Europe,  France,  TDM,  Travel Journal

One month squatting in France: Travel diary

Due to a wedding we were invited to in Nantes, we decided to include France in our program, to see our relatives, friends, clients and fill our stomachs before leaving for other faraway places for a long period of time


Nantes is the 1st stage of our mini tour de France. Because that’s where the wedding takes place. So we squatted in the nice apartment of Caro and Mathieu (and their cat) for a few days. They took us to see the famous elephant of Nantes, Pornic and Saint-Nazaire to see the coast and the construction of a huge cruise ship. And of course, we were tempted by oysters and chopped beef tartar with a knife. We also tested a canteen near the river, I fell in love with their roasted farm chicken

As for the wedding, it was the most beautiful (and moving) wedding we’ve ever been to, at a princess estate

Having only fancy clothes and equipment, I had to go shopping, relearn how to walk in heels (not easy after a year and a half of trail shoes and sandals). Rhalala, quite an organization! But all this preparation isn’t in vain since I also have to dress in a more or less professional way to go and see my clients at..


Before squatting 2 weeks at my sister’s (and keeping her cats)… we first spend 3 days in an airbnb in Neuilly (fashion week obliges, everything was full or overpriced in Paris…). Thing that I regret the next day: (1) it’s far from everything, I have to take by evil of Uber (2) the apartment is on the first floor and I think there is a problem of canalization. The bathroom stinks!

I think that’s what established a stressful climate as soon as we arrived in Paris. I try to hang out as long as possible so I don’t have to put up with that untimely smell. Luckily, the owner finally paid us back

After 3 days in hell, I finally squatted at my sister’s house, who is going on vacation for 2 weeks. I am therefore responsible for the care of two cats: Rosalie (who is my cat in fact) and Sushi. Let’s go for 2 weeks of cuddling and purring with these two fur balls, while JB spends his time in the South with his grandmother

Rosalie likes to sleep on top of me, in a ball like this or in “chicken” mode

Sushi is a real gossip who can spend hours on the balcony

Rosalie does not like to be photographed. Now she can’t sleep well because of my phone

Every week, I spend one day/week at my client’s place. Just to preserve myself (taking the subway every day would have finished me off). We were able to go to very good restaurants like this one which serves monstrous portions of seafood

And in my spare time, I never get tired of the chicken leg salad at Piment d’Or (that’s where they also have the best bun cha in Paris)

…or tepppanyaki deluxe version at Hanafousa

Despite the presence of the (adorable) cats, and an unburdened schedule, I haven’t felt this bad in a year and a half. After 3 days, I catch a little cold, then aches and pains, then the desire to do nothing. I feel so bad that I went to see my osteopath. She knows me well and tells me that I have the same symptoms as before my world tour. Alert alert!

Yet I preserve myself by taking the bus at off-peak hours, by doing my shopping at 3pm (with other grannies), by spending my time in my favorite restaurants, my favorite spas… But Paris doesn’t work for me, I can’t stand smokers, those negative waves sent by stressed Parisians, the cold and the changing weather from one hour to the next


Finally, it’s time for me to go to the South of France to spend a few days with JB’s grandmother. A friend of mine is coming with me. As for JB, he goes back to Tours to his mom’s house

Clearly, this type of environment suits me better

Every morning, I wake up with bird songs. The climate is mild and warm (despite the Mistral wind). I work in front of the pool or in front of the garden

With my buddy, we visit Grasse and Cannes. In Grasse, I revisit the Fragonard perfume museum that I like a lot (this picture was taken by my friend with a 3kg pro lens, it looks like an official picture, doesn’t it?)

… without forgetting my computer in the backpack to make a customer call in the middle of the city on the main square 😀

…before having a mojito (at 15€ all the same), with your feet in the sand at the Croisette beach..

and enjoy a nice sunset in Cannes

Spoiler alert: the famous Palais des Festivals staircase is in reality anything can happen

We visited Frejus, its cute port and its beach (less beautiful than in Cuba lol)

Even if we didn’t go to Saint-Tropez this time, we enjoyed the “tarte tropézienne” (the real one)

The only thing that this region lacks are paradisiacal beaches (with very warm water)

Here, I find kindness and smiles in people, and that does me a lot of good

Next stop: Seville in Spain

Practical advice

  • Flee Paris
  • An economical and clean hotel that I can recommend you in Paris is the Arty Paris hotel in the 15th – you can sleep in dormitories or private rooms
  • In Saint-Raphaël, we were able to rent a car for 9€/day (+0,2€/km) from E.Leclerc. You can book it online
  • There is a store “Tarte tropézienne” at the exit of the station. Don’t miss it!
  • HGVTDI trains always stop at the other end of the platform in St. Raphael, so come early and find out where your car is.
  • At the Marseille train station, there is a shuttle bus that leaves every 15 minutes for the airport. It costs only 8,5€
  • The flower gardens aren’t located in Grasse itself, but 10km from the city. We could only visit the Fragonard factory but we heard a lot of good things from the Guerlain museum as well.

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