The bond between me and Nantes is quite tight. Since I am in charge of the French Market, I have been to Nantes two times a year. I love this city, because it has run through my career and witnessed many memorable moments during my countless business trip.
Before I went to this city, its impression on me can be concluded by one word — industrial. This is also one of the reasons why ZWCAD, an industrial software provider chose Nantes as the host city of this year’s ZWCAD Europe Forum. As we all know, it has been the biggest industrial city in Western France since the 19th century. With the first railway completed in 1851, many enterprises established in view of its industry advantage. And as the largest city along River Loire, there are nice inland ports with the quayside as long as 3 kilometers, which means that passenger ships, water buses, and even large vessels can go through the city with ease.
Figure 1. Nantes at night
The most fascinating part is the “Machines of the Isle Nantes”, an industrial theme park in memory of Jules Verne, who was born in Nantes and honored as the father of science fiction. In this steampunk-style park, there are countless machines, vehicles, weapons and “monsters” with complicated structures and modern functions. It is worth mentioning that all these facilities are made of the industrial heritages left by a shipbuilding plant which was closed in 1987. I consider this park as the great representative of the industrial attribute of Nantes.
Figure 2. The mechanical “monsters” in the Isle Nantes
But after I get closer to this city, I found that it is not as cold and strained as what we usually think of the word “industrial”. It actually has the side of being energetic and comfortable. I feel more relaxed than ever when I was in Nantes – the tidily trimmed lawns, the warm sunlight, kids who are chasing and romping, and skater boys who pass by me suddenly. It is worth the name of the “Most Habitable City in Europe” selected by Time Magazine. And the scenic spot I especially like is the Ducs de Bretagne Castle, which is also called the Nantes’ Castle. Its walls are milky white with elegant curves and sophisticated carvings, and its ancient atmosphere forms a striking contrast with the industrial style of this city.
Figure 3. Beautiful lawns in Nantes
Figure 4. Ducs de Bretagne Castle
Figure 5. The art-like dessert
I am really fond of this city, and so happy that I can go there again for the coming ZWCAD Europe Forum.