Early Morning in Nantes

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Someone please explain Mark the concept of jetlag and time difference!

After the exhausting trip from Ottawa to France, the guys passed out around noon shortly after we arrived at my parents’ place. I stayed up, took a walk and caught up with my family. Feng and Mark wope up in the evening and we all went to bed at midnight.

At 3:30 a.m., Mark woke up hungry. We fed him but he didn’t feel like going back to sleep. Unlike us; he was wide awake, playing on the bed—he eventually fell asleep at 5:30 a.m. after another feeding. Feng passed out but I couldn’t and I didn’t want to wake everybody up. So I got dressed in the dark, stole my mom’s jacket, grabbed my bag and the camera and left a note: “NOT crazy, just not sleepy. Heading out for a walk!”

I am not a morning person and I am never ever out at 6:00 a.m. I don’t think I have ever walked around Nantes, my hometown, that early. It was like rediscovering a familiar place under a new light.

The streets were being cleaned from a night of drinking and the sidewalks were still wet, with broken glass here and there. Everything was closed: Nantes is not a morning city, unlike Ottawa, and most businesses only open around 10 a.m. It reminded me of going to school before 8 a.m.—we kids were the only ones out that early, the ciy belonged to us.

I decided to walk to the train station where I knew a coffee place would be opened. I passed the many budget hotels and the hostess bars and sex shops–the train station is this kind of neighborhood. Once arrived, I bought a couple of magazines and ordered a coffee. It came in “French size”: a tiny cup of very strong expresso, not exactly the kind of beverage you can nurse for hours, unlike the large burning hot cups of Tim Hortons coffee.

I read my French magazines and observed the flow of commuters, to the sound of the various announcements: “train delayed”; “train cancelled”, “train boarding”, etc.

On the way back home, I stopped by a bakery and bought breakfast for everyone. We shared croissants and chaussons aux pommes—a perfect French morning!

You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.

Left Over from Last Night

Left Over from Last Night

Garbage

Garbage

Place du Commerce at Sunrise

Place du Commerce at Sunrise

Place du Commerce at Sunrise

Place du Commerce at Sunrise

Cleaning the Streets

Cleaning the Streets

Cours des 50 Otages at Sunrise

Cours des 50 Otages at Sunrise

Cours des 50 Otages at Sunrise

Cours des 50 Otages at Sunrise

Empty Café

Empty Café

Cleaning the Streets

Cleaning the Streets

Cleaning the Streets

Cleaning the Streets

Early Morning Shopper

Early Morning Shopper

Early Risers

Early Risers

Sex Shop by the Train Station

Sex Shop by the Train Station

Sex Shop by the Train Station

Sex Shop by the Train Station

Looking Tired...

Looking Tired…

Coffee at the Train Station

Coffee at the Train Station

Urban Flowers

Urban Flowers

Going to Work

Going to Work

Construction Workers

Construction Workers

Commuters in the Tramway

Commuters in the Tramway

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

18 Comments

  1. Oh how fun, off to France again! It’s been too long for me, 5 yrs since my last trip to Europe. We are staying close. I haven’t read more posts but wondering how the trip treated you with a baby. He’s free at least. I’m unsure how Cam would handle it right now, she’s so active!

    The pics and your plan reminded me of what I did in Paris and what I saw.. Exactly the same sort of scenario.. Very interesting, but I’m a morning person…

    I’ll have to follow.. AS like the tour right now. 🙂

  2. Ah, I always love it when I get out of the apartment and see nobody. It almost feels like some sort of Apocalypse happened and I was left behind. That happens a lot on the weekends in my neighborhood in Berlin; for example, it’s almost 9:00 AM right now, I am writing this while sitting down on my balcony chair, and I see no one walking along my street.

  3. You poor sausage! I am up at stupid o’clock this morning to go to work, so I feel your pain! Is it all familiar to you still? Or is it all foreign because you have been away for so long?

  4. I would love to wake up early and watch the sunrise and the city awakening, but like you, I not an early riser. I love the quiet still of the night too much.

    That sounds like the perfect morning: French pastries with your loved ones. Enjoy the pastries all you can!

  5. Salut Zhu,
    Je ne comprends pas cette aversion que tu as pour Nantes. Celle-ci est peut-être causé par le fait que quand on fuit un endroit pour une raison ou pour une autre, souvent on a tendance à juger ce lieu de façon trop négative et on se retrouve à faire des comparaisons et des conclusions trop précipitées. J’ai vécu et travaillé trois mois à Ottawa et ensuite je suis venu vivre en France. Je ne suis allé à Nantes qu’une fois en vacance, mais d’après ce que je lis c’est une des villes les plus dynamiques et vertes de France. En tenant compte que chaque ville à des aspects négatifs, en lisant ce post plusieurs choses me reviennent à l’esprit: les trottoirs sales et pleins de personnes peu recommandables (à toute heure de la journée) de Rideau Street, les personnes ivres contrôlées de près par la police à Byward Market, plusieurs routes défoncées dangereuses pour les vélos et gênantes les jours de pluie, une voiture qui, quand je rentrais du travail la nuit m’a suivi avec les passagers qui hurlaient vers moi juste pour s’amuser et me faire peur etc. Malgré tout, quand je parle de Ottawa je ne met jamais en évidence ces aspects parce que a moins de vivre dans un village de 100 habitants dans les Alpes, ces aspects existent partout. Je ne comprends donc pas ce besoin de souligner en particulier les caractéristiques glauques d’une ville qui se retrouvent finalement partout, y compris au Canada.

    • Je suis complètement d?accord avec toi! On idéalise les endroits des fois, et on oublie aussi les mauvais côtés. J’ai des souvenirs de Nantes enfant, pour y avoir vécu jusqu’à mes 18 ans. La ville a changé aussi ces dernières années… et moi aussi. Disons que ça reste une petite ville, un microcosmos, ce qui est vrai pour beaucoup de villes bien sûr. Et Ottawa me gonfle aussi des fois 😉

      • Thanks, Zhu, for the uplifting and positive posts about Ottawa. I’ve had to put up with so many negative comments about Ottawa over the years, and I must say that I enjoy having your refreshing posts that embrace all that Ottawa has to offer. I really don’t understand why people are so negative about Ottawa – it really is not such a bad place!

        • I love Ottawa! The only “caveat” is that I think you do have to leave the city once in a while. I find that people who spend their entire life in Ottawa and don’t go anywhere else have strange expectations and develop the “not in my backyard” mentality that I dislike.

  6. Hi Zhu,
    Il y a de la poésie dans les petites choses.
    Pour moi, c’était il y a 2 ou 3 mois le matin à la porte d’Orléans, avec la “magie” d’une circulation si bien orchestrée par une policière.
    Tes photos étaient bien :).

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