My flight from Johannesburg to France went very smoothly. I was not overly impressed with the Air France flight. Of all the long flights I have taken from Africa to Europe I can honestly say that the South African flights were the best in terms of service and seat layout. Won’t fly Air France ever again as I got very bad news at the luggage pick up. Well basically I got no news, but that was bad news, because I had no luggage.

I had packed my luggage very carefully. All the stuff for my trip was carefully packed on top, including my jacket. So I was back in Europe in winter with no coat, no hat, no options! Filed a claim with the Air France office. There were quite a few people missing luggage from my flight. I suppose they forgot a whole container?!?!?

Caught the bus into Paris to the main bus terminal. I was already starting to feel embarrassed of my status as Canadian and pitiful French language ability. I had to get to the train station for a 10am train out to Nantes. The bus went all throughout the city offering me a quick city tour. I was amazed at the very advanced transportation system, yet traffic was still a major problem as we navigated through the city.

I reached the train station at 5 to 10am. Having lost my luggage already I was very concerned the whole trip was going to go rotten and I would get stuck, miss my train, get robbed and die in Paris, how romantic. I ran into the train station like a wild banshee (or silly american) and tried to determine where I might grab my train. The station was massive. I made an attempt to ask an older man if he could direct me. He brushed me off, shook his head and walked away from me. I was devastated. Never have I felt it so hard to communicate. Mostly due to my shame in not knowing French as a Canadian and my inability to make an attempt.

Needless to say, I miraculously found my train and boarded. I had some problems finding my seat on the train. Also I forgot to ‘composter’ or validate my ticket at the station so the conductor gave me a lecture I didn’t understand. Regardless I was a bit spent with my travels and morning in Paris so I was very happy to be on this very peaceful journey across the French countryside.

This train was wonderful. Fast, quiet, clean, safe. I think we must have been going upwards of 250km at some point.

Got to Nantes and found my friend Anne. I now had a translator. Thank god.

CC BY 4.0 Nantes, France by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.