The White Queen of Nantes

La Reine Blanche is without doubt my very first cinematographic memory of Nantes. This Jean Loup Hubert film was shot in my beautiful city in 1991, where Hubert was actually born. It tells a story of young love between the beautiful Catherine Deneuve and her two suitors. The first suitor suddenly leaves Nantes, so she marries the second one and sets up home in Trentemoult, the old fishermen’s quarter which has now become a creative area with colourful houses.

During the filming in the summer of 1990, the pretty village of Rezé welcomed the great names of French cinema: Jean Carmet, Richard Bohringer and Bernard Giraudeau. One of the loveliest houses in Trentemoult was used as a set for the film, with its famous “Au Confort Moderne” shopfront.

The story of the film takes on a new dimension when, years later, a pretty mixed-race girl and her best friend (the blonde Isabelle Carré, who plays the daughter of Catherine Deneuve) are competing to be crowned the Queen of Nantes, known as La Reine Blanche.

When I was a little girl, Nantes Carnival was a very exciting time for me. The liveliness of the streets, the happiness of the passers-by, the carnival parade with its floats, people in fancy dress and the smell of candyfloss…So many memories. And obviously, like all little girls, I was dazzled by the float carrying the Queen of Nantes!

Every scene in this film evokes an unmissable part of Nantes. I remember an argument in Passage Pommeraye… It’s funny but even today when I climb the steps of this famous Nantes street, I can’t stop myself seeing that scene in my mind.

If you want to know if the pretty mixed-race girl becomes the Reine Blanche de Nantes, I would invite you to go and see the film… Afterwards, go to Nantes to relive the iconic scenes from La Reine Blanche!

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