Feng and I were taking a late-night walk and the group of friends in front of us had just noticed something apparently “gross” in the side street they had just passed.
Last week, it was just my parents, my brother and the three of us in the family house by the seaside. This long weekend, there are 11 of us.
The one- or two-hour walk feels like an accelerated history lesson or a sociological snapshot of Nantes.
“Oh, Juliette… he got a splinter.”
“No worries, I’m on it. Mark…?”
“NNNNNOOO! NOOOO! DON’T TOUCH IT! DOOOOON’T!”
At 6:45 p.m., the five of us walked to the Musée d’art, Nantes’ art museum that had just reopened after a five-year renovation and expansion project.
This summer, the main exhibition, “Seul avec la nuit,” features the work of Hans Ruedi Giger who created the Alien monster.
We were almost done visiting Nantes’ historical prison, a former detention centre turned into an ephemeral art project.
“The problem is, people are scared of us. They fear pain. And of course, they think we’re expensive.” “Huh-huh.”
I walked along the waterfront. It was definitely 2017 but it could have been 2007, 1997, 1987…
The good part of a stay in Saint-Michel—the village we’re in—is that you have to be resourceful and flexible to make do with what you have.
We’ll make it. It’s a short 45-minute drive, which is just as well because I’m stuck between Feng and Mark on the back seat, and my sister’s cat
The 50+-stop itinerary takes visitors on a “journey” from art installations to more formal exhibitions, from quirky playgrounds to obscure art projects.
Seven French moments, with candid pictures taken around Nantes.
I had too much faith in French summer weather. Somehow, I had forgotten Nantes is close to Brittany, where the local joke is “oh oui, we had a nice, dry summer—I remember, it was on July 29.”
Once upon a time, before large supermarket chains took over most of the developed world, shopping at local markets was a standard feature of daily life. Nowadays, most French fill their shopping cart at Carrefour.
“I asked for a… baguette au sésame. But they didn’t understand me at first, because I pronounced it as seSAmee instead of SAYsame.”
No more “yellow cheese”, “orange cheese” or “string cheese”, an anarchist party, yoga at the castle and other French oddities.
“Is he your son?
‘Depends… what did he do?’
“Are we going to the airplane today?”
“It is five o’clock yet?”
“NO! Mark, just go watch TV!”
France has a new president, democracy is safe and I was interviewed live on CBC. Enjoy my deer in the headlights look!
I won’t vote in the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections. I refuse to vote for a candidate or a party I don’t believe in.
The joke is on me now—I have just flown with literally two kilos of salt in my luggage.
If Mark suddenly starts sounding like a Pink Floyd song, don’t look for a hidden meaning or the name of the drug he took. He is just overtired, and so am I.