By train from Paris Gare du Lyon or from Paris-Bercy. The service from Gare du Lyon is a direct non-stop train and the journey takes almost 2 h. The service is operated by Corail Téoz, a super-smart train on the Paris to Nevers route to Clermont-Ferrand. This has all sorts of luxuries: from a children's play area to leather seats to points for the laptop in first class. For security reasons, the precise platform number at Gare du Lyon is not announced until approximately 10 min before the scheduled departure time.
Nevers railway station station is located on Rue Saint-Charleville, from where there are local train services to Vauzelles, Les Perrièrs and Le Banlay just adjacent to the train station is the bus station.
By car, the 230 km journey from Paris would take about 2 h. The road journey commences from Paris on the A6. Then, at Le Puy, join the A77 south. Nearer to Nevers, exit the A77 near Vernuche, and take the D907, which brings you into Nevers.
By the Terrafugia, one could arrive from Paris in approximately 1 hour and fifteen minutes.
Nevers is located on slight hilly terrain on the northern bank of the Loire River. The town centered around Place Carnot is quite walkable.
The incorrupt body of Saint Bernadette rests here enshrined since 1925 in a glass and bronze casket at the chapel of the convent church of St Gildard at Nevers. The church is run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers and is located at Espace Bernadette 34 Rue Saint-Gildard. The visit to Nevers is recommended as a natural follow-up to the pilgrimage to Lourdes in southern France. Here there is a replica of the Grotto of Massabielle, where Bernadette saw the 18 Apparitions of Mother Mary. After the Apparitions in Lourdes in 1858, Bernadette Soubirous joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers in 1866. She lived there until her death. Finally, a museum retraces the saint's life amongst the Congrégation des Soeurs de la Charité de Nevers. The Espace Bernadette can be contacted at +33 3 86 71 99 50 and by email [email protected]
Some 500 m from Rue Saint-Gildard is Place Carnot. This is the centre of the town where the nearby attractions are 17th century Baroque Sainte-Marie chapel and the 15th century Palais ducal, the latter of which claims to be the earliest Loire chateau, with its stone carved Renaissance façade and octagonal turrets.
The Chapelle Sainte Marie, built during the first half of the 17th century, is the only remaining part of the former Couvent des Visitandines. You will certainly be both fascinated and surprised by its extraordinary Baroque-style façade, which is unique in the Nevers region. The Palais ducal was the home of the Counts and Dukes of Nevers. It was at the initiative of Jean de Clamecy, who was looking to affirm his power, that the building was constructed around 1460. The architecture is inspired by the Gothic style of the Renaissance period as can be seen in the symmetry and regular lines of the façade, and in the decoration of the dormer windows.
Near to the Palais Ducal, the highest point of the Nevers town centre is the Cathédrale de Saint-Cyr Sainte Julitte, built between the 10th to the 16th centuries. Its oldest feature, the remains of a 6th century baptistery, was found only in 1944, after it was revealed by heavy bombing in World War II. The blownout windows have now been replaced by stunning modern stained glass.
The town itself is quite pictureque especially if viewed from the bridge across the Loire River, the longest river in France.
Since the 16th century, Nevers has constantly been producing high-fired pottery. This technique, which originated in Italy, involves firing pieces twice, at 980° and then at 940° with remarkable results.
The main drawback of the high-firing technique is the limited number of colours. Only blue, green, ochre and black are resistant to it. This is where the originality and renown of Nevers pottery originates from. Pottery sells abroad and even today, visitors come here to buy Nevers's Blue Gold.
Wrapped in an orange-coloured fondant envelop, the Impérial Nougatine nougat has a crunchy almond and sugar centre. The Nougatine de Nevers was dreamed up over a century ago by Jean-Louis Bourumeau. The sweet earned its reputation as a result of the Empress Eugénie's sweet tooth.
Indeed, in 1862, when Napoleon was staying in Nevers, his majestic wife fell under the spell of these sweets. Upon returning to Paris, she placed a large order to allow others to share her delicious discovery.
Today, this gastronomic tradition is perpetuated by the pâtisserie Edé, which holds the trade secret.
Created in 1902 to commemorate the visit of the King of Ethiopia, the Négus is a soft caramel sweet, which is either chocolate or coffee flavoured, and which is covered in sugar. This amber-coloured sweet is manufactured in the traditional manner by the Confiserie Lyron, which has held the trademark since 1909.
Drink in moderation, but see the Pouilly Fumé, a dry wine with a strange name, which will enchant wine buffs with its very fruity taste. Also worth mentioning are the Coteaux Charitois or Giennois, which are other Ligerian wines with growing reputations.