August 15 (Assumption of Mary into Heaven) is a statutory holiday in France and in Nantes, over the long weekend, there were a lot of people wandering aimlessly, looking for entertainment.
I always forget how common it is to see French people engage in verbal and physical fights.
As I’m typing this, it’s 3:15 a.m. on a rainy Sunday night and I can hear three or four voices shouting outside—“J’vais t’tuer!” “Fils de pute!” “Lâche-le!”
Half of France is complaining about the weather—the one who worked in July and decided to take August off—but it’s still business as usual when it rains in France.
Feng left today. At 10 a.m., I walked him to the bus station. He was in travel mode, focused on the upcoming journey back to Canada, and I was half-asleep—we didn’t speak much.
This year, the first mission was to buy two French SIM cards and prepaid plans to use our smartphone during the trip.
I knew I was supposed to marvel at paintings and sculptures—and I did for the first twenty minutes of the visit—but I was too tired to focus on anything in particular.
I was a bit wary of Paris in the summer. The months of July and August are prime tourist season in one of the most popular destinations in Europe and one of the most famous in the world.
Checkout was at noon and we had tickets for the 4:43 p.m. Paris-Nantes TGV, so we were free until 4 p.m.—the Montparnasse railway station was just two subway stops or a fifteen-minute walk from the hotel.
Formula for a perfect day? No plans, just hope for the best.
Getting lost on purpose and finding your way around a big city is a fun exercise, especially in a very walkable and absolutely fascinating place like Paris.
I wonder if five or ten years from now, we will refer to summer 2019 as “you know, this fucked up summer when we visited Paris twice just because.”
The city hasn’t changed but everything else did. Like my mom puts it, “it was a shitty year.” There’s so much family drama going on I don’t even know where to start both when I try to explain it to Feng and when I attempt to “fix” issues.
Just two weeks after leaving Ottawa, Feng, Mark, I, my sister and her boyfriend piled up into his car to go see my paternal grandparents.
Thank you, Pornic, for this deliciously vintage moment, especially considering these days, you apparently need an app for everything.
Three days after arriving in Nantes, the idea of spending a few days at the beach started to float around, but I was adamant I wasn’t going anywhere yet.
When we arrived in Nantes, thousands of posters asking “Où est Steve?” were plastered all around the city. There are also graffiti on the festival site and on July 20, we saw a human chain along the Loire River demanding justice for Steve.
My French friends in Ottawa were as clueless as me. “It may have changed…” was the motto. So, this is what I discovered after a few days in Paris—just keep in mind my own experience is very anecdotal!
The three pre-booked Nantes-Paris TGV tickets were €130, an acceptable price considering the 420-kilometres trip would be conveniently completed in two hours.
The hotel was Rue de Vaugirard, on the south side of the Seine River. Montmartre is “Rive droite,” six kilometres further—I basically had to cross the city on foot.
Paris From the Top of a Ferris Wheel + Les Invalides, Avenue des Champs Élysées, Louvre Pyramide and Notre-Dame
In some cities, sights are concentrated around a specific area, usually the “old town” or a natural wonder, but there are famous buildings, bridges, gardens, streets, historical landmarks, etc. in almost every Parisian arrondissement.
I hadn’t realized how excited Mark was to see the Eiffel Tower until a few days before the trip to Paris.
Paris started off with a “warm” welcome by the French border control police.
Paris doesn’t change but Paris must have changed.