Transcript for Episode 274: Tours Make a Vacation Better

Category: France How To

Discussed in this Episode

  • [04:35] Rediscovering the London Theater District in London with Ian McEwen's tour on VoiceMap
  • [06:05] What if you don't normally take tours?
  • [06:52] Tours make the experience better
  • [07:33] Taking tours where you've lived for a long time is surprisingly interesting!
  • [08:00] Taking audio tours in Museums is interesting even for an art historian like Elyse!
  • [08:44] You will miss a lot of stuff if you don't take any sort of tour
  • [09:03] Paris is a big city with lots of distractions
  • [10:03] VoiceMap tours give you maximal freedom
  • [10:13} You can run VoiceMap tours without data because everything is downloaded to your phone!
  • [11:08] Tours are great for curious people
  • [12:02] Don't forget to look up!
  • [12:34] Missing the Procope even though it has signs!
  • [13:19} More on the complete flexibility of VoiceMap tours
  • [15:16] A visit to the Royal Albert Hall with a "serious" guide
  • [15:30] Some tour guides are actors and crack more jokes than anything
  • [16:45] We understand why some people don't take tours: some live guides sound like robots!
  • [17:30] Good in-person guides can adjust the tour to their audience
  • [18:13] Are VoiceMap tours too cheap?
  • [20:20] How to buy Annie and Elyse's VoiceMap tours and how they work
  • [21:45] Elyse is working on a tour about the occupation and resistance in Toulouse
  • [22:00] Annie has Paris tours about Île de la Cité Marais Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés
  • [22:50] Talking to the people who are reluctant about taking tours
  • [24:22] Audio tours enhance the experience
  • [25:06] Don't be purely and Instagram tourist!
  • [26:17] You can actually take Annie and Elyse in your pocket!

Annie Sargent  00:00

This is Join Us in France Episode 274. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent. And on a typical episode of Join Us in France, I talk with someone who’s visited France, and tells us all about it. But today I chat with my friend Elyse, who is a licensed tour guide in France, and has just published her first VoiceMap self guided walking tour of Toulouse. I talked her into trying it and it seems she’s going to continue producing tours for the southwest of France. So that is great news because there wasn’t much in terms of self guided walking tours in this area, which is a problem because they’re wonderful.


Annie Sargent  00:41

We also chat about the corona virus scare aka kovat 19. We recorded our conversation a full week before you hear it. So things have changed. But as I record this introduction on Thursday, March 5 2020, we now Have 377 confirmed cases in France, six dead, very few people are wearing masks. But French people are stocking up on hand cleaning gel and not on toilet paper. It’s funny how each country reacts differently.


Annie Sargent  01:19

Everybody keeps asking on the Facebook group, should I cancel my trip? And we can’t answer that for you. I’m afraid. We’re not medical professionals. And we can’t tell the future either. It puts us in a pickle to answer questions like that. But France hasn’t been hit as hard as Italy so far. That could change we don’t know. It’s about this at the same level as Germany and of course in France, we have a very good public health system. And they are counting the number of cases testing a lot of people. So the information that we have seems to be actually curate.


Annie Sargent  02:00

Occasionally on the Facebook group, I will update with the names of the areas that have contamination but so far it’s nothing. It’s rural places except for the Oise, which is department near Paris but not in Paris. And so, so far Paris has been mostly “épargné”, oh, I don’t know how to say that in English. It’s not been hit let’s put it this way.


Annie Sargent  02:32

So to see all the places where I offer tours, go to, and to get to Elyse’s Toulouse tour, and she might do more, go to and use the contact form.


Annie Sargent  02:51

Someone wrote a review of my Marais tour and said “I walked around the Marais with Annie. It was great fun and I highly recommend this tour. I have three more of her tours to do and I can’t wait.” Thank you so much for that review. Most people are buying all four tours actually because honestly at the price why wouldn’t you?


Annie Sargent  03:44

Bonjour Elyse


Elyse Rivin  03:45

Bonjour Annie


Annie Sargent  03:46

How are you?


Elyse Rivin  03:47

I am fine.


Annie Sargent  03:48

You’re looking purplely today.


Elyse Rivin  03:49

I’m purple today


Annie Sargent  03:50

Like a violette.


Elyse Rivin  03:51

Oh yes, because it is the season of violettes here in Toulouse.


Annie Sargent  03:54

It sure is! We have a lot of wild violettes. So somebody said that they love violettes because they smell so good. Well, wild violets don’t smell. There’s no scent to them.


Elyse Rivin  04:04

They don’t. It is in fact the flower of Toulouse of course.


Annie Sargent  04:08

It is yes.


Elyse Rivin  04:09

It’s the the namesake flower of Toulouse, but I have to make a confession. I think they’re beautiful, but I don’t like the smell of them.


Annie Sargent  04:19

Well, the wild ones have no smell.


Elyse Rivin  04:21

You know, they make them into soap, into candy and everything.


Annie Sargent  04:24

Yeah, you don’t care for it too much.


Elyse Rivin  04:25



Annie Sargent  04:25

Yeah. Okay. Well, like them.


Elyse Rivin  04:27

I love the color.


Annie Sargent  04:28

Yeah. So today we’re gonna talk about why take a tour.


Elyse Rivin  04:33



Annie Sargent  04:34

The advantages of taking a tour versus not


Elyse Rivin  04:37

Versus not right.


Annie Sargent  04:39

And I would like to open this by telling you a story of something that happened to me very recently. When I was a young one, in my early 20s, I lived in London for two years. And while living in London, I was not very rich. I was a student, but we went to the theater. We got cheap tickets sometimes and went to this theater. So I was frequently in the theater district in London. And then years have gone by and I go back to London every now and then my husband loves Broadway. So we often go to see shows.


Annie Sargent  05:16

And so I have been in that area of London hundreds of times in my life. And this time, I discovered that Ian McEwen, the actor, had done a VoiceMap tour of theater district in London. And lo and behold, it was free. I was like, wow, how can this be free? This is a promotional thing that VoiceMap has done. And so I definitely downloaded it and listened to it. And it completely changed the way I saw theater district right. I had walked in those streets in front of the theaters I had been inside of those theaters, lots of times, and it is the truth that you don’t know what you don’t know.


Elyse Rivin  05:59

You don’t know what you do. Don’t know exactly. somebody pointed out to you, you will never know what you don’t know. Right?


Annie Sargent  06:05

And so I got so much joy out of this hour and a half that we spent listening to this guy because I was like, wow, we knew like this is so super interesting. And so, because I produce these tours, well, I’m going to steal some of his tricks because his transitions were a lot better than mine. I gotta fix some transitions of mine. But you know, it’s so it makes the moment you spend there so much more enjoyable, I think. And in this is kind of strange for me to say, but I’m not someone who takes a lot of audio tours, who has taken a lot of audio tours in the past. Maybe that’s why I’m trying to convince you so much, because I had to convince myself.


Elyse Rivin  06:48

or even regular tours. You have taken right you haven’t taken regular tour


Annie Sargent  06:52

not done. I mean I’ve taken some of you but not it’s I’m not someone who will just get it tour everywhere I go, you know have taken some that were much better than others. And maybe that’s why I’m a little shy about you know, I’m like, I don’t know this guy. I don’t know this guy, I guess. But it’s it really makes the experience better.


Elyse Rivin  07:13

Makes an experience better. I know that here in Toulouse, having given tours about the Old City Center for a long time. Sometimes I’ve had people come on a tour, mostly, interestingly, if they’ve been dragged along by somebody else who’s visiting from out of city or out of state or wherever, but somebody who lives here, right?


Annie Sargent  07:33



Elyse Rivin  07:33

And who goes here, hey, you know, why am I doing this? I’ve lived here all these years. I don’t have to go on a tour. I know at the city center of Toulouse. And what happens is, it’s the same exact thing that happens. It’s like really, I didn’t know anything about that. I didn’t know anything about that building. I didn’t know anything about that street. Right. You know it.


Annie Sargent  07:52

You’re the one who told me about the 24 hour clock in Toulouse


Elyse Rivin  07:55

The 24 hour clock in Toulouse


Annie Sargent  07:57

And I grew up here!


Elyse Rivin  07:58

She grew up here! She doesn’t know nothing here. Yeah, I mean, I think that tours can be. And again, you were just asking me about tours even in museums, I happen to have discovered that for certain museums, and it depends, of course on who produces them, and of course, how good they are. But sometimes audio tours, even in museums are really really useful.


Annie Sargent  08:21



Elyse Rivin  08:21

Because me who has studied art and art history for ages and ages and ages and ages, and I think I know a lot hahaha.


Annie Sargent  08:28

You do!


Elyse Rivin  08:29

But oh, I do, but I don’t  know all that much.


Annie Sargent  08:33

And if you’re interested in it, having somebody else bring up something you hadn’t ever heard. Exactly.It’s like, Oh, wow.


Elyse Rivin  08:39

Oh, wow. And then it suddenly makes you look things look at things differently. And like a details in a different


Annie Sargent  08:43

Right, right. And it’s a it’s a question of also people missing stuff. That’s so obvious. Now, I know there are a lot of people who think oh, I’m going to land in Paris and it’ll just all reveal itself to me. No, it won’t, sorry to pop your bubble. Because Paris, like many other city


Elyse Rivin  09:00

Like any city


Annie Sargent  09:01

Is a big, busy city.


Elyse Rivin  09:03



Annie Sargent  09:03

And we’re all distractible, and we are not sure where we should be paying attention.


Elyse Rivin  09:08



Annie Sargent  09:08

You know, you’re even if you’re on the right street, which is not a given, you know, you you might not even be paying attention to the stuff that’s really interesting.


Elyse Rivin  09:18

Exactly. Right.


Annie Sargent  09:19

So if you have a tour guide, either in person or as a VoiceMap tour, then that tour guide is going to point out things.


Elyse Rivin  09:26

Absolutely. I think that that’s part of the this whole concept is that yeah, it’s sometimes you I know people, and I know that we’ve had this conversation you and I before. Sometimes people say, you know, if you do a tour with somebody, well, then you you just have to follow them around. Well, of course that is true. But you will learn things and see things that you didn’t notice, like you were just saying about the 24 hour clock here, in Toulouse. And then you can always go off and do your own thing anyway.


Annie Sargent  09:59

Right, right.


Elyse Rivin  10:00

Nobody’s forcing you to do that.


Annie Sargent  10:01

But this is an advantage of a VoiceMap tour.


Elyse Rivin  10:04



Annie Sargent  10:04

Versus in person tour because you can


Elyse Rivin  10:07

You can stop and start


Annie Sargent  10:08

Pause it. Right. Whenever you want, you can take it when it’s convenient. You don’t have to make an appointment.


Elyse Rivin  10:13



Annie Sargent  10:13

You’re not letting anybody down, you know, you just… And it will work whether you have data or not, I need to really emphasize that because plenty of people think, well, but I won’t have GPS, you know, I won’t have data when I’m outside of the US right now. You download the torture your phone, it will download the maps, the audio, the photos, everything will be on your phone. You could be on the moon and it would work, right be in a submarine and it would work, you know, so that’s not an issue. That’s why you need to download it in advance. And I recommend you play with the app a little bit. If you’re not someone who plays with apps constantly because then you get familiar with it and it helps you know it helps.


Elyse Rivin  10:55

It helps knowing how to manipulate it


Annie Sargent  10:57

Right. In person tours are also one For some of them are better than others. I’ve enjoyed every tour I’ve taken with you. And I’ve always learned something about Toulouse, my hometown. You know?


Elyse Rivin  11:08

Well, isn’t it always the case, though, that we know the least about what’s right in front of our nose! You know, I mean, it’s like, we go someplace new. And we say, Oh, well, I don’t know anything here. Let me find out. But where we come from or where we live? We go. And I know this place I’ve been Yeah, forever and ever. Yeah. And then you go, uh, well, maybe I don’t really know.


Annie Sargent  11:28

So, it’s a question of how curious you are. Yes. Really. I mean, if you’re very, very curious person, if you’re open to learning new things, then these tours are going to be wonderful. Be there in person or via an App.


Elyse Rivin  11:40



Annie Sargent  11:40

And if you’re not so open minded, and you don’t want to learn nothing. So


Elyse Rivin  11:46

Some people I think, just feel like it’s just I can understand it. Sometimes when you are in a new place and you walk around and you just pick up the atmosphere. But I think that all you’re going to get is the atmosphere of a place you know, and you won’t understand why it is the way it is or


Annie Sargent  12:01



Elyse Rivin  12:02

Like, like recently, you know, somebody that I know here in Toulouse was walking with me when I said, you know, well, this is the audio tour. We’re going to start here. And it was someone who’s lived here for a number of years. And I said, Now look up. And I said, you know, people don’t look up, you know, yeah, people don’t look up. Like why should I look up? Well, take a look what’s up on top of the building over there?


Annie Sargent  12:18

Yeah, look at that, chick this out!


Elyse Rivin  12:25

Wow, don’t look down at your feet when you’re walking around.


Annie Sargent  12:29

Right. And you do miss a lot of good stuff because you don’t know you were supposed to look.


Elyse Rivin  12:33

Right. Exactly.


Annie Sargent  12:34

In Paris. I was taking some time in front of the Procope, you know?


Elyse Rivin  12:38



Annie Sargent  12:40

The the famous restaurant and it’s a busy street. I mean, you have one entrance on the busy side and one entrance in a back alley. The so on the busy street, there were people walking in front of the Procope and not having any idea. Well, they just had walked in front of it and missed it. And and the Procope has signs! It has a lot of signs saying,


Elyse Rivin  13:01

Oldest café in Paris!


Annie Sargent  13:03

Oldest café in Paris and Thomas Jefferson was here, and so and so was here and blah, blah, blah. They have a lot of stuff. So anyway, you miss stuff because you don’t know it was there. And so I really encourage you to, you know, take a dang tour.


Elyse Rivin  13:19

Yeah, and take a tour. And I think that it there, obviously are great advantages to the voice tours because as you say, you can really stop and start you don’t have to have a fixed time you don’t have to make a reservation. You can choose whenever you want to go, you can stop in the middle, have a coffee or whatever and do things like that. And then of course, if you are with a group of people, a small group friends, a little family group, whatever, and you want to have a tour where you know, if you’re the kind of person who likes to ask questions, sometimes it’s better to have a live person there.


Annie Sargent  13:51



Elyse Rivin  13:52

You know, because then you can sort of say, Well, why do they do with this way? You know, what do they do with that way? But but I think tours are really are amazingly useful. Yeah. And it and it doesn’t matter where you take them.


Annie Sargent  14:06

Exactly. It could be anywhere. It definitely if you go to London, you have to take that in McEwen tour and it’s free. So I’m not not making a penny at all. But it’s just such a good tour and you learn so much. It’s just Yeah, yeah, just push her down. I have a wild cat. I’m sorry.


Elyse Rivin  14:29

She likes me.


Annie Sargent  14:30

She likes Elyse too much.


Elyse Rivin  14:32

Too much!


Annie Sargent  14:32

Yeah, attacks her!


Elyse Rivin  14:33

I think it’s interesting too that though. You know, you can have tours that give you different kinds of experiences. And it depends. Obviously, you have tours in a city like Paris or Toulouse, and they will show you buildings and talk about the history of the buildings, history of the people, the names of the streets, why they’re called that, things like that. Then you have tours in other places where it’s about the land. I mean, there’s so many different kinds of tours. And they’re all interesting. Yeah, they’re all they’re all good. And they’re all intersting


Annie Sargent  15:06

We took a tour. We were in London recently, as I mentioned, and we took a tour of the Royal Albert Hall, which is I had been in that Hall. And it was very interesting. It’s very different from the Palais Garnier, because Garnier is so lavish


Elyse Rivin  15:20

And yeah, just that it’s really over the top.


Annie Sargent  15:24

Yeah. The Royal Albert Hall is plenty pretty but it’s not the same. It’s not the same level. And the tour guide there was obviously a very well rehearsed tour guide who had timed everything memorized everything. And he did a very nice job. It was a bit dry for me, but you know, it’s, it’s fine. Then you have these tour guides in person that will they’re actors really like clowns, right. Some of them, you can hear them practicing their jokes,


Elyse Rivin  15:53



Annie Sargent  15:55

And I know that I noticed them because I’m in Paris writing a tour myself. So I’m walking to all these famous places, and of course, tour guides could walk in front of me and I mean, I’m there. I’m listening. And it’s it’s very funny the styles and some of them will mostly just crack jokes. Like, it’s you learn nothing. I don’t think.


Elyse Rivin  16:15

Yeah, I don’t like those very much.


Annie Sargent  16:17

Yeah, it’s not so interesting to me.


Elyse Rivin  16:19

Right, right.


Annie Sargent  16:20

But that’s one thing that’s in my case I’ve given in person tours, and I’ve given VoiceMap I’ve done VoiceMap tours. For me, it’s better to do it with the app because I forget when I’m in front of people, I get distracted. I’m going to start asking them about their cat. And I’ll never get back to the stuff I was supposed to tell them about!


Elyse Rivin  16:40

You’re just not disciplined Annie!


Annie Sargent  16:42

I am not disciplined enough to be an efficient,


Elyse Rivin  16:45

But but I think actually it talking about a live human guide for a thing. That I think the differences that some people and that’s true for instance, if you go… For instance, just, I mean, I don’t name names of real people. But here for instance, the the tourist office of Toulouse, they have guides that are very competent they but they are like robots.


Annie Sargent  17:12



Elyse Rivin  17:12

And they do the same tour every single time.


Annie Sargent  17:15



Elyse Rivin  17:15

And they never deviate from what they say. And that’s not an interesting tour.


Annie Sargent  17:18

No, no.


Elyse Rivin  17:19

An interesting tour, is when you can deviate a little bit, not spend an hour talking about people’s cats! But a little bit, and then come back to it, but also understand who you’re talking to, you know.


Annie Sargent  17:30



Elyse Rivin  17:30

I mean, I think that’s the advantage or disadvantage is like, in May, I’m going to be taking some American college students around Toulouse. I, you know, I have to adjust because these are going to be young people who’ve been in Europe for three days, you know, and they’ve never been in Europe before. That’s not the same thing as someone who is who has been in France five times and two is interested in certain details. I think that you know, those


Annie Sargent  17:55



Elyse Rivin  17:56

But but that’s our job. We know things like that. Right. And the The advantage of the VoiceMap is if you want to have the information and you just want to be more or less left alone.


Annie Sargent  18:08

Yeah, yeah.


Elyse Rivin  18:09

I think you know, so it’s kind of two different way of dealing with it. But now,


Annie Sargent  18:13

I had somebody write to me recently saying your tours are way too cheap. And I agree with the car way too cheap. The problem is, they, they there are other tours in Paris.


Annie Sargent  18:27



Annie Sargent  18:27

And nobody pays a lot of money for an app. You know, it’s just a fact. So if I want to sell some to people who’ve never heard of me, I need to keep within, you know, reasonable prices. So you know, the 7, 8, 9 dollar price is fine that most people are willing to pay that. If I go much beyond that, because she was saying, well, a guidebook is a lot more than that. And yeah, it is.


Elyse Rivin  18:54

A guide book is a lot more but you know, I mean, the same things here in Toulouse, although they’re further as far as Know for the moment I have the only English speaking audio tour here.


Annie Sargent  19:03

Yeah, you do you do. Yes, yes, yes.


Elyse Rivin  19:06

But but you’re right. It’s that but the thing about a guidebook. Yes. It’s interesting that somebody would say a guidebook is more, but it’s not the same thing.


Annie Sargent  19:14



Elyse Rivin  19:14

A guidebook will never have all the details of a specific neighborhood that you will get from an audio tour.


Annie Sargent  19:21



Elyse Rivin  19:21

But if you added up all the different neighborhoods, you would still have more than what you get in a guidebook.


Elyse Rivin  19:28



Elyse Rivin  19:29

It’s just that individually each since it’s by neighborhood or old city center, it’s it is I mean, and then again, let’s be realistic, the, to do the audio tours, you go through a channel and that channel is VoiceMap. Yeah, and VoiceMap basically has something to say about the cost of some of these things.


Annie Sargent  19:52

They do. Yes, they do recommend because they know it’s not going to sell if you go too high, you know, and so it’s probably worth every penny you spend, but I wouldn’t say that I can just raise it to whatever, you know. I mean, I might raise it up a few, a little bit. Just inflation, but that’s it.


Elyse Rivin  20:11

But then the audio tours, it’s also whether they’re bought through VoiceMap through Google Play through iTunes or directly through us,


Annie Sargent  20:20

Right, right. The price is a little bit different. So let’s explain. VoiceMap is an app that you can download for free. Then once you have the app, you can purchase tours, anywhere in the world, there’s hundreds of them directly through the app. And in that case, you’re buying through either the iTunes Store or the Google Play Store. Okay? If you do it that way, obviously, iTunes takes a cut. Google Play Store takes a cut and so they always price them. They’re always price a little higher because we have these big companies taking a cut. The other way to do it is to by a code from me directly, or from Elyse directly, and tell everybody your email address,


Elyse Rivin  21:07

So it’s


Annie Sargent  21:11

There you go. So you write to, well is it Elyse @ Toulouse guided walks or?


Elyse Rivin  21:16

If you if you want the site if you want my email address.


Annie Sargent  21:23



Elyse Rivin  21:24



Annie Sargent  21:27, oh!!


Elyse Rivin  21:35



Annie Sargent  21:36

But if you go to there’s a contact page,


Elyse Rivin  21:40

There’s a contact page, like the Facebook page, the contact page, you can either go right there or to Elyse


Annie Sargent  21:45

Right, right. So that’s how you would buy Elyse’s Toulouse tours and you will write more and you’re in the process of


Elyse Rivin  21:52

I’m writing a second one


Annie Sargent  21:52

Working on a second one on specifically on the resistance


Elyse Rivin  21:56

Yes, the occupation and the resistance


Annie Sargent  21:58

In Toulouse which is a fascinating topic. So that’s that that one I will definitely take when you’re done with it, because I don’t think I know near enough about that. So that will be very interesting. I’m working on one for the Latin Quarter. I’ve already done four:  Île de la Cité, Marais, Montmartre, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés and I’m working on a fifth Latin Quarter. And then I’ll stop for a while, probably, but it’s, you know, so in that case, you go to, and you can pick which one you want to buy, and you get a discount because you’re buying it directly from me. We don’t have to give a cut to Google Play or iTunes and so that’s why you can get a discount and that’s how we keep it reasonably priced. Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  22:20

And and, you know, I think that the first I think people who have never done tours are reluctant. I have One of my sisters is someone who uses guides and tour guides and audio guides all the time, and really has come to appreciate how useful they are and how much I can. I’m going to give a different example. It’s a little bit more exotic than Royal Albert Hall. But in January I was in India.


Annie Sargent  23:20



Elyse Rivin  23:21

And among the other things I did as a good typical tourist, I went to the Taj Mahal. Mm hmm. And at first, we were not going to take an audio guide, because you have regular guides, and there are lots of them in India. And of course, they want you to hire them. And then there is actually an audio guide. And what happened was since I was with a friend who is in fact from from there, she had already excuse me, she had already visited the Taj Mahal many times and she said to me, oh, there’s no point.


Elyse Rivin  23:58

You see it, you know what it is? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then what happened was I convinced her that it would be a good idea to get an audio guide. And lo and behold, she discovered things with me. They didn’t know she didn’t know, she didn’t know. And she kept saying to me, wow, you know, yeah, it’s beautiful. Yeah, I don’t see all this pretty marble, and I see all these carvings, but boy, I didn’t know this. And I didn’t know that. Yeah, well, there you are. Yeah, you know, it really does make a difference.


Annie Sargent  24:27

It enhances the experience.


Elyse Rivin  24:29

It certainly does!


Annie Sargent  24:30

It won’t change your life or you know, it won’t cure cancer, all right. But it will enhance your experience. And at a time when most of us don’t have that much time. We don’t maybe we don’t have the funds to go back to Paris over and over and over again or India or wherever it is. When you go make the most of every minute.


Elyse Rivin  24:50



Annie Sargent  24:50

You know, like, really invest a little bit of your attention into a tour that will you’ll just enjoy it. You’ll enjoy it a lot more.


Elyse Rivin  25:00

And it helps remember things afterwards, right? It really does. Yes,


Annie Sargent  25:06

yes, yes. Yeah. Yes. I mean, and they’re always going to be, you know, the Instagram tourists who just want to take the selfie and yeah, posted on Instagram and they’re done. I don’t think this is what we’re talking to for the most part.


Elyse Rivin  25:20

No, but I don’t think those you know, I think that that the whole point of being curious enough to listen to a podcast and want to know more is to get more out of every experience. I mean me with my background as an art artists and art historian, I used to be very snobbish about going into an art museum and going I don’t need anything, you know, I can walk around and, you know,


Elyse Rivin  25:41

I’ll recognize this!


Elyse Rivin  25:42

I’ll recognize this and I’ll know why this painting is really great. And this one isn’t, you know, and in fact, I learned my lesson a couple of years ago, again in I was in The Hague in in Holland. And they have a fabulous museum there and and I was looking at a couple of paintings, and I thought, I know about these paintings. And then I was listening to the audio guide. And I went, well, well, well, right, you know,


Annie Sargent  26:08

Because even if you knew you might have forgotten.


Elyse Rivin  26:09

You might have forgotten. But also, it’s interesting to know, it’s interesting to know the history of something like this. You know why it is the way it is? No and


Annie Sargent  26:17

Yeah, and we’re cool. You can take us in your pocket!


Elyse Rivin  26:19

And you can take us in your pocket, and you can even listen to us while you’re having a glass of wine or a cappuccino or whatever.


Annie Sargent  26:26

You do whatever you want.


Elyse Rivin  26:29

And it doesn’t cost you you don’t have to pay out our drink at the same time. You just have your drink.


Annie Sargent  26:35

That’s it. So we got to talk a little bit. I think we’ve beaten this horse to death.


Elyse Rivin  26:39

Yeah. Yes we have.


Annie Sargent  26:42

Let’s talk a little bit about the virus concerns with this Covid-19 we I didn’t bring it up.


Elyse Rivin  26:48

You didn’t know I didn’t know. But it’s interesting because I just got a an email message from a sister in New York. She sent me a link to an article about how to not get into hysteria about it. Yeah. Basically in the States. Well, I’m in the States at this point, that different situation. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s talk about it. Yeah.


Annie Sargent  27:09

So France has a few cases that are. They’re called Community kind of cases. Yeah. Where they don’t have any idea how this person caught it because they weren’t in either Italy or China, China or anywhere near a known source. Right. And so we’ve had a few of those by now which means like that, like all viruses, it’s going to spread.


Elyse Rivin  27:35

It’s going to spread.


Annie Sargent  27:36

This is what viruses do. Now. I’m not a doctor, I can’t advise people as to what to do. I do know that you know, washing hands and being touching your face is important


Elyse Rivin  27:51

And carrying around the antiseptic.


Annie Sargent  27:54

Right the little


Annie Sargent  27:56

The alcohol Yeah, type. Yeah wash things.


Elyse Rivin  28:00

Especially if you’ve been like me, and unlike you, but I am in the metro in Toulouse all time,


Annie Sargent  28:07



Elyse Rivin  28:07

All the time. Yeah. And you’re touching doorknobs and things are touching. You’re touching all sorts, right?


Annie Sargent  28:12

Because the problem with this particular virus, I think, is that if somebody has coughed on a surface, it lives on the surface for a few hours, right for a few hours. And so you have plenty of time. So it’s best if you can, you know, sanitize your hands with hand sanitizers and avoid touching your face at all costs. And I’ve even heard the doctor say on the radio on French radio, that the hope the masks are not really needed. But they do remind people not to touch your face.


Elyse Rivin  28:40

Yes. And so this is the thing apparently so so far the cases that are concerned are either in the north of France or actually a couple around Montpellier. And the couple in the Alps. So we in where we are so far touchwood Yeah, had any Yeah, but there are a few people in quarantine here because they did go on vacation. In northern Italy, yeah. And so of course the quarantine is to make sure after the 14 days if you have no symptoms, then everything’s fine. Now, yeah, it will eventually spread because it is the nature of this thing that it will spread.


Annie Sargent  29:13

It’ll spread in America too.


Elyse Rivin  29:15

It will spread everywhere. The precautions are to make sure that you wash your hands all the time. The The thing about the masks which is really interesting is that they’ve said several times on television, that the mask is largely for people who seem to have symptoms so that they don’t spread it right. However, I can understand personally that if you think you’re going to be in an area where you might be in touch with people who have the symptoms you if you wear the mask at least you’re not breathing it in you know you


Annie Sargent  29:48

it makes you feel better if it makes makes you better by all means do it.


Elyse Rivin  29:52

But unfortunately, since we are we since the the medical experts are not 100% sure exactly how everything is transmitted. At this point, there’s a chance that will spread pretty much everywhere. Yeah,


Annie Sargent  30:07

yeah. Now becoming a pandemic,


Elyse Rivin  30:09

and it’s a pandemic, the most at risk are very, very small babies and old people with ill health.


Annie Sargent  30:18

I didn’t think very small babies. Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  30:20

Very small babies. And otherwise, the rate of recovery is very good.


Annie Sargent  30:25

Yeah. Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  30:27

It’s, it’s the problem is that it’s, it seems to spread fast and easily. Yeah. Yeah. And, and we really don’t know.


Annie Sargent  30:37

So people have come on the Facebook group asking, should I cancel my trip? And I’m like, I can’t tell you. I don’t know what you should do. Yeah. But you might, if you are cost sensitive, then you might want to buy travel insurance, that includes canceling for any reason, any reason, because if you just you know, you have to make sure you read the fine print because some of these Trip insurance aren’t going to help you in the case of a cancellation because I’m afraid of the corona virus.


Elyse Rivin  31:06

You have to be sick yourself.


Annie Sargent  31:07

Yeah, yeah. So So, but that’s all I can tell you. I know lots of people are going to cancel their trips because we’re human beings and


Elyse Rivin  31:16

We’re afraid


Annie Sargent  31:17

We’re afraid of disease and that makes sense and sometimes we’re not afraid enough of stuff like the regular seasonal flu right? You know, but that’s that’s people What are you going okay, so


Elyse Rivin  31:29

let me ask you a question because it was just what two weekends ago you came back from London right? There was a weekend Yeah, were there people wearing masks?


Annie Sargent  31:37

A few, not many. In Paris there were a few people wearing masks but not many. Because he are so foreign to this.


Elyse Rivin  31:43

Nobody is Yeah, nobody is wearing anything. I think people are aware of it but you know what are you going to do do not go out to you not go to where there are people you don’t go to supermarket you don’t go to the metro you don’t go to cinema.


Annie Sargent  31:56

So what you need. My plan is have to have enough food, the food and stuff in the house so that if it develops around us, I just limit my, the time I spend in public place other place, but of course, I’m in a position where I can do that my daughter is not she’s going to College you can’t. Like life doesn’t stop, right? There’s a virus, right. So it just depends like, you know, you, you have to make your choices. I don’t I don’t know, you tell people.


Elyse Rivin  32:29

I don’t know what to tell people either. And I don’t know exactly. Since we don’t know yet. How bad it’s going to get. I mean, right. It’s, so far what they’re saying is that it is peaked and is on the way down in China, but they have had over what, how many thousands of people have content con tracted content have become, have become after disease, have the disease you know, many more than of course the people who have died but Some people have died. A couple of thousand people have died. Yeah. But I think it’s 80,000 people who’ve come down with the virus, the flu, many more people get it than that. The seasonal flu, the seasonal flu. Yeah, many, many more people get it than that. And it kills people kill people every year. But this one seems to be fairly volatile on ways


Annie Sargent  33:21

The problem is we’re all completely naive to it. Like we’ve never been in contact with this virus. So at least the seasonal flu, you might have had that very, very end of the flu before. And so you will resist it. So if, I mean, should you come to France and be trapped in an area that has been contaminated? And they decided that you need to be quarantined? Is that something you can live with? Because that’s the most likely inconvenience, right? Like, you know that you’re visiting? I don’t know you’re visiting Toulouse. Okay, let’s not let’s not take too much just uncomfortable. Right, Paris.


Elyse Rivin  33:58

Yeah, Paris, because it’s the Mostly, right now, of course, you’re in huge amounts of cancellations. But suppose you are in Paris and


Annie Sargent  34:06

and somebody knocks on the door and says, hey, there’s been a case in your hotel right like you to be quarantined for weeks, right? You have no symptoms. You’re not sick what are you gonna do?


Elyse Rivin  34:17

Well, yeah, you have to do it.


Annie Sargent  34:19

That’s the, that cat is going to drop the Little Prince of the ledge. There. She just did it.


Elyse Rivin  34:27

Though I honestly, I think that you and I, and anybody who’s a tourist walking around is less in danger than the poor people on the cruise ships. Because that is like they are stuck. And it’s a real incubator for contagion. Unfortunately, that is the case that is the case. Right? But, but I think that also I think people should just use common sense in their hygiene in terms of taking precautions and then it’s unfortunate a little bit of chance.


Annie Sargent  34:58

Of course, it’s luck. The other thing I want to bring up is that France has a very good public health system. Yeah. And so the person in charge in France, he’s a neurologist he’s actually a doctor. He’s a doctor, they put a doctor in charge who would have thunk? And and so the public health system is running at full capacity. I mean, the full force, they will take care of you have you know, and it’s not like you’re going to a no, sir but it will be an inconvenience. Yes. If you are in an if you’re caught in an area that has an outbreak, they might say, Look, you should be confined.


Elyse Rivin  35:43

There. I watched one of the talk show programs last night that I like, and they had on one of the epidemiologis, who was talking about this, who writes for one of the newspapers, I can’t remember which one and he said here in France It’s okay. I mean, it’s it’s like all the major hospitals and all the major cities are prepared for dealing with people who’ve been contract who’ve been… And I can, why can’t I expose expose to the virus? There have been two cases in the Congo that were revealed a couple of days ago. And he said, pity the people there because the health system and the care system is not worth much. Yeah. And it’s countries like that, that are going to have major problems if it spreads a lot.


Annie Sargent  36:33

The other thing that’s likely to happen is that as the weather warms up, like all flus, it will disappear. It will disappear for a few months, and then it’ll come back with a passion in September, October. This is exactly what happened with 1918 pandemic. We’ve only had three pandemics. Well, no two that I know have declared pandemics. It was the 1918 flu and the SARS. No, because that wasn’t all over the It was HIV, HIV. That was a pandemic. Okay. That’s the two official pandemics beyond that, like SARS and MERS. And you remember the, the, the pig flu, whatever it was called,


Elyse Rivin  37:17

Oh, the swine flu. Yeah, the swine flu.


Annie Sargent  37:19

Those never reach pandemic levels. They were they were contained just a few places. They call it a pandemic, once there’s been cases everywhere and can every t lead cases where they don’t? They don’t know that this person traveled right. You were risky. So but we’re not there yet. But it might get to that point. And so if it does, yeah, when there’s pandemic on, I’m not sure travel is a great idea. Yeah. It’s up to you. I mean, honestly, it’s I you I don’t know what to say.


Elyse Rivin  37:52

Yeah, I, I think that’s probably whatever it is. We’re talking about now. It’s true anywhere in the world. At any


Annie Sargent  38:00

Anywhere. I mean, I think that’s the whole place. And and these, you were talking about Africa, the reason why Africa might not be as susceptible to this is because it is warm, warmer in Africa than it is in Europe and so viral. These sorts of viruses don’t do as well. Although MERS did great in the Middle East. Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  38:22

At the same time, part of the problem is, is that people travel all over the world now. And so you don’t know who’s been where I mean, this is the real issue. You know, it’s like, we made the world a smaller place by having air travel everywhere people get on a plane and go halfway across the world for a week, you will travel for work. This is the thing, you know, yeah. Nothing is contained anymore. Right. You know, that this is the real issue. And of course, there’s nothing we can do about it.


Elyse Rivin  38:50

And as Unfortunately, some of the medical people have said, Well, I mean, there’ll be another one after this too. Sure. I mean, this is the world we live in. Yeah, it’s it’s Yeah, I mean, I don’t think it’s I’m personally at this point. I think all I’m aware


Annie Sargent  39:07

You have some trips planned.


Elyse Rivin  39:08

I have trips planned. I, you know, I’m I’m hoping that this will have come down by, by the time I get on a plane in three weeks to go back to the States. The part that bothers me is the idea being in a closed in space for seven, eight hours with people. I was actually wondering yesterday, will I wear a mask or not? But more just because you’re in that closed in space, you know, and what are you going to do?


Annie Sargent  39:34

I have never worn a mask. I don’t know if I could stand it.


Elyse Rivin  39:37

Well, I wore one for a couple of days in Delhi and I really hated it. I mean, it’s very hard. That was because of the pollution pollution. Yeah.


Elyse Rivin  39:46

It’s a strange experience, actually. Although, maybe it’s because we’re not used to it. And people in Asia wear them out all the time. Yeah, yeah. Because the pollution basically. Yeah. But then what do you do? I mean, I don’t know.


Annie Sargent  39:59

Yeah. So


Annie Sargent  40:01

Not a very happy topic. Yeah, but we just needed to mention it because


Elyse Rivin  40:06

people are wondering about it. Yeah,


Annie Sargent  40:08

the questions keep coming up. And I don’t want to let the questions run too long because I don’t want to instill panic and people. I mean, it’s, there’s no need for that. But there is definitely you need to be aware of aware, we know we had a mom saying, Well, I’m planning. I want to I’m going to Paris with my older daughter, but I have two younger kids that have medical issues at home. Significant medical issues, and so I’m afraid I’m gonna bring back something nasty to them. And what should I do and like, Who knows? Yeah, I think that each person who knows it’s, it’s what what’s your, you know, talk to you, Doctor, I guess. You know, I don’t think I’m in a particularly dangerous I mean I only 54 maybe


Elyse Rivin  40:58

I am I really think everybody has to make that as a judgment call for the Oh, yeah, you know, I’m going to be with Rosalba Davis and her family who’s a major listener to the podcast. Yeah, two weeks. And she’s got two kids. She wrote to me and asked me about what’s going on. And I told her, basically, this is the situation right now. Right? It becomes just I think, like, with everybody else, we’re fine now. No, it’s fine.


Annie Sargent  41:26

Yeah, fine. You know, it’s changed us.


Elyse Rivin  41:28

You go into any kind of public place, they ask you to wash your hands. I mean, people are using common sense things. Right. But I


Annie Sargent  41:36

mean, nobody’s demanding that you are, it’s not like you have somebody at the entrance telling you to know, but did they do that on cruise ships? You know, they,


Elyse Rivin  41:43

they do do that, but I think they are doing it in some public in, you know, institutions and places like that. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so far, we’re okay.


Annie Sargent  41:51

Yeah, we haven’t we’re okay. But Spring is coming. So probably, you’ll just die off. And hopefully you won’t come back into fall. You know, we’ll see We’ll see wait and see.


Elyse Rivin  42:02

Meanwhile, spring is starting to show its beautiful colors here and yeah, it’s France. Yeah, it’s


Annie Sargent  42:08

marvelous, but we’re gonna have rain for a few days. So


Elyse Rivin  42:12

let’s end on a happy note.



Yes, let’s end on a happy note.


Elyse Rivin  42:15

violets to you via


Annie Sargent  42:20

Thank you so much. At least that was a very interesting conversation. Thank you, Annie. All right. Au revoir !


Elyse Rivin  42:24

Au revoir.


Annie Sargent  42:25

Thank you, Amy. JJ, Becky Eggman Debbie Vgi, no and April verge for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week. patrons enjoy several rewards that you will find listed@ Pa tr un. Join us no spaces or dashes. I share exclusive content with my patrons I shared a story today about how King Louise the 16th couldn’t catch a break the poor man but he Did some good things nonetheless. So that’s one reward. It’s the French history brief. But there’s also help with your French comprehension. stories about France photos, membership into a secret Facebook group, so very quiet group, but still, and of course, patrons can message me directly through Patreon. And these messages always get priority. So again, visit to see the different reward tiers. And thank you so much for giving back.


Annie Sargent  43:32

If you’re not sure your itinerary for France is as good as it needs to be. Let me review it for you. It’ll cost you 50 bucks, but you get an hour of my time. I look through everything that you worked out. We talked about it and then I send you recommendations via email. I’ve done several of those the last few weeks and they’re always a lot of fun to do, because it gives me a good idea of what questions you guys have, which are the things that I Want to answer on the podcast as well? Email to set that up and write itinerary review in the subject line.


Annie Sargent  44:10

My thanks also to Shannon Latimer, Jeremy graston, Pam Andrews and Beth Murphy for sending in a one time donation by using the green button on any page on Join Us in France that says tip your guide, Jeremy wrote, “I know it’s not much but since I’ve been listening over a year or two now, I wanted to say thank you for all the work you put into your shows, research and guests tavail exceptionnel!” You know what Jeremy donations of any amount are much appreciated. Not only does it help me pay the bills, but it also makes me feel great to see that listeners like the podcast enough to make a donation and do to do something nice for me. So thank you very much.


Annie Sargent  44:57

And if you’d like to support the show without spending a penny You wouldn’t have otherwise, before you go shopping on Amazon or on for your rooms, hotel rooms, go to the bottom of any page on Join Us in and click on the Amazon or booking ad, because you came to those sites through Join Us in France, I get a small commission, and it does not cost you a penny more. And thank you so much.


Annie Sargent  45:25

I’m going to ask for another favor. Could you tell someone about this podcast? They can listen with any podcast app, Spotify or Pandora. And since a lot of people don’t think to look for a podcast to plan their trip to France, it would be wonderful if you could tell them about Join Us in France.


Annie Sargent  45:45

Send questions or feedback to Have a great week of trip planning a wonderful time in France and I’ll talk to you next week, au revoir ! The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2020 by addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license.

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