Today I arrived in France and will share briefly while it’s all fresh. This is my first trip to France and, as a matter of fact, to any country in Western Europe. Long ago I had opportunities to travel quite a bit around the Eastern Europe, but that was it.
So after arriving to Charles de Gaulle airport I took a TGV (speed train) to Nantes. One of the things I noticed while looking out the window of the train was lots of graffiti on the fences around the rail. I thought this was specific to the rail system and other industrial facilities, as around DC you can also find some of that under the bridges and occasional other structures.
But when I arrived to Nantes and took a walking tour around the city, I also saw quite a bit of graffiti all other the place. Apparently it is a form of national artistic self-expression in France. And the artists are very prolific, if not pervasive. Take a look at this somewhat lengthy video I shoot on the train and see for yourself the amount of graffiti. Mind you, my goal was not to video the graffiti, but the views of the country.
When I was walking around Nantes, I took a picture of this hotel, apparently under reconstruction. It is right across the street from the historical centerpiece of the city – Duchesse Anne Chateau. After that I was almost expecting the walls of Chateau itself to be covered with the art. And when I did not see any graffiti, on outside walls at least, I was almost disappointed .Here is the picture of the hotel. Admittedly, most of the graffiti is on the temporary boards, and the hotel is not functional at this time, but still peculiar.
Overall I enjoyed my first day. I took almost a four hour walk around the city center and acted like a classic tourist – soaking up the atmosphere and taking pictures incessantly. At times I thought of myself as a google mobile, – the one that drives through the streets taking panoramic video continuously for google’s street view feature, – only on foot :-).
That’s enough for the day. I still have to read the case for my classes, which was thoughtfully left in my name at the hotel front desk in the welcome package from the Audencia Nantes School of Management.
Stay tuned for more reporting and pictures.