Looking out the window of the Eurostar at St Pancras
So, I got invited to give a talk at a conference (as I seem to be doing a lot recently) in Nancy, France. The downside was that this particular conference happened to be on the weekend of the August bank holiday, which was a bit of a pain. But I do get time off in lieu, so it wasn't so bad.
And, the venue being Nancy, myself and Foxy took the Eurostar (it being by far the most civilised way of getting to France). We even got driven to St Pancras in a taxi, as it turned out that there was major engineering works happening on the line between Didcot and Paddington, which wouldn't finish early enough to get me to St Pancras in time for my Eurostar.
As it turned out, being driven was very nice, as I had a stinking cold, and spent most of the trip in the car asleep. (That theme continued for most of this trip, unfortunately...) Foxy had a lovely time though!
The front of Gare de l'Est, where we got the train from Paris to Nancy.
Looking out the window of a cafe in Gare de l'Est.
The view from the hotel room in Nancy.
We got to Nancy around 5pm, and I got into the hotel and had to have a lie down again. I did get up to meet the other speakers at the conference for a very nice dinner in a very nice bistro near the hotel.
Yes, there were snails on the menu, and yes, I ate them. They were very tasty and mainly tasted of garlic butter.
Some of the gates to the main square
The front of the town hall (in daylight)
The conference dinner was in Nancy's town hall, and was buffet style, with lots of little, bite size things served in miniature dishes and balls and test tubes. Some were nicer than others, I have to admit!
Foxy liked the beef stew.
After the conference dinner, we all went out in the rain to watch the sound and light show, which is projected onto the front of the Town Hall. It was really amazing!
My pictures don't do it justice at all.
Everyone got given a bag at the conference. Foxy was looking to see if there was anything interesting in it.
As a speaker (even though I'd lost my voice) I got given a speaker's present, a couple bottles of wine and some liquer, all local to the region.
(I managed to get through my talk alright, though I was very croaky. I found it funny though, that there were complaints from people in the audience on twitter about the lack of cat pictures in my slides. I fear I have developed a reputation.)
Here's the outside of the meeting venue - built in the 1980s, with the architectural concept of being an "ideas factory". So there was a lot of concrete and steel inside. It was ok, not the most pretty of buildings. But the conference room had daylight, which is always a bonus.
We had to take the tram from the hotel to the conference venue. This scuplture was right next to the tram stop.
After the conference finished, I had a bit of time before having to get my train, and I was feeling better, so myself and Foxy went sightseeing. Here's an arch that was right next to the hotel.
And some statues and fountains in the main square.
Another street near the square. (It was raining a lot)
These windows are painted on the side of the building.
An Irish bar. (No, we didn't go in)
At a nearby sweet and pastry shop, Foxy was eyeing up the sugar pigs.
While I was eyeing up the chocolates...
...but decided to buy macaroons instead.
Foxy wanted to try them before we'd even got home!
The trip home on the train and the Eurostar was grand, though the Eurostar itself was a bit crowded.
Back at St Pancras!
Nancy is a nice place, I think I'd like to go back and see more of it when I'm not either ill, or getting drenched with the rain. The hotel provided me with hot chocolate, that came in a teapot! That's a win!