Gilles-Croix-De-Vie - the local resort; although it feels wrong to phrase it as one. To an onlooker, the quaint seaside town seems exactly that. Not tarnished by tacky attractions and souvenir shops. Accompanied by the relatively uninventive name; Le Grande Plage is a pretty large beach. That is until, the tide comes in. The waves sweep over the sand and lap against the promenade. The promenade itself is lined with real estate. Apartment buildings, hotels and the odd surf shop. This is a completely different face to the old town on the other side of the river. A face that’s a lot more clean and modern.
Nantes - a city that was undoubtedly my favourite on the trip. The scale of development in Le Quartier de la Création is extremely encouraging to someone like myself. There is a sense of growth in this city. Not only in terms of construction, but in its values. It doesn’t follow the typical ‘make-do-and-mend’ attitude of the French. Not only is this a catalyst for architectural development, but has sparked advancement in design as a whole. The tourist board has had a complete overhaul, introducing signage with novel icons and inviting colours. Also commissioned was the equally vibrant map of the city, completed by illustrator Antoine Corbineau. I find his design style strikingly endearing.
Paris is arguably fairly underwhelming. Unlike Nantes, I feel like its a city that has become comfortable and not felt the need to innovate. The few developing districts of the city are hard to find. Bercy is home to the National Library. A series of four buildings in a layout that resembles a crop mark. It has stemmed the construction of footbridge Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir. The bridge has two undulating platforms that meet in the middle. It is a spectacle of modern engineering and complements the library behind. It presents itself as one of the only ‘form-over-function’ pieces of infrastructure in the city.