Friday, May 14, 2010

Indie Guide to France: Le Mans

My First Week in la France

1. Introduction
2. Video Footage
3. Indie Guide: Le Mans
4. Music

1. Introduction

 A real street name! An old Gestapo house was on the same street we lived.

If you kept up to date on Facebook, I did not know what the best city to visit in France that wasn't that expensive by train. Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon obviously came first to my mind but the train tickets were all over 100 euros. My sad bank account would have screamed in agony if I dared take such an adventure so I decided that I wanted something a bit more authentic (nice way of saying closer and cheap lol). Luckily, Maxime Germain, someone I knew only in the virtual world as the webmaster of Decide-toi Clement (my boyfriend and best friend, Camille's Parisian hit webseries) and whose talent I stole from Paul to help me with my own web stuff, offered to let me stay at his place in Le Mans. Although we had never met in person, I relished the opportunity to finally meet my Skype friend and to see a new city.

Maxime's Geek Workshop. For a 17 year old I was so impressed by his entrepreneurial ambitions!


Le Mans is best known for its 24 Heures du Mans, a famous race car event that happens in the summer. If you haven't heard of it, it means you're probably not a) a hick or b) from France. I had no idea what this city was about if anything, but that was the best part of Maxime's offer. I wanted to escape the glamour and beauty of Paris and find out what the real French were like. Parisians are just so self-centred and narcissistic sometimes, I knew they could not be representative of a whole country! And they putain are not. While in Le Mans I got a taste of something I did not know existed in Paris: friendly people. Everyone was nice and helpful and did not give off any of that bitch feeling all foreigners feel in Paris and immediately attribute to all French. It was cool.


I ate with his family consisting of Maxime and his beautiful parents who had both grown up in Le Mans, met each other there, got married and raised their son all in the same city. They were so sweet and open to me that I felt really lucky to have been invited to their home. I could not see any of the French stereotype of being closed people but Maxime explained that his family are especially open. Plus, I can't express how amazing it was to have a home cooked meal after one week straight of restaurant and frozen food while living alone in Paris.  (Paul and I just bought groceries, hopefully that will change!)

On the last day I went to his highschool. It was philosophy class and none of the students were listening while the teacher droned on about music. As you see in the video, Maxime is playing his Gameboy in class! He explained to me that he always plays in that class because the teacher just talks about nothing for a while. Kids these days!  I was surprised by how NOT different they were from kids in my own highschool except it didn't seem to have the North American classification between jocks, popular kids and geeks. Everyone looked cool. The other difference is that their highschool looked like a castle and was beautifully designed, which I cannot say the same for the brown box of a school I came from in Scarborough.  I saw the city which was pretty ordinary and small and it lacked the chaos of Paris. It seemed a bit like Ottawa, a great and beautiful place to raise a family and live a tranquil life. All in all I lived life like a real Le Manian and I was happy for the chance that most tourists do not get.

Just the stairwell of the ridiculously gorgeous and immense highschool in Le Mans

2. Video Footage
Here is the video I made showing you a bit about my first week in France. Paris and Le Mans are here! (Ps. The kiss is staged. I am very much in love with my boyfriend and it is actually our anniversary today! We're at 2 years and 2 months..is it weird to celebrate monthly ones after so long? Hmm we don't know but we figure any excuse to celebrate love is a good one).



3. Indie Guide: Le Mans

While there I decided to try to make an indie guide haha. The reason I chuckle at said mission is because in retrospect I realized there is not much indie or hip about the place. Nonetheless, here is a
small guide I compiled about the place. I would recommend the city for a day trip. Go there to see the beautiful old city that has castles and makes you feel like you're on the set of a medieval movie and have great French food for reasonable prices. The transportation there was not expensive at all either. I paid 40 euros round trip for a student fair on the TER (the slower train system in France compared to the TGV).

Creepy observer in the Old City

1. Eating
7 Plats et Cie: The food was very good and we got a three course meal for 10 euros! The best and most surprising thing was that the servers were NICE and actually seemed happy with their lives, compared in Paris where you should be happy if they decide to bring you water after you waited 20 minutes. Located in the centre of Le Vieux Mans (the Old City) the ambiance is great. 12, Place St Pierre



2. Chillin'
Café Creme: Go here to be cool with the rest of the youth of Le Mans after school for a coffee or soda. In the centre of the city.


 Rather kinky coffee chocolate name... Instant Pleasure

3. Fancy
Beaulieu: If you want to go on a chic, fancy date go here. It is known as the best restaurant in town.

4. Partying
Jungle Cafe: For nightlife there is not too much but this place seems to have house, electro and dance music to entertain. Cannot vouch personally for this place because I did not go myself (it was a school night for Maxime so we couldn't stay out late!). I did not see many people my age though. Like with most small cities, the young adults leave their home town for the big leagues, Paris. Also there are not many major universities there to entice young adults to stay.

5. Shopping
DJeans: The clothes were not to my personal taste (reminded me of Ed Hardy stuff) but their accessories were mega neat. Found sick, vintage Casio watches there. The owner is rad guy who DJ's around France.

Voila my mini guide for a mini city. I'm working on the Parisian one but heck...there is so much to write about, might even be bigger than the Toronto one. I have a bunch of friends coming soon so I will try to release what I have so far for them!

4. Music

Diggin' the music in the video?

Amazing French singer from the 60's and 70's
Rue de L'abricot- France Gall.mp3

Animal-Miike Snow.mp3