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Lesson Transcript

Take a Walk Along a French River and Enjoy the Culture of Nantes!
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about Nantes. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 4 - Take a Walk Along a French River and Enjoy the Culture of Nantes!
Nantes is one of the largest cities in the west of France. If you look at a map, you'll find it sitting upon the Loire River, a few kilometers from the ocean. It's located just below Brittany, and used to be the capital city. As such, the name of the castle in Nantes is Le château des ducs de Bretagne, meaning Castle of the Dukes of Brittany.
The city, or in French ville, developed economically thanks to the triangular trade, which consisted of selling Africans as slaves to the Americas. The well-off facades that still stand in the center of town speaking to how lucrative this shameful trade once was.
Leaving this part of history behind, you enter neighborhoods that used to be villages of independent fishermen or harbor workers. The architecture, in French architecture, changes completely to a more modest look. It is so refreshing to see that this diversity, and that the small town feel away from the city center is still vibrant and full of life.
Nantes is a very green city thanks to the oceanic climate, the numerous parks, and half a dozen rivers, or rivières. On Sundays and in the summer, one can easily enjoy a stroll in nature, or the barbecue areas set up along certain riverbanks. To enjoy an amazing view, it’s recommended to walk along the rivière de l’Erdre, or in English Erdre river, on a walkway leading from the town center, and which is forbidden to cars.
After this walk, if you're too tired to walk back, you can take the river shuttle, or in French navette, which drives people back from the university to the center. Nantes also has its own tramway that was reintroduced a few decades ago, making Nantes a public transport pioneer. Once you've left the shuttle, you can walk around the town, and if you're lucky, it will be Saturday and the area will be car-free. Only trams and buses can drive around the city then.
A great way to end the day is in Bouffay, the small medieval part of town that is now a district with pubs and restaurants and a popular meeting point for numerous students of the city. You can choose between a table in the shade of the narrow, paved streets and one on a terrace in the sunlit square. Nothing could be better than sitting in the Bouffay atmosphere and enjoying a kir made from muscadet from the region of Nantes or a traditional local beer, or bière, such as "la bière du Bouffay."
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have sweet memories of the city where you studied or where you grew up?
Until next time!