In my preparation for the travel writing research work in Nantes I am by this stage, with just over a week to go, allowing myself to read, talk about, and watch anything and everything on the city. My most recent discovery, after viewing Agnès Varda’s 1991 film on director Jacques Demy, called Jacquot de Nantes, is that Demy directed his first New-Wave feature using Nantes as the backdrop. The film, Lola, was released in 1961 and is an urban story of everyday life restored to gorgeous glossy black and white by Varda herself. I wish I could show you some stills from the film; I have asked UniFrance, for an image to post for you here on ‘Travels with Charlie in Search of French’.
At least two scenes unfold in the covered arcade called the Passage Pommeraye; they are important key moments in the drama, too. And, my favourite shot is on the steps of what must be the Graslin Theatre, which fills the whole screen with geology and architecture with our two protagonists in the foreground. Is he holding up an iPad? In Nantes in the early 1960s?
Talking to Dr Graham Busby (see his travel writing posts here on eserve) this morning he suggested I read C S Forester’s Hornblower novel set on the Loire during the Napoleonic Wars, Flying Colours (1938). Apparently the story ends in Nantes, I’ve ordered my copy so let’s see!
Our French Lesson for today looks at the headline in this special edition magazine advertising restaurants and shops in Nantes:
Nantes comme vous ne l’avez jamais vue !
Nantes as you’ve never seen her!
Since Nantes is a city, une grande ville, it is feminine so it forces the past participle of the verb that follows it to add an -e. The l’ is the direct object pronoun for the city, which is making the participle vu add that extra -e. Please notice, too, how French typography requires a space between the end of the sentence and the exclamation mark, unlike English!