Nantes is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 309,346 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 973,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms one of the main north-western French metropolitan agglomerations.
It is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire region, one of 18 regions of France. Nantes belongs historically and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, and its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial.
Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the Loire. It was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851. Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France.