Thursday, 19 December 2013

Weekdays and Weekends

So it’s been about a month since my last blog post, because obviously I’ve been busy, swanning around like a wannabe Frenchie dousing behind my knees with Chanel no.5 and eating snails with garlic butter everyday. But alas, the time has come for an update on my early winter in France, and by God has it been brilliant.

Upon my return from London after a very hectic October holiday, I found myself having no time to breathe before continuing the somewhat rigorous task of teaching French lycée students. But I have to say, after the past seven weeks I think I’ve established a good rapport with my fellow classes. So much so, we can happily discuss which teachers have big ears and whether or not I like smoking cannabis. Clearly there are no bounds to what these boisterous teenagers like to converse about. However, I think I can safely say most of my students are angels and we’ve got to that stage where even the ones who really can’t speak English, will pluck up the courage to shout sentences at me in the corridors. For example, ‘ROXY, YOU GOOD? OK ME GOOD TOO.’ As you can see, I have clearly nurtured genius simpletons!  

In between these long but fulfilling weeks, the weekends bring a sense of escape, discovery and evidently, hangovers. At the end of November, my wee friend Emma (she’s always saying ‘wee’ and I love it) and I embarked on a long awaited trip to Nantes. For those of you who don’t know it is situated on the Western coast about two hours north from La Rochelle. Its lovable bourgeois culture, shopping, drinking, student life made it more than a fun weekend getaway. Exiting Nantes train station, the city felt cosmopolitan and a whole lot bigger than the little seaside town we had come from. Obviously the first port of call was the gigantic Galleries Lafayette (my heart will always be true to the original on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris) and obviously money was spent! But apart from all the commercialism Nantes had to offer, the festive spirit made it feel like home again.  Mulled wine and Christmas markets filled the center of town and families were out in full swing to enjoy the run up to the holidays. And being the big kids that we are, we both let out small cries of joy upon seeing some sort of Christmas motif, because at this point, all La Rochelle had to offer was a pathetic Christmas tree made out of felt.

Among the Christmassy things Nantes displayed, the medieval castles and traditional cathedrals fed some tradition into the festivities. Like all proper tourists, we visited everywhere and I then proceeded to take numerous pictures of stained glass windows as if I had never seen one before.

And to really maintain that Christmas spirit that we had been searching every corner of La Rochelle for, we thought we’d profit from a Saturday night in Nantes by having a bistro dinner and drinking cocktails till we couldn’t walk in flat shoes. Needless to say, the next day wasn’t so great but on the whole, Nantes was refreshing, modern and lively. And all of that for a forty-five euro return…it’s not so bad being a student in France! 

Cathédrale Saint-Nicholas



Église Sainte-Croix de Nantes

Stained glass

Château des ducs de Bretagne



Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes




Christmas Market

Emma and Roxy