Monday, May 20, 2024

My Last day in Nantes, La Cigale

My last day in Nantes.

Began with a 9:30 reservation 

At the divine 
Art Nouveau brasserie, La Cigale
, considered the most beautiful brasserie in Europe and designed by architect- ceramicist Émile Libaudière in an exaggerated Art nouveau style. It opened in April 1895 by its first owner, Mrs. Calado.

La Cigale attracted a bourgeois crowd including artistes from the nearby theater. Surrealist writers Jacques Prévert & André Breton were regulars. Scenes from several films were shot there, including Jacques Demy's 1961 film Lola (wikipedia). In the 70s La Cigale was neglected & became a fast food restaurant!
It was rescued by a new owner & restored back to its original brasserie form in 1982. It’s now a designated heritage building.

Their witty logo, La Cigale (meaning cicada not a cricket) is present everywhere. You can receive their card if you buy anything in my shop today! I have 10 cards & other Nantes goodies 🎊 

Lis Watkins kindly invited me to join other Urban Sketchers, (mostly from London)

For breakfast/p’tit dej & painting à table. The 3 little jars contain confiture myrtille, compote de pomme, & the specialty of Nantes, creme de caramel au beurre salé All the tiny watercolor boxes appeared suddenly.
Plus a pad of very fine beurre 🧈 cru de baratte bois made from contented Normandy cows 🐄 from local fromagerie Beillevaire
Going to a hotshot place for breakfast (19€) is a good idea, especially on the weekend. They were fully booked otherwise.
I left the gang early. My train was at 3:00/15:00 but I had to 👁️ the gawd damn 
famous articulated, automated elephant 🐘 on the Île de Nantes. Do NOT get on line & wait 30 minutes to go into the over-crowded galerie. The elephant is FREE. I only found out after I got my ticket 🎟️ 
Once you’ve ridden an elephant in ‘The Pink City’( Jaipur) you need to see other elephants 🐘 C’est comme ça 
Another must-do. 
Eat a gâteau Nantais, a fat cookie with icing on top.Wiki says: a soft four-quarter, made of butter, flour, sugar, eggs, almond powder soaked in Antilles rhum lemon punch, sometimes covered with apricot jelly. Topped with white rum icing. Def on the sweet side I thought. Go to any boulangerie in the morning or you won’t find it. They sell out.
I guess it’s a breakfast snack? At La Cigale, someone cleverly got 2 Nantes must-dos accomplished 🎯
I found an adorable shop, AIME hidden near  
Passage Pommeraye at Place Félix Fournier.
can’t resist black-checked bags so I brought it home. The label says Gabrielle Paris. Gabrielle actually lives in Northern France & has no shop in Paris 🤷‍♀️ Shop owner Susana, a former Parisian, loves living in Nantes after 3 years. Her young daughter, who looks like a ballerina 🩰 still considers herself Parisian.
I ran 🏃‍♀️ to get a bite before the train, a
n updated l’aisette des crudités like the day before.
Someone wisely advised me, always get 1st Class coing home, when you’re exhausted and need to relax and I do. SNCF almost always offers you a deal on your return ticket 🎟️ especially if you have a Senior discount card.
Art Nouveau Paris Letter
Big Merci, dear PBers, for all your lovely birthday 🎉 wishes. 
It was fun sharing Nantes with you.and to think I almost didn’t go!  

I’m Carol Gillott, an artist living in Paris. Every month I send out beautifully illustrated letters that capture the true Parisian experience. Sign up to receive these whimsical treasures in the mail.
Thank you for reading PB ❤️
☕️ If you’d like to support my work, you can buy me a KO-FI here  ☕️  ❤️ Thank you so much!  
This Saturday 5/25 10:30
Taught by gourmande, Caroline Mignot.
I won 🏅a place & will be there painting butter colors etc. 😋
Butter 🧈 can be sweet, salty, hazelnut, cream, solid, liquid...milky, fermented, floral, caramelised, brioche notes. A flavour and texture enhancer, butter is an essential material for cooking, pastry, chocolate making! From farm, raw, cooked, alcoholic, during this workshop, you will feel and taste it as you have never imagined...


  1. I would totally do breakfast and cake in Nantes, looks delicious! La Cigale is beautiful. Happy painting!

    1. Anonymous7:37 AM

      Breakfast Cake Kirra! Very naughty
      I did not see hot oatmeal offered anywhere..

  2. Bonnie L7:24 AM

    You are a great ambassadress (?) for Nantes, Carol! So much to see and do…and La Cigale! Gorgeous. A must visit city.

    Gâteau Nantais is one of my favorite desserts (the list is long!). You can get a small one at Georges Larnicol at Odeon when you’re back in Paris. Thanks for sharing your photos of beautiful Nantes.

    1. Anonymous7:35 AM

      I briefly saw Georges Larnicol’s elegant shop in Passage Pommeraye, at the entry. I didn’t go in, thinking it’s just koign-amann. I would like to go back to see the Jules Verne musée…another impulsive traveler 🧳
      And to think I almost didn’t go 🤔

  3. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Thank you so much ❤️

  4. Anonymous9:20 AM

    I go for Very simple hotels. In the past I’ve stayed at the top ones when a company was paying, but who stays in their hotel room much?
    Ibis Gare Sud (79€) was 5 minutes from the train station
    Best Western on rue Piron (there are several) was more centrally located. It all depends what you want. I booked last minute. Transport is terrific. Et voila

  5. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I really enjoyed your Nantes entry - and am trying to figure out why I've never been! Love the bistro. Next trip!

    1. Anonymous10:38 AM

      My last visit was in 2013 for 1 day!
      Why did I wait so long? 🤷‍♀️

  6. What a grand time on your mini holiday! It sounds fun and loos fantastic!

    1. Anonymous10:39 AM

      Thank you Jeanie ❤️
      It was really nice to get away

  7. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Love the black and white handbag. I think it is a charming place to live. Glad you had a wonderful birthday. Lynne

    1. Anonymous10:09 PM

      Thank you Lynne 🥰
      Travel can be a toss of the dice 🎲
      Who knows how it will come out.
      Initially our 7:37 am train was delayed an hour - stressful!

  8. Anonymous10:05 PM

    I still have my menu from long ago at La Cigale. Maryann

    1. Anonymous10:14 PM

      In the 70s La Cigale was neglected & became a fast food restaurant!
      It was rescued by a new owner and restored it back to its original brasserie form in 1982. It’s now a designated heritage building.

  9. Anonymous3:25 PM

    It was lovely to meet you at Nantes. We shared a whacky sense of fashion. Will definitely ask you to be my guide next time I'm in Paris. Or likewise if you visit London. Xx

    1. Anonymous3:31 PM

      It was delightful for me too HomePhoenix
      Please do 🙏


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