The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, a listed historical monument, is a major tourist spot in Western France, welcoming more than 1.4 million visitors per year. On the city side, it's a fortress with a 1,650-foot (500-meter) parapet, punctuated by seven towers linked by curtain walls. On the courtyard side, it shelters an elegant 15th century ducal residence built of tufa in the Flamboyant Gothic style and bearing the first signs of Renaissance inspiration, as well as other buildings dating from the 16th and 18th centuries. The whiteness and sculpted refinement of these buildings contrasts with the ruggedness of the exterior walls, which are made of blocks of granite separated by schist foundations.
Located in the historic heart of Nantes, inside the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, the Museum of the History of Nantes, which opened in 2007, paints a portrait of the city from its origins to the metropolis of today. The 32 rooms explore the city and its evolution through the biggest events that forged its identity.
Standing witness to the history of Nantes and Brittany, it is an emblem of the region. Visitors follow a path through its successive transformations over the centuries, discovering the internal architecture of the monument, along with its 1,150-piece collection. Nantes and its history is the subject chosen to orchestrate the dialogue between the monument and the museum's collections. The themes addressed are the history of Brittany as a dukedom; the Atlantic Slave Trade and colonial history; the Loire and its region; urban development; port activity; industrial history; the two World Wars; and social movements. They all echo through to the modern day.
Brought to life with a rich and diverse cultural program, the Museum of the History of Nantes welcomes 270,000 visitors every year. Its exhibitions play an active part in this.