Where’s the snoot?

Okay, so who stole the snoot from the French? I have tried everything to find an arrogant Frenchman – even waiters who traditionally had the role of professional snoot cockers – I have tried speaking French in the worst accent (Australian) and used my best schoolboy french to upset the natives, but no, they politely respond… in English.
Arrogant? I have tried asking directions to the toilette of guards in Versailles and all they have done is smiled and pointed me in the right direction. What am I doing wrong here?
I have tried wearing the wrong shoes (long story) and I even tried ordering a coffee ‘tres legere’ but to no avail – not a sniff among them, just polite courteous service. Nary a Gallic shrug to be found.

Note: the Gallic shrug is something to be cultivated – a combination of ‘I choose not to understand your anglicised attempts at French’, and an ‘I don’t care even if you are lost/busting to find a toilette/desperate for a decent coffee or (d) all of the above.

Somewhere in the last few years all this has gone the way of globalisation and perhaps the global economic crisis, but now I would have to say that the French reputation for snootiness or arrogance is grossly misplaced. Just sayin’.

Drawing in the Roman Theatre in Arles

Sketch of Roman theatre Arles in FranceArles is dotted with ruins and I have decided there is nothing like a good ruin. Actually flippant attitudes aside, many of the monuments at Arles are UNESCO world heritage listed.

The other day we visited the Roman theatre and off to one side is a collection of carved and plane stones.  I had a delightful time sitting in the shade of  a tree, drawing the image above. Click the image to see a larger version

This is what the travel journal page spread looked like. The green half disk is a paper patty that held a lavender  cake – yes that is right a a cake made with lavender. It was lovely.

photo of travel journal page spread


Nantes, France – quirky botanical gardens – Review

What does a big bird, a big potato-head, a big face, and a big bench have in common? Well, they’re all big – and you can see them all in Nantes’ jardin du plantes/botanical garden.

We knew already that this town had a reputation for artistic endeavours and the botanical garden is no exception. And what a delight it is to walk around and find surprise after surprise awaiting us around the next corner.

There was a children’s maze grown in place and woven like a basket as it grew from live bamboo.  Then there was a giant head peeking through the ground

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

As we went a little further there was a series of benches – ever larger until we encountered one that formed a bridge over the path

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

This one even had a giant basket of knitting in place

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

then there were the birds…

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

These were planted on grass trees

And finally there were the potato heads.

 

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Botanical garden, Nantes, France

Sharon and I could hardly contain our delight at finding these and many more surprises as we walked through the park before catching the train back to Paris. The botanical garden is one of the most visited sites in Nantes – and for good reason!