Ok I might have lied. This is not a blog post where I talk about planes at all actually, or trains for that matter. Although both of the latter are very useful and common modes of transportation for traveling long distances across the country, I am excited to write about one of my greatest surprises and new favorite things since arriving in France: the tram.
My second day in Nantes, my host dad walked me through the route I would take to the IES Center. We were a little late, or so he told me, and so we had to jog a bit to catch what I would soon learn is called Le Tan, one of the most common forms of transportation in Nantes. Somewhat a mix between a small bus and a very small train, trams make up the 3 lines of Le Tan to provide easy navigation of the city.
Each time I’ve ridden the trams since that second day, I am again impressed with their cleanliness, reliability, and safety. To ride, you simply purchase a pass at the nearest drugstore, called Tabac, put the ticket in the slot of the ticket checker upon entry, and keep your balance.
The trams typically move fast enough that I’m never impatient, yet slow enough that everyone stays upright.
I will admit I had some confusion at first, especially with the tram schedules, but after a couple missed trams it was very easy to pick up. Each line has two trams going in opposite directions. The side of the station that you wait at depends on the way you’d like to go. However the thing that helped most was definitely downloading the app ‘Nantes Dans Ma Poche’ (or ‘Nantes in My Pocket’). The app allows you to choose a tram stop and view the timetable for all future trams that day and the next. It’s been especially helpful for my time management as I start to get a hang of my new schedule.
Each day since, I’ve taken the trams to and from IES, and sometimes just downtown to hangout with the other students. I hope to capitalize on them in the future to explore more of the city in an extremely accessible way.