Head off to conquer the châteaux lining the Erdre!
Want to hop aboard a Bateaux Nantais cruise to discover the majestic châteaux lining the Erdre? Explore Nantes’ historical treasures along the most beautiful river in France! A subtle blend of sumptuous landscapes, period architecture and compelling stories pass by as you cruise along.
Learn about French history in the heart of Nantes while enjoying a tourist excursion or simple pleasure cruise! Cruising past Dantean buildings, famous period structures, genuine Romantic-style décor and more, Bateaux Nantais literally immerses you in the heart of the most beautiful properties in Loire Atlantique.
Centuries of history along the Erdre, with pleasure palaces, châteaux, chapels, estates and more
Bridges, ruins and chapels pass before your eyes as you feel yourself floating through centuries of history during the cruise. The Erdre starts its journey in the neighbouring region of Maine et Loire and flows past the most beautiful architectural creations in the Loire Atlantique region every day.
Soon after stepping aboard, you will fall in love with the famous Pont de la Motte Rouge. Built in 1885, this bridge was the work of engineer Jean Résal who also designed the Alexandre III and Mirabeau bridges in Paris. This bridge’s name comes from General de la Motte Rouge who commanded the 15th Army Corps stationed in Nantes.
Some châteaux lining the Erdre:
CHÂTEAU DU TERTRE
Built in 1880, this château was bought in the 1960s by the University of Nantes and used as a research centre.
CHÂTEAU DE LA DESNERIE
This Louis XIV-style building was constructed in the late 17th century on the site of a former Gallo-Roman farm. The west wing was added by Ceineray, City of Nantes Architect, and the property is now owned by the Sesmaisons family.
CHATEAU DE L’ÉRAUDIERE
For twenty years, this was the summer home of the Nantes bishops. Since 1880, it has been and still is owned by the La Tullaye family.
CHATEAU DE LA DESNERIE
After you pass the Beaujoire flower garden and Club de Nantes football stadium, you will see the Château de la Desnerie which was built on the site of a former Gallo-Roman farm. The current building dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. It was partly built by Jean Baptiste Ceineray, City of Nantes Architect, who also drew up the initial plans for the Royal Palace. La Desnerie is a private estate owned by the Sesmaisons family. This château has seen many famous figures step through its doors, such as the Duchesse de Berry in the early 19th century and General de Gaulle in 1951.
CHATEAU DE LA POTERIE/CHANTRERIE CHAPELLE
Château de la Poterie was completed in 1789. It is the only pleasure palace on the River Erdre whose entire construction dates back to the 18th century. This château is also attributed to Ceineray. Owned by the Levesque family in the 19th century, La Poterie became a major hub of French hunting. The Rogatien Levesque pack even gave birth to a breed of hunting dogs called... Levesque! The current owners have renovated the outbuildings to create function venues for hire on the banks of the Erdre.
Opposite La Poterie and surrounded by trees, you can spot the Neo-Gothic Chantrerie chapel. It is attributed to Jean Baptiste Antoine Lassus, an architect who specialised in the neo-Gothic style and drafted the plans for the St Nicolas basilica in Nantes.
The chapel forms part of the vast Chantrerie estate, of which you can now see the château. The estate was run by the Nantes cathedral to pay its ‘chantres’ (cantors in English), from whom it takes its name. The landscaped park spreads across more than 15 hectares and is home to the Nantes veterinary school. La Chantrerie is the final estate in Nantes, as the Charbonneau stream on the right marks the boundary between Nantes and Carquefou.
CHATEAU DE LA GASCHERIE
The oldest château on the Erdre, it was built from the late 15th century onwards. The ground floor has a mediaeval guardroom. The upper floors were refurbished in the 19th century by La Morandière, Chief Architect for the Blois royal château renovation.
The architectural style blends Gothic, through pitched roofs, mullion windows and gargoyles on the ends of the façade, with Renaissance, through Italian-style loggia and elegant decorations.
Two important Nantes families lived here for two centuries. In the 18th century, La Gascherie was even raised to the status of marquisate.
Today, the estate remains in private hands, owned by the Savelli family. La Gascherie continues to be used as a home and the estate is the site of a horse riding centre.
CHATEAU DE LA COURONNERIE
Château de la Couronnerie is beautifully staged on the river bank. The fiefdom dates back to the Middle Ages but the current château was only built in the second half of the 19th century. The landscaped park was designed by Antoine Noisette, Nantes Jardin des Plantes Manager, in 1823.
The estate features a crenelated square tower visible from the Erdre, which was built during the Romantic fashion for English-style gardens.
CHATEAU DE NAY
This château is located in the town of Sucé-sur-Erdre, just past the confluence with l’Hocmard. The origin of the Château de Nay’s name goes back to its first owners, Jehan and Pétronille de Nay. During the French Revolution, the château was occupied by the Revolutionary Army. The family’s financial ruin forced them to sell the château to Jean-Louis Guichard, Mayor of Sucé, in the early 19th century. It was he who built the current château in 1817, which has subsequently been reworked multiple times. Today, the Château de Nay estate still has a working farm.
CHATEAU DE PORT HUBERT
Château de Port Hubert was built around 1810 in an Italian style. The three glazed arched doors are reminiscent of Château de Nay, as Port Hubert was previously one of its outbuildings. In 1837 Port Hubert was bought by Mr and Mrs Walsh. James Walsh was the pastor in Sucé. Their daughter Jane-Eleanor married Thomas Dobrée in the large drawing-room at Port Hubert and later inherited the château. Thomas Dobrée was a ship owner and collector from Nantes, and founded the Mediaeval history museum that bears his name.
BEL AIR ESTATE
The Bel Air estate was built in 1821 by Jean Baptiste Dupont, Mayor of Sucé, who was also responsible for building the city’s bridge. Mr Dupont owned the neighbouring property of La Perruche. He ordered the planting of pine trees on the hillside to add interest to the landscape then, at the request of his wife who wanted “a little house beside the water”, he built Bel Air.
MANOIR DE LA CHATAIGNERAIE
Manoir de la Chataigneraie displays a tuffeau stone façade, while the rear is made of bricks and granite. At the time it was built, there were many chestnut trees (‘châtaigniers’ in French) on the estate, from which it takes its name. The manor house was built in 1860 by Mr Valette and is a replica of a house he owned in Brittany. In 1894, the property was purchased by the artist Chabas. More recently, the Delphin family ran a restaurant at La Chataigneraie. Today, the estate is owned by the town of Sucé-sur-Erdre.
MANOIR DE LA JAILLE
Manoir de la Jaille is the most recent pleasure palace on the Erdre as it was built in 1920 by Joseph Paris, the founder of a metal construction company in Nantes. Among the estate’s previous owners are the Descartes family.
In this region, the word ‘jaille’ is used to mean rubbish tips, as the Marquis de Jaille set up the first public rubbish tips in Nantes, as Eugène Poubelle did in Paris (‘poubelle’ in French means rubbish bin).
Château des Rochettes towers over the river. From 1852, it served as a hunting lodge. The building was raised in 1910 and the façade’s decoration evokes the Mediaeval Romanticism fashion inspired by Walter Scott, which can also be found in the landscaped gardens along the Erdre.
The appeal of this residence is tied to its position in relation to the Erdre: at the entrance of the Plaine de Mazerolles.
MANOIR DE LA GUILLONNIERE
La Guillonnière was built to resemble an English manor, using brick and granite. When it was built in 1890 by the Marquis de la Touche, La Guillonnière formed part of the Jaille estate. At the property’s entrance, a studio was built for artist Paul Chabas. You can make out the remains of a tower that appears to have been an old windmill.
An alpine chalet or a Mississippi bayou house? La Gamoterie, with its indefinable style, was built in 1850 by Mr Gamot, who name it after himself. An outbuilding at La Gamoterie bears the name of Borderie Briand as the uncle of Aristide Briand was the fisherman there.