Trains to and from Nantes Airport (NTE)

Nantes Airport is the largest airport in the west of France, and is an important gateway to the city, as well as to the Pays de la Loire region of the country. It is located approximately 8km, or 5 miles to the southwest of the city centre, and is easily accessed from the city’s peripheral ring road, the N844, or E3. Passengers arriving, or on a departure flight from the airport, can also travel by bus, as there are frequent services to and from the airport, however, there are no direct airport train services available. Passengers will need to first reach the main railway station nearby the city centre in order to continue their journey by train.

The airport of Nantes is well known as the Nantes Atlantique Airport, with the official code of NTE, and is particularly nearby Bouguenais, as well as other areas such as Rezé, La Montagne and Les Sorinières. It consists of a single terminal building, for both domestic and international flights, which is divided into four halls, named as Hall 1, 2, 3 and 4. The terminal building is also shaped like an ‘L’, and the first three halls are found on the longer side of the terminal, while Hall 4 is on the shorter side, and is connected to the other facilities by a lobby area. In order to reach the main train station of the city, known in French as the Gare de Nantes, passengers can take the Tan Air Shuttle bus from the airport.

Although there are no direct Nantes Airport trains, as there is no train station at the airport, the Tan Air Shuttle bus makes frequent connections with the Gare de Nantes, found at 27 Boulevard de Stalingrad, Nantes, in the downtown neighbourhood of the city. The bus is available every half an hour between 05:30 and 23:15 during the week and on Saturdays, while on Sundays and bank holidays the buses are available every hour, from 06:15 to 23:15. The journey by the airport shuttle is just twenty minutes to the train station, and will cost about 7 Euros. The ticket for travel can be purchased directly from the bus driver, by cash or credit card, and is valid for travel on the Tan transport network for an hour. The buses leave the airport outside Hall 1. Passengers arriving in Nantes by train can reach the airport at the same frequencies by the same Tan Air Shuttle bus. The bus also stops at the bus station in the centre of Nantes.

The Gare de Nantes is the principle railway station serving the city of Nantes, and handles over ten million passengers per annum. Although it is one facility, it is often referred to as the Gare Nord and Gare Sud, as there are entrances and station facilities on both the north and south sides of the station. A pedestrian subway links the ‘two stations’ to each other. The north side of the train station is the older of the buildings, and consists of a large departure hall and a smaller arrival hall. Nearby the departure area there are information offices and ticket sales counters, while nearby the arrivals area there is a shop and a bakery. Apart from by the airport buses, the Gare Nord is served by Line 1 of the city’s tramway system and the Line 12 bus. Taxis are also available for transport from the airport, or from any location in the city.

The south station was opened a little later than the north station, and is a more modern construction. It features a large glass hall, newsagents, a tea room and a cafeteria. The buses that serve this side of the station are the Tan Lines 24 and 56, as well as the Tan Air Airport shuttle buses. The current Nantes train station replaced the older Orleans Station built on the site of the ‘Prairie Purple’, just to the west of the newer and operational station. However, although Nantes has a modern railway station, it is clear that a newer and larger station with more facilities will be needed in the future, due to the increasing number of passengers each year. By the year 2018, passenger traffic at the station could be double the current figures. The city of Nantes looks forward to a couple of new developments, besides a new train station, as the airport will also soon be replaced by a larger and more efficient establishment. Its capacity of three million passengers will soon be far inadequate, and there is no more room for expansion, since it is so closely located to the city. The new airport will be known as the Grand West Airport, and will be located approximately 30km from the city, in the commune of Notre-Dames-des-Landes. The airport is expected to open in 2015, and the new railway station is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Passengers at the Gare de Nantes Railway station can travel to Paris in just two hours, as TGV trains link the city to Paris Sables d’Olonne via La Roche-sur-Yon. There are also TGV trains available to Lyon, Grenoble. Lille, Brussels, Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier, and these are all direct TGV services. A journey by train to Lille will take just under four hours, while the journey to Lyon will be approximately four hours and twenty minutes. The Nantes Train Station is also the focal point of the main line of the TER Pays de la Loire, and is owned by REF and SNCF, the main railway company in France.  

Although no airport train station is available, passengers will find the bus services from or to the railway station very efficient. Perhaps the new airport will provide its passengers with direct rail connections.