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January 25, 2019

France: Nantes, Château des ducs de Bretagne

Inside the walls at the Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes

Nantes’ Château des ducs de Bretagne, or in English the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, is the historic base for the rulers of Brittany. Oddly Brittany’s main castle is not in the Region of Brittany, at least now.

The Duchy of Brittany existed as a feudal state from the 10th Century until 1547. It continued to enjoy privileges under the rule of the Kings of France until it was legally abolished in 1789 during the French Revolution. In 1956, when Brittany was legally reconstituted as the Region of Brittany, the historic ducal capital of Nantes and the surrounding area were not included in the territory.

As a consequence of the 1956 territorial reorganization Nantes’ Château des ducs de Bretagne ended up in France’s Pays de la Loire Region and not in Brittany. Nantes is the historic capitol of Brittany. It feels and looks as though it is in Brittany. But it isn’t in the Region of Brittany. It is one of those curious twists of history.

A bridge crosses the moat to allow entry to the castle.

Today the historically important Château is a primary tourist attraction in Nantes. French take a relaxed approach to some of their staid historical buildings. I guess if you have so many historical monuments a need arises to find different purposes for them. For example, at the Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes there is a long slide clinging to the side of one of the castle’s defensive towers. An amusement ride is not what one expects to see on the side of an historic castle, but there it is.

The slide looks a tad precarious, though it’s not, at least not as much now. When we visited in August of 2018 the slide had been recently re-opened after it was modified after earlier accidents injured a pair of sliders. Visitors can slide to the moat now with an increased assurance of safety.

A slide has been installed on the side of one of Château des ducs de Bretagne’s towers.

For sure there’s plenty of important history to learn and interesting things to see inside the Château des ducs de Bretagne’s walls. Nevertheless, I remember most about the castle is the slide. It shouldn’t be that way but it is.


There is no admission charge to ride the slide at Château des ducs de Bretagne.


1 Comment »

  1. Slide: Bucket list + 1! Thanks.

    Comment by ianmccauley2014 — January 28, 2019 @ 8:36 am

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