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5 Aspects of Life in France in October I’m Rediscovering

I realized I had no idea what to expect from France in October a few days before getting ready for the trip.

I mean, I did spend 18 fall seasons in Nantes but it was a long, long time ago.

I left France in the summer of 2001, right after graduating from high school. Between 2001 and 2005, I was either travelling or living in Canada. But because I was also completing a degree in Chinese language, I was travelling to France in June or September to take the finals.

The last time I was in France in October was in 2005. It was a busy and productive fall—I took a last exam in classical Chinese, graduated from university, and a few weeks later I got the news that my permanent resident application in Canada was accepted.

I hope this fall will be as successful—no university degree or immigration process this time, but a series of small chores, including picking up Mark’s French ID and mine.

I’ve been in France for a week now and I can tell you that…

It rains in Nantes

Much like the rest of Brittany, Nantes is a rainy city. The weather is actually surprisingly mild, around 17°C, but it rains at least several times a day… or constantly.

Boulevard Salvador Allende, Saint-Herblain
Boulevard Salvador Allende, Saint-Herblain
Rue Franklin, Nantes
Rue Franklin, Nantes

People in Nantes don’t give a damn about the rain

Locals are so used to rainy weather and getting soaked that nobody gives a damn. It’s business as usual.

“What should we do? It’s raining!!!” isn’t a question that comes up much around here. Yeah, it’s raining. Staying indoors or taking shelter until it stops would be like staying home through winter in Canada.

My entire family has no problem going ou for a walk when it rains. In fact, outdoor seating is still a thing in October and it’s common to see people eating or drinking in the rain.

Place du Commerce, Nantes
Place du Commerce, Nantes
Allée du Port Maillard, Nantes
Allée du Port Maillard, Nantes

French people are overdressed for the weather

I’m the kind of person who starts shivering when the temperature drops below 20°C—and yet I ended up in Canada!—but I do find the French are way overdressed for the weather.

I watched the French news a few days in a row before the trip and I assumed it was cold because people were already wearing puffy jackets, hats, scarves, sweaters, etc.

Nope, it’s just the fall look, apparently. Canadians are still wearing shorts when it’s in the upper teens!

Place du Commerce, Nantes
Place du Commerce, Nantes

It’s mushroom season

There are plenty of delicious foods to eat in France in October, including hedgehog mushrooms and girolles.

I’m also looking forward to cooking chestnuts and apple pies.

Mushrooms at Carrefour, Nantes
Mushrooms at Carrefour, Nantes
My dish of mushrooms and fetttucine
My homecooked meal of mushrooms and fetttucine
Rue Toussaint, Angers
Not actual mushroom, marzipan! Rue Toussaint, Angers

The tourists are gone

Nobody is looking for funky art installations, nobody is asking for directions, and the main attractions are pretty quiet.

This doesn’t mean the city is empty, it’s just, you know, full of French people living a normal French life. Bars and restaurants are busy and so are shopping malls but few people are exploring the castle or walking along the river.

Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles on a rainy day, Nantes
Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles on a rainy day, Nantes

Rediscovering your own country is pretty cool actually!

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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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