Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The coeur de Nancy

Being with someone almost every minute of every day is pretty intense, even when they're your much beloved husband. We're learning more about each other all the time, including what presses our buttons and how best to deal with the odd moment of irritation when it arises. I'm happy to report that we're as mutually besotted as ever and navigating the odd little choppy patch has been relatively easy.

But it's great to socialise with other people and step outside that little knot of dual intimacy now and again, especially while travelling. Thus, I think the highlights of our European tour so far have tended to be when we've had the chance to hang out with a few mates, whether we're meeting up with old friends or making new ones.

Which is why we had such a great time in the French Lorraine town of Nancy. It has a charming old quarter and a magnificent, newly-restored central plaza, Place Stanislas, which is decked out in white and gold. During the summer, the town also puts on a nightly son-et-lumiere in Place Stanislas, making beautiful and colourful use of the elegant frontage of the Hotel de Ville, which was transformed with clever, creative and thought-provoking projections as we watched in the square.

But what made it really special for us was seeing our old friends from the band, Crevecoeur, who all live in Nancy. Fanny and Roman have a flat right beside the Place Stanislas and with generous use of their internet facilities and a playful cat for added entertainment, we felt right at home. Best of all was the chance to catch up on what everyone was up to (CC have a new album coming out later this year, have recently completed a second successful UK tour and are planning a European tour in the Autumn) and to simply enjoy their company.

We stayed for two nights, on the first Fanny cooked us a lovely vegetarian version of the local classic, Quiche Lorraine and on the second we made them a lentil casserole with mash, for which we were joined by the other member of Creve Coeur, Luc and his girlfriend Stephanie. It was all highly convivial and we were sorry to leave them. We were also sorry to leave Roman's superb record collection, which shows a broad and excellent taste in music, we were both quite envious. Still, at least we have the new Creve Coeur album to add to our on-the-road CD collection, something to remember an excellent sojourn in Eastern France. Next stop, Paris.

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