As I mentioned in my previous post, All Roads Lead to Rome: First Stop, Ireland, I had never been to France before my trip this past summer. I was a little anxious as I boarded the plan from Dublin to Nantes, a relatively small town where presumably no one would speak English. It is important to note here, that I do not expect them to speak English, I just wish I knew some French, other than oui, and bonjour.
After a beautiful taxi ride to the hotel, I grabbed a map and took a walk to see the town. I was only here for one night, as I would be on my way to meet Haidee Jo-Summers the next morning and head to Ile de Brehat.
After some time, I began to get hungry. It was getting late and I decided to find a restaurant. For some odd reason, nothing was open. I am accustomed to eating very late in Europe, but it was time for something to be opening. I could not even find a grocer, a magasin de vin, or fromagerie. Exhausted, I decided to return to the hotel and do without dinner. It was just then that I saw a tiny light on in a tiny restaurant with one long table. There were ten people all seated, laughing, and chatting. When the owner saw me peering in the doorway, he motioned for me to enter. In very poor French, I stated that I don't speak French. He laughed and apparently asked if anyone at the table spoke English. No one answered.
"Dine?" he asked in a thick French accent.
"Oui." I answered, in a southern U.S. accent, and he set a place for me at the table with the others.
My new phrase for the night turned out to be, 'table d'hotes,' (a meal of preselected courses served at a fixed time and price). Mark and I dined this way often in Italy. FUN! And, as it turned out, there were a few English speakers in the group... they were just as timid to speak English as I had been to speak French.
With these complete strangers, I enjoyed hours and hours of new foods (new to me anyway) and wonderful wines. Yes. France had welcomed me quite well indeed!
As I mentioned in the previous post, not all of these blog posts will be about painting. Since I left early the next morning to head to Ile de Brehat, I had no time to paint Nantes. At the next stop, I truly made up for it. Tune in tomorrow... here's a sneak preview...
Haidee-Jo Summer's place.