All the Light We Cannot See and Saint-Malo, Episode 140


All the Light We Cannot See, photo of Sophie Moran

All the Light We Cannot See and Saint-Malo

If you loved the book All the Light We Cannot See by Anthoy Doerr and you are thinking of visiting the lovely city of Saint-Malo where a lot of the book takes place, this episode is exactly up your alley.

In this episode, Sophie Moran, an Australian native who recently moved to France for work, shares how she spent a week-end exploring the Saint-Malo area, especially as it relates to the book All the Light We Cannot See.

Warning, the episode spills the beans about what happens in the book. If you don’t want to hear the spoilers, skip between 4’50” and 17′.

Hotels recommended by Sophie in this episode: Château Hôtel du Colombier (her favorite), Grand Hotel des Thermes (also a Spa).

Recommended Crêperie: Le Corps de Garde, you must call to reserve a day or two before you go.

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Episode Highlights

  • All the Light We Cannot See summary and map, CONTAINS SPOILERS! [4’50”] To skip the spoilers skip to 17′
  • Sophie Moran introduces herself and her experience moving to France from Australia [17’43”]
  • What makes Saint-Malo so special and why All the Light We Cannot See is such a great book [21’40”]
  • [23’20”] The places in Saint-Malo that have to do with All the Light We Cannot See
  • Jacques Cartier, Bastion de la Hollande, and the European discovery of Canada [25′]
  • Pirate History in Saint-Malo, the difference between a pirate and a corsaire, and Surcouf  [26’40”]
  • A week-end in Saint-Malo and neighboring area [28′]
  • Review of the Château Hôtel du Colombier, Sophie found it to be a charming and intimate hotel with 15 rooms, also offered one of the best meals she’s had in France [28’20”]
  • Cycling on the beach starting at the Paramé neighborhood in Saint-Malo, aka plage de Rochebonne [30’30”]
  • Visit to Dinan, gorgeous medieval city with a beautiful château and sweeping views [32’30”]
  • Mont-Saint-Michel is only an hour or so from Saint-Malo, you can visit both in the same trip [32’30]
  • Review of the Grand Hotel des Thermes, large and popular Spa. More expensive than the previous hotel and not as homey [34′]
  • Visit to Dinard, a popular resort from the 20s. Their art deco style changing rooms on the beach and the lovely houses. Great cliff walks. [36’20]
  • One of the things that makes this area great is that there are so many wonderful things to do and see close to Saint-Malo [38′]
  • Great shopping in this area, especially in Dinan and Saint-Malo [38’45”]
  • Back to the novel, rue Vauborel. All the houses in Saint-Malo were rebuilt in a similar style, so you can imagine the novel anywhere you go [39′]
  • Hôtel des Abeilles, it is close to the Bastion de la Hollande [42′]
  • There are many grottos along the beach [445’52”]
  • The effect of tides in Saint-Malo [45’46”]
  • Sea-water swimming pool outside the ramparts [46’23”]
  • Bakery where Marie-Laure goes on rue de Dinan [47’12”]
  • Things you may want to visit in Saint-Malo even if you have no interest in the novel All the Light We Cannot See [48’45”]
    • Bastion de la Hollande is part of the ramparts, take an hour or so to walk around the ramparts, the Bastion itself is a park area.
    • You can visit the Pirate Museum, in French Demeure de Corsaire
    • Aquarium in Saint-Malo [53’53”]
    • Museum of the city of Saint-Malo,  Frégate Corsaire [54’05”]
    • Maison du Québec in Saint-Malo [55’03”]
    • Musée Jacques Cartier in Saint-Malo [55’17”]
  • Food in Saint-Malo: Galettes, sea food, hard cider [49’51”]
  • How cider is served: mugs, cider streams, brut vs doux  [52’24”]
  • Sophie also visited the Golfe du Morbihan after she heard our episode about it, she especially enjoyed Vannes.
  • Sophie compares life in France to life in Germany [59’31”]
  • In Brittany people all keep their houses in great shape [62′]
  • Weather in Saint-Malo, you may need a yellow “ciré” (rain-coat) [63′]

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Le Corbusier Architecture, Episode 139

Le Corbusier Architecture in France

Le Corbusier Architecture
Le Corbusier, photo JBonet

On today’s show, Elyse and Annie bring you musings on Le Corbusier Architecture, how he became one of the pillars of French architecture, and some of the criticisms levied against him. Was he a genius or a tyrant? Hint: it doesn’t have to  be one or the other, he could be like you and me: a complicated person.

If you like this episode you should also check out episode 103 about Le Corbusier and the Plan Voisin and how Le Corbusier planned to raze the Marais neighborhood to make room for something out of a authoritarian nightmare. And if you want to see what came after Le Corbusier Architecture, check out Episode 42 Centre Georges Pompidou.

« Là où naît l’ordre, naît le bien-être. » Le Corbusier

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights
  • Le Corbusier Is a Nom de Plume
  • Le Cobrusier, a Father of Modernism
  • Le Corbusier’s Family Origins
  • Le Corbusier and Reinforced Concrete
  • Le Corbusier Architecture and the “Cité Jardin”
  • Towards a New Architecture
  • The Future Is Cities
  • Plan Cities Out or Let Them Grow Organically?
  • You can visit the Cité Internationale for University Students
  • Le Corbusier and Connections to the Vichy Regime
  • Le Corbusier Post WWII
  • La Cité Radieuse in Marseille
  • Chandigarh, India, an Example of Le Corbusier Architecture Outside of France
  • Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut
  • Le Corbusier National Funeral in the Courtyard of the Louvre
  • Differences and similarities between Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • The Desire to Live in a  Modern Affordable Home Is Universal

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Tips for Driving in France, Episode 138

Tips for Driving in France


Tips for driving in France, Dawn at the wheel

On today’s show Annie and guests share tips for driving in France. You’ll hear from Stephanie and Dawn from Canada who drove between Bordeaux and Paris and my friend Jeff who drove around Provence and the south-west. All of us together share great tips for driving in France. If you are considering driving yourself in France, also listen to Episode 16 of the podcast which explains more of the rules and the gotchas. Both of those episodes should have you well-prepared for driving in France.

There are times when driving is so much easier than taking the train or even the bus. For instance, if you want to visit Loire Castles, well, you will either have to join a tour or rent a car because all of those castles aren’t exactly in the middle of a city with a train station. Same with Normandy. A lot of the highlights are in the country far from public transportation. If you want to explore the south-west where I am, it’s so much easier with a car!  I am not saying that it’s impossible to visit those areas without out car, but it’s quite difficult. So yes, if you’re a do-it-yourself traveler, you need to become familiar with these tips for driving in France, so keep listening!

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights
  • [4’00”] Areas of France that are hard to visit without a car
  • [5’35”] French tip of the week at the end of the episode today
  • [5’45”] Consider joining the Join Us in France Closed Group on Facebook where you can also ask your own questions
  • [7’05”] Start of conversation with Stephanie and Dawn
  • [8’00”] Stephanie was against driving because she’s “risk averse”
  • [8’30”] Dawn found driving in France very navigable, roundabouts make it easier
  • [9’00] Gotcha: if you miss your exit on the freeway in France, you may need to keep driving for a long time before you get to another exit
  • [11’00”] Use either a GPS App or get a stand-alone GPS
  • [12’00”] Don’t forget to edit the settings on your GPS
  • [13’20”] Should you get an international driver’s license?
  • [15’30] Don’t bring too much luggage or it won’t fit in the car!
  • [17’00”] Having a car brings freedom
  • [18’40”] Waze, Google Maps, and Maps work well in France
  • [19’45”] Apps and GPS Make It Possible to Anticipate
  • [21’15] Start conversation with Jeff
  • [22’39”] What if you want to take day-trips from Paris?
  • [23’00”] What out for the speed limit!
  • [25’50”] Roundabouts Behavior
  • [26’50”] Is driving in France stressful?
  • [27’40”] What about paying for tolls?

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Paris Packing List, Episode 137

Paris Packing List

Fancy older woman wering a hat and jewelry
You may run into this person in Paris, but she’s the exception, not the rule.

Some people fret about what’s acceptable to wear in France, and it is true that there are some things you should NOT wear in France. Annie is in a good situation to talk about that because being someone who doesn’t worry much about clothing, she’s made every mistake in the book since moving home to France. But she’s working on it! Being an artist, Elyse worries a lot more about being stylish and has excellent tips to share. Click Continue reading to see our recommended Paris Packing List!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Paris Packing List Episode Highlights

  • [4’11”] Americans tend to dress more casually than French people.
  • [6′] There is a Paris Style.
  • [7’50”] How to dress for Paris specifically.
  • [8’30”] No Bermuda shorts, sexy short shorts only for very young women.
  • [10’50”] Paris brings out the dressiness in people, but don’t get too dressy.
  • [11’30”] People don’t dress up to go out at night as much as they used to and you will not get turned away for not wearing a jacket and tie in Paris.
  • [13′] You can wear business casual even at the Symphony in France.
  • [14’10] Scarves will dress up any outfit as a decorative element for both men and women.
  • [15′] Practical tip: bring interchangeable items in dark solid colors and add colorful scarves or wraps. Women can bring summer dresses and capris.
  • [16’20”] Shoes: no sandals with socks, no clunky “nurse’s shoes”, but it’s OK to wear sandals and casual shoes.
  • [17’45] Men wear capris in France!
  • [18’20] Annie’s faux-pas at the Disneyland Hotel and at Louis Vuiton in Paris.
  • [22’44”] How to up your clothing game as a tourist in Paris: accessorize, wear a leather jacket (or a crochet jacket, or any sort of jacket), clothes that are cut closer to the body.
  • [24’20”] Change your outfit at the end of the day, women don’t wear t-shirts with words.
  • [26′] Some women in Paris wear dresses and high-heels, but they are not the majority. When walking a lot, wear closed shoes where your feet can’t move around too much.
  • [28’27”] No shorts for women over 30 in the city. Capris are fine. Sun-dresses and skirts are commonly worn in France.
  • [29’25”] Whatever you wear, you MUST have a bag that zips and goes across your torso. Men should not have their wallet in the back pocket of their pants.
  • [30′] Clean pants and a nice polo shirt works great for men, even if you are going to a nice restaurant.
  • [31′] A lot depends on who you hang out with. Fancy situations call for fancier clothes and accessories.
  • [32’44”] Layers are important in the winter.
  • [35′] French people wear fitting clothes, but don’t do it if you’re uncomfortable.
  • [38′] No baseball caps, berets are for old folks, Panama hats are stylish and can be worn by both men and women.
  • [40″] If you’re a “fluffy person” (aka fat) do what you want, wear what you want, don’t worry about what other people think. You don’t have to wear black.

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The Orangerie Museum in Paris, Episode 136

The Orangerie Museum in Paris, Go or Skip?


Couple visiting a museum black and white photo, Orangerie Museum

The Orangerie Museum in Paris is not one of the major museums that everybody feels like they need to visit, the question is: should you go see the Orangerie Museum or should you skip?

If you like this episode, you should also check out Episode 102 about the Rodin Museum because it is also  a small museum that doesn’t take hours to see, yet offers amazing world-famous pieces that will blow you mind and introduce you to artists  who revolutionized their fields.

Orangerie Museum Episode Highlights

  • The Orangerie Museum Building [6’11”]
  • What’s an Orangerie Anyway? [8’30’]
  • How Monet Made the Orangerie [10’40”]
  • How Monet Took Advantage of His Bad Eyes to His Creative Advantage [11:50]
  • Why you must look at Monet’s Paintings Up-Close and then at a Distance [13′]
  • The Orangerie Museum Is a Space for Meditation [14’12”]
  • What else at the Orangerie Museum? [19′]
  • Giverny [23’47”]
  • Marmotan Museum in Paris [27’26”]
  • Annie and Elyse talk about the Inaugural Paris Tour [37′]

Take the 5 minute audience survey here.

Click here to support the show on Patreon and get access to Lunch-Break French, designed to help you sharpen your French skills before your visit to France.


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Inaugural Paris Tour Announcement


Paris Tour Promo, Paris by nightJoin Annie and Elyse in Paris on their first Paris Tour with Join Us in France listeners.

For details visit Addicted to France where you can review all the glorious details and reserve your spot.

We will be back for a regular episode in a couple of days.

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