Since I’ve been living in Nantes, one of the main criteria for me when I move and look for a new apartment, is what the local area is like for cycling. Once you’ve tried this more relaxing means of transport, you’ll be hooked. Whether it’s biking to work, to do your groceries, to get to the shops, to go out in the evening or just simply to get a breath of fresh air, I love cycling around Nantes!
As the cycling capital of 2015, Nantes is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in France. Nantes celebrated this achievement the same year with a massive parade of more than 7,000 cyclists. There’s plenty to choose from thanks to the many specially made tracks and protected cycle routes; there is a network of nearly 500km of cycle routes and tracks covering all of the Nantes Metropolis area.
For those who don’t have their own bike, Bicloo is THE perfect solution. As a 24/7 self-serve bike service covering a wide area around Île de Nantes’s train station, I’ve often taken out a 1-day or 3-day subscription for a friend who’s staying for a few days. Super simple and incredibly practical! An annual subscription is of course also possible at a very reasonable price.
Even though the downtown area is great for cycling, my favourite rides are still along the waterside. Skirting Erdre after starting out from Saint-Mihiel (close to Île de Versailles) is magical. In just 5 minutes, I can get to a little corner of paradise, from little copses to large piers on the water taking me as far as Port Boyer. In fine weather, I nearly always take a picnic and a good book with me, and I feel like I’m in the middle of the countryside, it’s so beautiful and peaceful! The Loire is also very pleasant to cycle along. In the fishing village of Trentemoult in Île de Nantes or by heading for Sainte-Luce, you can 100% guarantee a change of scenery!
For girls, the Nantes folk have even invented a magic bicycle clip called the “Poupoupidou”, which lets us clip our skirts under the saddle so we can pedal without worrying about our skirts blowing up! One thing’s for certain, cyclists love Nantes and the city returns the feeling.