Family events are not always easy, particularly when you are a pièce rapportée as they say in French. The first time I heard the expression, which literally means a patch, to describe an in-law, I was shocked. A patch indeed!
When we finally decided that everything would be much smoother if we took a hotel room in Nantes rather than stay in the family home, our visits became much easier and we always treat ourselves to breakfast La Cigale on the last day.
This beautiful Art Deco brasserie built in 1895 which has all the extravagence of the Modern Style is the work of ceramist Emile Libaudière who mostly designed sober bourgeoise homes and religious buildings.
After becoming a listed monument in 1964, it was turned into a cafeteria until it was rescued in 1982 and restored to its former splendour. Its tiled frescoes, myriad mirrors and windows are an absolute delight.
We’ve noticed its increasing popularity over the years, particularly now that Place Graslin is closed to traffic but we always manage to find a table for two in the first room, our favourite. At 15 euro each for a full continental breakfast, it’s excellent value for money – two hot beverages, a mini croissant and mini pain au chocolat, a slice of brioche or cake, toast with butter, jam and honey.
We’ve never eaten lunch or dinner there, because of our family co, but Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris, tried it last winter when she spent New Year in Nantes.