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- Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

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Come and discover the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany is the last of the Loire Châteaux before the Atlantic Ocean. Set in the historic heart of Nantes, once a colonial and industrial port and now one of the most important urban centres in Western France, this exceptional site is the flagship of the city's urban heritage and its oldest historic building besides the Cathedral.

The monument
From the city, the Castle appears an austere fortress, with a sentry walk 500 metres long punctuated by seven towers set into its curtain walls. This urban stronghold was built in the late Middle Ages by Duke Francis II and his daughter, Anne of Brittany, to defend the independence of the Duchy of Brittany, then under threat from the Kingdom of France. The castle's inner courtyard reveals a 15th century ducal palace built of tufa stone in the Renaissance style, together with other buildings from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The ensemble is remarkable for its striking whiteness, its elegance and its fine stone carvings, in sharp contrast with the rough exterior walls. The Castle, a listed Historical Monument, has recently been completely restored.

The Nantes History Museum
The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany houses the new Nantes History Museum, awarded the Musée de France quality mark. Featuring a number of multimedia installations, it covers 32 rooms of the 15th century former Ducal palace, displaying more than 850 historic objects in a contemporary layout. The Museum presents a portrait of the city setting past, present and future in perspective. It includes the major moments in European and world history, from the Edict of Nantes to the colonial period and the slave trade, right through to the great events of the 20th century. Nantes as seen through the eyes of writers, poets, painters and film-makers is another element, together with the many representations which have served to build its individuality.

Walks around the site
The rampart walk offers a number of viewpoints of the fortress and its interior buildings and across the city. The moat gardens, planted with magnolias, emblematic trees in the history of Nantes, provide a walk right around the monument at the foot of the ramparts. The Castle is also a fine sight at night... Its nocturnal illuminations reveal the full architectural complexity of this superb building.

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