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Nantes (, also US: , French: [nɑ̃t]; Gallo: Naunnt or Nantt [nɑ̃(ː)t]; Breton: Naoned [ˈnãunət]) is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km (31 mi) from the Atlantic coastThe city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 303,382 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 950,000 inhabitantsWith Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis. It is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire région, one of 18 regions of FranceNantes belongs historically and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, and its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial. Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the LoireIt was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851.
Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and FranceDuring the 17th century, after the establishment of the French colonial empire, Nantes gradually became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave tradeThe French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed robust industries after 1850 (chiefly in shipbuilding and food processing)Deindustrialisation in the second half of the 20th century spurred the city to adopt a service economy. In 2012, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Nantes as a Gamma world cityIt is the fourth-highest-ranking city in France, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille.