Monday, September 25, 2006

Mont Saint Michel

After a month of hard work of schooling, I was engage into an expedition that led me and some other members of the Vie de Chateau, in one of the most prestigious place in France: Mont Saint Michel. I was the designated organizer in this event since I have some attachments in the host country. Some 12 or so people, decided in a Saturday late morning, to head up to See the Sea. My heart was beating hard in remembering all the memories that goes along with the salty effect that might be on my lips. We all jumped into 3 cars and hit the road.

The first gang stop over on the way to Bretagne from Fontainebleau was in a small tinny French village where the post office was fighting back the unique bar-restaurant on the 10 feet large central place. We were, all of us, the 12 monkeys, the attraction of the day, and probably the topic of next Monday free market. No explanations were given in exchange of our coffee and the break gave us enough strength to push the route to Cancale.

This village is attached to the rocky coast by a stream of habits and a rope of traditions. In all the name of honor and respect Cancale is as well-know for its oyster as Rome for its Vatican. I heard of people traveling half way through our planet to taste this tinny road along the bay, and visit the lighthouse for good karma and bad luck wish away. I do only believe in the religion of food and do my regular afflictions of wine to pave my road to oven. We all eate in a restaurant facing the port, and enjoyed the local sea food, floading crab and other sea snail with a dry Chablis. The night left us enough light to road back to Rennes on time for a heavy car washed, and a salvation beers at the local bars.

The next morning was celebrated by a French breakfast on a terrasse, staring at people who stared back at us. After all, the best way to be local is to do local. In Rome do like the Egyptian. They stare, we stare!

We finish the breakfast on the way to the famous Mont, and arrive just on time between two sets of Japanese Buses. In my recollection, the Mont was bigger, wider, and wilder and less people friendly than what it is right now. But I was 11 and had no time, patience or interest in whatsoever resembling to an old stone. Today I do, that might be the years that gaining my personnel interest or the time that forces me to respect thing that I see changing in front of me.

Anyway, the Mont was there in front of us, the 5 millions tourists who were present this last sunny day of September. It did not matter for second to me that I had to share this moment with other foreign and un-respectful human being. I was happy to see smile in my 12 Monkeys friends and almost proud that such a place was present nowadays. I let them appreciate the good side of France, and they respected the way France behaved. No complain was said once during this journey, and smiles were on each and every faces.

The trip back was long and delightful, full of joke, sleep and sparks of glazes. We arrived all of us in one piece and tired of our escapade in the French country side. Tired but happy and thankful that we having such a good weekend in our hectic life.

I am sure that, that night all dreams in tha’ house were full of horses, king and old stones. The next morning I was happy to remember one of the dreams that I had that night. The magic of the Mont was on me, let it last as long as possible.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Paris is still Paris, but not the same anymore.

I went to Paris from my Fontainebleau residence last weekend. I took the train early in the afternoon on Saturday (around 6PM), and after 45 minutes of commute time in the Parisian suburb, I arrived in Gare de Lyon. Few subway station later and some accordéon in the tube, I reach Bastille at 7.30PM just on time to start the bar crawl with some friends. The night was long and full of talk and alcohol, the way I liked them. The next morning we all went to Paris Bercy to hang around on the newly renovated 12th area in Paris.

The best thing that I notice in Paris was probably the smell. Paris smells the same, even 10 years later. I like it the way it is. This is a strange mix of humidity, human smell and train oil that give a particular odour of metro Parisien. I felt at home when my nose was full of Parisian sh*t. I liked it very much.

Then, over my short subway transit, I was pushed, yelled at and more importantly stairred at. I did the same thing evaluating my next opponent for the last seat fight and try to see where would be my best spot in that case.
Few tips that I collected over my period in the big P. city.
Don't fight against an old lady; she will give you the guilty look.
Don't fight against a young lady; she will give you a kick in the knees.
Don't fight against an old man; he will give you the vindictive speech.
Don't fight against a young man; he will give you bad experience for sure.

What you have to found is a poor tourist with a lot of suitcases. You have a big advantage not only in terms of time, while he or she carry his or her stuff, you will be able to install your blanket and start sleeping. But as well in terms of language. If she or he starts arguing that it was her or his place, why not answering back in rude and really fassssssssst French. You will win at each time.

Anyway, this is the same old thing, where you run in the subway and you don't even know why. You have the sad and bad look with no smile and you wonder why people have the same. You complain all the time just by the fact you have to in order to relate to people.

BUT this place is amazing!
Each corner is a picture to do,
Each person has a long story to tell,
Each stone has a glory to make.

I love Paris for what she is, and indulge her for what people make her to become.