Nantes is a great place to celebrate Christmas because there are so many events organised every year during the month of December: Christmas markets for every taste, festive decorations in the most beautiful parts of the city and cultural events too. One of the most well-known and eagerly anticipated cultural events in the city is Noël aux Nefs, and that’s what I’d like to tell you about today.
For 11 years, Les Nefs, that houses La Machine company and the Grand Eléphant, becomes a little more magical during the second half of December. Les Nefs de Nantes is really one of my favourite places in the city with its architecture of glass and steel. So, you can imagine that with the illuminations, the show is even more enchanting and that it’s a really great place to go, despite the falling temperatures.
During Noël aux Nefs, under the glass roof and in the immediate surroundings, you’ll find all sorts of events, but all have in common the power to entertain both the young and the young at heart. You can watch ice sculptures being carved, have a ride on a merry-go-round, watch a circus or theatre show and enjoy the Machines de l’Île by night… The full programme isn’t exhaustive because every Noël aux Nefs has its own store of surprises, but this will give you an idea of what you can expect to see during the event.
Noël aux Nefs is also unmissable for foodies and anyone who likes the sweet treats of Christmas. A large bar gives you the chance to warm up a bit and try the waffles, marshmallows, Christmas shortbread, hot chocolate, mulled wine, soups… There’s something for everyone!
In 2017, the event is also marked by the return of Long Ma, the mechanical dragon horse, which is replacing the elephant at Les Nefs. You won’t be able to see the elephant because it’s undergoing repair at the moment.
Lastly, if you’re looking for more ideas for places to have fun in Nantes during the Christmas period, I can only advise you to check out the following places:
- The traditional Christmas market: Place Royale and Place du Commerce
- ‘L’Autre Marché’ alternative Christmas Market: Square Daviais
- Rue de la Marne passing in front of Galeries Lafayette
- Passage Pommeraye
- Place Saint-Pierre and the Château des Ducs de Bretagne.
It only remains for me to wish you a happy Christmas in Nantes!
Picture: Jean Dominique Billaud