Friday, May 09, 2014

Nancy girl

This is mostly a post about Nancy (the city), but let's wrap up a few other things I've been up to lately. For Easter, I went to Jules's mum's place, where I had the pleasure of meeting half his family all at the same time. Which is obviously a massive treat and not at all scary. I lie, it was scary, I awkwardly shook his mum's hand and didn't know what to do with myself most of the time. Luckily everyone (while making an effort to speak English with me) spoke amongst themselves in Luxembourgish most of the time, so while that meant my presence at the table was mostly ornamental, it also meant I couldn't make too much of an idiot of myself. Jules theorised that they were more afraid of (speaking English with) me than I was of them, which makes me sound a bit like a spider, but I'll take it. Seriously though, everyone was very nice, it didn't go terribly, and it was nice to have something to do at Easter for the first time in many a year.

On the other hand, I have seen Jules's mum assembling a gun in her living room (I kid you not), so I think maybe I need to be on my best behaviour around her! I think that's the first time I've seen a gun not wielded by a police officer, and even then it freaks me out. Bit weird!

Over Easter, we also went for a walk around Luxembourg's Lac de la Haute Sûre, which Jules informs me is just known as "the lake" to the natives, since it's pretty much the only one in the country. It amuses me that it's the only one and it's not even a real lake - it's man-made for electricity generation. No offence, but Luxembourg, while pleasant, is a pretty featureless place. They found like a claw from a dinosaur recently - the first ever found in the country - and it was front-page news. The lake is pretty though, although most of the bit we walked around unfortunately had too many trees to really get a good view of it.

At the lake
Last weekend we decided to take advantage of perhaps the first genuinely hot and sunny weekend of the year to take a daytrip to nearby Nancy. It really was a lovely day, and Nancy is really charming. We saw the Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy (separate post to follow), the Basilique Saint-Epvre, Place Stanislas and the Parc de la Pépinière, but I felt like we just scratched the surface of what there is to see in the city.

The Basilique Saint-Epvre is a 19th-C neo-gothic structure filled with some really lovely stained-glass windows. I think some of the windows may have been done by the Art Nouveau artists of the Ecole de Nancy.

Basilique Saint-Epvre






Ferdinandus O'Gorman is improbable enough a name as it is, let alone featuring in a stained-glass window in Eastern France
We had lunch in the regal (or, rather, ducal) Place Stanislas, which I recently saw featured in a list of the best places to have an apéritif in France. Most importantly, though, number one on that list was Place Plumereau in Tours, booyah! Place Stanislas is definitely more visually impressive, but it's also huge. Whereas Place Plumereau, in summer, is completely filled with café tables, and there are cafés, restaurants and bars on all sides, in Place Stanislas there are only a couple of café/restaurants on one side, with a relatively small space given to their tables. So I've got to agree that Place Plumereau probably takes this one out, although Place Stanislas is definitely a nice place to take some photos and enjoy a drink in the sunshine.

It took forever to get photos by the fountain, by the way. We arrived like 2 seconds behind this group of tourists, who remained completely oblivious to the fact that we obviously wanted to take photos too, and kept sitting on the fountain for about 10 minutes. Grrr.

Place Stanislas

Alley leading into Place Stanislas


Finally a photo with the fountain



Proof that Jules is taller than me. I did think he was, but for some reason thought only by a couple of inches and wouldn't believe him when he said he was c. 6 foot. PS someone got a little bit of a red shoulder while having lunch


Gates on the other side of Place Stanislas

17 comments:

  1. Shotgun wedding?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Call that a lake? The place we're staying in Kauai'i has a bigger pool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Them's fighting words! You can't see the whole thing, to be fair.

      Delete
    2. PS nice holiday name-dropping.

      Delete
  3. That lake makes a pretty picture. Nice photos all-round really - you and Jules look like you're enjoying life! :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did not realize there was a language called Luxembourgish. All this time I thought they spoke German there. Thanks for teaching me something new

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment and you're welcome! It's an interesting place, linguistically. The first years of school are in Luxembourgish, but then they switch to German and then French in high school (i.e. all classes are taught in those languages, not just "language" classes), plus extra classes in eg English. So pretty much everyone ends up speaking three or more languages fluently. I'm jealous!

      I've picked up a few Lëtzebuergesch words so far. My next challenge is ordering "gromperekichelcher" (like rösti or hash browns) in Luxembourgish when we visit a fair this week!

      Delete
    2. I wish my education had been like that. Would love to have been taught multiple languages.

      Delete
  5. "which makes me sound a bit like a spider"... ha ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no way spiders are more afraid of me than I am of them though!

      Delete
  6. Okay, the gun thing would freak me out. A lot!

    Nancy seems like a really pretty place! Whenever we go to J's parents' we pass by Nancy (and Metz), but it always looks fairly featureless from the autoroute (especially when compared to the view of Metz). We'll have to check it out sometime.

    -Shannon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J is not a huntin' and fishin' guy, but his family definitely are. Not what I'm used to at all. In fairness, we had fish, wild boar and venison for Easter lunch which were all hunted by them, and they were yummy!

      It is really nice, I would say pretty than Metz, but I might be a bit biased since I haven't had the greatest time living there.

      Delete
  7. I can't stop laughing at your reply to the first comment... you crack me up so much! xx

    ReplyDelete

Feed the Comment Monster! Rawrrrr