This summer is hot and dry summer in both France and Eastern Canada. I’m not sure how to handle a second COVID-19 wave, but I had a suggestion for the latest heat wave shattering temperature records in most of the country—another day trip to Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie.
French 17th-century apartments don’t come with air con and it gets really stuffy in Nantes, even on the Loire River shore.
On Friday morning, we put our swimsuits on, grabbed towels and took the regional train to Saint-Gilles. My brother was in Nantes for a few days and he tagged along with us, which made Mark very happy—finally, someone to play with!
It was low tide so there was plenty of room for everyone on the Grande plage, even with hundreds of surfers, foreign tourists, families and day trippers looking for some ocean breeze. I hadn’t realized how long the beach was—it took me almost 45 minutes to walk to what turned out not to be the end of it.
Four hours, two ice creams and a bumper car ride later, we walked back to the cute station where we learned our 5:44 p.m. train to Nantes had been cancelled.
“Oh man! We missed it, we were late!” Mark sighed.
“Nope, we’re on time. It’s just… not showing up.”
“Because mysterious SNCF reasons. French trains are convenient and cheap but not particularly reliable. C’est la vie.”
“Dang! That’s not cool.”
“I’m proud of you, Mark. This is a very French comment!”
“The next and last train is at 6:30 p.m.,” my brother told us after checking the schedule on his phone.
“Which means we will arrive at… 7:55 p.m.”
In French, this means “shit, too late to buy bread and go grocery shopping.”
So my mom and I rushed to the nearest bakery again—if you ever see French people taking public transportation with three baguettes, don’t assume it’s a snack for the trip—and we waited for a train to show up.
It took forever to make it back to Nantes but it was worth it.