Normandy and Nouvelle-Aquitaine with Bordeaux are beautiful regions, each with its own charm. We will give you a brief overview of the destinations that are perfectly feasible for a two to three week road trip from Nantes.
If you drive one hour north from Nantes, you will already reach Brittany. Not only a special culture is waiting for you, but also 2700 kilometres of coast with wild coastlines, colourful lighthouses and photogenic fishing villages. Cities such as Rennes, Vannes, Quimper, Concarneau, Dinan, Fougères, Vitré and Saint-Malo are among the so-called “villes et pays d’Art et d’Histoire” – in other words, they are among the cities in Brittany that are particularly worth seeing. Have you always wanted to try real Breton crêpes – which, by the way, are called galettes – and you are fascinated by the maritime atmosphere in Brittany? Then renting a camper van in Nantes is the best way to finally realise your plans! And who knows, maybe you’ll hear a little “Brezhoneg” here and there – the Breton language – which sounds like Welsh.
Nantes and Bordeaux are only 3.5 hours apart on the map, but the truth is you’ll need much longer, because there are so many beautiful spots and destinations along the way that it would be a shame to just drive through. You might want to visit beautiful cities like La Rochelle, Limoges or Poitiers, or stop for a glass of cognac to taste the white wine brandy produced there. The many beautiful beaches along the Atlantic coast invite you to stay and idyllic campsites in the pine forest invite you to stay longer.