Discovering Clisson, the Italian Gem in France

This post was originally written for my old travel blog Dream Explore Wander on 11 May 2013.

It was a fine Spring day in France. Winter was finally replaced by joyful Spring and it brought the sun with it. With the sun shining and a warm temperature, my feet, as usual, started to itch begging me to find a new place to explore.

“Let’s bike to Clisson” suggested a friend.

Since only two of my friends had bikes, they decided to do a Nantes-Clisson bike trip while I put on my summer short and headed for the train station with the rest of our gang. It was only March and I was in shorts, I couldn’t believe it. I intended to absorb as much sun as possible, just incase dull weather took over in the next few days (it didn’t!).

Clisson was only a mere 30 minutes by train from Nantes. It was a small town filled with cobbled-stones streets, a castle and a gorgeous river which runs through it – in short, it’s my kind of town. As soon as I arrived, my friends and I walked directly to the centre while waiting for the other guys who were on bikes. We decided to take a little peek of this town.

While what I saw was a near-to-perfect view, Clisson has not been always on the pretty side. During the 1700s it was almost completely destroyed, its castle was burned and damaged. Luckily, the wealthy Cacault brothers along with their sculptor friend, Lemot, decided to rebuild the little town. At that time they had a big fascination for Italy and decided to add a touch of Italian love to the town. Boy did they do a great job of rebuilding the city! The Italian influence can definitely be seen, making the town so picturesque, beautiful and somehow romantic – you know you can’t have it the Italian style without bringing some romance atmosphere.

The River Moine, which gorgeously flow through the city, is what you see in old paintings. That spring day, I saw a tree flawlessly letting its leaves fall just an inch above the water which added a certain elegance to the whole river. I even saw someone nearby the edge of the river with their painting set, half done doing a painting of this river. I don’t blame them for being so drawn to this picturesque river.

In Clisson, you can’t miss the castle. The ruins of the castle was so perfectly placed. I remember walking inside the castle, and finding the ruins of the castle so amazing. It was an amazing day with clear blue sky which made the castle stood out even more.

I found a quiet spot overlooking the river. I saw some birds nesting happily by the rocks of the castle and some ducks enjoying a swim in the river. I felt an enormous sense of happiness. A beautiful setting in an Italian-styled French town with some of my closest friends, I never wanted to leave that moment.

I finished the day by taking a picnic by the river. It was just the perfect end of the day. I never knew I was living so near to this gorgeous gem.

If you are coming to Nantes for a visit this Spring/Summer, take that 30 minutes train ride to Clisson. I promise you it will leave you nothing but a huge smile.


3 thoughts on “Discovering Clisson, the Italian Gem in France

  1. Gy, I am wondering how Nantes is on a Sunday. Is everything closed (and non-operational) like in Rennes? Hahaha. To me this what makes travelling to a (small) French city rather tricky, because mostly I can only go in a weekend! But if in the weekend everything is closed, it is rather useless 😛 .


    • Yes most of the shops are closed on Sundays (as far as I can remember!) though you might find some restaurants/bakeries) open (like creperies – there are some really nice ones in Nantes!). But yeah it’s not a very exciting city on Sundays 😅 I’ve never been to Rennes but a friend used to live there and it’s kinda the same vibe 😁


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