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Cultural Snapshot: 4 Things Found in Nantes [4]

Here is another install­ment of the “things found in Nantes” series, with the lat­est pictures!

Broken glass on the Isle of Nantes
Broken glass on the Isle of Nantes

French streets aren’t very clean. The stereotype of people stepping in dog poop isn’t just a stereotype—et merde…—but at least, such mess is easily washed off by the rain and honestly, a few streets are merde-free. No, really. In Nantes, glass is a bigger issue. Many brands of beer don’t come in aluminium cans but in glass bottles, and so are most kinds of wine and hard liquor. French drink a lot and since getting drunk in the street is not strictly and explicitly banned (and remains a popular passtime regardless), many bottles end up smashed against the pavement, leaving behind hundreds of glass shard. Watch where you step…

Rue d'Enfer
Rue d’Enfer

Street names are an endless source of entertainment in France. They can be named after famous people—politicians, artists, leaders, etc.—or be descriptive, for example the rue des Pins. And then, you have the “what the hell?” street names, like this one, named just that: “hell street”. There isn’t anything special here, it’s just a small alley, no devil in sight.

Souvenirs of Nantes
Souvenirs of Nantes

Around touristic places, like the big cathedral, several stores sell regional specialties and souvenirs from Nantes and Brittany in general. Food is always a best seller, including caramels au beurre salé (sea-salted butter caramel candies and local wines, like Muscadet.

Bowls with Bécassine
Bowls with Bécassine

Bécassine is one of the symbols of Brittany. The 1905 comic strip character from is a young Breton housemaid, usually depicted wearing a green dress mocking traditional Breton peasant costume. She was originally seen as a stereotype and remnant of the contempt with which the Bretons were long considered, especially by classy parisiens, but she is now a classic character used on many souvenirs.

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