Starting a log or diary of intentions and expectations for the voyage to Nantes is proving very useful. My first idea was to try to sketch out a topography of the places mentioned by the travel writers I have already read. The process of making the sketch forces me to position each place in relation to the others using the River Loire along the southern edge of the map and the River Erdre, that Stendhal mentions, in the north east corner. These placements are only from my reading so far and so will be interesting to revise during the stay in the city later in January 2016.
How will I plan a route to take in all these five or six places? The Parc de Procé from André Breton’s quote, the River Erdre, the only word in French that rhymes with ‘perdre’ – to lose – as Stendhal tells us. Then nearer the centre of Nantes, (whose centre?) is the Place Graslin, which I imagine from reading to be a pentagonal city square with the Graslin theatre on the northern side and the café and hotel that Julian Gracq (1910-2007) writes of, and where Stendhal stays during his visit.
Slightly east of Place Graslin, I imagine the mysterious yet glamorous, Passage Pommeraye, used by Jacques Demy (1931-1990) for film making and mentioned by Martin Garrett in connection with other writers in Nantes.
My personal topography, with no field knowledge of this urban space, will doubtless cause some feedback from locals!
Intention and expectation Ajzen (1991) has theorised about planned behaviour; categorising these two aspects of visitors’ testimony as they plan their time at the destination may reveal how they will seek pleasure at the holiday site. For the travel writer a simplified process can be extracted from the two elements of visitors’ expectations and intentions in this way, for example: The Loire embankment in Tours is perfect for picnics and sunbathing so take your sun cream and a corkscrew. Indeed, in anticipating on behalf of the visitor the travel writer begins to intervene in the visitor’s xénitiéa, that is the packing and putting in order of one’s affairs before leaving and going to a new place where a new self-identity may be formed (Mansfield 2004).
Ajzen, I. (1991) ‘The theory of planned behavior’ Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2) December 1991, 179-211.
Mansfield, C. (2004) ‘Lire L’empire des signes de Barthes comme écriture de voyage’ in Yoichi Kaniike, Shunsuke Kadowaki, Yasuo Kobayashi (eds) Bulletin Tokyo, University of Tokyo Centre for Philosophy. https://goo.gl/A99UH3
Posted in: Travels with Charlie in Search of French