September 25, 2010

A Whirlwind in Europe - Nantes (Day 12)

Nantes is the third largest city in France according to my friend Stephane. Stephane is a clinician and senior scientist. We meet in 2006 when I was a co-op student at my current lab and Stephane was a visiting fellow. It was Stephane who invited me to attend the workshop in Ile de Berder. After our workshop, Stephane invited me to stay with him for a couple of days.

Nantes is about 1.5 hours from Ile de Berder. After dropping off the luggage, we had a quick lunch. Stephane’s wife Christelle was putting the youngest kid to bed for an afternoon nap, so Stephane took me to a local fishing store to get a 1-day freshwater license (saltwater fishing does not require a license). The shop was very well equipped with a fishing section and a hunting section. Unfortunately, I forgot what the store was called.

When we returned home, we sat around chatting while Christelle prepared a batter for Canneles Bordelais. When the batter was put into the fridge, we were ready to visit downtown Nantes with the kids.

Our first stop was Château des ducs de Bretagne, a Brittany castle dating back to 1207.

Drawbridge gate



Flying the Brittany colour

In the distance was La Tour LU, the tower from the former Lefèvre-Utile biscuit factory

Our next stop was the very beautiful Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul

Tomb of Francis II, Duke of Brittany

There were some buildings that had sculpted faces on the façade. According to Christelle, these sculpted faces dated back to the slave trade. Rich families who profited from slavery were able to decorate their buildings (on the right), while others who are not as wealthy had plain façade (on the right). It was an interesting mix of art and history.

We finished our tour at Église Sainte-Croix.

We returned to the house just in time for dinner. After some wine, I don’t remember what the name of the dish I had for dinner (there was salad, bread, wine, more wine, and some fish in a very buttery shallot sauce). It was absolutely tasty because Christelle was an exceptional cook (and baker).

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