A weekend in Nantes

Nantes is a seasonal route for BA, who operate some flights over the Summer months. The city is situated on the Loire river, about 30 miles from the coast and is the sixth biggest city in France. I’d booked this trip back in the BA sale in March. Return flights in Club Europe were just £195, and a room in the Ibis a few minutes walk from the old town centre under £45 a night.

Heathrow to Nantes (40 TP)

Late Friday afternoon, and it’s the familiar combination of District and Piccadilly lines from my office in the City across London to Heathrow Terminal 5. There’s a Whitley Neill gin display and promotion taking place on the terrace in the First lounge, with a skilled bartender putting together the drinks. It’s the first time I’ve ever had raspberry gin with ground pepper, but against expectation the combination is delicious.

Gin Bar on the Terrace, BA First Lounge at Heathrow T5

For a while it looks as though the flight is going to be delayed a while, but we end up departing roughly on time. BA are operating an Airbus A321 on this service, their largest single-aisle airliner, so this seasonal route appears to be attracting decent passenger volume. Flight time today is a mere 1h 15mins, so we’re hardly into a cruise before we’re descending into Nantes.

Airbus A321, G-EUXM

Nantes

Nantes is a quite a pretty city with winding streets and terrace cafes in the old town, where we find some excellent food and wine.

Nantes Old Town

The weather, whilst looking threatening at times, largely holds out and is at times quite glorious.

The Loire
Statue filled square looking towards Église Sainte-Croix

Pride of place for tourist attractions must go to the mechanical elephant, part of “Les Machines de l’île”. Apparently inspired by Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci, this colossus can fit 50 people on its back and walk slowly around the park spraying people with water.

Mechanical Elephant, Nantes

Nantes to Heathrow (40 TP)

Our return flight is on Sunday evening. There’s no lounge at the airport, so no reason to get there particularly early, and after waiting a while for an Uber, we get to the airport around 1h 20mins before departure.

Nantes Airport

Security is reasonably quick, but the queue for passport control is horrendous, snaking around half of the terminal. We have to subtly push in to avoid missing our flight. Our return flight is on an Airbus A319, G-EUOG, a smaller aircraft than the outbound. The return flight is similarly short, like the outbound, and in total this trip has netted a further 80 Tier Points. They’re no longer needed of course in the pursuit of GGL, but they’ll still count towards a longer term 35000 Tier Point goal of “Gold for Life”.

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