For a place in Brazil, see Nantes, Brazil

Template:Nantes infobox Nantes (Gallo: Naunnt) is a city in western France, near the Atlantic coast, with 711,120 inhabitants in the metropolitan area at the 1999 census. Nantes is the capital of the Pays de la Loire région, as well as the préfecture of the Loire-Atlantique département.



Originally founded as a town by the Celtic tribe named the Namnètes around 70 BC, it was conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 BC and named Portus Namnetus. Christianised in the 3rd century, Nantes was successively invaded by the Saxons (around 285), the Franks (around 500), the Britons (in the 6th and 7th centuries) and the Normans (in 843). In 937, Alain Barbe-Torte, grandson of the last king of Brittany who was expelled by the Normans, drove them out and founded the duchy of Brittany.

When the duchy of Brittany was annexed by the kingdom of France in 1532, Nantes kept the parliament of Brittany for a few years, before it was moved to Rennes. In 1598, King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes here, which granted Protestants rights to their religion.

During the 18th century, prior to abolition of slavery, Nantes was the slave trade capital of France. This kind of trade led Nantes to become the first port in France and a wealthy city. When the French Revolution broke out, Nantes chose to be part of it, although the whole surrounding region soon degenerated into an open civil war against the new republic. The excesses of the revolution led to thousands of summary executions, mainly by drowning in the Loire river. In the 19th century, Nantes became an industrial city. The first public transport anywhere may have been the omnibus service initiated in Nantes in 1826. It was soon imitated in Paris, London and New York. The first railroads were built in 1851 and many industries were created.

In 1940, the city was occupied by German troops. In 1941, the murder of a German colonel caused the retaliatory execution of 48 hostages. In 1943, the city was bombed twice by British and American airplanes. Nantes was freed by the Americans in 1944. After World War II, the city slowly lost its industrial base. The harbour was moved to the very mouth of the Loire river, in Saint-Nazaire. It was only in the last 15 years of the 20th century that the city was able to move to a more modern economy.

Sites of Interest


The city has a total area of 65.19 km² (25.18 mi²).

Nantes is located on the banks of the Loire river, at the confluence of the Erdre and the Sèvre Nantaise, near the river's mouth, 55 km (35 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean. The city was built in a place where many branches of the Loire river created several islands, but most of those branches were filled in at the beginning of the 20th century (and the confluence with the Erdre river diverted and covered) due to the increasing car traffic.

Nantes is divided into 11 neighborhoods, 9 on the right bank of the Loire, 1 on the left bank and 1 on the Ile-de-Nantes island.

Nantes is bordered by the cities of Basse-Goulaine, Bouguenais, Carquefou, La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, Couëron, Indre, La Montagne, Orvault, Rezé, Saint-Herblain, Sainte-Luce-sur-Loire, Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire and Vertou.


As of the 1999 census, there were 270,251 inhabitants in the city (commune) of Nantes. The population density was 4260/km². There were 711,120 inhabitants in the metropolitan area (aire urbaine).

As of February 2004 estimates, the population of the city of Nantes reached 276,200 inhabitants.


Missing image

Formerly the capital of Brittany, Nantes was separated from the region by the Vichy government in June 1941. Although the city has been part of the Pays de la Loire région since 1971, the feeling that Nantes belongs to Brittany is still solid nowadays. For cultural reasons, many people still identify with Brittany.

The local football team is the FC Nantes Atlantique.

The celtic band Tri Yann was originally known as Tri Yann an Naoned (the three Johns from Nantes).


Nantes was the birthplace of:

Colleges and Universities


Missing image
Tram of the Line 1

The omnibus, the first organized public transit system within a city, appears to have been originated in Nantes in 1826.

A tram line was opened in Nantes in 1985, now it's the largest French tram network.

See also

External links

da:Nantes de:Nantes eo:Nanto fr:Nantes kw:Naoned nl:Nantes ja:ナント no:Nantes ro:Nantes


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