Thursday, September 8, 2016

bike ride to Nogent-sur-Seine.

Today I got on a bike and rode to Nogent-sur-Seine. Distances feel small, although having gotten up to the two bridges that cross the canal and the train tracks, things got bumpier, and slightly uphill, as I rode in the caked dirt before reaching the highway and the town.

Everywhere you go around here, given their height and the mainly flat landscape, those two towers, with their steaming latté tops, loom in the background. Here since the mid-70's, many of the residents have lived with them all of their lives, and so must feel them simply to be part of the landscape. But they're so close, just in your face, and for the un-habituated, it's a bit unnerving.

Everything else, though, is full of charm.

I first wandered into the Auchan supermarket on the edge of town, looking for a hand towel, sunscreen (always expensive in this country), and a few other excuses to make a bike ride. Ate a ham and cheese sandwich for a euro, then carried on down Avenue Pasteur till reaching the theatre (left), and nearly sitting down for a beer in the café across the street before deciding to tour some more instead. The beer would have made the ride a bit less spry.
The creperie across from the cafe and the theatre looked like another spot to return to with my fellow artists. Nogent-sur-Seine is a little town, but has plenty of restaurants and banks, it appears, and other businesses, and several little alleyways leftover from long ago. Stone everywhere, and some maison à colombages. You are in France.

Bicycle resting in the shade. Mairie (town hall) below, an example of the French willingness to marry new with old, with the village church lurking in the background, hidden by a veil of scaffolding.

Pizzeria next to the marketplace, something to come to see on Saturday, when the the action is in full swing.

Will find out later what this building is - looks industrially significant, taking advantage of the current.

So once again, there they are, lurking in the back of every corner. This spot would normally be a money shot for a cliché postcard, the view up the river, but in Nogent, all vistas lead to "la Centrale", it seems. Not complaining, but it is a little like being in a movie set, except that it's real.


Mon pére's favorite sign: you can go "anywhere".
Half-timbered houses in the center of town. After checking out the historic section I continued riding up to the Intermarché, Nogent's "big" supermarket, in the industrial zone - this is the part of every French town that looks more like America - strip mall anonymity. Nearly no one there at noon on a Thursday. Picked up a few items to fit in my sling and rode back.

Tonight for dinner Jean-Yves and Laetitia joined us. Every dinner here is better than a restaurant, and it impresses me that, for every French person, knowing what region the dish is from, etc., are important. On another note, Laetitia told us that the frogs come out on the road at night, difficult to avoid if you're driving. Jean-Yves indicated there are wild boar in the forest - don't pick any fights. Foxes here, but no wolves. So far I have seen butterflies, herons, hawks, a cat surprised to be surprised out in the forest, dairy cows looking at me with mild curiosity, and a few fishermen, happy to be doing something that involves long periods of not doing anything.

Back to coloring...

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