History of Nantes: Public footpaths
Nature walks and links between districts
What city today isn't looking to give value to its rivers and streams and make them available to its visitors?
Nantes faced such a challenge in the 1970s, with a very complex period of land acquisition, and bordering land owners were more than hesitant to lose their access to the water.
During negotiations and declarations of public utility, continuities were put into place, reinforced by city planning.
For two of the rivers, the Cens at 2,6 km and the Chézine at 2,13 km, the promenades could be rather quickly opened. The promenade of Chézine provides a link between the city center and the neighboring community of Saint-Herblain, where the city planning was expanded. The promenade of the Cens River forms an intercommunal connection with Orvault, with several public spaces (Parc de la Gaudinière, municipal camp-site, swimming pool, skating rink, university, etc….).
At the same time, the City of Nantes took on two other projects that proved even more ambitious. These projects were the right bank of the Sèvre River (3,5 km) and, above all, the Erdre River, with a promenade of 5 km on the right bank and 10 km on the left. Here, the number of acquisitions surpassed one hundred, with some “hard points” connected to the legal statute of the Erdre, river for which the easement of footboards did not exist. Unstable banks, rocky bluffs, protected natural zones, all these easements needed to be taken into consideration, some of which had considerable financial impacts. In the autumn of 2000, the last black spots had been treated, and the two promenades, over all their length, were put into operation.
The difficulty of the realizations of these projects should not overshadow the realization of other promenades, such as the promenades of the Loire, the Gesvre, and the Conardière. Problems linked to ownership or technique were resolved more easily in the development of these promenades.
The official number of nantais promenades open today represent around 50 km, and there exist several potential extensions in upcoming years: ruisseaux des Mares, Botardière, and Charbonneau.
The exploitation of riverbeds which can be converted will arrive in time, but there remains a need to connect these sections antennas by creating a network of green pedestrian links
Among possible future projects, the connection Loire-Erdre, the joining between the basin of the Gesvre and that of the Cens, a certain number of connections between down-town and the “green pathways,” under the direction of the Urban Community.