Category Archives: Episode w/ Elyse

Sorèze and Revel, Great Day Trips from Toulouse, Episode 156

Sorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)

Toulouse is a great place to come stay for a few days because not only is it a lovely city, but once you’re here, there are a lot of great places you can visit as day trips.  Most of those day trips around Toulouse require a car, and such is the case with the one we’re discussing today: Sorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)

Other great day trips around Toulouse: Carcassonne, Albi, Figeac, Carla-Bayle

Places mentioned in this episode: Saint-Felix de Lauragais, Sorèze, Revel, Saint-Ferréol Lake, Lac de Belleserre, Aeroscopia near Toulouse

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

 What You Will Learn About in this Episode

  • 2’ 03 This Join Us in France episode 156 aboutSorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)
  • 4’ Annie and Elyse argue about how to say the name “Revel” + the lake of Saint-Ferréol.
  • 6’ The Lauragais area with rolling hills. A wheat-growing area, villages on the top of hills.
  • 7’22 The first place you get to on our drive is Saint-Felix de Lauragais
  • 8’38 Revel is a small town of around 10,000 people, which makes it a small city by French standards
  • 9’50 Furniture-making in the Lauragais: they make good quality copies of classic French furniture styles
  • 10’40 Biscuiteries and cookie makers in the Lauragais
  • 11’20 One of the main reasons to visit Revel is to visit the Saturday Market. Revel is a “bastide” with an old covered market with a belfry at its center
  • 13’44 Weighing stones at the Revel Market
  • 16’ There is a great bakery in Revel, they make lovely “croustade” with apples and lemon. They call it “pastel” there
  • 18’30 The Montagne Noire in the Lauragais
  • 19’20 The village of Sorèze, a town founded in the 700s and famous for its “Abbaye-école de Sorèze”. Hughe Auffrey is a French singer who attended this school
  • 25’20 Dom Robert the Benedictine Monk who became a tapestry artist, the museum in Sorèze specializes in tapestries because of him
  • 27’ When is a good time to visit Sorèze to enjoy the artist colony side of things? There are craft fairs in the summer, try to
  • 27’30 There is a small glass museum in Sorèze because there is a history of glass-makers who lived in the woods long ago
  • 30’ The Saint-Ferréol Lake: Annie hates it, Elyse likes it, we’ll let you be the judge and let us know in the comments! This lake was created by Pierre-Paul Riquet to help bring water to the Canal du Midi to help it enough water in the canal year-round.
  • 35’15 Why Annie hates the Saint-Ferréol Lake
  • 39’ There is another, more wild lake nearby also: Lac d’en Brunet (or Lac de Belleserre)
  • 43’30 Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse

There are gems of architecture and history in areas of France that never get any love or attention from travel writers. We’re not shy about loving the South-West and share gems that will take you to the heart of France off the beaten track.

Got Feedback or Extra Information? Write a comment below or call the voice mail box! 1-801-816-1015

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How to Protect Yourself from Pickpockets in Paris, Episode 154

How to Protect Yourself from Pickpockets in Paris, Episode 154

how to protect yourself from pickpockets in paris


On today’s episode Annie and Elyse discuss how to protect yourself from pickpockets in Paris. We give specific steps anybody can take that will make it less likely that you will be the victim of a pick pocket, but also also steps to mitigate the repercussions if you do get robbed. Let’s not fool ourselves, pickpockets and magicians and they use the same misdirection techniques as magicians. A lot of them are really good at what they do! So if it’s happened to you, don’t feel bad, just do everything you can so it doesn’t happen again.

The only way to make sure nothing bad ever happens is to stay home and do nothing, but we’re not going to do that are we?  So, listen to this episode and get some inspiration on how to protect yourself from pickpockets in Paris and go on your next trip full of confidence!

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

What You Will Learn about in this Episode

Look below the fold for transcript and time stamps.

  • Remove as much as you can from your wallet or purse.
  • Don’t put anything in your back pocket.
  • Don’t put anything in pockets unless they zip or button.
  • Only take one credit card and a little bit of cash with you, the rest should stay at the hotel.
  • Don’t have your driver’s license on you.
  • Don’t carry your passport, only a photocopy.
  • Photocopy the front and back of your credit cards and keep them in a safe place just in case you need to call to cancel them.
  • Do not bring any checks to France, you can’t use them.
  • Notify your bank that you’ll be travelling abroad.
  • Don’t bring your work ID.
  • Bring a list of all the medications you take and bring enough drugs for your whole stay.
  • Only carry one day’s worth of medications on your person.
  • Women should carry a purse that they can have across their torso.
  • Cargo pants with buttoned pockets are good for men.
  • Loose clothing puts you at great risk to be pickpocketed.
  • Protect your phone, women should consider keeping it in their bra or in a zipped pocket.
  • Put different things in different purse pockets.
  • If you don’t live in a large city in the US you are not used to being on alert for theft.
  • Photographers need to consider using a holster system like the Peak Design Capture Pro  with its accompanying Clutch that Annie now owns and loves.


The only way to never have anything unpleasant happen to you is to stay home. But, if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably don’t want to do that. We agree with you! Paris isn’t any worse than any other big city when it comes to pickpockets, and as a matter of fact, the police that this stuff very seriously, but there are no guarantees.

In this episode we’ve shared some specific suggestions of things you can do to lessen the impact of a adverse pickpocket encounter. If it’s going to happen, at least let’s do things that will lessen the blow.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Comment below or leave a voicemail on 1-801-806-1015

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Paris Small Group Tours with Annie and Elyse, Episode 152

Paris small group tours with Annie and Elyse, Episode 152

Paris small group tours

A few months ago Annie and Elyse decided to take the plunge and organize some Paris small group tours. Elyse has extensive experience as a tour leader, but Annie had none up until now. But, what do you know? The tour was lots of fun and we’re ready to do it again!

On today’s episode we reminisce and discuss future plans. Why should you listen even if you have no desire to go on a tour with us? Because we share a lot of travel logistics gems in this episode, listen and learn!

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

What You Will Learn About in this Episode

4’30 While leading the Inaugural Tour we ran into a lot of tour groups where there were so many people that it was just a one-way conversation.  It’s like factory tourism. What we’re doing is totally different because our groups are so small.

5’16 Touring with Annie and Elyse is like touring with family.

5’50 Because group members chose us based on the podcast, they were looking forward to it and knew what they were getting into.

6’20 We had group members from all over the US, we also had various ages, and it all worked out really well.

7’10 Our next Paris Tour is going to be October 1st through Oct 7th 2017 and we hope to announce 4 more Paris tours in 2018 as well.

8’50 Our tour started by going to a wine bar called Chez Nous, followed by a river Cruise on the Seine River. Next time we’ll probably start a little earlier on Sunday and visit the Luxembourg Gardens.

9’45 Two guys who thought the Luxembourg Gardens were ugly. When you look at something with no context, it’s hard to see the beauty or appreciate anything.

11’30 On Monday we didn’t start too early

12′ We lucked out on all the places we went to eat. Annie’s goal was to keep it around 15€-20€ for lunch and 30€-35€ for dinner. We were looking for good value and we found it!

13′ France is not a good place to keep a strict diet. No vacation is good for your diet, really, is it? We eat a lot of meat and dairy in France. Lots of duck and lamb, fish (fish is usually the “diet” choice on a French menu). But we also don’t eat fried food very much in France.

17′ We’ll be looking for a good audio solution to use all the time. We had a whisper system in some of the museums, but even there, they limit you to a specific amount of time. So we’ll be looking for a good solution.

17’50 Monday activities: Conciergerie (where Marie-Antoinette was held before she was beheaded), Sainte-Chapelle, restaurant Saint-Régis.

19′ Annie being recognized by her voice, an eerie experience for sure!

20’41 Notre Dame, Place de la Concorde, the Orangerie. “Droit de parole” complications. They give you an appointment at a specific time, which is not always suitable.

22′ Tuesday: Orsay Museum which isn’t very big as far as Paris museums are concerned. Lunch by the big clock. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées. In future tours we will do a drive by night that will include all the big sights of Paris by night.

25′ Wednesday: Louvre Museum. If you want to have some peace in the Louvre you have to get off the beaten track and choose other pieces that are of interest to you ahead of time. There are lovely sections of decorative arts, music, Egypt, Roman and Greek, Babylonian, Islamic Arts, etc. Next time we do a tour we will spend a little time with each participant to help them decide about a good section for them so they can go explore that part and enjoy the Louvre with some peace and quiet.

29’30 Montmartre: Annie is not in love with the area, it’s too touristy and crass. Elyse will plan a different itinerary where we don’t spend so much time in the middle of the crowds. Wine tasting with a sommelier. Next time we’ll take the time to have dinner right after the wine tasting.

31’20 Thursday: Opéra Garnier, Galleries Lafayettes, Musée Rodin, then we went to Montparnasse, ate at a crêperie, we got soaked that night.

34’20 Friday: Marais walk with Elyse, lunch at l’As du Fallafel, Picasso Museum, dinner at Bouillon Racine on rue Racine.

37’40 Saturday: we split up that day. Annie went to Père Lachaise and Steve from Florida helped greatly because of his surveyor powers. Elyse went to the Pantheon, Sorbonne, Saint-Eitenne-du-Mont church, the Cluny Museum and the Latin Quarter in general. Then we all met together at the Centre Pompidou which was an add-on, and had some free time.

45’30 Next time we will add more shopping time and we’ll give people the choice of two different shopping areas. We’ll also add some time at a flea market or food market and a drive by night Uber ride around Paris. Next time we’ll choose a concert with more approachable music, probably not Notre Dame.

48’40 We will also add some excursions one day before the tour and another after the tour. We’ll do a day at Giverny on the Saturday before the Tour and a whole day at Versaille on the Sunday after the Tour. For 2018 we’ll set some dates for a Tour in April, another for May, then one in September and one in October. We won’t do a Tour in July and August because it’s too hot and June is too busy in Paris.

55′ Annie didn’t grow up wanting to be someone who evangelizes about France and a tour organizer, but Paris small group tours are so much fun, this is something worth investing time into.

56’38 Thank you for your support new Patreon donors Nancy Calkins, Todd Costella, and Stephanie Ellis. Thank you also Sophia Semensky and Paul Goess for tipping your guide.

58’37 Feedback on the previous episode on using Uber in Paris: using Uber between Disneyland and Paris city center. They had a really good experience using Uber in Paris, but it is true that most Uber drivers in Paris do not speak English. They had one bad experience with an Uber driver who never showed up at all and they grabbed a taxi instead. The Uber to get back to the airport to go home went well, but the ride took 1.5 hrs because the traffic was heavy.

Feedback on the Inaugural Tour from Steven Struck, his impressions and experience as a tour member. He also shares about his experiences moving to France.

People who have been to Paris before should not discount this tour because they are going to learn so much, my head got filled every day. And for people who have never been to Paris, what a great way to see Paris for the first time. Steven Struck, Inaugural Tour member.


Paris small group tours are hard to find because most tour operators would rather go for numbers. But we’re not like everyone else: a small group is the only sort of tour worth doing in our opinion. Hanging out in Paris for a week with people you will get to know and enjoy is the best way to make a lovely break from your daily life and recharge your batteries. We loved the 10 people who toured with us on this Inaugural Tour, we are so glad they chose to come see Paris with us and hope to have many wonderful small groups again.

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