It seems auspicious that I should find the section on his stay in Nantes from Stendhal’s Memoires of a Tourist (1838) today, 1st January 2016, as I plan my voyage to Nantes. A good friend and colleague at the CNRS, Darwin Smith, had recommended I read Stendhal’s travel writing many years ago but I first had to tackle Le Rouge et le Noir (1830). Stendhal’s opening section on his first entry for Nantes in June 1837 serves as a good reminder for the flying passenger today; while the other travellers scramble for their suitcases Stendhal, with just his night-bag under his arm, strolls off the landing board and is one of the first to set foot on paving stones of the great city.
Where does he go? What advice does he give us for our sojourn in Nantes?
French Lesson for Today: There are days when one would wish to be elsewhere.
Il est des jours où l’on souhaiterait être ailleurs. The verb to wish here is souhaiter, and is in the conditional mood conjugated in the third person with on; on can be used to translate one in older, formal English or in more everyday speech, we or they.
Posted in: Travels with Charlie in Search of French