Twelve kilometers (seven miles) and over 50 works of art linked together by a green line on the ground: the Voyage à Nantes has been part of Nantes' cultural landscape since 2012. Every summer, the course is reopened and enhanced to give the city and its surroundings an artistic facelift. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the opening of the ninth year of the festival has been postponed to August 8 and it will run until September 27, 2020.
Organised along a green line snaking through the city, the Voyage à Nantes invites visitors to be led, all year round, by art. The range and contrast is vast: there are works hidden in street corners, impressive heritage landmarks, city must-sees and unknown treasures, adornments of historic alleyways and contemporary architecture, urban viewpoints and incredible sunset vistas over the estuary. This summer, around 40 art 'stages' will be reborn for a sensitive, poetic celebration of art in Nantes.
Details on the 2020 festival
Due to the measures taken in France related to coronavirus, the official dates of the Voyage à Nantes festival have been pushed back to August 8 to September 27, 2020.
New permanent works will enrich the festival. Highlights include Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil, who will inaugurate Les Brutalistes, a set of ceramic and concrete sculptures fitted with ovens, in order to bring the inhabitants together around the practice of cooking over a wood fire. The artist Evor will plant a metasequoia 20 metres (65 feet) high on the western tip of the island of Nantes.
Mrzyk & Moriceau will offer Nantes Ici Nantes, a poetic film paying homage to Nantes heritage in all its forms.
Ephemeral works will also appear throughout the city, such as Stéphane Thidet's Rideau, an impressive waterfall that will cover the Graslin Theatre. A canopy bed by Vincent Olinet will float on the waters of the River Erdre and a pair of giant plastic boots will be installed in the urban vegetable garden of the Cantine du Voyage (Lilian Bourgeat). They must be seen to be believed!
Another novelty of this 9th year of the festival: perfume noses have been invited to come and interpret the city of Nantes and create a scent specific to Le Voyage à Nantes.
This year's programme will truly awaken all your senses!
A look back at the 2019 festival
Among the new features of 2019, notable highlights included Belvedere of the Hermitage by Tadashi Kawamata, installed at the Butte Sainte-Anne, and his poetic Nests, scattered across the facades of emblematic city landmarks.
The Katorza cinema was adorned with the silhouette of famous actor Buster Keaton, while the Falbalas Saint-Junien hat shop was sporting an astonishing vegetable-based hat!
The small optical theatres of videographer Pierrick Sorin had taken over eight hotels in the city. The artist performed there in many holographic sketches linked to the world of each of the hotels.
The 'artist rooms' programme was expanded with the creation of three new works of art by Makiko Furmichi, Justin Weiler and Karina Bisch.
Take advantage of the Voyage à Nantes to discover the surroundings of the city, notably by following the various stages of the Voyage through the vineyards, from Nantes to Clisson, or the Estuary route which offers cruises from Nantes to the port of Saint-Nazaire. During the crossing, admire the works of internationally renowned artists interacting with the landscape.
Another gift to explore here are the permanent works of the Voyage à Nantes, installed around the city. Some of these have become true emblems of Nantes, like Landscape Glide, a slide at the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, and Les Anneaux by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain, adorning the Quai des Antilles.