This Quiet Hour

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In the morning, I went grocery shopping, hauled the food back home then I bought a coffee at Starbucks and walked to my grand-mother’s place to share a cup with her. I came home around 2 p.m. and immediately left for a long walk with my mum and Mark until 6:30 p.m., I went out again to pick up some meat and dairy at the closest supermarket, then I worked while Mark was out with Feng. They came back at 8:30 p.m. and as soon as they stepped in, I put Mark in the bathtub (he was covered in dust from the playground) and I joined him—he washed my face, I washed his hair, he sprayed water all over and so did I. I finished working around 9:30 p.m. when Mark was watching cartoons with my dad, eating his early (! We eat later) dinner. I sighed. Hungry. Tired.

“I’m taking a walk around the block to clear my head!” I said to no one in particular. “Feng, wanna come?”

He shook his head. “Nah. Raining. Cold.”

And also, he was playing Candy Crush on the tablet.

I grabbed my keys, my lighter, and a cigarette and I headed out. I walked up rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, turned at rue de Santeuil, went down rue Crébillon and then rue de la Fosse. The quick five-minute walk around the block—well, one of the blocks.

A few doors from my parents’ place, I slowed down. Suddenly, I noticed how quiet the streets were. It was raining a little bit and it was noticeably cooler. During the days, the city is packed with tourists, mostly from neighbouring towns and countries. Nowadays, Nantes seems to be on many tourists’ map, it’s a popular destination.

But at 9:30 p.m. on this rainy evening, time had stopped. All the stores were closed, only bars and restaurants were waiting for customers who were presumably still hiding from the rain somewhere. Small puddles had formed here and there and the pavement was shining wet.

I saw this woman, cleaning an empty hallway in a building, sweeping dust and cleaning footprint. “If I had my camera, I would have taken a picture,” I thought. Then I paused and looked around. The lights, the wet pavement, the empty streets… I felt inspired.

I pushed the door of my parents’ building, climbed the stairs and stepped in again. “I just… need to go out take some pictures!” Mark was still watching TV, eating a yogurt. My parents were relaxing. We’d eat later.

“Have fun!”

Once again, I walked around the block, slower this time. The woman cleaning the hallway was still there, and I took a few more pictures, trying to capture the moment—this quiet hour after the end of the business day and before the night begins, bringing in a whole new crowd of people looking for food, drinks and parties.

Window shopping at a closed store

Window shopping at a closed store

Woman cleaning a hallway

Woman cleaning a hallway

Passage Pommeraye is closed

Passage Pommeraye is closed

Empty coffee shop

Empty coffee shop

Puddles of rain on the pavement

Puddles of rain on the pavement

Quiet Place Royale

Quiet Place Royale

Closeup of a sewer grating Place Royale

Closeup of a sewer grating Place Royale

Empty alley

Empty alley

Delivery service speeding by Place Royale

Delivery service speeding by Place Royale

Closeup of the fountain Place Royale

Closeup of the fountain Place Royale

Puddles of rain

Puddles of rain

Quiet alley Place Royale

Quiet alley Place Royale

Closed shop Rue Crébillon

Closed shop Rue Crébillon

Restaurants in a small alley

Restaurants in a small alley

Rue Crébillon

Rue Crébillon

Passage Pommeraye

Passage Pommeraye

Wet table Place Graslin

Wet table Place Graslin

Posh restaurant Rue de L'Héronnière

Posh restaurant Rue de L’Héronnière

Empty Steakhouse

Empty Steakhouse

Chinese deli

Chinese deli

Silhouette in an alley

Silhouette in an alley

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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.

7 Comments

      • ahahahhahahah! Man, you’re right again! Once, i thought winter blues is exaggerating. Last week, rain non stop for a whole week in Jakarta! It was depressing for me :))
        but, thank’s God no flood

  1. What a beautiful experience! Thanks for sharing the photos with us. I can just imagine you crouching on the ground for those wet pavement ones. I especially like the cafe shot. It reminds me a bit of Hopper’s paintings.

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