As I prepare for my move to Panama, I can’t help but think back to the last time I lived abroad. When I was 20 I studied abroad in the town of Nantes, France. I didn’t speak any French when I arrived and unlike Paris, most people do not speak much English here. My first impression of Nantes was while riding the tramway de Nantes and looking out the window to see this huge castle near downtown!
I soon learned that it was the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany! It was actually the center of the historical provence of Brittany until 1941 when it became apart of the Loire region. Although many still say that Nantes is the real capital of Bretagne (Brittany) because it was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries. Currently is holds a rather bizarre Nantes History Museum that has an interesting take on the fact that Nantes used to be a major port for the European slave trade.
It has been a French historic monument since 1862 and recently underwent 15 years of renovations. Today it is an absolutely gorgeous castle certainly worth visiting! ~B