Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

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 it or is it one of those you can 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.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Orangerie Museum Episode Highlights

  • The Orangerie Museum Building [6’11”]
  • What’s an Orangerie Anyway? [8’30’]
  • Monet’s influence [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′]
  • A Space for Meditation [14’12”]
  • What else is there? [19′]
  • Giverny [23’47”]
  • Marmotan Museum in Paris [27’26”]
  • Annie and Elyse talk about the Inaugural Paris Tour [37′]
  • Conclusion: the Orangerie Museum is a lovely place to visit. If you happen to be at the Louvre, you can easily walk through the Tuileries Gardens to go to the Orangerie. Even if you don’t have the time to do that, we recommend taking that short walk through the gardens because it is gorgeous and there are a lot of places you can sit and rest or sit and picnic or simply watch the world go by.

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Why Is Napoleon Buried at Les Invalides in Paris? Episode 135

Why Is Napoleon Buried at Les Invalides in Paris?


Les Invalides in Paris at night

As you probably know, Napoléon Bonaparte’s importance in French history and life is difficult to over-estimate. Yet, surprisingly, we haven’t talked about Napoleon much on Join Us in France besides in Episode 58, titled Napoleon in Paris. This has everything to do with the fact that, well, it’s a complicated subject, and it is impossible to do it justice without going on and on and on about it and be a little bit more scholarly than ideal for my taste. BUT, Napoleon has left his mark in almost every aspect of French culture and history, so we can’t ignore him. So, let’s start the year 2017 gently by dipping our toes gently into the Napoleon soup and ask a simple question: Why is Napoleon buried at Les Invalides?

If you like this episode, you may also like Napoleon in Paris.

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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Continue reading Why Is Napoleon Buried at Les Invalides in Paris? Episode 135

Montmartre in Paris, Episode 134

Montmartre, Paris Podcast

Overview of Montmartre as seen from the Eiffel Tower
Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower. Photo Antonis Lamnatos.

In today’s episode Elyse and Annie look at what makes Montmartre so special and so popular. Why do tourists go there in such great numbers? What do French people think about it? Is Montmartre genuine Paris, or is it just a tourist trap?

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Montmartre Restaurants we like: A la mère Catherine on place du Tertre. or one Annie enjoyed very much, Le Potager du Père Thierry (16 rue des Trois Frères), it is very small, reserve the day before!

If you like this episode, you should also check out the episode on  Moulin Rouge.

Episode Highlights

  • Where is Montmartre?
  • How to Get to Montmatre
  • Montmartre as a Neighborhood
  • Montmatre, a Brief History
    • Origins of the Name Montmartre
    • Martyrs at Montmartre
    • Saint-Denis at Montmartre
  • Montmartre the Village
  • Vineyard in Montmartre
  • Montmartre during the French Revolution
  • How Did Montmartre Become a Place for Artists?
  • Le Mur des je t’aime or Wall of Love
  • Le Passe Muraille on Place Aymé

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Continue reading Montmartre in Paris, Episode 134

Seeing Doctors in France, Episode 133

Seeing Doctors in France, How Does It Work?


SAMU ambulance in France, doctors in FranceNobody wants to get sick on vacation, and folks who visit France certainly don’t want to be in an accident, but if it happens, you’ll find out first-hand what it’s like seeing doctors in France. I suggest you get acquainted with the way medicine works in France just in case. A lot of things are going to surprise you!

If you like this episode, you should also listen to Episode 131`

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Episode Highlights

  • What happens if you’re in an accident in France?
  • What if you’re unwell, but it’s not urgent?
  • How to find a doctor in France
  • 13 things you need to know about the French health care system
  • In France the insurance is socialized, doctors are in private practice
  • French doctors still make house calls
  • Answering service
  • You can choose any doctor you like
  • Most French doctors do not have staff
  • How the Carte Vitale works
  • How much will you pay?
  • French doctor’s office are plain-looking
  • French hospitals are plain-looking
  • Public hospitals vs. Clinics in France
  • Doctors who teach at medical schools
  • 50% of doctors in France are women
  • Medical tourism is not common in France

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