Saturday, 13th September

We had a busy itinerary today, sightseeing in Nantes before moving on to Bourges via Angers and Tours.

With much to see in Nantes before we left, we were up before the sun and the view was spectacular, the picture below was taken from the Pont de Briand. Walking through the city we came across a number of Boulangeries that were filled with incredible sweets.

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Strangely enough we didn’t have an itinerary of places to see, instead we were keen to just walk a loop around the city. The first notable structure we came across was Le Lieu Unique, accommodating the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, pretty fancy building for an old biscuit factory 🙂

We continued our walk down the Cours Saint Pierre where the September festival was taking place. Crossing the road we made our way to the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This is a catholic cathedral which took 457 years to complete!

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After checking out the church we continued our way to the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany). A fairly impressive castle with an equally impressive moat, it was once the residence of the French Monarchy and now houses the Nantes History Museum.

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We continued our walk through the city, there is a huge parkland area known as the Square Elisa Mercoeur where we found the most incredible children’s playground. This sculpture/tree house was in the likeness of a dragon with a red slide his fiery tongue.IMG_1572

Walking through what seemed like the commercial part of the city, past some markets over a bridge on the River Loire. We walked past an amazing sculpture which was an empty lot with a giant tape measure draped across neighbouring buildings.

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Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was Machines of the Isle of Nantes, like an art museum but on a huge scale. Once at the hotel we took one last quick photo of the awesome view from our window and then headed off toward Bourges.

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On the way to our first stop, Angers, we came across a few random sites in little villages – for example, the castle ruins below. No sign board, no tourist stuff, just a huge ruined castle in the middle of the village.  IMG_1640Throughout our drive around France, we have noticed many chateaus on huge estates. When we drove past the one below, we actually turned around and stopped to take a photo. The sheer size of the place was amazing, and we couldn’t even see the estate it was on! It looked and felt like a storybook French Chateau.

IMG_1643After getting excited about these random encounters we arrived at a small town called Angers. I don’t recall why this town was on our itinerary (it may have been the name) but once we found parking and walked around the corner, we saw a sight unlike anything we had seen before or since.

The Chateau d’Angers is a ridiculously huge castle in the middle of Angers overlooking the river Maine. Although we didn’t go inside, we spent an hour or so walking around the outside of it. The gardens, the moat area, and what we could see of the inside were just spectacular.

IMG_1656 IMG_1657 IMG_1666 IMG_1679 IMG_1700IMG_1688Walking around the old town, we saw amazing little homes – one in particular that was built between 1399 and 1400. The central cathedral – St Maurice Cathedral of Angers – is an outstanding example of gothic cathedrals, complete with its twin spires. Inside it had the high vaulted ceilings and incredible sculptures and stained glass.

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After having some lunch in Angers (and Keith beginning his addiction to Peach Iced Tea) we headed on to the next city – Tours. Again, it may have been the name that put this city on the itinerary. However, once there, we really enjoyed the walk through the old city streets.

The main highlight was the Cathedral of St Gatien which started being built in 1170! It has massive twin gothic spires and we were lucky enough to see a wedding taking place. We also had a look aorund some of the other attractions of the city for example the Chateau de Tours and the Pont (Bridge) Wilson over the Loire River – both pictured below.

IMG_1769 IMG_1772  IMG_1783 IMG_1792 IMG_1793 IMG_1811  IMG_1815After such a long day of sightseeing, we still had an hour and a half to get to the hotel just outside of Bourges. We snuck into the Novotel across the road and had a really nice meal before calling it a night.

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