Who wants to join me? The French city of Nantes will present its seventh edition of the citywide arts festival Le Voyage a Nantes. The festival will celebrate art and culture from 30th June – 26th August 2018 in one of France’s most dynamic and creative cities, set on the Loire River in Western France.
As befits the birthplace of the writer Jules Verne, the Festival will host a collection of weird and wonderful artworks located throughout the city, providing a rich and entertaining art trail. New artwork sits alongside pieces from previous years while exhibitions and interventions scattered around the streets, quays and squares of Nantes, are all linked by a ten-mile long green line. Artists, designers, gardeners, cooks, DJs and graffiti artists are invited to express their creativity in public spaces creating market gardens, street art and sculpture for the local community and the thousands of tourists who visit Nantes in the summer for the Festival. Artistic Director Jean Blaise has been instrumental in transforming the city from one that was in serious decline to a cultural powerhouse through permanent and temporary artistic attractions created by both French and international artists – he says: “The idea of the festival is to colonise every part of town with artistic creation”.
Last year’s cultural highlight was the long-awaited re-opening of the Musée d’Arts de Nantes, one of the largest Fine Arts museums outside Paris, transformed and extended by the London-based architectural practice Stanton Williams. This year, the Musée will play host to an array of site specific installations as part of Le Voyage à Nantes, emphasising its purpose as a vibrant and welcoming contemporary space that is open to the city and its people. The Nantes School of Architecture and the newly opened Nantes School of Art are situated within the historic shipyards, creating a unique architectural footprint for the city.
Visitors can also explore the city’s former shipyards, closed in 1987, which have undergone an architectural renaissance, with new roads, buildings and developments all springing up in what was formerly derelict land, utilizing and transforming the abandoned industrial buildings and disused warehouses there into galleries and bars buzzing with the dynamic beat of art and culture which is at the heart of Nantes. Justly, Nantes has now gained a reputation for being one of France’s most creative cities with Le Voyage à Nantes as the jewel in its crown.