Today we had the opportunity to take a private aerial tour with Gerard, the co-owner of Coeur de France, who is rapidly becoming my idol and personal hero. He owns a little Cessna that he keeps about twenty minutes away from the school. He doesn't have his commerical license, so the cost of the tour was simply for gas. Shockingly, only two other people signed up for the tour—Darren and Ken, two new students that arrived this past weekend.
But first, to get to the hangar, we got to ride in Gerard's little orange 1979 Citroen 2CV (“Deux Chevaux” or “2 horses”).
(It's a convertible!) The Cessna is in the hangar just behind, and it's called "Daffy 2"—but my question is whatever happened to Daffy 1?! (Gerard informs us that there was never a Daffy 1.)
His car has a matching tagline:
Daffy 2 was nestled in with three other planes in the hangar, in its own little spot right inside, with its outlined spots for the wheels. I joked that Gerard parked like a jerk, right on top of the line:
And here she is out of the hangar:
It was a gorgeous day for flying, clear and calm. We taxied down the runway, which just ended in a kind of cul de sac, did a three point turn, and then took off!
I can't remember the last time I was in such a little plane, and I got to be upfront in the cockpit! We stayed about 1500 ft above the ground. Gerard even let me take over the controls for a little bit, which was fun and a little terrifying. He said I had a light delicate touch, as opposed to his teenage son who plays a lot of video games and I guess shows less finesse. Things must have changed since the one flight lesson I had for my 16th birthday, when the instructor informed me that I liked steep turns (my idea of flying came from watching Top Gun, so.)
It was beautiful up there, on the hills there are the vineyards, which haven't grown in yet for the season so are still brown. Most of the flat land is devoted to agriculture, growing wheat and barley, and other cereals, which has grown in and is very, very green. (After the worst winter ever in Boston, my eyes don't even know what to do with that shade of green.)
Above you can see Sancerre! I like this photo because you can see the shadow of the hill spreading into the valley—kind of cool. My apartment would be in the top left of the hill as shown here (I think).
After circling Sancerre, we saw some chateaus! The one below had its landscaping designed by the same person who did the gardens at Versaille.
It's so absurdly picturesque. And then you look over and see this:
It's so funny to me to see this in real life. The most familiarity I have with nuclear power plants is from the Simpsons, so they look very cartoonish to me. No one talks about the nuclear power plant, and I don't know if that's because they are so run of the mill that they're not even worth commenting on, or if they're more like the elephant in the room. Maybe by the end of my time here I'll be able to ask this question in French, in which case I'll report back.
In any case, here are so more photos from the air. I like the one below because you can see the reflection of the Loire river in the wing at the top of the photo.
And one more:
On the way back to Sancerre, I was picking Gerard's brain about how to move to France as an American. He said that Sancerre is lacking in a really good BNB, and that real estate is cheap.
Some of you may know that I have seriously considered opening up a BNB at some point in the future, because I believe it would be the perfect career for me: I could indulge in my domestic interests (hosting guests! cooking for people! spreading my intimate knowledge of my city!), while at the same time be the cut-throat business lady that I'm sure must be inside of me somewhere. I may just swing by the real estate office tomorrow to see what's available—stay tuned!
And that's all folks!