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An Elephant In My Castle

We made it. Finally. From Paris, we took the train directly to Nantes, my hometown, the city where I grew up and from where I gladly escaped as soon as I turned 18.

Of course, we were both a bit tired after spending almost two days in Montreal airport. That probably explained why my bank card was swallowed at the first ATM I used and why we didn’t notice we were using the wrong plug for my computer.

For the bank card, it was my fault. I typed the PIN in wrong three times in a row. Duh. I was — God knows why — using my old PIN code, the one I had when I was living in France… 7 years ago. With my Canadian debit card.

For the plug story… Canadian and French plugs are different so you need an adapter for the power supply (for my laptop). I got one from a friend before I left but — once again, Gods knows why — I somehow didn’t notice there were no way it could fit in my laptop plug. So we went to the FNAC (= French HMV) and bought a huge Swiss-made-lifetime-warranty-works-in-129-countries adapter. Of course, it wasn’t made to fit Canadian plugs. We ended up buying a new power supply for my laptop.

Then we slept for about 14 hours.

Nantes hasn’t changed much. Of course, stores did: the then popular cafés are now closed and new trendy places opened. The streets look old and the architecture is beautiful. Everything is small: people, streets, roads, cars and shops. I showed Feng around. It’s actually a lot of fun to see the city as a traveler, a Canadian. I’m bored and boring when I’m French.

One of the nicest place in Nantes is the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. Even though it was raining a bit (Nantes… but still, the weather is very mild for us after the harsh Canadian winter!), we had fun climbing the fortification.

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And then we walked around the city for hours. I got to see the new courthouse… It’s brand new and highly controversial, since the architect made it all black: the picture below was taken inside it. Weird atmosphere, isn’t it?

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And finally we saw… the famous elephant. A group of artists living in the island of Nantes (not an actual island but a former shipyard in the middle of the Loire River) is working on these mechanicals animals and showing them around the city. Here is the elephant… directly inspired of Jules Verne’s books — the famous writer was born in Nantes, of course!

Being home as a traveler is the best. Ever. I just wish I would stop saying “thank you” (instead of “merci“) and “sorry” (“désolé“) to French people!

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