Guest Notes for Episode 382: Smart Travel in 2022

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Categories: France How To, Health & Safety

Discussed in this Episode

  • Les Gets ski resort in the Alps [31:31]
  • Activate Find My Phone on your Apple or Android phone [40:15]
  • Dare to try "scary" French foods [43:55]
  • Planning for a French Immersion Week [50:36]
  • May 1st in France [51:09]
  • Yves Saint Laurent Exhibits in Paris [52:58]
  • Update on the French Presidential Election [53:43]
  • Annie's personal update [54:20]

To Go, or Not to Go… and What Happens When You Go?

  1. Things to consider before you decide to go:
    1. What will you do if you test positive in France? Can you take time off work/school? Do you have the money to stay in a hotel? Are you at high risk for serious disease?
    1. What are the entry requirements for France or other countries you’re visiting?
      1. France was PCR or Antigen test 48 hours prior for us
      2. Can you get the test you need? We had to pay $139 each for PCR tests because we could not get a lateral flow test on Christmas Eve.
    1. What are the entry requirements to return home?
      1. Can you find a test for your flight home?
      2. If your flight is canceled, your test can become invalid (must be 1 day before departure)
    1. Are you OK with all of the requirements once you get there?
      1. Masking ALL THE TIME.
      2. Passe Sanitaire for entry to just about everything
  1. Things to think about once you’re there
    1. France isn’t wide open, so you need to check EVERYTHING
      1. Some venues closed or reduced hours due to staffing
      2. Some sites have reduced access (e.g. d’Orsay)
      3. Seating is limited in many restaurants
    1. Everything takes longer to get into
      1. Line for Passe Sanitaire, line for security, line for tickets
      2. Less staff = longer waits (Tour Eiffel had one elevator)
    1. Flexibility is critical
      1. Things are going to be closed (e.g, several Metro stops on NYE)
      2. Mandates are going to change (e.g., added outdoor mask mandate)
      3. Things will not go as planned (e.g., no Passe Sanitaire in Les Gets)
    1. There are still tourists there… just not as many Americans

Brian and his family at the Musée de l'Armée aka Les Invalides

  1. Our trip – once we got to France, it was wonderful!
    1. Les Gets – skiing, transfer from GVA, rail from Bellgarde to Paris
    2. Paris – PSG tour, Louvre, Tour Eiffel, Musee d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Seine boat ride, Arc de Triomphe, Tuileries Christmas Market, Sainte-Chappelle, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre
    3. Normandy – Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, American Cemetery
  2. Things I wish I had known
    1. There is no good way to know what the entry requirements will be
      1. By plane, the requirements are fairly straight-forward
      2. By train/car, there are conflicting reports and nobody really knows
    1. Passe Sanitaire Issues
      1. Les Gets had one pharmacy and it couldn’t figure out how to do it
      2. Smaller towns may have no idea what you’re talking about when trying to convert (Paris was fine!)
      3. Does your vaccination card work? Some say yes, some say no.
    1. You can eat outside most places, and many are heated
    1. Glasses and masks outside are never fun – I knew this but had forgotten!
  1. Things I Learned from the Podcast
    1. Episode 368 was very helpful!
      1. The Christmas market at Jardin des Tuileries was amazing!
      2. We were near some of the passages mentioned
      3. We visited Rue Saint-Honoré – and did some shopping!
    2. Episode 335 on Napoleon made Les Invalides a much richer experience
    3. The episodes on the French Alps helped, even though we stayed in 1 place
    4. Episode 161 on French phrases was critical – I had been studying French for four years prior to this trip, but I wrote down these phrases and practiced them

 Resources Used:


Used to determine entry requirements for various countries based on your country of origin, passport, and vaccination status


Used to setup transfer from GVA to Les Gets and from Les Gets to Bellegarde

The Tour Guy COVID Test Reservation

Used to pre-pay and make appointment for our pre-departure test in Paris

City Wonders Paris-to-Normandy Tour

This was the tour we booked to Normandy from Paris. The tour picked up and dropped off at the Palais du Chaillot (M: Trocadéro). The tour included bus transportation, lunch, and admission to one of the museums (which was refunded due to its closure).

Bonjour RATP App

We found this to be far better at mapping directions for the Metro than Google Maps. Google Maps was fine for walking, but for using public transportation, I highly recommend Bonjour.

TousAntiCovid App

Used for the Passe Sanitaire. We used this frequently to get into just about anything. Note that you cannot screenshot your pass: you will need to use the app every time. We also carried the paper copies we were given by the Pharmacy in case of dead batteries or app problems.


Chamois d’or Hotel & Spa

This was our lodging in Les Gets. It was centrally located to shopping, restaurants, and skiing. They also offered ski gear rental through the front desk that was very affordable. They were wonderful about answering our questions by email in the months leading up to our visit.

Hôtel Opera Maintenon

This was our lodging in Paris. It was in the Japanese district (Arr. n1, M: Pyramides) and near a lot of wonderful Japanese restaurants. It’s a short walk to Rue de Rivoli and Musée du Louvre. The pharmacy that issued our Passes Sanitaires was a two minute walk right around the corner.

Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Having tried to navigate the RER B line on departure day before, we decided to transfer to the Hilton at CDG the night before to have an easier airport transfer the next day. The Hilton is a short 5 minute walk from the RER train station, and the same station provides a free train to all terminals. Our room was setup with 4 beds and plenty of toiletries upon arrival. There is a restaurant at the Hilton and takeaway pizza at the nearby Ibis, plus a grocery in the train station.

Other Locations:

Pharmacie Victoire Opéra

26 Rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris, France

We had our vaccination certificates converted here. The pharmacist spoke English (and understood my passable French!), knew exactly what we needed, and had all four passes created in 10 minutes. Price was 36e each.

Parc des Princes Paris Saint-Germain Stadium Tour

The home of PSG (M:Porte de Saint-Cloud), this was a fantastic tour for football (soccer) fans! You are left to tour on your own, information is presented in English and French, and photos are encouraged. We all agreed that this was one of our favorite activities.

L’Hôtel National des Invalides and Le Musée de l’Armée

This isn’t on most tourists’ list of things to do in Paris, but we really enjoyed it. We walked up and bought tickets (which we did for no other place!) and found very few other people there. Highly recommended, especially for history buffs!

Restaurants We Enjoyed

Le Musset

169 Rue St Honoré, 75001 Paris, France

This was our first meal in Paris where we stopped on a whim and agreed that it was probably the best meal we had. Le canard confit was excellent, as was l’araignée de bœuf.

Boulangerie Eric Kayser

This is a chain of boulangeries, and the location near our hotel became our daily breakfast spot. Great coffee, good pastries, and excellent desserts!


795 Rue du Ctre, 74260 Les Gets, France

Reasonably-priced pizza with a myriad of topping choices, this was right across from Chamois d’Or. The wait was long around French dinner time, but around American dinner time, the wait was very short.


412 Rue du Ctre, 74260 Les Gets, France

Some of the best croissants and pain au chocolat that we had in all of France. Great coffee as well!


4 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris, France

Excellent pizza place in Montmartre!

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Categories: France How To, Health & Safety