In Feb I took a train up to go visit my old friends Lison and Julien. I left Tuesday, Feb 14 after teaching all day about Valentine's Day (here V-Day is only for lovers, imagine that). The train was about two hours and was pretty cool. I got to work on some revisions of a book for the whole ride. When I got there, Julien came to grab me from the tram station and then we went to pick up Lison at work. She works at Lush, a store I had never before heard of but fell immediately in love with! They sell some amazing stuff, and Lison gave me a box of it free as a present. Part of her job is testing all of the new products... she's got it hard, that girl! :-)
So we went out to dinner to a creperie because Nantes is famous for its crepes served with salted butter on top! MMMM. Sooo yummy.
I had a generally amazing time. I stayed until Friday. Lison took me around the city and out to Machines de L'ile which was incredible. They've made all of these mechanical rides and little plants and awesome stuff and they have little demonstrations and let the kids ride on them. They have these two huge elephants that take people for rides around the park and there were all of these giant mechanical people that they made that they just set up around the city in the middle of the night and then they got up and walked around and had a little parade a few years ago. I think the idea is amazing and it was so cool to see in person.
Here's the giant elephant full of people getting ready for a ride. The detail on this is incredible. The ears are made from leather and all the rest is carved wood and metal.
We also saw the cathedral and castle. And she took me to a coffee shop that served actual bagels! I was astonished. Bagels don't really exist in France, since they have baguette and such. We went to the LU factory that's been converted into a night club, restaurant and museum. It was pretty cool in there. And we watched a few movies and played some games, all in French, which was really good for me. It was so nice to see them and I was quite sad to leave. It was a great little jaunt and I hope I can see them again before I go back to the states.