SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
18 February 2016
Volume 17 Issue 2

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SETAC Nantes: Exciting Opportunities in the City on the Banks of the Loire

Thierry Burgeot and Laurent Lagadic, SETAC Europe 26th Annual Meeting Program Committee co-chairs

The SETAC Europe 26th Annual Meeting in Nantes, France, is an event that will be showcased as a major scientific attraction for the city in 2016. The “cité des congrès” of Nantes is eagerly awaiting the arrival of SETAC and looks forward to welcoming the delegates to their fascinating and vibrant city. Our objective is to ensure an excellent scientific program in a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere. Numerous activities running parallel to the annual meeting will give attendees the opportunity to explore the multiple tourist and cultural attractions in Nantes and the surrounding region.

SETAC Nantes Science Slam

Mobilization of the French environmental toxicology community in Nantes

Nantes is a highly prized meeting venue and supported by local scientists because the French environmental toxicology and chemistry community has been active on the Atlantic seaboard for the past 25 years. This community, also active in SETAC Europe, will warmly welcome you to an international, high-level, scientific annual meeting with topics important to SETAC Europe but also with French-related subjects like sustainable wine exploitation, risk assessment and plant protection, the production and use of cosmetics, and the monitoring of quality of aquatic environments.

Science Slam: Scientists in action in the city of Nantes

The 2016 edition of the Science Slam at the SETAC Europe meeting celebrates the three tourist assets of the city of Nantes: The great combination between modernity and historical heritage, the fantastic outdoors from the sea (or from the Loire!), and last but not least, its famous gastronomy. In any case, this is what four scientific experts, dressed with their marinière lined in blue and white but novices in acting, have prepared for you. And you, will you be able to beat the next Science Slam challenge “à la nantaise”?

Château des ducs de Bretagne
Château des ducs de Bretagne. Nantes (Loire-Atlantique)
©Patricia Bassen/LVAN

Nantes, city on the banks of the Loire, its castles and history facing the Atlantic Ocean

The city of Nantes and the surrounding area has no shortage of activities to offer SETAC delegates visiting the city. It is an estuary town of the Loire and typical of western France, marked by an industrial past with shipbuilding and aerospace. Along a perimeter of about 100 km, it is surrounded by famous sites such as the Mont Saint Michel, the Loire castles, the fortified town of la Rochelle, salt pans of la Brière and the Muscadet vineyards.

A reputation built with emblematic figures

The city of Nantes has no shortage of cultural resources and history, with many famous people having either been born in or having lived in Nantes. Some of the more notable are:

  • The Duchess Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), who held the titles of Queen of France, Queen of Germania, Queen of Naples, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Milan. She lived in the castle of the Ducs of Brittany in Nantes
  • Jules Verne (1828-1905), a visionary engineer and science fiction writer who wrote books translated all over the world
  • Portrait of Jules Verne
    Portrait of Jules Verne, Copyright : ©T. Burgeot
  • Jacques Cassard (1679-1740), emblematic character of the French Navy, a daring pirate and officer of the Sun King
  • Pierre Cambronne (1770-1842) was a very accomplished general of the empire. He fought at the battle of Waterloo alongside Napoleon. Upon the call for his surrender by the British, he is attributed with (although he himself always denied saying the words) the famous quote, “Le garde meurt et ne se rend pas! Merde!” which translates to, “The guard dies and does not surrender! Shit!” (Figuratively meaning, “Go to hell”).    
  • Aristide Briand (1862-1932), French statesman who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1926
  • Eric Tabarly (1931-1998), marine officer and one of the most famous French yachtsmen and race navigators “with his lined blue and white marinière”

Guests will be welcomed by the SETAC local organizers dressed in the French “marinière” shirts that served initially as sailors’ working clothes but evolved into a French symbol of elegance through the efforts of perfumers and fashion designers such as Coco Channel and Jean Paul Gauthier. The “marinière” will represent the image of  SETAC Nantes and will be sold to the participants during meeting; a fashionable reminder of  the best memories from the SETAC Nantes meeting.

Daniel Buren et Patrick Bouchain, Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles, Nantes
Daniel Buren et Patrick Bouchain, Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles, Nantes, création pérenne Estuaire 2007
©Bernard Renoux/LVAN

Some romantic and refined must-see attractions

Nantes is a city based on a rich historical past and open to an enthusiastic future. Delegates will benefit from the alliance of the pleasures of past and present with places of relaxation, such as the authentic art nouveau brewery La Cigale, where eating becomes pleasure! Delegates might choose to take a drink on the roof of the Tour de Bretagne in the café Le Nid, the cozy home of the Cigogne. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Jules Verne Museum will welcome delegates and are among the must-see places of Nantes. Delegates can choose to immerse themselves in unusual places like le Cercle Cambronne, where they will have lunch in the house of the famous General Cambronne, a lounge with refined 18th century romanticism and conviviality.

For shopping lovers, the Passage Pommeraye, a commercial Art Deco islet built in 1840 in the city center, contains stories from renowned Nantes families from the 15th century to current days. It is a place that mixes secret courts and covered paths to provide an enjoyable experience.

Le Grand Eléphant
Le Grand Eléphant. Les Machines de l’île. Nantes
©Jean-Dominique Billaud - Nautilus/LVAN

Art work of Estuaire

The theme chosen for the 2016 SETAC Europe Annual Meeting, “Environmental Contaminants from Land to Sea: Continuities and Interface in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry” can be seen in the artwork “Les Anneaux” because it brings together the challenges of the land-to-sea continuum along river dynamics combining agricultural, urban, industrial and domestic activities. On a purely artistic level, the “rings” symbolize the maritime continuum and the history of the Navy, as well as new architectural projects of the city of the future, positioning Nantes at the level of a European metropolis.

Lastly, let’s not forget the magic of Jules Verne’s machines. The elephant in Verne’s “The Steam House” in the series of the “Extraordinary Journeys” became the steam-powered mechanical elephant who lives in the streets of the city of Nantes today. Delegates will watch in wonder as the behemoth parades around the streets of Nantes! 

We hope you will join us and attend the SETAC Europe 26th Annual Meeting in Nantes and enjoy all the venue has to offer.

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