European Castle Tour - September 2006


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A Day in Nantes

View Photos from September 18 (72 images)

Our first (and only) full day in Nantes! We went to a patisserie across the street from the hotel for breakfast and wandered around the area for awhile. The last time Ginger was here was 9 years ago when she studied at the Institute for European Studies. She lived with a family then, and on this trip we made arrangements to meet them. About 10am we called Monique and Michel to ask about when we would meet up. They came and got us at the hotel about 20 minutes later. Ginger was so glad to see them again and Neil was happy to meet them! We drove over to the Institute and paid everyone a visit while Michel held the parking space. Madame Rouchet and Mademoiselle Beatrice are still there and we all chatted for quite some time (well, the French speakers, anyway!). Mme Rouchet gave a quick tour of the institute, now 2 floors instead of just one, and told us about a few good restaurants around. Michel got tired of waiting in the car and came up to the 2nd floor to see what was taking so long. Hey, three chatter-prone ladies getting together, what do you expect?

Upon leaving the institute, the four of us walked around the area for awhile, and then went to a Nantes hot spot, La Cigale. It’s a highly decorated restaurant specializing in seafood dishes. There’s ornate tiling from floor to ceiling, really a beautiful place. We ate lunch and then walked around the area, stopping at Galleries Layfayette for a look at housewares. Ginger's mom fronted some money and asked that we buy her dishtowels from the different places we went, so we found a nice one here. Monique headed off to get groceries, and the rest of us continued walking around the city. Michel could be a tour guide! He led us all around the area pointing out important places or telling us facts of interest. We went to the Cathedral, the castle, saw the oldest house in Nantes dating from the middle ages, saw the narrowest house, and all kinds of other things. Each town in France can have many churches, but each has only one Cathedral. We also took a short boat ride over to the other side of the river to see Trentemoult, a suburb of Nantes which was established by fishermen and their boat captains. The fishermen’s houses were quite small, and the captain’s were not much bigger! Many of them were painted in bright colors and some had motifs on them like flowers or waves. Some of the streets were so narrow you didn’t know if it was a street or a driveway! It was quite a cheery place!

We got back on the boat and headed for Monique and Michel’s house where we got a quick drink, and then continued on to walk around the nearby park where Ginger had walked a thousand times years ago. Then it was back to the house for dinner. We didn’t know we were in for a multi-course meal! The first course was some pork type paté served with bread. Then Monique made galettes, which are crepe-like pancakes but are made from a different flour making them brown instead of yellow. Each was heated, filled with cheese and ham, and had an egg on top. Mmmm, tasty. Next was the cheese course. There were about 5 to choose from, ranging from very hard to very soft. Finally, ice cream. We were stuffed! It was all so good! Neil brought out his computer and we showed them pictures from the trip up to that point. Then, they took us back to the hotel where we slept soundly after doing so much that day!