Finally to my disappointment the bookstore was not open and we did not have more time to wait before my train for Nantes left. I crossed my finger that I could find the book in Nantes. So we left Vannes, and Morbihan, and Bretagne. We arrived in Nantes around noon. Again Nantes was no longer part of Bretagne during this trip but it was historically – and I think most people would still consider it as – Breton.Part one
Nantes is one of the largest cities in France. INSEE (national institute of statistics and economics studies) reported Nantes as the eight most populated city in France in 2013 and may be crawled to the sixth place lately.
Nantes is located on the Loire river and also the end of Erdre river at its north.
The train station was located close to the castle of the Dukes of Brittany. We biked until the castle and parked our bike there, just in front of the tourism office. We grabbed the touristic map of Nantes.
Last time I visited Nantes was in June 2010. It was the only occasion – if I’m not mistaken – where all four of us, classmates who shared our journey in France, could meet up.
Here is one thing that I love about travelling. Each experience is unique. You go to a place that you visited before and the place evolves and you evolve and everyone evolves and you would get different experience.
I found Nantes to be progressive and dynamic.
This time they proposed a theme for the tourists under “Le voyage à Nantes” that allows tourists to discover Nantes by following a green trace painted all over Nantes. We only had one afternoon and one morning in Nantes. The visit started from the castle area. Since I already visited the inside during my 2010 trip, I only walked around the ramparts and the garden area. These areas are open for public and free. From the ramparts I had the view to the city of Nantes.
I went to their bookstore to ask if they had the book that I was looking for. Stéphane, the guy who works there, told me that the only chance to find this book would be in Durance bookstore. He was too kind to write me the address as well as to check on internet whether the bookstore was open or not.
From the castle we headed to LU tower (LU is a big french biscuit brand, and the tower was their old place), which then called Lieu unique. Lieu unique was a performance places where dances, music, and different arts were performed. Unsurprisingly lot of young people could be found in this area.
During our visit (I am not sure for how long this would be kept) Nantes also exhibited several artworks around the city under the name of “estuaire”. We passed by the Tour Bretagne which was the third tallest building in France outside of Paris.
We continued towards west side, passing by Saint Nicholas church, Royale square, and passage Pommeraye. I remember back in 2010 this passage was under huge transformation, and six years later I could see the fruit of that transformation. We continued to Graslin area that was famous for its square and the opera before looking for dinner. We were too stupid to not find a good place to eat before we realized that the heart of everything, food and crowd, was just outside our hotel; close to the castle area.
The next day, our last day of trip, we biked out from our hotel. We visited the “Mémorial de l’abolition d’esclavage” – a meditation place to remember the abolition of the slavery. Historically, Nantes was one of the departing ports where ships take the slaves to be sold.
At the end of the memorial place we crossed the bridge of Anne de Bretagne to reach the île de Nantes. Ile de Nantes was an island surrounded by Loire river – like île de la cité in Paris.
Crossing the bridge was my favorite place in Nantes, the machines de l’île. Machines de l’île was where the giant mechanical elephant lived! I was happy and filled with joy. Back in 2010 we already get on the elephant and walked with it, so this time I didn’t insist on doing that. The ride started at 10am, but five minutes before the place was already crowded with kids – and adults. The elephant started to move and we followed it. It sprayed water from its mechanical trunk, wetting surrounding people.
We followed the elephant until the water world carousel then we continued towards the very west of the island.
The visit was finished around noon, we ate lunch and headed to the train station. Our train left at 13:47. After seven hours the train didn’t take us up to the correct station in Lyon so we had to bike to the station where the train for Grenoble left. I was upset and angry, somehow triggered by finishing Moravia’s dark book. I exploded in front of one of the train’s staff. I calmed down about 40 minutes later. I was finally home around midnight, unpacked my stuffs, and took my shower.
My tomatoes were dry but they survived; (most of) my herbs died; surprisingly my parsley were healthy. I still had one holiday left – rest and laundry day.