I am always up for a good game, and I’ve been really pleased to find a ton of opportunities to play while in Nantes! Here are some of my recommendations:
With friends right at IES Abroad
IES Abroad has a number of games in the library and the salon, including cards, EsQUIssé (like Telestrations), chess, and even a poker set. Also, there’s a piano and acoustic guitar in the IES Abroad salon, and I love playing piano and jamming with other students.
Conversation Club at IES Abroad Nantes
Every Tuesday evening, I head to IES Abroad for one of my favorite things of the week: IES Abroad Conversation Club! Conversation Club is a great way to meet French students who want to practice English, and it’s structured so that half of the time, everyone speaks French, and the other half of the time, everyone speaks English. Those who want to just converse freely stay in the IES Abroad library, and everyone else heads to one of the IES Abroad classrooms to play games. So far, we have played games involving improvising, creating stories, singing, describing words, etc. Some of my favorite games from IES Abroad Conversation Club include Loup Garou (Werewolf), a game like Mafia, and Dixit, a game vaguely like a reverse Apples-to-Apples.
Pioche, Le Fabrik à Jeux, and other game bars
I went with other IES Abroad students to a bar with collective games called Pioche. They had some regular board games and card games available as well as a few rooms with collective games you can play. We ended up playing a game where we were in a room with a ton of outfit pieces (tops, coats, hats, wigs, sunglasses, shoes, bags, you name it); we needed to recreate images projected on a screen, complete with costuming and poses in 3-4 minutes. It was really hectic, but it was a ton of fun!
Le Fabrik à Jeux is so far my favorite place to play games. There are literally several bookshelves and tables filled with board games and card games, and it was so much fun to come in here with friends. I tried out Les Aventuriers du Rail, which is essentially Ticket to Ride, and it was really fun to hang out with friends and learn a new game (well, for me). I also freaked out afterward because I found that they had Citadelles (Citadels) as well as Bang!, one of my favorite card games to play at Pomona with my friends (shoutout to my Facebook group chat “bang card game interest group”). I hope to go back and learn about different games!
Les Machines de l’Île
This is not necessarily a game, but it is a must-visit. These crazy cool steampunk machines of animals based on the books of Jules Vernes are so intricate and interesting, and I’m sure that walking around the awe-inspiring carrousel des Mondes Marins and Galerie des Machines will make you feel like a kid again. Plus, you get the opportunity to ride one of the machines and operate it!
Pick a park, any park!
Le Jardin des Plantes is right by the train station, and it is beautiful. It feels really relaxing just to walk around and admire the quirky and creative structures and plant sculptures, like a sleeping baby chick next to a giant bench. Also, there’s a part of the park with GOATS! You can pet GOATS!
Additionally, I am super lucky, because the Parc de Procé is super close to my host family, and it is so relaxing to chill, read, do work, or of course, play games in this huge grassy expanse. One of my favorite parts of the park is the garden/pathway with gorgeous dahlia plants and a statue garden right next to it. (That, or the ducks.) While the weather is still nice, I am going to try out to head here more often!
That’s all for now, have fun!
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<p>Brittany Chen is a Cognitive Science major and French minor at Pomona College. She enjoys singing in choir, eating dessert, playing board games and card games with friends, learning about linguistics, and making/appreciating puns. She hopes to work in education or become the voice of public transit or commercials in the future.</p>