Category Archives: Trip Report

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.

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.

Here’s the PDF from the Saint-Malo Tourism office with maps and everything!

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

If you enjoyed this episode, you should also listen to Normandy and WWII Trip Report, Episode 116;  Bayeux in Normandy, Episode 38; and Gulf of Morbihan, Episode 123.

Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

  • 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 this novel 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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Romantic Paris, Episode 130

Romantic Paris with Gary and Leslie


Romantic Paris, Gary and Leslie

Paris is the city of romance, the place where budding romance blossoms, and where older couples go to renew their vows. I am not sure if this is as a result of the gorgeous architecture, the sounds of the French language, the emphasis that French culture puts on the importance of romance in one’s life, the fact is, Paris is the romance capital of the world.

On today’s episode, Annie shares her tips for enjoying Romantic Paris, and Gary Turco tells us about his recent honeymoon in Paris and the things he and his wife Leslie enjoyed about their honeymoon in Paris.

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

Hotels Recommended in this Episode:  InterContinental Paris Le Grand

Episode Highlights
  • Annie’s Tips for Romantic Paris
    • Tell your hotel
    • Take a stroll along the Seine river
    • Go see the Eiffel Tower sparkle
    • Do a Paris by night tour
    • After dark visit to the Louvre
    • Go out to a wine bar
    • Go out to a gourmet meal
    • Enjoy the simple pleasures
    • It’s OK to sit on a bench and kiss!
    • Go up to see the great views overlooking the city
    • You’re in Paris, do what YOU want!
  • Set Priorities for your Romantic Paris Vacation
  • Leslie and Gary’s Choices
  • Dinner at the Jules Vernes in Paris
  • Highlights of the Louvre + Les Caves du Louvre Tour
  • See Louvre Masterpieces in a Flash!
  • Seine River Boat Ride
  • Versailles Tour
  • Montmartre Walk
  • Hiring a Photographer in Paris
  • The Bar Where the Bloody Mary Was Invented
  • Romantic Paris Cafés

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Paris with Children, Episode 129

Paris with Children


Paris with children, Alex and her family

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.

A lot of people wonder, should I even take my kids to Paris? Will they get anything out of it? Alex Dionne and her husband decided to bring the kids and they were pleasantly surprised how child-friendly Paris is.  Alex shares that when the kids are old enough and like to experience new things, you can make wonderful memories in Paris as a family, including some places that are totally off the beaten track. Thanks for the great photos Alex and family!

Air b&b  Recommended in this Episode: Rosier 5 étoiles

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Behind the scenes tour at the Eiffel Tower, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Musée des Arts Forains, Musée du Quai Branly, Parc de Bercy, Museum of Hunting and Natures, Paul Klee Exhibit, Place des Vosges, Promenade Plantée, Rosier-Joseph Migneret Garden, Sunday Bird Market behind Notre Dame, the Louvre


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Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps, Episode 121

Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps Trip Report with Katie and Nathan


Snowy weather in June at the Aiguile du Midi
Snowy weather in June at the Aiguile du Midi.



In the second installment of my conversation with Katie and Nathan, they tell us about their visit to Chamonix, Annecy, Alps  and also their excursions to the Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace.  Katie and Nathan are from Durham, North Carolina. She’s 26 and a teacher and he’s 29 and a mechanical engineer. They visited France in June 2016.

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part series with Katie and Nathan:

  1. Ep. 120 was on Colmar and Alsace.
  2. Epi. 121 this week is on Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps.
  3. Ep.  122 next week is going to be on Verdon Gorge, Provence, and Carcassonne.

Hotels Recommended in this Episode: Hôtel Vert in Chamonix, Hôtel du Château in Annecy

Visiting Paris? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Kandersteg Alpine Slide, Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi, Mer de Glace, Annecy.


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Colmar and Alsace, Episode 120

Colmar and Alsace Trip Report with Katie and Nathan

Katie and Nathan in Colmar
Katie and Nathan in Colmar

On today’s episode we follow Katie and Nathan on their visit to their visit to Colmar and Alsace with excursions to Riquevihr, Hunawihr, and the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg.  Katie and Nathan are from Durham, North Carolina. She’s 26 and a teacher and he’s 29 and a mechanical engineer. They visited France in June 2016.

This is the first part of a 3-part series of episodes with Katie and Nathan:

  1. Ep. 120 is on Colmar and Alsace.
  2. Ep. 121 next week is going to be on Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps.
  3. Ep.  122 the week after that is going to be on Verdon Gorge, Provence, and Carcassonne.

Visiting France? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Colmar, Riquevihr, Hunawihr, Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Alsace.
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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Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, Episode 119

Canal Saint Martin in Paris, Episode 119

A Scenic Bit of the Canal Saint-Martin, photo BikerNormand
A Very Scenic Bit of the Canal Saint-Martin, it’s not all like that! Photo BikerNormand.


The Canal Saint-Martin in Paris is a favorite of bloggers and gets high praise for atmosphere, scenic views, and as a place where “you just have to go”! But there are rumors and news reports that maybe all is not well in paradise. So Annie had to go see for herself and, on this episode, she also go to talk to her friend Brenda from California who took a Canal Saint-Martin Cruise in July 2015, which gave her a different perspective on the area. We discuss what we saw and whether or not we were enchanted as promised.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Canal Saint Martin
Visiting Paris? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

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