Tuesday 7 February 2017

Nantes' Historic Waterfront

Eager to explore a bit more of Nantes before we move out (hopefully to Brittany!), one Saturday we decided to visit Jules Verne's Museum. The entry is quite cheap (3€/person) and as it's been inaugurated in 2005, everything felt well thought out and looked after. You can tell that a lot of school kids must be visiting this nice building as the setting and layout of each room is interactive and fun.

We became a little obsessed with the magnificent book designs from various collections and in so many languages that they have on display. You can tell that these retro embellished designs are coming back! But how couldn't they? When looking at them, you feel that they'll never be out of fashion because they're way too beautiful for that. Also, it was really nice to know a bit more about Jules Verne's childhood and the fact that he was so inspired by the boats that he would watch everyday from the waterfront.

Plus, the view from this historical building is to die for!

We'd parked on the other side of the Loire, so we stopped by the Mémorial de L'abolition de L'esclavage as it was on our way back. My parents mentioned it to us as it's a structure that has been very recently completed. It retraces the story of slavery and how Nantes was a key port in transportations of black slaves. On top of the memorial, you can see hundreds of little glass plaques on the floor, showing the name and date of each boat transporting slaves that came and went.

It's cold and powerful, and all the quotes and memories written on the glass below the ground add to the terrible feel that you get when looking at this structure. It's so important to have a look back at the city's history, good and bad, but you can't help but feeling a bit uncomfortable. Yes, slavery has been abolished, but we're all aware that behind the scenes, there are still so many illegal slaves and child slavery is still so common in some countries. This memorial reminds us of all of this and I'm pleased that we have something like that in Nantes now.

If you're in the surroundings, don't miss it!

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