Category Archives: Trip Report

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

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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