The gateway to the Atlantic Ocean and the country’s seventh largest city, Nantes is located on the north bank of the Loire River. Although officially no longer the capital of Brittany since Nantes was included in the Pays de Loire administrative region, many of the city’s inhabitants regard themselves still an integral part of Brittany. During medieval times, much of the city’s prosperity resulted from colonial expeditions and the slave trade. Today Nantes is the most important commercial and industrial centre in west-central France, and appears as a particularly well-managed city with fine museums and carefully tended parks and gardens. One of the museums is dedicated to Jules Verne, born here in 1828. The Loire, foundation of Nantes’ riches, has dwindled from the city centre. As recently as the 1930s the river crossed the city in seven separate channels. However, they were filled in after World War II but, fortunately, left the area’s 18th-century mansions intact. They once were the trademark of rich merchants who made their fortunes from the slave trade. French influence was brought to Nantes by the Loire and its trade from the end of the 18th century when the city became known as "Little Paris." The Place Royale and the Place Graslin were first laid out during that time. One of the most impressive landmarks is the Chateau des Ducs, most of which is preserved in its original form built by the last two rulers of independent Brittany, Francois II, and his daughter Duchess Anne, born here in 1477.