Monday, August 26, 2013


What I bought and ate in Nantes.
You've got to go to Nantes to get to Machecoul and fromagerie Beillevaire and then back to return to Paris. A few hours exploring seemed essential. I wish I'd taken a few days...
There's a Jardin des Plantes adjacent to the train station. Turns out Nantes (Capitol of Atlantique-Loire) has been named one of Europe's most livable cities and ranks 36th globally and 4th best in France. Maybe I should move there?
Time for a quick charge around  town to search out the caramels au beurre sale.
The Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne is easy walking distance from the train station
And a good place for a picnic.
The streets are narrow and full in allyways worth exploring
I meant to visit the cathedrale St.-Pierre St.-Paul to keep A strong Belief in wicker happy but shops full of local products lining the Place St.-Pierre beckoned.
Naturally I'd checked my Atlas of France Gourmand before setting off north, but so far no chickens of Loue, rillettes du Mans or Eels (thank goodness) had crossed my path.
Petit Beurre are everywhere since 1886, when created by Louis Lefevre-Utile in Nantes - more info here about the brand. You can make your own petit beurres at Clotildes.
You'll find them in every form and some are calorie-free.
La Trinitaine called out to me - a haven of biscuits, sweets and savory items.
It's obligatory you buy some salt when you're in Bretagne. Preferably the finely ground 'fleur' de Guerande used for seasoning after cooking. The chunkier salt is used in cooking.
Shelves and shelves of goodies await but how to choose?
I've seen Creme de Salidou on the shelves of G.detou in baking supply haven so how bad could it be? There's none left in case you were wondering. I wish I'd bought some bath salts but the sweet tooth won out with crepes instead (also now gone..).
I found the grinder for course salt in the train station relay.
A menu in the street looked awfully tempting if one had more time - all seafood.
When buying products in France keep an eye out for these symbols denoting high quality. Have you been to Nantes? Do tell all. Shall I go back? Do take a look at I Prefer Paris' interview of yours truly.


  1. Bonjour Carol,
    I have been to Nantes and loved it. We stayed with friends there who took us on a water tour of the city. We zipped in and around the waterways, it was great fun. I particularly enjoyed exploring the regenerated shipping yards and the Machine de L'ile, the amazing cultural and artistic project site inspired by two artist and since developed into some major projects. Wonderful! Here is the link, it may inspire a second visit. I love your work and adventure, wonderful too.

    1. Thank you Amanda,
      How amazing! I really must return and see more
      The drawings for the Machine de l'Ile

  2. That is.. fantastic to me..I came home w/ a Nantes/Petit Beurre trivet..and I love it.. bought it at the market in ..oh for the life of me ..I am thinking Gordes but I could be wrong..we tried to go to many markets in a whirlwind of too few days.
    That coin purse. with the cherry looking looking clasp.How cute is that?
    Your journal page is so detailed and lovely.

  3. Carol, I once spent part of a day in Nantes, and have a vivid memory of walking around that chateau. Thank you for including that photo. Seeing your other photographs makes me wish I had stayed longer, rather than catching a train to Bordeaux to catch an overnight train to Nice. That was a day full of travel experiences. xo

  4. It's funny, I only just discovered you (with your comment on the Figaro Madame issue on How Parisian Women are (not so) perfect and subscribed to your blog.
    NOW I got you in on Richard's blog AND yesterday Hero Husband and I had a delicious lunch in Paris with a couple coming from Nantes at the next table and with whom we 'connected' over our meals.... and all four agreed that Nantes was indeed very special, quite wonderful and of some importance. Because we too visited and loved Nantes instantly - there is a quality of life which is very much 'us'... So good of you to write this up (and paint...) - Thank You

  5. Wow this was really interesting to me since the French foreign exchange student, Clotildes, that stayed with our neighbors this summer, was from Nantes. She was a real sweetie too. Fun to see where she came from. I was picturing a small village. This is fabulous almost like a fort..cant think of the name I want. Yes do go back.

  6. PS..That's a fabulous interview of you. I just checked it out.

  7. Wow, you are really giving us a fabulous food tour of France. Agree with Cris - a great interview!

    1. A high calorie tour
      I am no good anywhere near anything caramel ;(
      My downfall completely

  8. Thanks for the foodie tour! Next visit, take a ride on the giant mechanical elephant!

    Loved reading your interview...and congrats. You know you've arrived when you are featured as the "Parisian of the month". :) xx Katie

  9. Carol,

    I loved your news on Nantes.

    Did you get to see the Incredible Machines?

    1. All I saw was caramel, caramel, caramel
      and SALT!
      Clearly I have to go back!!

  10. Hi Carol -

    About 30 years ago (yikes!), I did a summer program in Nantes and lived with a great French family for 6 weeks. I loved it! Next time be sure to visit the Passage Pommeraye. It was in Nantes that I had my first Moules marinieres and tarte tatin - still favorites to this day!

    Monoprix also sells fleur de sel Guerende (I bought the one on the right in Paris).

    Love your blog!


  11. Delightful piece about you! And the watercolor at the top of this post is now my favorite! Perfect.

  12. Looks like a lovely city. Will add it to my wish list!

  13. What's not to like about salt & caramel (and all that seafood).

  14. I didn't know about Nantes (now another fantasy place to retire) but when I took a day trip to the Loire valley, I wished I could have stayed there longer. I love that you go go go but I'm afraid I'd weigh 500lbs. if I was there long enough.

    1. Swimming daily helps redistribute the 500 pds
      But they've closed my pool for a week
      I'm in big trouble!

  15. Lovely photos, france is so beautiful. the cathedral in your photos reminds me of Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste in lyon. lovely blog :)

  16. Why are the French so much more elegant in their packaging than us.....
    well, in everything.
    I'm getting bored with living in NY -well, not permanently, but need a change of scenery....
    Your elegant blog makes me crave everything French- and my mouth water like mad.

    Buster misses you and Robert says thanks for the brushes!

    1. I miss Buster too
      You know what's especially fun here is when you go just 1-2 hours away you see all kinds of new enthralling things (even besides the caramels indepth

  17. oh yes! nantes is on my ever-lengthening list too. i've heard lovely things about it from beatrice here:

    with her lovely pictures of course. and petit-beurre!? my first french friend: packets came with me daily to my first days at art school in aix, and made more friends for me!

    how lovely for you, yes go back!

  18. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I liked the photo of you in I Prefer Paris.
    Nantes has a beautiful Brasserie, La Cigale

    1. I should have asked PBers advice BEFORE dashing off
      Leçon learned for next time!

  19. My favorite shots of Nantes are of the Chateau, I think.
    Nice interview with you - I like the photo a lot!

    1. A very dramatic setting right at the beginning of the town. Kind of amazing

  20. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Have really been enjoying all your day trips! Nantes looked beautiful.


  21. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Carol you are in my area….Bravo..
    Go to the creperie jaune… you will have the best Pave Nantais….
    Bon appétit

  22. Hmmm. I have had Lu biscuits here. Not terribly flavorful, the ones I had -- but there were lots of choices! Nantes looks lovely and I really do like that first painting at the top!

    1. Breton BUTTER has to be much better than the local brew I'll bet
      Clearly I MUST go back to taste one!

  23. Bonsoir, Carol!
    I am wondering, do they label GMO-free or organic foods in France?
    ...the organic farmer in me has to know!
    Au revoir...Suzanne @ Le Farm

  24. There is NO GMO foods in Europe.
    Not allowed.
    Organically-grown and prepared foods are labeled BIO.

  25. Anonymous3:15 AM

    A beautiful page. I hope you get to historic La Rochelle. The original "mussel" beach! But the Charente has much more to offer than seafood. Our daughter has lived there for 20 years and we delight every time we visit.

  26. Anonymous4:43 AM

    Just read the interview with Richard. Terrific!! You have a new fan from an ex-partime Paris resident. Your watercolors are mouth watering.

  27. Oh squeal! I'm so thrilled that you thought of me at the cathedral! But the doors look shut anyway, and I greatly approve of your CBS quest. That creme de Salidou looks amazing. And what a coup- Parisian of the Month! That's so fabulous, and it's a wonderful interview. He's too clever- macarooned, love it. I love hearing about all your day trips too- you certainly are getting out and about. Is it possible to become any more jealous? I don't think so... but who knows what you have in store for us this week?

  28. Next time you come to Nantes definitely let me know! I'll show you around! It is a great place to visit and to live!

  29. Wonderful photos and paintings! It's very inspiring, and I'm so glad I've found this blog :) All the best from Anette in Norway :)

  30. Wonderful, and jogged so many memories. All that's missing is the Great Elephant of Les Machines!

  31. I can't tell you how much I love your blog, which I've been following for awhile now. I just got back from a vaca to France and seeing your pics (and paintings) makes me feel like I'm still there. I thank you for that!


  32. Nice interview Carol. Now I know more about you:-)


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