Category Archives: Trip Report

Honeymoon Ideas: the French Riviera, Episode 145

Honeymoon Ideas: Gary and Leslie in Èze
Gary and Leslie in Èze

Honeymoon Ideas: the French Riviera

This episode is full of great honeymoon ideas for people who want to have the best of both worlds: a vacation where you explore a new country and city, plus spend plenty of time relaxing at the beach and enjoying one another’s company.

In the episode Romantic Paris, Gary told us about their time in Paris, but as fun as that was, Gary and Leslie also wanted to spend time on the Mediterranean Sea. Why? Because that’s where all the celebrities love to go because it is so scenic and pleasant. So, settle in with the drink of you choice and find some of the best honeymoon ideas for 2017!

If you like this episode and want to visit the French Riviera, you should also listen to Episode 118 and Episode 37 about Marseilles; Episode 33 on Aix-en-Provence; Episode 83 about the Baux-de-Provence, the Lubéron and the Abbey de Sénanque.

Hotel recommended in this episode: Hôtel La Pérouse in Nice. Also check out Gary’s new blog on Romantic Vacations.

Places mentioned in this episode: Nice, Cannes, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Èze, La Turbie, Monaco.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights
  • [2’06] Announcing Enhanced Show Notes for Patreon Supporters
  • [8’12”] 4 days and 4 nights in Nice, on the French Riviera
  • [9′] The idea was to explore Paris, but also add a relaxed but take time for the romance as well
  • [10′] The French Riviera where the elites go to vacation and some of the most beautiful places in the world
  • [11’31] Nice seemed like a good place to be based out of because it is so central, and old-town Nice is so quaint
  • [12’15] Thinking about renting a luxury car but changing their mind after learning some specifics about driving in France, and especially parking on the Riviera (listen to the episode in full for more reasons not to do that!)
  • [13’42] Booking private tours just for the two of them on Viatour instead and finding out some interesting historical facts from the drivers/guides
  • [14′] You can see strong historical ties between France and Italy when visiting the Riviera, and it looks like Tuscany in places
  • [15′] Great Pizza and Italian food at the French Riviera, and how they don’t slice it for you
  • [16′] Their driver took them to Cannes (you can also listen to the episode about the Cannes Film Festival) to get a quick taste
  • [17″15] Antibes, which has a lovely Picasso Museum, but if you want to see amazing yachts and boats, this is the place to go
  • [19″] Saint-Paul de Vence, the Jewel of the French Riviera, a walled medieval city with a lot of history, cobblestone streets, and art galleries
  • [21′]Èze, another medieval city with a beautiful not-to-be-missed garden at the top of the hill, great gelato, great cheese and meat platter, and the Parfumarie Galimard where you can get a free tour of how they make soap
  • [23′] Parking in Èze is difficult, La Turbie is very close to Èze and also very nice to visit
  • [24′] Monaco, second smallest country in the world, extremely rich, very interesting to see, you can see sites where they filmed To Catch a Thief, you can see the Casino and all the luxury cars, they drove on the road where the Grand Prix de Monaco takes place, there’s also a great aquarium, you can tour the Palace
  • [29′] Is 4 days enough? Just right? Too much?
  • [30’15] Hôtel La Pérouse in Nice, Gary describes the wonderful view and great services
  • [33’44] Local food and restaurants: a lot of seafood, pastas with octopus
  • [35′] Popular drinks in Nice:  a “Monaco” (beer + grenadine) and a “Panaché” (beer + limonade), Pastis or Anisette (anis-flavored apéritif drink)
  • [36′] La Fougasse: bread with onion and anchovies or other items, pizza is also very good, great ice-cream parlors (Fenocchio is a favorite of Annie’s)
  • [37’30] Beach clubs: a highlight of their honeymoon, they went to Castel Plage, you pay for lounge chairs, umbrella, towels, and you have service, food, drinks (including a very large Blonde de Saint-Tropez)
  • [44′] It’s a rocky beach in Nice, so it’s good to have a beach chair and have beach shoes, and then you don’t have to worry about messy sand!
  • [46’30] September was great weather in both Paris and Nice
  • [48′] Old town Nice is lovely, has great restaurant, great to walk around and explore
  • [49′] Spending 4 full days in Nice would be too long, but breaking it up with visits to other areas makes it just right
  • [49’30] How listening to the podcast was critical in helping Gary get inspiration

Conclusion

To sum it all up, to come up with great honeymoon ideas, you have to bring a mix of the following magical elements:

  1. Beautiful surroundings: both Paris and the French Riviera have an over-abundance of that!
  2. Pleasant weather: September in France is not too hot, not too cold, it is just right!
  3. Be willing to pay for a lovely hotel in a great location.
  4. Plan on some tourism, but limit those activities to 3 or 4 hours per day, so there’s plenty of time to relax.
  5. Don’t try to do it all yourself: driving yourself can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Let other people take care of anything stressful for you.
  6. Take into account the preferences of both spouses, you can have plenty of exploration mixed in with relaxation if you plan it right as Gary did.
  7. If you enjoyed the show be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss a single episode!

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Hiking Around Bordeaux, Episode 144


4 women Hiking around Bordeaux

Hiking Around Bordeaux, Episode 144

Who hasn’t daydreamed about hiking or biking through the French countryside? Stephanie, Dawn, Krista and Barb made it come true and in late September 2016 flew to France to do some hiking around Bordeaux. They used a tour company that sold them maps and arranged for accommodations, breakfast and dinner, as well as  arranged for their luggage to be transported to their next stop every day. They would rather not name the company, so we’ll keep that vague on purpose. All they had to do is walk. And get lost. But they had a fun time all the same and they explain all about their adventure in today’s episode.

This episode is for anyone who wants to have an active vacation in France, and if you like this episode, you should also listen to Episode 52, Cycling in France with Marion Clignet and Episode 40 on Saint-Émilion, Episode 44 on Bordeaux. For more information on the specifics of what Stephanie and Dawn did, please take a look at their travel blog.

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

 Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

  • [9’47” ]  Start of hiking around Bordeaux interview
  • [11’50] You don’t need to be an athlete to do this, but you do need to prepare
  • [12′] Special equipment required: hiking boots
  • [13’30”] What’s the longest hike you did in one day?
  • [14’26”] How this trip got planned
  • [15’10”] How did your tour work? What was provided by the company?
  • [17′] Getting lost a lot!
  • [18’32”] Getting a ride from a stranger to get to the wine tasting
  • [22’20”] The types of terrain they hiked through
  • [23’11”] Dinners and accommodations were planed and luggage was transported from place to place
  •  [23’40”] Meeting a seasoned walking Scottish couple who knew about Randonnée Maps and kilometer counters
  • [26’30] GR stands for Grande Randonnée
  • [27’39] Doing this without GPS coordinates sounds crazy nowadays!
  • [28′] What did they enjoy the most and the least about their experience hiking around Bordeaux? Active vacation which is great when you’re eating French food.
  • [29’37”] There are different brokers all selling the same tours
  • [30′] Do you need to buy a tour? Couldn’t you organize this whole thing by yourself?
  • [30’52”] Other hiker gave them precious tips about when stores close etc., the tour company hadn’t warned them!
  • [33′] For people who want to do this by themselves, look for GR maps and IGN maps
  • [34’34”] Meeting people in tiny little towns, seeing how people live and enjoying the culture was great: you can’t do that from a tour bus!
  • [35’58”] No mosquitoes, really?
  • [38′] Dawn speaks French, the others do not. The French came in handy especially at restaurants
  • [39’45”] Outstanding accommodations and dinner at the Barsac Castle, Paul and Ginette were wonderful, the salt-water swimming pool was great too
  • [41′] All the places they stopped: Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, Saint-Martin-de-Lerm, Caudrot, Saint Macaire (beautiful hike between Caudrot and Saint-Macaire), Sauterne and Barsac
  • [43’17”] Review of the Musée du Vin in Bordeaux
  • [44’58”] Review of L’Entrecôte restaurant in Bordeaux
  • [47’47”] Annie’s guess on what’s in the Entrecôte sauce
  • [49’32”] How to beat the crowd at L’Entrecôte (and many other French restaurants!)
  • [49’49”] Wine every day on this tour?
  • [51’52”] Most French villages will have a public restroom, usually where old men gather to play Pétanque
  • [52’55”] Luggage or carry-on?
  • [54’38”] Heated towel bars in France
  • [55’15”] What are packing cubes?
  • [56’27”] Did you feel safe doing this as women?
  • [59′] French Tip of the Week “Tu ne peux pas changer la tête avec laquelle tu es né(e), mais pas besoin de faire cette tête !”

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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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