La Cigale is one of the most iconic restaurants in Nantes. Even if you’re only passing through town, it is a place worth stopping by for a few minutes. While the menu is certainly enticing and the service is always friendly, it is above all the décor that has made the place so renowned. Even after many years in Nantes, every time I visit La Cigale, I am enchanted by its the beauty.
La Cigale’s history and décor
Built in 1895 on Place Graslin, La Cigale is one of the last brasseries that bears witness to the tradition of typical 19th century French brasseries. As a matter of fact, it has been classified as a historic monument since 1964!
Ever since it opened, the place has been seducing artists passing through Nantes thanks to its proximity to the theatre across the road. La Cigale has welcomed great artists such as André Breton and Jacques Prévert and it attracts celebrities to this day, which comes as no surprise.
Simply walking past La Cigale is enough to realise that the place is special. The façade alone is adorned with Art Nouveau elements that make you want to see and know more about the establishment. As soon as you walk through the door, you are overwhelmed by the lavish décor. From the ceramic ornaments to the gildings, from the sculptures to the lighting and the plants, you simply don’t know where to look! The restaurant is made up of three dining halls, each one more sumptuous than the next.
A timeless, gourmet break
Whether you’re partial to the Art Nouveau style or not – which, granted, is very intense – La Cigale truly takes you on a journey through time to the end of the 19th century.
The brasserie serves the finest cuisine that promotes local produce. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and even brunch. You’ll therefore be spoiled for choice, however the brasserie is often full and it is strongly recommended to book in advance.
If you drop by unannounced, I advise stopping by for a snack. In the summer, you can enjoy a bowl of artisan icecream that is to die for, while in the winter, you can warm up with a coffee or tea and some tasty pastries.
I’m sharing with you one of those simple moments that I always like to treat myself to in Nantes and that I recommend to out-of-town friends. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.