A night in Nantes was part of our three day drive through France, but since it was simply a stopover and there was no time for exploration, we mainly saw the inside of our apartment hotel and the restaurant where we ate a rather bland but far-too-salty faux-Italian dinner.
Italian dining 'experience' in Nantes, France
But what WAS a humorous side note was the discovery of a popular Thursday night hang-out in the “Atlantis” area of Nantes — a huge restaurant and bar complex complete with a nightclub area, a large pool hall, and a massive bowling alley — all under one massive roof! And I have just realised that I will need to add search-engine ‘tags’ to this story that cover music, entertainment, food and drink, humour, and sports. Cool!
Moody blue cocktail bar in Nantes, France
Cocktail hour in Nantes, France with Salsa classes in the background
Pool tables at the Bowl Center in Nantes, France
We’ve lived and worked in various parts of France, mainly Normandy, for 9 months out of our 16 months on the road. Traditional cafes and bistros have been a familiar part of each segment of the four places we have lived in Normandy. But frankly, this glossy and contemporary style of venue was a side of French social life that we had never seen. The crowds inside the bars, restaurants, and the bowling alley itself were a range of ages from twenties through fifties and it was a relaxed and happy bunch.
Bowling in Nantes, France
Bodega Bar inside the Bowling Center at Nantes, France
Mark told me to “look to the right” as we strode up the polished concrete ramp to the slightly elevated 2nd level and we saw a clump of people following along with a dance instructor. Dance classes, too? I thought it was some kind of country line dancing, but it soon became apparent from the swishing of the hips that we were watching something with a distinctly South American feel. We had arrived on Salsa Night!
Small poster for free salsa classes on Thursday nights in Nantes, France
I asked Mark to go back out to the car and get one of the cameras and while he was gone, a handsome 50-ish Frenchman came up and asked me if I would like to dance. Let’s be honest, I’m improving a bit every week, but my fractured French is still rather pathetic. However, I managed to reply, “Non, merci. Mon mari est avec l’automobile et il retournez dans cinq minutes!” (No thank you. My husband is out at the car and he’ll be back in five minutes.) And then I stood there feeling quite flustered because it had been awhile since someone tried to pick me up! He smiled broadly when he heard my accent, nodded sweetly, and said goodbye. Whew!
Just thought you’d like a wee glimpse into a bit of suburban French night life. And up next? On to the Atlantic seaside!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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