Facebook/Le Lieu Unique

Perhaps nowhere else in France is more full of surprises than Nantes. Where else can you ride a giant mechanical elephant through the streets? Or spin around on a two-storey carousel with sea creatures straight out of the imagination of Jules Verne?

Just two hours from Paris by train, the historic port on the Loire River is buzzing with art projects, cultural events, and cool cafés. Emblematic of the city’s artistic renaissance is Le Lieu Unique, an exciting cultural venue that’s housed inside the former LU (Lefèvre-Utile) biscuit factory. (It’s called by the same acronym, but “LU” stands for “the unique place.” Today LU biscuits like Le Petit beurre and Le Petit Écolier are still renowned across France, but LU’s manufacturing operations are located elsewhere across the country.)

Overlooking the river, the historic building is defined by its tower painted in colorful, candy hues to hint at the tasty delights made inside. It was converted into its current incarnation in 2000, quickly becoming a top rendez-vous for art shows, music concerts, plus food and drink.

The canal-facing terrace outside is an ideal spot for lunch on a sunny day. There’s even a design bookstore and a hammam in the basement. DJs spin the soundtrack on Friday and Saturday evenings (free entrance). For more information, visit the official website: www.lelieuunique.com

Le Lieu Unique, 2 Quai Ferdinand Favre, 44000 Nantes, Tel: +33 2 40 12 14 34

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Mary Winston Nicklin
Based in Paris, Nicklin is the Web Editor of France Today. She is also the Editor of Bonjour Paris, the site's sister publication. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to publications like The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, Rhapsody, Travel Agent Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisor, Afar and USAToday.com.

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