Travel Photoblog II: France, October 1-6 2019

After Krok, I flew from Moscow to Paris via Helsinki. My destination was this conference in the Loire Valley.

My cheap Paris hotel was near this cemetery.
I stayed in Paris just long enough to meet sister radical feminist Cecilia for lunch at a crêperie near Gare Montparnasse.
Leaving Paris on a TGV. France has excellent trains that put the US to shame.
A double rainbow as seen from the train. A trainbow?
Changing trains in Tours.
French trains have dedicated bicycle areas, while in the US, I can’t even take my folded Brompton on a bus between Champaign and Indianapolis without the driver yelling at me.
From the taxi from in Saumur to l’Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, I saw yet another rainbow.
The “royale” part of l’Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, the “palais” where artists-in-residence are housed.
Residents eat, chat, and do laundry in this common area. I was not a resident, just visiting to speak at the annual animation conference. But I had to do laundry after 10 days in Russia, so I used their washing machine.
A fresh batch of international animation residents had just arrived, and I joined them on this tour of l’Abbaye.
Cloisters galore.
The magnificent late-Romanesque cathedral.
More cloisters and animators.
The view from my window in the morning.
It looks so peaceful, doesn’t it? But they were doing construction most of the time, and the drone of power tools and compressors was nearly constant on weekdays.
The architecturally magnificent chimney towers of the ancient kitchen were under scaffolding and submitting to power tools as well. They say they’ll be done in 2021. I may apply to be a resident then so I can come back and see them in their full glory.
The conference opened with displays and presentations from the animators-in-residence. I didn’t take many pictures of the conference itself, and I have no photo from my own talk, with Jayne Piling, but it was apparently well received. I think my take on copyright abolition made some heads explode.
I got to eat breakfast at the swanky hotel, where they had this over-designed tableware. Instead of having a ridge like a normal saucer, this one had a curved cone protruding from its center, on which nestled the reciprocal inverted cone of the teacup.
It was design-for-design’s-sake, serving no purpose but to remind diners they were somewhere expensive, which was probably the point.
I took more photos around the ever-photogenic Abbey my last morning.
The French famously respect comics as an art form. In a bookshop in Saumur I came across this large hardbound graphic biography of George Orwell, among many other handsome and diverse comics.
After a few more French train rides I checked into this Ibis hotel at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
It had a pretty good view, considering.

The next morning I took my cattle-class seat on the plane to Chicago, and now I’m back in Urbana, IL, which feels even less glamorous than it did before (which was not at all). Au revoir, France! Das vedanya, Russia!

Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

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