Ten Random Observations about France

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My Brand New Carte d'Électeur

Even though I haven’t lived in France in ten years and even though I’m registered as a “French abroad”, I still received a carte d’électeur at my parents’ address to vote for this year’s presidential election. So technically, I guess I can vote twice. Ahem… election fraud, anyone?

Packed Terrace

When on earth are French working? Bars and cafés always seem packed during the day! And I still can’t believe people drink alcohol anytime during daytime as well. It’s weird to see people go shopping for clothes a can of beer in their hand.

Musician in the Street

There are a lot of panhandlers in the streets. The most persistent are the organised groups from Eastern Europe and the drunken punks with their dogs.

"Nuit" (Night in French)

Bars are supposed to close at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., and technically, nightclubs close around 4 a.m. (it depends on the city). In Nantes, noise disturbance is a huge issue, as people start to party on Thursday and don’t stop until Sunday night. People seem to spend their night getting drunk, shouting and yelling in the street, and there is no one to stop them.

Running After The Tramway

Even though the ticket is getting expensive, I still love the tramway. Nantes has a pretty good public transportation system and riding the tramway is smooth and efficient. I know it won’t happen in Ottawa (I doubt the tracks could stand winter) but I wish we had a similar system over there!

Park in Nantes

French public parks look lame compared to the ones in Canada. They are usually hangouts for drunks and are pretty dirty. Not to mention that dogs poop everywhere here, and that people don’t clean after their pets.

Shoe Tossing

Shoe tossing was apparently introduced in Nantes. Do they say “le shoe tossing” or “la shoe tossing?”

Chocolate Maker Shop in Nantes

Window-shopping takes a whole different meaning here. Stores window displays, especially those from independent stores, are often elaborated and very pleasant aesthetically-speaking.

Kebab in Nantes

French really love “kebabs” (shawarmas in Canada). There are just about everywhere!

I finally remembered this week that in France, unlike in Canada, the VAT is included in the price and that I could prepare my change beforehand.


About Author

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


  1. Shawarma is so not the same thing as Kebab! I miss Shawarma very much but get to eat some at a Lebanese restaurant close to my apartment.

    About the election card, in cities of less than 3500 people you do not need to show ID?

  2. I remember the trams! They made my so annoyed at my own country. Toronto does have them (they’re called streetcars). And every street with a streetcar line is covered in cables – particularly at intersections, where the view of the sky is completely cluttered up by wire and cables, some of which are joined together in a kind of mesh. I always thought this ugliness was necessary for the proper functioning of an electric streetcar, but Nantes proved that to be wrong! I took a picture of a tram cable in Nantes to show everyone. If the French can have a beautiful tram system, why can’t we? : (

    • I don’t think I ever taken the streetcars in Toronto, although I did take pictures of them. Maybe once? Can’t remember. I tend to walk in the downtown core.

      Nantes’ tramway system is beautiful but again, it’s a relatively small city and the weather is rather temperate. It helps!

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