Categories: French Food & Wine, Provence
Discussed in this Episode
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This is join us in France Episode 240 Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and join us in France is a podcast where you will hear pragmatic advice and new inspiration for your next trip to France. On the podcast, I invite travel enthusiasts to come join me for a conversation about how their trip went, what they loved and what they wouldn’t do again. We tried to keep it to one topic. But when you start telling a story, it’s hard to know where it’s going to go. Join us in France get support from Patreon supporters one time donors and soon to be released GPS aware tours. Yes, making progress more about that after the interview. On today’s episode, a trip report with Karen and Scott soldier about wine touring and cooking classes in Provence. They found some gems and I think a lot of you might want to try those places to and these are not affiliate recommendations. Just FYI. If you are interested in this episode, I recommend you look into the other episodes we’ve done about Paul’s go to join us in france.com, then destinations, and then Paul’s area. And the search button works great to Show Notes for this episode are on join us in france.com forward slash 214 Karen and Scott and welcome to join us in France. Morning for joining bones. You’re having a fun the program. Oh, you are very welcome. I’m very excited to have you to talk about your wine touring and cooking classes in Provence. So tell us where you’re from. More or less how you organize your trip. If it was your first time in France. I know you speak French, right?
Some not great, but enough to get by.
Not as much of I thought.
That’s like me and Spanish. Very good.
Yes, we’re from Kansas. And we we’ve been to France several times. This is actually our fourth each. We’ve been three times together, we both won as kids. But for this trip, we flew from Kansas actually to Madrid for a day to get to go the product. But then we flew to Marcee. We rented a car and more say I drove to a base on low remain stayed outside of that town for a wine tour, then drove to the pump the guard Tuesdays for two days to name for two days. And then back to Marcee where we flew home.
Excellent. Wow. And you this was in in April 2019.
That’s correct. And it was just the two of you. Correct? Okay.
All right. Okay, so you spent a fair amount of time doing wine touring and cooking classes. So do tell what did you Where did you go? What did you love?
Well, I’ll start with the wine tour. And if that’s okay, it was at the beginning part of our trip. So it we had booked a wine tour through Lanai land, which was the Rhone wine holidays. And it’s a bed and breakfast. It’s outside of the base on La romaine. Fill up right away in Jude right away are the people that run it. Philip has studied at the wine and spirits educational trust, and it’s an approved instructors through that Institute. So he knows a lot about wine. Oh, we know a lot about wine. We, especially American wine, but this was a great, great experience. So when we drove there for the first evening, we actually had a 60 minute kind of wine briefing a little lecture about what to expect the following day, which was very helpful as we tasted the following day. There was another couple that was with us. But and then Jude obviously, is a great cook as well. And we had dinner that evening too. But the following morning, we started we have tasted four different wineries. And we started at Domaine de more shown in segway. We actually were hosted by the winemaker and that’s one of the things that we got to do with this trip. Philip worked really hard to establish contacts with winemakers. Yeah, throughout the region. So we tasted several wines there. It’s a a great place. They’re they’re good values, by the way, certainly by American standards, the place we went were good values in line.
By good value, would you be more specific?
Well, so most of the it, so we were in the code throne area, for the most part. And a bottle of those lines are typically probably $15. For a very good bottle of wine. In the States, a lot of times a lot of wines much more expensive than if it’s from Napa or Sonoma or whatnot. So really good values by certainly by American Standard Time.
And I assume that most of the wineries you visited, like gloom and doom shown that you mentioned in security, they probably have like a range of wines. They probably have a you know basic wine and then it goes up in price.
They do so we learned a lot about that. The air the coronas is a AOP. So that’s a Atlassian d’origine protest GH to be a OC and I guess they changed up control later prodigy. And then that’s the kind of the premiere of the wines if it’s an AOPY there’s a lot of rules that go along with that. Yeah, right tools of grapes are regulated and time in the barrel and regulated all that sort of thing.
Yeah. Even the number of times that the winemaker has to go taste the grapes. I mean, they regulate to a ridiculous degree. That does might be why they picked they went from origin to know from complete to have empathy because it was possibly making their life a little easier.
Yeah, so that changed, I guess, six or seven years ago, but there is a level below that called IGP, which is into calcium geographic. Not is regulated, that those lines I guess are generally not is considered as prestigious. They’re not expansive. And then there’s the land the tableau or the Banda P. Yeah. Which would have little regulation. Yeah. vendor
vendor be it could be anything. I mean, it might tell you it’s French grapes, we might tell you, it’s Spanish grapes, or green grapes or whatever. But that’s all you’re going to know. Or it could tell you it’s great. So wherever we can find them, you know.
So there’s a lot around it. Yeah. We then tasted that shadow, Dylan narrative. So that’s actually shut down with to pop. So that is a more prestigious and AOP. Obviously, some of the Bordeaux, champagne, Burgundy, those, those AOPS are more prestigious, and those wines were more expensive. We were hosted by Matt DH. She’s not the winemaker. But she did a great job hosting us and telling us about their wines. We got a tour through their their cellar. I’m not sure everybody should expect that if they taste there. But they have also a beautiful maze. All that’s been there for a long time. The Germans actually occupied it during World War Two. And so all the vintages before 1944 are gone for for shadow.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, what you mentioned that you shouldn’t expect to vit you get to visit the, the, you know, the insides of the innards of the winery. That’s very true. Because typically, most of these places will have a kind of a showroom where you can taste and you can look at our bar at their bottles, they sometimes offer other products, they might sell, you know, local, I don’t know, jams or local, whatever it is. But they don’t necessarily, they’re not necessarily set up to accompany you to visit the rest of the winery. And that’s because when you when you welcome people into your business, there, all of this is friends, everything is regulated. So if you let people in, there’s a lot of rules, you have to follow all of a sudden, like you have to have public bathrooms, and you have to have evacuations, signs, and you have to have, you know, fire extinguishers and things like that. And so some places, they just don’t want to mess with it. And so they won’t ever let you go see the back room where the wine is make where the wine is made, sorry. And other places they will So it just depends.
Right? Yeah. And we were able to do that in at least us thoroughly is and I don’t know if that’s still a pet that arranged or maybe because of the rules and regulations. Yeah, we didn’t did have lunch in and shadow enough to pop itself with a family run restaurant right underneath the ruins of the Chateau. There shared a pop it was a great lunch
was a family run restaurant. There were a lot of locals there. We had a beef adobo. They’re kind of like me for me. Yep. It was delicious. with carrots, right? with carrots. That’s right. But great food, great value. All the seasonal ingredients. When we were there, asparagus was in season strawberries were in season. And we had that at several meals. But it was just like what we can get here. Yeah, he’s saying,
that’s great. And I want to point out to everybody listening that I will put your guests notes on the website. So you’ve sent me very detailed guess notes with all the names written out and all of that. And you will be able to see that. So if you want to follow in their footsteps, or go visit a specific place that’s been mentioned today, you will be able to find it fairly easily. If you go to join us in France calm and just look for the episode about wine touring and cooking classes influence.
Excellent. We then went after lunch to the domain to Christina, which is in court, the zone and hosted by Emmanuel brunette who actually was the cousin of the two winemakers. That was one of those places that will just the show room. But it was very informative. Also great wines. They have a wide range of lines there too. And obviously now we’re after that we moved on to our fourth tasting, which was quite extensive. So it was very nice at this point that Philip was doing the driving.
Yeah, this is your fourth
Yes. And, and we started at 930 in the morning. So it was a very, very
And certainly you that when we taste you don’t have to drink you can taste and not drink some. But the last one
of that, right.
By the end, we kind of needed to Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
But St. JOHN room and vol two was our last stop. And we were hosted by the winemaker himself, Philip Gmail, who was very enthusiastic about his wines and kind of made his wines a little bit, a little bit outside the box compared to a lot of the other wines in the region, but fascinating to listen to him. And he had a wide range of wines as well.
Yeah, we had several tastings there. He’s very excited about his wines and very energetic. He was just
very interesting to listen to. Yeah,
watchmakers usually are could they? Could they all speak good English?
English was good across the board.
In the first one, the winemaker Walter McKinley, who was an expat,
the British expat.
Yeah, McKinley, that doesn’t sound very French. Right. Right. That’s great.
So that was kind of my favorite part of our trip. That was
the wine tasting for for just a one day full of wine tasting.
Right? in the room wine Hall. Dave does offer. They have northern Rhone wine tour, they have longer tours, we just had the one day one, right,
right. They also have some food and wine tours, wine and truffle tours. So their websites really nice and easy to maneuver. And I think Philip works with some other touring companies to like to go into burgundy area to make a more comprehensive tour. It’s not that he does all of the tour and goes up that far, but works with other people that have Bed and Breakfast as well.
That’s great. Now I have to say that this is this Americans and visitors from abroad typically like to arrange these visits. But the French people, this is not how we operate. We, I mean, unless we know a place and its place with go to year after year, I have a lot of acquaintances that will go back to the same winery every day to buy you know, four cases or whatever. And so they they, they just show up one day it reduced or if the way I do it is if I’m driving around the countryside getting somewhere and I have some time and I see that there’s a winery and and it says, you know, wine tasting I just go and I don’t I you know, I just try things. So but just trying things doesn’t guarantee that you will be going to the best ones or to even ones where where they can speak English. I mean, that’s the reality is that a lot of winemakers everywhere in France. Well, they make they know how to make wine but they don’t know how to speak English. Right. Right, right.
Yeah. So so. And we had arranged one other wine tasting that we can talk about. Later on the week, we had tasted the United States that we wanted. Stop that.
Oh, that’s fun. That eaten it was just interesting. That evening, we all went out to dinner in Christie. And it’s funny. It was a small little restaurant, but the winemaker from say Shonda, who was there? Another couple that was tasting there was at the restaurant. So it was a great local place where pretty much everybody was at.
That’s great. Yeah. Wow. You can say the French are the way you said. You said it right.
Hey, I’m trying.
So my favorite part of the trip was, it was is and outside of it was as for the cooking class. The cooking class was actually I’m probably going to butcher this but it was in out by LK
which is a way to wait. I got a lot of users. All
right, let’s see. Did you write it down? I did. Oh, bye. Yeah, good. Luck. Yeah, that’s kind of a mouthful.
It’s a commune just right outside of is as
an icon you and you don’t mean? Like you mean the French Way in communion the French Way. Now the commune like where they all live like communists or whatever.
That’s what they called it. So yeah,
cinco Muna in French communion just means a village or city. And it has the advantage of it doesn’t say anything about the size. So communion could be you know, 5 million or it could be 500. Doesn’t matter.
It was quite small.
There was a museum there and then the cooking class and I think that’s probably about it. Wow. But we booked our cooking with class online through cooking with class. chef eric photo and his wife. He attended Oshodi photo where our hosts there. And we took the French bistro cooking class, which was a three course menu that we prepared on site. Chef had started a couple of things ahead of time, but and we didn’t do any shopping prior to this trip. You can take cooking classes where you have the market tour. Sure you see what’s available, and then you buy what’s fresh and beautiful. And then and then go prepare it. Our course was scheduled to be about four hours. We made pita bread. Yes, scratch white bean hummus with a parsley oil sauce. No, we made black all of me okay with a green Olive sauce will be made a lamb tenderloin, which we had to kind of break down the lamb a little bit with spring vegetables. And the PS delays. The resistance was our apple tart for dessert we had to we made the crust and then we made a compote for on top of the crust. And then we slice the apples very thin cook them a little bit and formed the apples into rosettes. Yeah, and then made a bouquet of roses on top of the
tart. Very nice. So that’s like more of a traditional, traditional yet homemade is talking starts Yes,
yes, it was very, very pretty. Yeah. And then we would we would make a dish and then sit to eat at a table near the kitchen. And then we’d finish that and then we’d go back to Cooking and kind of up and down. And we were the only Americans there. The class was bilingual. Okay. There were three other French people there. One was the Pompeii from losers. Oh, nice.
For people who
did that was fun. Yeah. And then the other couple. She was a winemaker. They were quite young. And she had purchased the class for her boyfriend husband.
for his birthday.
She was she wanted him to start cooking a little bit.
That’s right. That’s right. And his mother was from Great Britain. And his father was French. And he lived his whole life in French. But he, of course, spoke wonderful English and did a lot of the translating for for us. But Jeff speaks very good English, she speaks good English. And end speaks wonderful English as well. So there was wine tasting along with that local wines. With our courses. Yeah, they offer. They also have a school in Paris. And so they can offer. They have a bread masters class. They have a fish class desserts class, they even have some cooking with your kids classes Why? It was as they offer a week long culinary vacation, which I thought looked exciting. We might do that again someday.
But really, it was a sophisticated cooking technique really, it was it was stuff that I wasn’t certainly familiar with. And we do cook song. And it was it was certainly much more sophisticated than the norm, at least here in the States,
right? A lot of knife skills and things like that, right. And so one of the reasons why I kind of figured it would be, you know, more technical courses, if you go to the, if you take a class where you go to the market at first thing in the morning, it’s wonderful, but whoever is in the class is going to make some choices. And and so the the teacher doesn’t get to do to direct you quite as much. Because if you pick something that there isn’t that much, it’s not that complicated, then you know, that’s what to do. Whereas with course that it’s they’ve they’ve purchased everything. They already planned everything out. They have specific exercises in mind for you. Sure. Oh, yeah, sure.
As we after we completed this course then, if you go, sorry, you tuned into pictures all along. So she sent us the file of all of our photos of us cooking, and
yeah, you send some lovely photos, I’ll use them to promote the episode. So that’ll be great. Cool, cool.
So she sends that file to you. And then if you register, then you can have access to all of the recipes and all of the recipes for all of cooking with class. So we’ve actually looked online for other recipes that we’ve prepared here since we’ve been home. That we’re on file in there, in there. That’s great.
Yeah, so that was so was anything in the cooking class really surprising to you? Not really, we’re kind of foodies, so so
the thing I guess that surprised me was really the sophistication of some of the cooking techniques, that some of it be to have to be planning ahead. It was labor intensive. It’s real cooking. I mean, it’s it’s he’s a real chef and trained chef. And,
and it was timed perfectly. So here when we cook, we have a little difficulty in getting everything timed, right. So he kept us on task. Although our class we had to leave at five and a half hours, because we had to get to name but it was really supposed to be a four hour class. So it went a little Yeah, went longer than planned. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, me, you know, me zone plus is the biggest problem for most cooks. You know, because it has to come out at the right moment. And sometimes you’re like, ah, I didn’t find this right. When I was just at home, it doesn’t matter. But if you’re writing or people over for dinner or something, you do want it to come out. Expected, you know, kind of, would you call that interval?
Right? Yeah, right. Yeah. I’m not very good at Nissan plus.
It slows me down for sure. Yeah.
So those were our favorite things. That’s great.
That’s great. It’s so have you taken cooking classes in the US?
Not in the US we have in Italy before?
So how does it compare to what you’ve done before?
This was, again, a much more highly technical class and what we took in Italy.
Okay. And I would say more fun to we had a lot of fun that there was a lot of laughter and jokes. And
it was it was, there weren’t very many It was a small class it was which really made it a lot more fun in a lot of ways. Yeah, cuz
I’ve been in cooking classes at places like Williams and Sonoma and whatever. 50 people or you know, like, it’s huge. It’s, it’s not near, cuz I I like that you got to meet a lot of the people that were teaching you be at the winemakers or the someone Yay. Or the the chef, it’s great that you know, you you had actual conversations with these people.
Yeah, it was really nice.
And And what about wine? Because you, Scott, you said you enjoy wine tasting in the US as well. So how did it compare to your experiences in the US?
Well, I think they’re actually in a lot of ways, pretty similar. So in the United States, we go to Sonoma often, or not often, but some. And oftentimes, there’s a show room where they talk about their wine where you get to taste their wines. Sometimes there’s a fee to do that. In the United States. I don’t know how common that is in in France to have the fee. And oftentimes, you don’t get a tour of the winery itself, the winemaking areas unless you’ve set that up ahead of time. So I think it really is
Yeah. So what else did you do on this trip? I see. You went to NEMA. We did. We drove to name which is very close to the bone you got on us s and all that.
Correct? Correct. And we actually rented an apartment there from Oh days. It was a great apartment. Right? It was how far is on cafe? Hi.
200 feet from my hometown.
Just stone’s throw from the from the from the plaza.
Yeah. So it was a great little apartment. We had a wonderful landlady. She had been she was so sweet.
That the name of the apartment is
an email. Okay.
Terrorists, which was unique. She talked about how that was the selling point for when they purchased the apartment but it had a grill and a little kitchen in there. And there were three flights of stairs to get there. Ah,
we packed very light pack
very lightly so it was good pack big suitcases. It could be challenging and it could be challenging for somebody who’s have limited mobility Yeah, yeah, no but um so that was great that we were close to everything
everything right right you’re right in the center of everything and you probably had a nice view because you were third floor.
We did we did and everything in named all the old Roman ruins are they’re all very close. You get in Old Town is is is easy to walk around. So
he is a small place. And I really recommend you don’t take a card to name it’s like maddening
was a challenge. It was a challenge and GPS did not work in name. Ever that towards our GPS worked most places but not name. Yes, yes. We plan to head I would.
Yeah, I have relatives near there. And so I’ve been there a few times. And I always just Oh, it’s frustrating. I don’t know why I can’t figure out that town. It’s so small. Why?
Right. Right. We ended up we were on a timeline. We had to be there at a certain time to meet john Dean and we had trouble finding the parking garage and then we were rerouted around the city three times. And finally we just dove into a parking garage and called her and she met us on the steps of the church and then walked us over to to the apartment so nice. It was a very nice shoes very very sweet.
name was a lot of fun for me. I’m a love Roman history. I am. So what the arena there that still in wonderful condition in shape and still being used. The Jardin de La Fontaine, there’s old Bruin temple there. There’s a tower up at the top of the of the gardens where you get kind of really impressive views of name if you climb to the very top. And you can buy a ticket for all three, which we did. And you can you don’t have to wait in line. If you if you have your ticket. You can scan that and just walk in. But we do Yeah, we did all of those things. And in you can do those. No, I don’t know. Just a couple hours even.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nice a small place. But it’s very, very nice. Did you go into the cinema that building the museum, across from his own cafe? waited? I haven’t been in there either.
It’s supposed to wait. So the couple that we had stayed with it was at the diplomat land when we did the wine tasting. They we saw them and name just coincidentally. And then they thought that it was a great visit.
Yeah, I’ve heard it’s wonderful. I can’t remember the name of the of the architect now. There’s news. were yelling it out.
Best way. I think they
I know he was a British guy. It’s a British guy.
Oh, ok. Ok.
You recognized him when we walked by the building.
I thought he was a French artists though.
No, no. It’s a British guy that designed I’m pretty sure anyway.
Anyway, yeah. We don’t know. at the museum. I think they had a
Pompei exhibit going on, that’s going to be going on for a long period of time. So if you’re going to be traveling to Naeem in the near future, and that’s what’s that’s what’s on right now. And what we liked about one of the things that we liked about name was that it is so clean. That is the cleanest city I have ever been to. That’s true that that you mentioned it. It is they keep it nice. It’s the streets were clean. There was no there were there was no dog poop in the street or anything like that. But it was great. I think our favorite thing in the team was to have dinner at the restaurant. Mina sank was out. He’s a Michelin starred chef. I don’t know that the restaurant is Michelin starred. But it was very, very good. We had the six course tasting menu there. You could have up to 12 courses, I think or even more. Oh, wow.
But we thought six was a safe choice.
We learned quickly on this trip that ordering the formula menus was really a lot of food. So yeah, we had to kind of pare back a little bit. But that was a great experience. It’s a really eclectic restaurant. It’s quiet. There are very few Front of House people. There were three people in front of house and then
the chef doing all the tasting, it was his choice, so he could send you whatever he was making that evening. So that’s that’s a kind of a gauge of quality. Because Because you’re letting the chef decide what’s best today.
It really was very good quality, very high quality, very thing. See,
the plates were beautiful. Everything was presented so nicely, and the waitstaff were fantastic. They, they were very patient with our lack of
knowledge about what we were eating. And with our our French, but
we are I had a funny story. I, I’m older, I turned 48 on this trip,
and I should get older.
Well, I’m I’m getting to the point where I cannot read. Oh, no, that’s, that’s Yes, yes, of course. So I forgot to take my reading glasses with me. And having trouble looking at the menu and the wine list. And one of the front of house people recognized my struggle, and she disappeared for a minute. Then she came back out and brought me her reading glasses tomorrow for the duration of the dinner. And it wasn’t until we got back home and kind of looked up the restaurant again that we found out that it was Madame Claus out who loaned me her glasses.
It was the chef’s wife worship, right.
That’s great. So that’s very gracious.
I was able to see what was eating. So it was great.
Yeah, it’s a pain you get I’m past that age, too. And yeah, I need glasses.
Another thought about the value of the wine. So this was a very fancy restaurant. And if you were to go to a similar kind of restaurant in the United States, it would be a struggle to find a bottle of wine under $60, under $50. But virtually all of the ones were under 40. euro.
Yeah, yeah, it’s you really have to go looking hard for in France for wine over 50. It’s, you can find it but it’s not normal.
Right. Which was, again, very different than than the United States. Yeah.
In France, if you’re paying 15 you have a good one. If you’re in a restaurant, you will pay probably for a good bottle 30 to 50 maybe, but that’s really pushing it. So yeah.
Scott ordered a great bottle and Madame croissant who is the Sony aid for the restaurant, I think give you props for you.
so that was nice. So who was the name of the bottle?
Do you remember? I don’t remember the name of the wine. It was over. It was a AOP Roscoe, though.
Okay. Okay. Very good. Yeah,
we have done and tasting menus and wine, things like this in the United States. And the price difference from the US to this experience are is just incredible. This was a great value. It was it was expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the experiences we’ve had on on the state side with these kinds of Michelin starred chefs creating these tastings.
I have no idea how much you paid. But I’m gonna take a wild guess that without the wine, it was 80 per person.
That’s just that spot on.
That is exactly right. Which again, in the states that it would be far more than that for car. similar kind of food.
Yeah. Well, you have to understand salaries in France are not that high. We can’t we just can’t pay the kind of prices you pay in the US. We just mean it’s not happening. So if they’re, if they want to have customers that are some French customers, as well as visitors, they need to have you know, reasonable prices. And it’s you know, if you live around here, you get to expect a certain type of service and a certain type of quality for a certain type of price point. So if they don’t have stars, it sounds about right. To me. It was great,
huh. But we actually thought the value for the food at all of the restaurants we were at was was quite reasonable. Yeah. But we did menu, we almost always did it on the menu tasting. So you know, entree our plot and maybe some cheese or whatnot.
No, no dessert or something. Yeah. Very nice. All right.
So we were doing as for the market? Ah,
yes. Which was really quite something. So we’ve been to lots of markets for a market day. And you know, you expect to see, you know, bread and pastries and maybe rotisserie chickens and
fruits and vegetables, fruits and vegetables. But the, the market the Saturday market at last wholesale was they had everything.
clothes, they have pencils, they have
tablecloths, and it we it started at around 930 in the morning, I think. And there was just a few people there by by 11 o’clock. You could not even walk there was crowded. It was Yeah, no, I’ve been
to that market. Actually, I don’t know if I was there on a Saturday morning. But it looked like an lovely, lovely province Island market. And it takes up a lot of work.
Did it spread and spread and spread? Right.
Yeah. Right. So the vegetables and the fruits were just gorgeous.
I’ve just not seen anything like it was amazing.
And in Kansas, we live in a you know, a farming state. So
you’re used to good vegetables.
We are but the there was there was beautiful at that market
pales in comparison.
Wow. Well, French people are a bit you know, they they really love their fruits and vegetables. I think we I think we eat more fruits and vegetables than Americans overall. You know,
I would agree. I agree. I think that’s true. Yeah.
So that’s lovely. That’s lovely. You have a list of tips. I wanted to get to your tips because they look good to me.
Okay, well, I’ll leave this a little closer. So we can both see it here. First one is about renting a car. Yeah, renting a car in France, is
it anywhere anywhere, I don’t think it’s any different the United States but it so we it from a timing standpoint, it takes about an hour, unless you can somehow get some sort of priority. It’s going to take that long, you know, planes land, and everybody’s rolling out to get a card the same time. And if you are thinking about a restaurant that you want to eat at from 12 to two when they’re open, we landed in Martha at noon, so we were in a hurry to get our car to get we already had a restaurant in mind that was very close to the airport. Okay. That would be the when we got there at 130. But it took us an hour to get the car. And that needed. That’s something to think about. Yeah, just a factor in that time.
Yeah, if there’s a way that you can have the sounds very American of me, if you can have like a preferred status with that car company that would kind of expedite your Yeah, that that. If it’s an option, it would kind of speed things up for you. Yeah, we were on a certain timeline. So it was
they’re not super fast. It’s true. They’re not super fast. Like Americans are used to two things that don’t happen very much in France, which is services fast and standardized. And that they’re open all the time. Pretty much. Right? You won’t right? You don’t get that in France. I mean, you know, yeah, we I mean, it’s hard. It’s it’s the same company, but they haven’t had the same pressure by their manager to get you out the door in three minutes. You know, they nobody cares here. Like, I’m on vacation.
Right? And we, you know, that was the first part of our trip. And we just hadn’t gotten our mindset. We’re on vacation.
Yeah, yeah. If you want efficient, then you France is not always.
After we went rented a car, one of the things that was very helpful was your podcast on kind of the driving rule. That’s a great one to listen to. for anybody who’s going to be driving in France.
Yeah, I think that was Episode 16 or something. And it’s mostly my husband, who was talking during the talk
night. It was very helpful. There’s a lot of rules that I’ve had in my head, as we’re driving around.
Yeah. And just being familiar with some of the signs, what the speed limits are like in the towns. Yeah. And just know that if you are renting a car, you’re probably going to have a manual transmission. And those are, we all learned on manual transmission when we were younger, but they’re just not cool anymore. So nobody’s been driving a manual for a long time. Yeah. It takes a little practice.
I only killed it twice. It was pretty good.
Oh, that’s good. Kill cars. You know, if it’s a car haven’t driven before, sometimes I saw the engine that can happen. Okay.
One other thing, I think it’s something if you have a car, the parking tickets are very garages are very different in France, and they are in the United States. And the United States In the United States, you almost always pay as you exit the lot. So you drive up to the gate, and then you pay. Yeah. But in France, you go to a kiosk and you get a ticket, you pay and you get a ticket, and then you use that ticket to exit the garage. Yeah, so yeah, it would be it’d be important to know that so that you didn’t go up to the gate. And then somebody was behind you. And then
yeah, yeah. Good point. Good point,
which we’ve had to happen on our first trip to France. Oh, yeah. Yeah, learn by experience. But um, let’s see more about GPS and driving directions. Philip and Jude gave us driving directions to their
total amount of land. If they give you directions, please use those directions. Don’t trust your GPS. I know you can drive
could be driving through a farmer road. Or we used our directions. But the other couple ended up driving.
They got a little bit lost.
Yeah. And the other thing that the GPS will sometimes do is to don’t give you the shortest route. Yeah, that may be through for Well, our example was that would have been through these old old in the old town. Yeah, that’s a very old medieval city. And there’s no way I would want to drive through that. Yeah. But the GPS was going to tell us to do that.
Right. So if you’re driving, especially in Provence, I have found because Paul’s, the price of the land has been high for long enough that the houses in Provence are really tight together. I think even even like new construction. They just pack them in closer than in the southwest, for example. And so you really, if your GPS tells you to go, I don’t know, take a left into something that looks way too small. Do not do it. Just keep going straight. It will recalculate because it’s probably trying to save you 100 meters by taking you through this really narrow you know, don’t Yeah, use your brains as well.
We were in we rented the fall of car we could get
Uh huh. Yeah.
Just because we we don’t have a week we only have one bag each and we you know, it’s easier to park and easier to maneuver. Yeah,
yeah, this this conversation came up in the join us in France close group on Facebook recently. Somebody says what if they should we get the nice UV and several people said no, no, we got upgraded for free and it was a bad decision. Because especially again, especially in Provence pauses, right? Yes. Okay, good. Yeah. Okay, yeah. So I was saying I was saying that, especially if you’re going to be driving in Provence, you really need to not have a huge car.
Right. Now a small car is definitely the way to do it. Yeah.
We did see SUVs for people who had families and kids and car seats and things like that. You could get, you could get all sizes of cars show. There was something small, if you can know. Yeah.
Yeah. So what one other thing that I would do when I would so the generally the most economical way to obtain euro is just a cash machine. But it’s a lot of times you get 50 year old bills, which are hard to use, sometimes. And so I would always withdraw like 190 euro or 140 euros so that we would get smaller bill what that just
good points. And you discuss that in your today. It was wanting people hate Paris episode. Yeah. The smaller bills? Yeah.
Yeah, don’t show up with hundred euro bills. They won’t. You can also break at least a 20. At the toll booth. Sure. Oh, yeah, they don’t. They don’t take 50s. But they take 20. And you can get a lot of coins that way.
Yeah. Good point.
I’m a tiny word about public toilets.
I don’t carry a purse in France. But it might be nice to have a small bag and maybe carry some tissues in hand sanitizers. Older villages have pretty primitive looking toilets. And when the urge hits you, you want to be prepared. So
yeah, that’s all and you know who those are for those public toilets in villages? Know, there for cyclists? That’s who uses those all the time. And so
that makes complete sense.
Yes. So there’s quite a
bit of makes complete sense. Yep.
So those, almost every village in France will have a public toilet area for men, mostly because it’s mostly men who cycle and mostly men who don’t really care if it’s
So wanna sit down what it is,
are our main tip, I think this is probably our most important mantra is to pack light. Yes, we do not check bags. If we took a three week trip, we would still just carry on one bag with one bag each.
But then you can’t take wine back.
Well, that’s true, but it can be shipped back true.
And and fill up at lemon land will ship back for you. He ranges that so if you’re staying there, consider that if it’s the right time of year,
because it’s really not very easy to ship wine to the US. It depends on the state you have to fill out.
It’s complicated. So if you find somebody who knows how to do it, do it.
Right. And and he will take into consideration what the weather is like there what the weather is like here, and if it’s too hot to ship here, he’ll hold it for you until it’s okay to ship and so, so we we don’t usually ship carry wine back with us. We just either buy it and drink it all while we’re there or, you know, have it shipped back. But we, when we are packing, we use packing cubes. we plan our wardrobes months in advance, we check the weather ahead of time, so that we can pack as lightly as possible. And it’s worked. Great.
And typically in France, if you have a couple of layers and raincoat.
You’ve been exactly. And that’s exactly what we had. Yeah, yeah, right, right. One thing about the airport security that’s different is that anything with a cord comes out in the United States. It’s not like that. But if you got a
I had a kind of bad experience, not bad experience, but a frustrating experience in Madrid
that I saw, I don’t usually
carry a lot of stuff with me, but I had my phone cords and my iPad, and I left all that in my bag. Well, I went through security three times before I figured out that everything that had a plug or would plug into something had to come out of my bag. So I finally figured it out after three times, but my Spanish isn’t very good. So it took me a little bit of trying there. But it’s also nice if when you are going through security if you kind of compartmentalize your bag a little bit. So put all of that stuff together, maybe in a Ziploc bag. Yeah, so the green, just pull it out. Yeah, and put it back in. And then you can kind of reorganize your bag, once you get through security goes up point. Another thing to note, when you’re staying in city center, it’s the older part of the city. The buildings are old, the rooms are smaller, and that’s okay. Yes. It’s not going to be the Marriott with, you know,
1000 square foot room? No, thankfully, it’s not the
city center. So
yeah, we don’t have Well, we might have Marriotts in France, but not Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s not large rooms with a sitting room and all that unless you’re paying fortunes. But right. Typically, hotel rooms in city centres are, you know, tight?
Yeah. Which is fine. Because you’re usually just out exploring the city, you’re not in your room,
right? So you can go out and then enjoy the cafes and the restaurants and the lights and all of that and come back to your room having had a little bit of wine, and you know, no harm, no foul. Whereas if you have to get in your car and drive somewhere because you want it to be cheap, and you got a hotel, you know, 10 miles from city. Well, then, yeah, that’s what you gotta do, but I don’t recommend it.
Right, Jerry? Good. Anything else? Scott, do you want to talk about the couple of things?
So one thing that we always find our hotels ahead of time so there’s a lot of websites to look for those? bookings is one that has a lot of European penetration. It seems like there’s a there’s a there’s it seems like there’s just more hotels listed on there, then perhaps TripAdvisor but if I find a hotel, I always try and look at direct links to the hotel website. Oftentimes you can do the bookings will say they won’t have any rooms available. But if you go to the website, they’ll they’ll find that there are there are rooms and in fact, where we stayed news as a hotel on trade, which was a lovely, lovely hotel, by the way that we were able to book directly to the website. Yeah.
Yeah, this is this is sorry,
it despite the fact that it will it was listed as booked in no rooms available on the other websites,
right. That’s because hotel. So if you own a hotel, if you want to list it, you will pay a good chunk of money to the hope to booking or TripAdvisor or whoever is listing it. And so they don’t want to have too many rooms. Sold that way. They just limit the number of rooms and so if you if they say they’re full, they’re probably not full. You have to call them or go to their website and find the truth.
Yeah, yeah. And then we have one regret. And that is that we on our last day we were driving to the from name to the Marcee airport and we didn’t have anything planned. And Geraldine had suggested we go to bow to evolve to see carrier de Lumiere it’s we did not do and we should have
went and saw what it was and how cool it was. Yeah, really kicking ourselves that we did not go to that. Agreed.
Agreed. So Buddha Provence is not too far from me, man. Yes. And all of that. It’s, it’s got outside of Buddha vaults, you have this old it was a quarry, a white stone quarry. And so it was cut up to extract stone, but you’re in this quarry cave kind of thing. And they project marvelous shows on to the all the wall surfaces all around you. And the music is fabulous. And I have been three times by now. Every time I’m anywhere near there, I have to go. I love the stuff. Even if I’ve seen the show. I go here because it’s so it’s so meditative and lovely to see the art moving around on the walls like this. And the sound is really good today. It’s fabulous. So yes, you you made a mistake. You should have stopped. Yeah, right. No, I know.
There’s a van Gogh.
Yeah. All right. And they do this, they do this in Paris as well. But in Paris, it’s not in a quarry. It’s in a room with mirrors. Know, which is fine, too. But if you can do it in Provence, a million times better. It’s just perfect, perfect, perfect. And you get the cicadas when you walk out. Oh, it’s lovely.
It’s lovely. And as I think about it, there actually was one other tip, and that is that when we went to the guard, we had bought our tickets online ahead of time. It’s a little bit less expensive, not much. But when you get there, you get a parking ticket. And you still must go to the ticket office to get a new parking ticket to get out of the parking lot.
Oh, yeah, I don’t remember how it works. Because, again, I have relatives nearby. So whenever I go, I use their car. Because they sticker they can go in for free. Other sticker. And so I just died low borrow their car, and I can go in and out with. Yeah, so I haven’t had to mess with that. But it’s not very expensive. I don’t think it like
it’s it is not it’s not that that’s a great every bit. That’s also one of those things. If you’re close, probably you should stop by see it. Yeah.
And go early, just busy. So in this trip, is there anything you did not like and you wouldn’t do again? I don’t think so we had a great trip. We planned enough time in each city and enough things to do in each city that I think it was probably our most balanced trip we’ve ever had in France.
We were each place the right amount of time.
That’s great. That’s great. Yeah. And again, your your guest notes will show all the details of how long you stayed and where you stayed and all of that. So right. So that’s very, very helpful for other people who no doubt will want to follow your good example. And you’re making their life easier. You already planned that There you go. Right.
Yeah, but other than missing that show it about approvals. I think everything else went really swimmingly,
right. We had planned to see the new sheet. It was as but the Duke was there. So we didn’t get to do that. But we found other things to do. You know, it was fine.
Yeah. Yeah. When the Duke is in the house you can’t visit.
That’s how it goes.
It is the home of the MMO museum.
Oh, yes. museum. Yes, of course. And I love that place. Love that place.
So we got some we got some gummy bears to take home.
So did you go through the museum? Or did you just go to buy the stuff?
We just went to buy the stuff.
Our kids are old over you know, they’re all in college in high school. So yeah.
And they didn’t come with you anyway.
And they didn’t come anyway. So all they wanted was the gummy bears.
Awesome. And when you go, you should buy candy because the way the flavors of candy in France is a little different than what they sell in the US. So it’s the same brand. It’s valuable, but it tastes better. Especially the strawberries. I don’t know what it is with the strawberries that they make in France. They’re so good. They’re terrible for you, though. Don’t eat them. You guys, thank you so much for coming on the show for sharing your wonderful experience in France. I’m sure that’s going to be helpful to a lot of people. your photos are also fabulous. So you will be very easy to work with you send me all the photos or the outline. Awesome. And you can speak French. Thank you.
thank you Helen road tours. toes, toes. tues I’m not sure Helen apologize. Being French sometimes I don’t know these words. Elizabeth Saxon, Rachel waters and Susan Burris for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week. And thank you to Susan, shad Meyer for your one time donation through the tip your guide button on join us in France. And my thanks to all the other patrons and donors who support the show month after month. Thank you for giving back. patrons and donors get a perk for their support, they get invited to a secret Facebook group, where we discuss their plans and exchange ideas. This is a much smaller group than the close group. And it is for people who not only listen to the podcast, but also support the podcast, visit patreon.com forward slash join us PATREON. Join us no spaces or dashes to join the secret group and also see the other reward tiers a $20 donation using as the green button on any page on join us in France. com that says tip your guide will also get you an invite to the secret group. Today, I want to thank those of you who report problems when they see them either on join us in France. com, or on the Facebook group. The PayPal button was acting strange, Susan emailed me about it. So we had a couple of back and forth. But I think we’ve made it even better now because you can see both my name and the logo of the show. And I am grateful for folks who report inappropriate posts in join us in France closed group. The last one was some sort of credit card offer. Any people please. I would have seen it eventually. But you know, when I get up in the morning, there’s been several hours of activity in the group. Because when I’m asleep is when North America is most active on Facebook. And sometimes my eyes are not quite lined up right. First thing in the morning before I’ve had my few cups of coffee. So thank you for reporting those things. It makes it much easier for me to take action. The other thing that’s totally not okay is folks who joined the group, just so they can promote their services. They usually say something like I can help you with that private message me if you’re interested. A recent one was someone who was looking for couples who want to renew their vows in Paris. There are folks who want to find renters for their apartments or give wine tours or what ever please report those comments. It’s not that I’m not interested in talking to people about the services they offer. I’ve had a tour guides on the podcast, and I’m happy to talk about their services. I don’t even charge them a penny for it. But I want them to come on the podcast first. Same for folks who want to promote a blog of theirs. I’m fine with that, once they’ve been on the podcast with me and shared some good information with you on an episode. The GPS aware tour is moving along nicely. It has been approved after editing. And then I realized that it has to be tested on site. I don’t live in Paris. So I wondered if I have if I would have to make a trip to Paris just to test the tour. But my friend Patricia to the rescue. She’s going to test the tour for us with a robo voice no less Poor thing. But once we know everything works technically with a tour our recorded and it will be live for you to enjoy very soon. What’s happening in my personal life? Well, you know, say my same old but I’d be taking a few vacation days in August this year. So July, I keep working. And I’ll probably skip some episodes in August. But I haven’t decided which ones yet. So I’ll let you know soon. My daughter is going to be moving out to get her own apartment. She’s about to start on her computer science master’s degree. She’s 21. So you know, it was time. She got a cute little studio apartment downtown in Toulouse. And how surprised that one of the things she said she liked about the apartment is that it has a washing machine. Who knows she was willing to use a washing machine. We’ve had one all these years and she never ever tried it.
But I can’t complain. She’s a great kid. Miss having her around every night. And she’s not going very far. So we’ll see a lot of her now just go more gaga over the dogs. What can I tell you? The other thing that’s new My life is that okay, this is weird, but I swear I have to talk to you about this because I’m excited. I got an air fryer. Everybody was talking about those things. And I like cooking. I was really curious to try it. I wasn’t convinced that I like I would like it I I even planned Okay, I’m going to get this thing is going to take up room on my small counter will have a little French kitchen, you know, what am I gonna put this thing I I decided that if I didn’t like it, I would put it in one specific spot. But then I love that thing. I use it every day. I don’t really know why they call it an air fryer because it’s really a small convection oven. But then when it’s just the two of us, it’s perfect. You know it goes up in temperature quickly doesn’t heat up my whole kitchen. It cooks fast. It’s great. I love it. So if you have great fry recipes, please share them with me on facebook group. I know we’re not a cooking group but you know travelers they do eat. If you want to recommend the podcast to someone who already listens to podcasts, tell them they will find the join us in France travel podcast anywhere they get their podcasts. They just have to search for it. If they listen to music, but not podcasts on their phones, tell them to search again search for join us in France on Spotify or Pandora. And if they don’t normally listen to anything on their phones, send them to join us in france.com and thank you so much for listening and for spreading the word send questions or feedback to any ad join us in france.com Have a great week of trip planning or have a great weekend France and I will talk to you next Sunday on the join us in France travel podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2019 by addicted to France. It is released under creative Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license
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Categories: French Food & Wine, Provence