Saturday, 8 June 2013


Don't want to bore you to tears with more travel photos but... but these are really nice, okay? And as they've come from FRANCE, where LE MAS BLANC WRITER'S RETREAT is located, they at least have a certain relevance beyond their attractive appearance.

As I explained in the last post, I was invited by Alberto Manguel to attend an international writers' festival he organized in the city of Nantes (at the mouth of the Loire in lower Brittany) this past weekend that was the first in what will be an annual series of ATLANTIDE literary events. The "glue" holding the festival together was the concept of MYTH, both ancient and contemporary... Writers from Canada, Spain, England, the United States, Slovenia, Portugal, Iran, Argentina, Albania, Korea and Iceland came together to share ideas and address some interesting notions about how myth underscores our human existence... from the myth of Hollywood to the myths of the Haida people to the myth of Happiness, and more... Discussions and arguments to delight the mind and heart.

I drove from Tornac to Nantes, stopping twice along the way. The weather was pretty bad, so I didn't get to go "walkabout" as much I might have liked, but I still was able to revisit some places I'd long wanted to see again, such as the Loire Valley. I spent one night in Saumur in a hotel across from the town, that afforded a pretty-well perfect view of the chateau... this shot was taken in the morning BEFORE the rain started again.

The chalky stone from which buildings in Saumur are built is called Tuffau.
Nantes itself is an enormous city -- the 6th largest in France -- and I saw but a miniscule portion of what it has to offer but even that was extremely satisfying, including the cathedral, the Jardin des Plantes (where they've been keeping records and examples of "foreign flora" since the 16th century). It was a Sunday morning, and the park was full of happy families strolling paths through beautifully landscaped gardens where special exhibits, created of shrubbery, had been included to amuse and delight children. I particularly liked this one.

How can shrubbery have such a sense of humour?

 Iwill  also include here a shot of the old LU biscuit factory which may only have meaning for those of you reading this who have grown up loving those cookies called LE PETIT ECOLIER (plain biscuit with a chocolate coating on which is stamped a scene of a schoolboy). LU is a famous biscuit-maker in France, and much identified with Nantes (there is a buttery cookie called after this city made by LU as well).

A detail from the LU factory main entrance...SERIOUS biscuits.
Tomorrow I'll add some shots from my travels homeward... I know, I know, you're impatient but you'll just have to wait. And who knows whether I'll get to this blog before or after the FRENCH OPEN tennis in the afternoon, during which I will be crossing my fingers for Rafa...