Transcript for Episode 283: Provence Cycling Tour

Categories: Active Vacations in France, Provence

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Discussed in this Episode

  • Tour group with guide and luggage service [03:42]
  • Electric bike option [04:18]
  • Steep ride up to Les Baux de Provence [04:50]
  • The tour started in Avignon [05:23]
  • Taking the TGV between Paris and Avignon [06:08]
  • Great hotel in Avignon [07:10]
  • Pont d'Avignon aka bridge to nowhere [08:28]
  • Why you should take the iPad tour at the Papal Palace [08:45]
  • Vibration sound and light show at the Papal Palace [10:15]
  • Riding between Avignon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape [11:06]
  • Riding to Remoulins and the Pont du Gard [12:21]
  • Canoeing under the Pont du Gard [12:35]
  • Hotel recommendation in Remoulins [13:50]
  • Parking situation at the Pont du Gard [14:23]
  • Riding between Remoulins and Uzès [15:07]
  • Is Uzès the best market in France? [15:38]
  • The Duke's Castle in Uzès [16:56]
  • Claustrophobic castle staircase! [17:45]
  • Walking to the source of the acquaduct that fed the Pont du Gard in Uzès [18:43]
  • Hotel recommendation in Uzès [21:14]
  • Ride from Uzès to Tarascon [21:40]
  • La voie verte du Pont du Gard: and old railway line converted into a bike trail [22:55]
  • Chateau du Roi René in Tarascon [24:08]
  • Ride between Tarascon and Les Baux de Provence [24:36]
  • Les Carrières de Lumière in Les Baux [25:33]
  • Is the village of Les Baux de Provence worth it? [27:23]
  • Ride between Les Carrières de Lumière and Arles [28:28]
  • Roman ruins in Arles [28:58]
  • Van Gogh stuff in Arles [29:19]
  • Saint Trophime in Arles [30:55]
  • Arelate festival in Arles in August [31:23]
  • Riding to the Camargue [32:18]
  • Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Sainte Sarah [32:59]
  • Ride to Montpellier [35:21]
  • Stop in Aigues-Mortes and La Grande-Motte [36:02]
  • La Grande-Motte is popular with French vacationers [36:57]
  • Riding to Montpellier and restaurant recommendation [38:49]
  • What should you have done differently for this trip? [39:18]
  • French people don't deserve their "rude" reputation [41:20]
  • Tour company: Obscure Tours [42:49]
  • Thank you Patrons [44:48]
  • Personal update [47:20]
  • Summary of new announcements by the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe [47:48]

Annie Sargent  00:00

This is Join Us in France Episode 283. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and on today’s episode of the podcast, I talk with Greer Ball about her wonderful cycling trip around Provence. Greer is from New Zealand. I think she might be my first Kiwi guest on the podcast. And she was a lot of fun!

 

Annie Sargent  00:21

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to daydream about a nice visit to Provence and I am confident we’ll be able to do that again soon. Soon to me would be next year, sometime this time next year. And why not? I mean, it seems doctors and researchers are making great progress is in learning how to handle this pandemic. So there’s hope.

 

Annie Sargent  00:47

Greer’s trip in Provence was everything you might want. Lots of exercise, great meals, a fun group and tour leaders. She loved it and gives lots of tips for a wonderful cycling trip to France, whether you join a group or not.

 

Annie Sargent  01:03

For my personal update after the interview, I’ll tell you about the announcements made by the French Prime Minister. And how are things are going to change in France after May 11 2020.

 

Annie Sargent  01:16

Show Notes for this episode are on https://joinusinfrance.com/283, the number two eight three. From there you’ll be able to get get to the Guest Notes and you’ll also see all the details that she gives to supplement our conversation.

 

Annie Sargent  02:05

Bonjour Greer and welcome to Join Us in France.

 

Greer Ball  02:08

Bonjour Annie, it’s lovely to be here.

 

Annie Sargent  02:11

Lovely to talk to you all the way from New Zealand.

 

Greer Ball  02:14

Yes.

 

Annie Sargent  02:15

And we are going to talk about your cycling trip around Provence. You had quite the adventure and I want to hear all about it. So why don’t you set the stage a little bit and tell us what you did.

 

Greer Ball  02:28

Okay, so we started out in Avignon where we hired our bikes, and went around for 10 days. All around the kind of bottom of Provence through Remoulins

 

Annie Sargent  02:44

Remoulins, yes

 

Greer Ball  02:47

Yep, yep. Uzès, Tarascon, down to the Mediterranean and finished off in Montpellier.

 

Annie Sargent  02:55

Wow, very nice. And you did this with a group?

 

03:00

We did, yes. So it’s actually my mother and her friend have a little cycling tour group they ran from New Zealand. So they come over to France for the summer and take small groups are all over France. We were doing the Provence tour, but they also go to Champagne, the Loire Valley, Bordeaux, so very lucky to be doing Provence. I think it’s one of the best ones.

 

Annie Sargent  03:28

Very good. And how many of you was was there in this group?

 

Greer Ball  03:32

There were 10 of us. And then the two tour guides as well.

 

Annie Sargent  03:36

Okay, so this is the kind of tour where the tour guides were riding with you?

 

Greer Ball  03:42

That’s right, huh. Yeah. So they were escorting us, between the towns. Taking us on the walking tours, they would have dinner with us. They were just part of the group really

 

Annie Sargent  03:53

Right. And, and did you have to carry much weight?

 

Greer Ball  03:57

No, not at all. So we had our pennies on our backs, and they were just primarily for our picnics and our rosé, that we will take with us during the day. Our actual luggage would be taken in a van to the next town. Hmm. So that was very good.

 

Annie Sargent  04:15

Right? That makes it much easier, doesn’t it?

 

Greer Ball  04:17

Exactly.

 

Annie Sargent  04:18

All right. So tell us about these places you visited on your bike. And it was it is it hard to cycle around all of these places?

 

Greer Ball  04:29

And some days were harder than others. But most of the time, it was really quite flat. A couple of people on the tour had electric bikes. So there was that, that option if you wanted to take the easy ride? Yeah, unfortunately, but I wish I had on some days.

 

Annie Sargent  04:50

Right, some day you went up to Les Baux de Provence. That’s steep!

 

Greer Ball  04:55

Oh my god, I know! I thought I was in the Pyrenees!

 

Annie Sargent  05:02

I’ve walked it, but I haven’t cycled it, but just walking, it’s like [breathing sounds].

 

Greer Ball  05:08

Yeah, yeah, it was. There was. I mean, we had the option to get off and push, but I think most of us made it all the way up to the top, so

 

Annie Sargent  05:17

Very good!

 

Greer Ball  05:18

It was a big achievement to get there and a very big reward when we did get up the top.

 

Annie Sargent  05:23

Yeah, yeah. Oh, and it’s lovely. Okay, so let’s start with Avignon which is where you started? Well, let me ask first. So since you had a tour guide, you didn’t have to prepare anything, right? You just went with the group?

 

Greer Ball  05:37

Exactly. Right. Yeah. I mean, some people literally turned up not knowing anything. And they were  surprised every day with what would happen. I of course, was listening to the podcast and had taken a few notes on each of the towns because I like to prepare. And I like to research all the history and the buildings and things so I knew a little bit From what they told me on the tours, yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  06:03

Right, right. Okay, Avignon. Let’s get to let’s get to your starting point.

 

Greer Ball  06:08

Yes. So we arrived we were actually in Paris and we came down on the TGV. Which was only two and a half hours, I think it was. And we arrived in there. And one point to note is that the TGV station is actually a little ways out of town. You’ve got to take either a train into Avignon, or a, you can hire a car there at the station.

 

Annie Sargent  06:38

Yes, this happened on some in some French cities. They can’t fit the TGV train station inside the city, and there’s nowhere to put it. And so they put it a little bit outside or whatever. In Toulouse we’re lucky that the TGV train station that they’re building right now and and the regular train station are very close. And as a matter of fact, today the TGV pulls up into the regular Toulouse train station, but that is not the case everywhere. So, do check on that when you’re taking the TGV.

 

Greer Ball  07:10

Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s only a five minute ride into town. Right. And so we stayed in the most amazing hotel. And I’ll make special mention of it because it was just fabulous. It was the and I’m probably gonna say this wrong. The Cloitre Saint Louis?

 

Annie Sargent  07:28

Yes. So, Cloitre St. Louis.

 

Greer Ball  07:31

That’s it, yes.

 

Annie Sargent  07:33

I’ll put Yeah, put the link for that in the show notes.

 

Greer Ball  07:38

It was just stunning. It was a 16th century building. You know, it’s had so many different uses over its years from being a convent to a hospital. And now this amazing hotel. It was just spectacular.

 

Annie Sargent  07:53

Wow.

 

Greer Ball  07:54

Yeah, very nice. Had a Little internal courtyard with with the cloisters around where we had Breakfast and a poll which was well needed because it was really hot.

 

Annie Sargent  08:05

Yeah. When was this trip?

 

Greer Ball  08:07

It was in September was still very hot.

 

Annie Sargent  08:10

September 2019.

 

Greer Ball  08:12

Yes.

 

Annie Sargent  08:13

Okay, very good.

 

Greer Ball  08:15

Yeah. So Avignon was probably one of my favorite towns.

 

Greer Ball  08:21

Such a beautiful town to walk around and just get immersed in the little medieval streets.

 

Greer Ball  08:28

Of course, we visited the Pont.

 

Annie Sargent  08:30

Yes.

 

Greer Ball  08:31

The bridge to nowhere as people pointed out, and then up to the papal palace, right, which was a real highlight.

 

Annie Sargent  08:43

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  08:45

We did one of the self guided tours with the, the audio and the iPads as well which was really useful.

 

Annie Sargent  08:52

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  08:54

The iPads. So you go into a room and it’s, you know, just like an empty broom and a castle. And you look at the iPad and it just recreates everything on how it would have looked, you know, back in the 14th century when the Pope’s were there

 

Annie Sargent  09:09

Right

 

Greer Ball  09:10

That was really cool.

 

Annie Sargent  09:11

Yeah. They overlay artists renditions of what they think was there.

 

Greer Ball  09:17

Yeah, the tapestries and you know, the money vaults. So that was really interest.

 

Annie Sargent  09:23

Yeah. People hesitate to take to you. Some places you pay a little bit extra for those iPad tours or audio tours, whatever. But some places it’s even included and people are reluctant to take them but I think it’s, it’s adds so much to your visit when you take the time.

 

Greer Ball  09:44

I know I couldn’t agree more Annie. And, you know, once you’ve been in a few of these castles, they all start to look the same.

 

Annie Sargent  09:51

Right

 

Greer Ball  09:52

And so, you know, having this was made really made a difference,

 

Annie Sargent  09:56

Right. Because when I mean I write tours as well for people And I make a point to try and bring out the most interesting salient points for this place. But if you don’t have that,you just you walk around it after a while it like you said it just starts all looking the same.

 

Greer Ball  10:15

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So we returned later that night for the vibration sound and light show, which it’s in the inside the papal palace courtyard, and they project a beautiful show it’s on at about 9:30 at night. That’s all dark and artists like Van Gogh Starry Night. It’s all projected on the internal courtyard. Hmm, it’s just spectacular. Highly recommend the vibration show. Yeah,

 

Annie Sargent  10:48

I never heard of that one. Nobody ever mentioned that one before. Oh, it’s just it’s so you said runs from the beginning of August through early October.

 

Greer Ball  11:00

I think so. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  11:02

Again, I’ll put a link in the show notes for people who want the details.

 

Greer Ball  11:07

Well worth it. Yeah, we actually we did a day trip from Avignon to Chateau neuf depart for some wine tasting.

 

Annie Sargent  11:16

On the bikes?

 

Greer Ball  11:17

Yeah, that’s our first taste of the biking.

 

Annie Sargent  11:20

Okay

 

Greer Ball  11:21

To get our bearings. Yeah. To have wine tasting, which was quite interesting afterwards!

 

Annie Sargent  11:30

You probably slowed down on the return.

 

Greer Ball  11:32

I know. I know. That was really lovely. We’re all keen wine drinkers, especially the rosé.

 

Annie Sargent  11:39

Uh huh.

 

Greer Ball  11:41

Yeah. And that was Avignon.

 

Annie Sargent  11:44

Excellent. So that was not a very strenuous ride, I assume. I don’t know, was it?

 

Greer Ball  11:51

It was very hot that day. I think it was about 23 kilometers. And then back as well, so it was quite long.

 

Annie Sargent  12:01

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  12:02

But just the heat made it quite quite hard.

 

Annie Sargent  12:06

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  12:07

Luckily that pool, we had the pool at  the hotel, so we went straight in there.

 

Annie Sargent  12:16

Excellent. Okay, let’s move on to the next spot.

 

Greer Ball  12:21

Yes. So there. You’ll have to say it properly: Remoulin.

 

Annie Sargent  12:26

Remoulin, Remoulin, yes. So you rode between Avignon and Remoulin, right?

 

Greer Ball  12:33

That’s right.

 

Annie Sargent  12:34

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  12:35

And of course, the Pont du Gard was the main attraction there.

 

Annie Sargent  12:42

Yes.

 

Greer Ball  12:43

And with with the tour, there’s always some surprises that they throw in without telling anyone. And one of the surprises was the kayaking down the river to the Pont du Gard

 

Annie Sargent  12:57

Hmm.

 

Greer Ball  12:57

Which was Yeah, a real highlight.

 

Annie Sargent  12:59

Yeah, that’s lovely. Was there water? Were you touching?

 

Greer Ball  13:03

It was very shallow.

 

Annie Sargent  13:05

Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  13:07

There were times when we had to get out and push the canoe

 

Annie Sargent  13:12

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  13:14

That was all right. That was fun. You got your feet wet.

 

Annie Sargent  13:17

Yeah, definitely not a dangerous canoe trip.

 

Greer Ball  13:21

No, no, no, there was a few rapids but never more fun.

 

Annie Sargent  13:24

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  13:26

Very nice. But yeah, as you round the corner and just the view of the Pont du Gard is just breathtaking.

 

Annie Sargent  13:33

Yeah. It’s beautiful. And that’s also another one where it’s worth stopping and going into the museum and all that it’s gorgeous.

 

Greer Ball  13:41

And yeah, we went back there on our bikes later on in the tour. So we got to see it all again from a different angle, which is cool.

 

Annie Sargent  13:50

So, how was the hotel where you stayed there?

 

Greer Ball  13:54

It was really nice. Again, it had a pool and the restaurant was kind of at the front and amongst the trees and we just dined you know with a big table and under the trees that was just beautiful.

 

Annie Sargent  14:09

Nice. Okay, link in the show notes as well for that one if you’re looking for a hotel at Remoulins

 

Greer Ball  14:19

Yeah, it was and you could walk to the Pont du Gard, I think it was a couple of kilometers away.

 

Annie Sargent  14:23

Yeah, it’s not very far. No, yeah. And you know, the one of the problems used to be that Remoulins was always the place where, French people being so cheap, they didn’t want to, they don’t want to pay for parking, right? Because you have to pay a little bit for the parking now. So they they used to just park all over Remoulins and all over that stretch of road between between the Pont du Gard and Remoulins. And now I think they tow cars away. They’ve decided to be, you know, because it’s a tiny road. You shouldn’t be parking there. Anyway, that’s a side note for locals. Stop doing that locals!

 

Greer Ball  15:03

Yeah. Take a bike, it’s free.

 

Annie Sargent  15:05

Exactly. Take a bike.

 

Greer Ball  15:07

Yeah. Yeah. So the next place we went to was Uzès.

 

Annie Sargent  15:14

Yep.

 

Greer Ball  15:15

And we arrived on a Friday

 

Annie Sargent  15:17

It’s not very far, that was a short one.

 

Greer Ball  15:20

Yeah. But it was no it was just in the afternoon after our kayak so a short ride but very steep into town. At the end.

 

Annie Sargent  15:32

Yeah, I was in a car, I dindn’t notice!

 

Greer Ball  15:34

We couldn’t do that without stopping. Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  15:38

So we arrived on the Friday and of course the market. Big market was on the Saturday the next day. So some say that that market is the best market in France. I don’t know if you would agree or not.

 

Annie Sargent  15:53

I have no idea what the best market in France is!

 

Greer Ball  15:56

Like, I think every marka free market says

 

Annie Sargent  15:58

How would you know like are you gonna go compare all of them? And measure them? I don’t know what how do you how do you decide on that? To me? All of these things about the best of this or the best of that it’s kind of silly. You know, some of them are more scenic than others, that’s for sure. Some of them are set the setting is just gorgeous. And some of them The setting is just you know, so that that makes a difference I think and definitely use this is a scenic place.

 

Greer Ball  16:29

Yeah, very scenic and just the whole town is you know, it has a ring road around the outside and the whole town is just covered in the market. So yeah, I love there’s nothing like that in New Zealand. It’s just spectacular fashion and the food and pottery

 

Annie Sargent  16:47

Oh, you don’t have more outdoor markets in New Zealand?

 

Greer Ball  16:50

Oh, we do but nothing like that.

 

Annie Sargent  16:52

Yeah, yeah, you don’t have Uzès. It’s a little newer country.

 

Greer Ball  16:59

Yeah. So I went, I went to the Duchy of Uzès the home of him? Yeah, the Duke, I think yes, yes. Yep. So that was quite a funny story actually. Of course I don’t speak French and the people who were running it didn’t speak English. And so somehow I ended up on a guided tour, which was all in French. Which was proved quite funny. Yeah, but the highlight was the tower. So got to climb up to the tower and it was just wonderful views over the town and all over the countryside.

 

Annie Sargent  17:44

Yeah, it’s lovely.

 

Greer Ball  17:47

Yeah, it’s worth it. Mm hmm. But if you’re slightly claustrophobic, I wouldn’t recommend that staircase.

 

Annie Sargent  17:54

Yes, very narrow, very dark, probably

 

Greer Ball  17:57

Very narrow. And that’s finished up the top and more people keep coming up. And I was trying to get down and to keep coming up and down, up and down until we finally clean everyone out and we go down again. It was hilarious trying to get down.

 

Annie Sargent  18:12

Yeah. So I don’t know why they didn’t manage that better because most places in France where they have these narrow staircases, sometimes the line to go up there is a little long because they there’s somebody at the bottom who’s going to manage that and who’s only let so many people up at once and only let so many people down at once and maybe they don’t do that they just kind of free for all there switch makes it kind of hard. Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  18:43

And another really good thing we did in Uzès was a lovely walk down to the source of the aqueduct, which he quanta God forms Yeah. So the natural spring you can actually walk down this beautiful huge tree trees and lovely River. And no one was there. I was surprised that was such a scenic place to be, but we were just the only ones there.

 

Annie Sargent  19:10

Hmm.

 

Greer Ball  19:11

And you can see the you know the bubbling spring of water still thriving today.

 

Annie Sargent  19:17

Did you walk to that? Or did you write to that? Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  19:21

Well, we just walked down a hill

 

Annie Sargent  19:22

It’s close enough to walk to it. Okay. Yeah, I don’t I didn’t go to that actually. So unlike most other people, like you were noticing that there weren’t any people there. Yeah, I’ve been to Yeah, I’ve been to Uzès a few times. I never made it down to the to the spring.

 

Greer Ball  19:23

It’s a very well kept secret.

 

Annie Sargent  19:46

Now our listeners will have will know to go looking for it.

 

Greer Ball  19:51

Well, that was just lovely to having been at the Pont du Gard to see you know, the start of it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and just mind blowing how those architects and engineers figured out how to get that water down. It just blows your mind.

 

Annie Sargent  20:08

The thing that blows my mind the most is how they could figure the slope over such a distance. Because nowadays, it’s pretty easy. We have GPS, you know, we can just measure the altitude quite precisely. But back then how did they know over a stretch of many kilometers, that the water would flow? I guess it was observation. Maybe they had observed that the water flowed maybe heavy rains and they could tell that it was going in that way no matter what they did, so maybe that was it. I don’t know. I just it just because the slope isn’t that visible. You know, you can’t really see a big slope long and it’s over several kilometers. So anyway

 

Greer Ball  20:56

Yeah. And how they knew that they would be a continuous supply of water from that one area. Yeah. astounds me.

 

Annie Sargent  21:03

I guess it’s just observation from people who lived there a long time and who could tell them. Yeah, there’s always water here. Like my grandparents said there was always water here or something like that, I guess.

 

Greer Ball  21:14

Exactly. Yeah. We did stay in a wonderful hotel in Uzès the Hostellerie Provençale.

 

Annie Sargent  21:24

Mm hmm.

 

Greer Ball  21:25

Lovely, old, old building with just fabulous art. Real modern art.

 

Annie Sargent  21:33

Yeah, very good.

 

Annie Sargent  21:36

All right, let’s move on to the next place because we got lots of them to get to.

 

Greer Ball  21:40

Yeah, so next. We went from Uzès to Tarascon.

 

Annie Sargent  21:47

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  21:48

And we we cross the Pont du Gard to get there and had a wonderful picnic on the banks of overlooking the Pont du Gard. Yeah, and we’d actually bought all our food at the Uzès market so it was a particularly special picnic.

 

Annie Sargent  22:04

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  22:05

You know we had escargot and pâté and beautiful cheeses and things so was a real highlight and of course, a few boxes from the patisserie.

 

Greer Ball  22:17

You gotta be careful with what you buy the patisserie!

 

Annie Sargent  22:20

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  22:21

Because depending on the the roads, they can bounce around a lot on the back of the bikes.

 

Annie Sargent  22:29

And you have jelly at the end. Tasty jelly!

 

Greer Ball  22:34

Yeah, we still ate it.

 

Annie Sargent  22:36

Of course. I once did a thing like this where I had put some milk in a container. And I was just hanging from my backpack. And when I got there, and I wanted to take a drink, it had turned to butter, because it had jiggled so much. It turned into butter. Anyways so yeah you never know!

 

Greer Ball  22:55

Yeah. So we actually had a really great ride from the Pont du Gard through to Tarascon. It was an old railway line that had been converted into a bike trail. So it was very flat and lovely sealed track.

 

Annie Sargent  23:16

Yeah, that’s really safe.

 

Greer Ball  23:18

Mm hmm. Great. We went through tunnels and it was really interesting ride that day.

 

Annie Sargent  23:23

So do they all that “une voie verte” or something? Do you remember what they called it?

 

Greer Ball  23:29

I don’t know what they called it.

 

Annie Sargent  23:31

OK, I’ll try to find the name of it. Cool!

 

Greer Ball  23:36

Apparently the the cycle checks are not very well documented. Our tour guide, Anthea, she’s kind of in charge of operations and logistics for the tours. And she spends so much time researching all of these tracks and trying to find them and it’s just very, very hard to get information.

 

Annie Sargent  23:57

Well, yeah. Is she French?

 

Greer Ball  24:00

No

 

Annie Sargent  24:00

Right? That would make a difference because the locals are know. If they ride their bikes they all know. Oh, no. But you have to be able to ask them.

 

Greer Ball  24:08

Hmm, yeah, yeah. So we ended up in Tarascon. It wasn’t the prettiest of the places we went to but it did have an interesting Chateau

 

Greer Ball  24:21

Du Roi René?

 

Greer Ball  24:22

Yeah. Le Roi René,  Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  24:25

Yeah. And on the day, we were there, all the French monuments and museums were free to enter. Okay, which was a bonus.

 

Annie Sargent  24:33

It was probably the first Sunday of the month.

 

Greer Ball  24:36

Yeah. And so we went through there and stayed the night there was really just a stop off point on our way to Arles. And the next day was a mountain climb to Les Baux

 

Annie Sargent  24:54

Les Baux de Provence.

 

Greer Ball  24:57

Yeah, so that was a steep hill. Yeah, and we definitely enjoyed lunch after that. Oh my goodness!

 

Annie Sargent  25:07

It’s It’s a lovely it’s a long Hill is the problem. It’s steep and long both. And because if it’s steep for a short time I can handle it. But

 

Greer Ball  25:18

Yeah, well, we were going up the way where you kind of zigzag.

 

Annie Sargent  25:22

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  25:23

And so yeah, you kind of zigzagging your way up. It wasn’t as bad as kind of just going in a straight line.

 

Annie Sargent  25:30

Yeah, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  25:31

Huh.

 

Annie Sargent  25:33

And then you went to Les Carrières de Lumière.

 

Greer Ball  25:35

Oh, yeah. That was another fabulous highlight. So this year was Van Gogh. And so you go into the quarry where the light show is projected onto the walls of the mine. Have you been Annie?

 

Annie Sargent  25:50

A few times, yes.

 

Greer Ball  25:55

Yeah, it was just wonderful. We stayed there for two shows. We loved it so much.

 

Annie Sargent  26:00

It’s it’s really a very peaceful, wonderful place because especially in the summer, if any of you’ve been riding your bike, you’re hot and you go in this quarry, they’ve just closed the front. You know, this was an open air. I mean, they dig into the mountain to extract these big blocks of white stone. It’s beautiful stone. And they they just remove all that and but to turn it into a showroom, they closed off the front and so you are in the dark and you have all these projections have beautiful art on every surface.

 

Annie Sargent  26:41

There’s sound and it’s just really and it’s cool in there. It’s not cold because it’s not it’s it’s not a it’s not underground, really. It’s just ground level but you’re walking through this, this quarry and you can barely I mean, you know, it’s dark in there when the show starts because but but but it’s just gorgeous. You have you just have to do it. I’ve I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t just really taken by this show.

 

Greer Ball  27:13

Yeah, I definitely highlight that one.

 

Annie Sargent  27:16

And it’s a few kilometres away from Les Baux de Provence. It’s not right in the village. It’s a little further  away.

 

Greer Ball  27:23

Yes, we actually missed the village. I wish we had gone there.

 

Annie Sargent  27:27

Okay, so you didn’t even go to the village?

 

Greer Ball  27:30

No. Okay, straight down down the hill. Right which was really fun on the bike.

 

Annie Sargent  27:35

The village is great. And it’s especially great around Christmas time, because they they sell “santons”. They sell the typical kind of nativity scene things from Provence, and so it we’re recording in December, so this this time of year, you would definitely want to stop at Les Baux de Provence. I don’t know if I mean it’s a it’s a lovely provençal village. No doubt.

 

Greer Ball  28:07

Oh right.

 

Annie Sargent  28:10

But if between doing either Les Baux or Carrières de Lumière, I would definitely go to Carrières de Lumière.

 

Greer Ball  28:17

Yeah

 

Annie Sargent  28:17

You know if you can only do one of the two that’s an easy choice.

 

Greer Ball  28:22

Yeah. Yeah cuz it is quite a ways down to Arles where we were staying that night.

 

Greer Ball  28:28

Mm hmm.

 

Greer Ball  28:28

So yeah, we wrote down the hill and that was a really lovely ride into Arles. We arrived in the area about five o’clock which is kind of rush hour. It was a little bit scary trying to navigate a few of the roundabouts on the bikes, but we all made it in one piece.

 

Annie Sargent  28:46

Good.

 

Greer Ball  28:48

Yep. And we were staying right in the forum.

 

Annie Sargent  28:52

Uh huh.

 

Greer Ball  28:52

In the old part of town.

 

Annie Sargent  28:54

Nice

 

Greer Ball  28:54

It was a very good location.

 

Annie Sargent  28:56

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  28:58

Yeah. So, so much to see in Arles.

 

Annie Sargent  29:01

Yeah, Arles is one of my favorite towns in France. I love the Roman ruins so much to see. But of course, you have to have an interest in history if you don’t. After a few hours, it’s all gonna start looking the same. Roman ruins.

 

Greer Ball  29:19

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it’s got a lot to offer in terms of the Van Gogh stuff. You know, with all you can go to the places where he painted and there’s a little replica of the painting. Yeah. Which I found really interesting. Yeah. at the cafe at night. There was one of the Roman cemetery where all the artists were kind of sitting up and recreating Mm hmm. And that was really interesting in the hospital. We stole that yellow hospital.

 

Annie Sargent  29:51

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  29:52

That was the head of fabulous gift shop.

 

Annie Sargent  29:55

Did IV I don’t remember the gift shop

 

Greer Ball  29:59

Ah, You get all the parents and lovely little children’s toys and things like that. And gelato. Yeah, very good place. We spent a long time there. Mm hmm.

 

Annie Sargent  30:12

I have a bit of a bad attitude about Provence and vengo because they never bought any of his paintings. He was a starving artist. They never helped him in any way. But yet today, they put him on a pedestal and I’m like, Oh, you bums but of course, it’s not the same people, you know. It’s a next generation new generations of people. But I’m like, Yeah, but you should acknowledge that you made his life miserable here, you know. But anyway, that’s, that’s the history buff in me that I’m like,

 

Greer Ball  30:49

Oh, yeah, yeah, it was sad

 

Greer Ball  30:51

Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  30:53

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  30:55

And so of course, we visited the Saint Trophime cloisters.

 

Annie Sargent  31:00

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  31:01

And then all the Roman amphitheater and the forum and the arena and things as well. Yeah. lots to do and see there.

 

Annie Sargent  31:10

Yes. It’s just lovely. And it’s a small little town so you can walk. Well, it’s a city but but you can walk it every you know, you can walk everywhere. It’s It’s really nice.

 

Greer Ball  31:22

Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  31:23

And they have the recreation of the fights in the Roman arena. I don’t remember when that happens. I have to look it up and put it in the show notes. But once a year they do. They put on the show, and everybody’s in costume. And it’s, it’s just great.

 

Greer Ball  31:42

Oh, wow, that sounds fabulous. Yeah. Yeah, it’s funny because you don’t really think of France as being Roman. You know, Italy kind of gets all the credit, but so much history and in France as well.

 

Annie Sargent  31:56

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Provence there’s a lot of Roman Roman stuff. Yes.

 

Greer Ball  32:01

Huh? Yeah. And in really good condition. Yes. Relatively untouched.

 

Annie Sargent  32:07

Yeah, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  32:09

Yeah. So that’s that was fascinating.

 

Annie Sargent  32:11

If you think about it’s very close to Italy so the natural you know, the natural path to expansion for the Roman

 

Greer Ball  32:18

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so on to the Camargue. So, of course Arles is the gateway down to the Camargue, which was very different to being in the kind of provençal village lanes and all of a sudden we’re in this kind of swampy marsh land land.

 

Annie Sargent  32:40

Yes, very flat.

 

Greer Ball  32:42

Yes, very kinda. In the middle of nowhere, like nothing. Yeah. So lots of the white horses and we still herds of bulls. Yeah, real contrast.

 

Annie Sargent  32:57

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  32:59

And we arrived on the Mediterranean at the seaside village of les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

 

Annie Sargent  33:06

Yep, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer beautiful place.

 

Greer Ball  33:08

Yeah. Yeah. Really nice little white buildings. And of course they have their bullfighting arena, which some of the group chose to go to. It’s not really my cup of tea, so I went had a swim.

 

Annie Sargent  33:28

Is that one a real bull fight where the bull dies?

 

Greer Ball  33:31

Nah, okay. They don’t die. Yeah,

 

Annie Sargent  33:34

Yeah. We don’t have very many of those left in France.

 

Greer Ball  33:38

Yeah, but they enjoyed it.

 

Annie Sargent  33:39

Yeah, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  33:41

Yeah. And we chose to have swim and then sip cocktails on the beach front.

 

Annie Sargent  33:47

The beach is very nice at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, isn’t it? Oh, nice long beach. Yeah, enjoy that.

 

Greer Ball  33:55

Yeah. And we got a bit of a bonus because after the the bull fight ended all of the bulls get run down the main street by the horses. And they just came rushing past us in a stampede, which is quite exciting.

 

Annie Sargent  34:13

Yeah

 

Greer Ball  34:13

But we did get to see them.

 

Annie Sargent  34:15

Yeah. Lovely. That’s great!

 

Greer Ball  34:17

Huh? Yeah, so there was an interesting church there. Yes. With a statue of Oh, I can’t remember. Who was it

 

Annie Sargent  34:27

It’s the Virgin Mary? I can’t remember what it looks like I’ve seen

 

Annie Sargent  34:31

Sara? Maybe. You might be right. I hadn’t. I haven’t been in a long time.

 

Greer Ball  34:31

Sara? I think it’s Sarah.

 

Greer Ball  34:40

A wooden statue that they’ve taken to the ocean, I think.

 

Annie Sargent  34:43

Right. Right.

 

Greer Ball  34:44

As part of a ceremony. Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  34:46

I’m looking it up!

 

Greer Ball  34:47

So that was nice.

 

Annie Sargent  34:48

Sainte Sara. Yes, you’re right. It’s Sainte Sara. It’s not the Virgin Mary. So I remember what it looked like. But I didn’t remember her name. I was just assuming. So she’s the patron saint of the Romani people. Oh, yeah, lovely

 

Greer Ball  35:02

And I think there’s a, an important ceremony a year where they take her down into the water.

 

Annie Sargent  35:07

Yes, I know that there’s a big festival. Oh, yeah, there’s a big festival with big gatherings of Romani people who come from all over the Europe, really. Yeah, it’s a big pilgrimage.

 

Greer Ball  35:21

Yeah. All right. And yeah, we had a lovely seafood dinner on the beach front there beautiful oysters and fish and things. And it was nice. And the next day was our biggest ride. So we had 63 kilometers into Montpellier.

 

Annie Sargent  35:40

That’s a long ride.

 

Greer Ball  35:43

That was a very long ride. Yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  35:45

It’s mostly flat. I think.

 

Greer Ball  35:49

It is still. It’s not really the physical activities. It’s the time in the saddle that gets you!

 

Annie Sargent  35:56

Oh, yeah.

 

Annie Sargent  35:57

But by then you had been riding a long time, so maybe your behind gets used to it?

 

Greer Ball  36:02

Yeah, you do have a bit of conditioning in there. So again, lots of interesting things to stop and look at. Aigues-Mortes we stopped in

 

Annie Sargent  36:15

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  36:16

And had a coffee and a little look around the shops. We went down to is it called La Grande-Motte?

 

Annie Sargent  36:23

La Grande-Motte, yes.

 

Greer Ball  36:25

Yeah. Where all the condos are.

 

Annie Sargent  36:28

Very modern and they’ve condo yeah things

 

Greer Ball  36:31

Yeah. And we just wrote a beautiful bike track all the way along the beach.

 

Annie Sargent  36:37

Mm hmm.

 

Greer Ball  36:38

For quite a few kilometers and and mix of marinas and the condos so that was quite an interesting ride.

 

Annie Sargent  36:44

Yeah. That would be scenic, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I mean the condos I don’t like it. I don’t like the look of La Grande-Motte, it’s not my thing, but

 

Greer Ball  36:55

No

 

Annie Sargent  36:55

But it’s very French this. This is place where I would doubt more than 5% of the population of the, you know, the people who have a condo there are foreign because it’s the place for French families for a long time when I was growing up, everybody wanted to buy a condo at Grande-Motte. I remember my parents discussing it. And then we went, Oh, got it. My mom was like, Oh, no. But it was a big thing. And so it’s it’s a that’s a part of the coast there, where you’d mostly be surrounded by French people.

 

Greer Ball  37:37

Yeah, I mean if you want to go away and just you know lie on the beach and read your book it would be the perfect place.

 

Annie Sargent  37:43

Oh, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  37:45

Yeah, there’s not a lot else to do.

 

Annie Sargent  37:47

No, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  37:50

Yeah, and so we made our way.

 

Greer Ball  37:54

It was quite interesting. The only time that my lack of French really lit me down with We stopped in at a bar on the Grande-Motte to have some champagne because it was nearly the end of our ride. And I was feeling quite tired. I just needed a little pick me up. So I ordered a coke. Yeah, from what I thought what I thought was a coke. And the waitress brought me a beer instead. So, yeah, that’s the worst that can happen to you. I don’t know.

 

Annie Sargent  38:27

You probably survived the mistake.

 

Greer Ball  38:30

Exactly. I still drank it, you know?

 

Annie Sargent  38:34

That’s funny. Goodness. No, well, maybe it was just if somebody was not very good at waitressing maybe if somebody made a mistake.

 

Greer Ball  38:41

Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not used to English people perhaps down there.

 

Greer Ball  38:49

Yeah, so we arrived in in Montpellier. Which, yeah, we had a wonderful final night at a very official restaurant. Just off the main square, called La Diligence, which was a just a beautifully restored kind of fishing feature building with vaulted kind of stone arches and very fancy kind of menu. So that was a real special end to the trip.

 

Annie Sargent  39:18

Yeah. I have to say your tour guides picked good hotels and restaurants, which is what a tour guide is supposed to do. So well done! Yeah, that’s very good. Yeah. So is there anything you would have done differently for this trip? Maybe you would have trained more trained less or maybe gotten an electric bike? I don’t know.

 

Greer Ball  39:45

Yeah, um, I think the cycling was fine. I went to I didn’t actually do a lot of I don’t own a bike. So I didn’t actually do any practice on a real bike. I just did some at the gym. Mm hmm. So that was fine. I would do a bit more training in French I think next time. It’s quite a hard language and I learnt it way too late. And thought I’d just pick it up. But

 

Annie Sargent  40:14

But your mom’s a French teacher!

 

Greer Ball  40:17

I know that difference to me. I learned Japanese at school.

 

Annie Sargent  40:24

Oh, there you go.

 

Greer Ball  40:26

Well, I wish I’d learned French now!

 

Annie Sargent  40:28

Now, my see my parents always told me learn Spanish. And I never did. Just because my parents wanted me to I didn’t. And I wish I had because it’s such a beautiful language and I go to Spain a lot. And I sound like a I don’t know how to conjugate verbs or anything. I’m like, Oh,

 

Greer Ball  40:49

Yeah, and I think I think next time I bring my husband,

 

Annie Sargent  40:54

Nice.

 

Annie Sargent  40:54

Hey, hey actually stayed at home and looked after my two young children while I was in Europe for three weeks.

 

Annie Sargent  41:02

Oh, how nice.

 

Greer Ball  41:04

I know. It was very, very lucky of me to be able to do that. So, I’ll bring him next time.

 

Annie Sargent  41:13

Very good.

 

Annie Sargent  41:16

So do you have any last word of wisdom for us?

 

Greer Ball  41:20

Yeah. So I think French people have a reputation of being a little rude. And I’ve heard on the podcast before, you know, you’ve heard a whole podcast about it, I think.

 

Annie Sargent  41:31

Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  41:31

And we never, we never actually found that at all. French people we came across were just so friendly. They love to laugh at jokes. They love to tease us and, you know, we’d ride through towns and kids would be shouting bonjour, bonjour, you know, they’ll cheer us on as we rode through towns and, you know, sometimes it felt like we’re on the Tour de France and there were cheering so loudly, that we’re probably taking the Mickey out of us. But you know,

 

Annie Sargent  42:03

Ah, maybe not, it’s just you know. I don’t know, it’s fun to see a big group of people riding by and they look diff I don’t know. Yeah, if you live in a French village as I do you, you know, everybody typically rides or runs or walks. And if you see a new group, it’s exciting. new people. Yeah.

 

Greer Ball  42:16

Yeah. So yeah. Very, very impressed with the French people and how friendly and just how well, we were looked after.

 

Annie Sargent  42:36

Hmm. That’s great,

 

Greer Ball  42:38

Especially in restaurants and the hotels and shops and things, you know, just everyone even in Paris. Like I thought Paris would be different, but no, they were very friendly.

 

Annie Sargent  42:49

Yeah. So let’s mention your mom’s tour business. It’s called Obscure tours.

 

Greer Ball  42:56

That’s right. Yeah, it’s cure by name and obscure by nature. They like to say. Some of the stories so every morning at breakfast, my mom Wendy, she would be kind of the tour leader, she would tell her stories and give us a little rundown of what we’ll be doing that day. And some of the stories we aren’t even sure were true, but you know, it made it more interesting.

 

Annie Sargent  43:22

Yeah, some of those are the best ones. Yeah, yes.

 

Annie Sargent  43:26

I use those in my tours, too. I just say story has it that blah, blah, blah, you know, and then like, I don’t have to be, you know, like, What’s the story? Has it? I don’t know.

 

Greer Ball  43:38

Yeah, it was stories of dread dragons. And yes, you know,

 

Annie Sargent  43:44

Some of them it’s obvious it’s a story. Yeah. Some of them is really obvious that it’s just a story. But some, you’re like, Oh, this might happen. We don’t know.

 

Greer Ball  43:55

Yeah, and I think it makes it more memorable when you have a crazy story to write relate it back to yesterday like, Oh, yeah.

 

Greer Ball  44:03

That’s the story of the dragon.

 

Annie Sargent  44:05

Excellent. Well, Greer, thank you so much. It has been wonderful to talk to you about your cycling tour in Provence. I will add your notes to the to the website. So you’ll have the itinerary. You’ll have all the names of the hotels, you state the restaurants where you ate. So, you know, I’ll try and make it easy for people who want to retrace your step. And if they just want to do with your mom, of course, check out Obscure Tours.

 

Greer Ball  44:42

Wonderful, lovely to talk to you any.

 

Annie Sargent  44:44

Thank you very much.

 

Greer Ball  44:46

Okay.

 

Annie Sargent  44:48

Au revoir !

 

Annie Sargent  44:48

Thank you, Danny Dally and Flynn and Barbara Colvin for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week, and Flynn joined at the front I’ve done a level, then looked at the rewards and the same week increased her pledge, which is amazing and boosts my determination to keep going and improve the podcast, and the Patreon rewards any way I can. patrons enjoy several rewards that you’ll find listed at https://www.patreon.com/JoinUs. That’s pa t AR yo en join us no spaces or dashes.

 

Annie Sargent  45:25

This week, I shared new photos with patrons who support at the $2 a month level. So the exclusive content can be either photos at the lowest level of support, but it quickly goes up at the $5 level with stories about France help with your French comprehension and membership into a secret Facebook group. And of course, patrons can message me directly through Patreon. And these messages always get top priority. And I’ve got some fun things cooking up for me for my patrons. So again, visit patreon. dot com forward slash join us to see the different reward tiers. And thank you so much for giving back.

 

Annie Sargent  46:06

And another thing you can do on Patreon or without Patreon is get your itinerary reviewed for France, it will cost you 50 bucks, but you get a full review. We talk about the whole thing on the phone, I send you my recommendations in writing. You can email any at Join Us in france.com to set that up or sign up on Patreon. And if you do it via email, make sure you write itinerary review in the subject line because I do get a lot of emails and sometimes some fall through the cracks.

 

Annie Sargent  46:40

And if you’d like to support the show without spending a penny you wouldn’t have otherwise before you go shopping on Amazon, go to the bottom of any page on https://joinusinfrance.com/ and click on the Amazon ad because you came to Amazon through my site I get a small commission and it doesn’t cost you a penny more and that’s usually enough to pay the Basic costs of running the podcast meaning the hosting costs and the equipment costs and things like that. So thank you so much for doing that. It means a lot to me. Unfortunately, you have to do it every time you use Amazon, but it’s on any page on https://joinusinfrance.com/ So it’s pretty easy to find.

 

Annie Sargent  47:20

For my personal update this week, well, I’m still home, still healthy, still taking care of my family, my pets, my little garden. I feel privileged to be stuck in such pleasant circumstances. And there’s been some disruptions as far as the money is concerned, but not so great that you know, that we’re in any danger at this time. It could be a lot worse, and I realize it’s a lot worse for many people.

 

Annie Sargent  47:48

This week, the French Prime Minister made some announcements about how we’re going to start to go back to normal in France. This is something they’re testing They’re not sure how it’s going to go they want to see. So his name is Edward Philip and he he addressed to the National Assembly in Paris a couple days ago. Here’s a summary of his plan.

 

Annie Sargent  48:12

Number one, assuming the numbers progress positively, businesses can reopen on May 11. As long as they follow social distancing requirements, this includes hairdressers, dog groomers, and I need those pretty bad.

 

Annie Sargent  48:29

Number two beaches, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and museum will remain closed. as well. large shopping centers, small museums will be permitted to reopen, which is nice, this is a good time for me to go see all these tiny museums that I never have time to see.

 

Annie Sargent  48:49

Number three, large events will not be permitted until September so sporting events, big concerts, things like that earliest Inception tember and 2019 2020 season, soccer season especially will not resume which has some people kind of sad but well.

 

Annie Sargent  49:11

Number four schools will open progressively. With primary schools opening first middle schools college will open may 10. Masks will be mandatory at the middle schools, but not lower. Attendance is voluntary. Cash, which is daycare centers for babies will be limited to 10 kids. So primary schools are limited to 15 students. So they have to give preference to the children of healthcare providers, health care health care workers because yeah, there might be too many kids want to go back to school because I mean, honestly, if I had young children, you know, I mean, I might be eager for my kids back to school at this point

 

Annie Sargent  50:04

Number five person 65 and older are asked to limit their movement for their own safety but no mandates.

 

Annie Sargent  50:13

Number six masks will be required and supplied 20 million washable masks will be available as of May 11. And 50% of the cost ordered by collectives will be borne by the government. So there’s going to be plenty of masks and they’re going to be very cheap.

 

Annie Sargent  50:34

Number seven 700,000 tests will be instituted weekly, each week 700,000 tests beginning may 11 100% of the cost will be covered by the government. He was asked if that was realistic, seeing that we only managed to do about half of that in a month right now, but he assured everyone that they’ve got their ducks in a row they can do They couldn’t do it two months ago, they can do it now.

 

Annie Sargent  51:03

Number eight, anyone testing positive will be isolated in requisition hotels if needed. And they will do contact rate tracing and all contacts with will also be tested. I’ve also heard some more details about this, they’re not going to do contact tracing like you walked by this person, you know, it’s going to be people that you’ve spent significant time with. So, especially time indoors. So if you work with a person, they’ll definitely test them if you if you’re positive. I mean, if you’re positive and you work with a person, they’ll test them. If you’re positive and you went on a car ride with someone, you know, that sort of thing. They will test these people, but not if you just walk by them in the street. This is the testing plus contact tracing that many countries are adopting and I think if we had been ready to do that in January or February, this whole thing would not have gotten off the ground. Lesson learned I hope.

 

Annie Sargent  52:09

Number nine masks will be required in public transport including taxis and school buses. Finding masks right now in France is not easy. I have managed to find two masks for each person in my immediate family. One was a donation from a nice lady who sews she lives a couple of villages over I don’t know who this person at all, but I found her through the F naught website. This is f naught is the equivalent of the ISO organization in France. And they published patterns and standards for making homemade masks. And their website puts people in touch via email. So this person signed up said a volunteer I’ll make some asks. I sent her an email she’s and four days later she wrote to me and said

 

Annie Sargent  53:01

The masks are ready. And she didn’t want any money. But she took some elastic that I had in my sewing box that I wasn’t going to use anyway, because I don’t know how to sew. And so I gave her that and she’ll use she’ll use that to make more masks, which is wonderful. And the second set of masks, I have were made by the mother of a love. My daughter has a friend whose mother souls so we got them in the mail. And I don’t know her either. So to thank her, I make her some cookies and ship them. Because French people love American cookies, like you know, the Mrs. Fields cookies kind of cookies, because they’re so hard to find in France and I know how to make them so. Yeah, so I’ll send her cookies to say thank you. You know, there’s a lot of act of wonderful kindness happening and this is wonderful.

 

Annie Sargent  53:54

Number 10. All companies that can continue telecommuting must do So, this is important because I think it will change the way French society operates. My husband and I have been working from home for a long time, but we were the only ones in our circle of friends. Lots of people now work from home for obvious reasons. And it’d be really nice if this continues even when the pandemic is under control, because less driving is good for everybody, I think, everybody.

 

Annie Sargent  54:25

Number 11. no religious ceremonies will be possible before June 2. town halls are asked except in emergencies to postpone weddings, people have been able to hold funerals all along, but with no more than 20 people in attendance, and that won’t change until June 2 either.

 

Annie Sargent  54:47

Number 12. travel outside of one’s department and travel beyond 100 kilometer will be prohibited except for imperative familial or professional service. circumstances. So so far, we’ve had to make a little piece of paper every time well, or, or, or form on our phones, to be able to leave our house to say, I’m leaving my house at this time. And the reason is one of five, right? This is going to be over on May 11, except if you’re going more than 100 kilometers, and I am going to be very happy about that. Because half of the time, I remember when I’m already walking the dogs, so I stuck my anyway, with a little luck, my walking paths will reopen again, but I’m not certainly will reopen right away because it’s managed by a consortium of several villages paid for this. And so, you know, I’m not sure how fast they’re going to get together to decide.

 

Annie Sargent  55:51

But for my husband, it’s great because it means he’s going to be able to go cycling you can go 100 kilometers. So that’s he that he never goes more than that. Return. So he is going to be able to go cycling and that’s that’s really great.

 

Annie Sargent  56:06

Number 13. One of the directors at the Ministry of Health has been holding press conference conferences every day for several weeks. His name is Dr. Salamone. And he’s Mr. numbers. He just goes up there and tells you the numbers. Starting yesterday, he started to add a color code to the presentation. Each department in France will get either a green or a red color. They will update that once a week. This color is supposed to indicate how much virus is circulating in a particular area but also how busy the medical services are. So if you live in an area that doesn’t have much virus circulation because people have finally gotten the clue that they need to stay home, but your hospitals are overwhelmed. You’ll be red, if you Nanette if you’re in an area where there still capacity at the hospital and there’s not too much virus going around, you’ll be green.

 

Annie Sargent  57:04

Right now, where I live is green. If you can picture a map of France in your head, and you draw a line between the avo in the north, and hopefully in the south, everything west of that, almost everything west of that is green or orange, everything to the east of that a lot of it is red. So yeah. But that means that if you’re green, it means that you’re going back to normal after May 11 will be made possible. So they’re going to loosen the rules for those area. If you red, they’re not going to loosen anything. You’ll be stuck with whatever you’ve been living with, already for seven weeks or whatever it is, but this may change at the drop of a hat obviously.

 

Annie Sargent  57:50

Imagine several people in my department get to they get diagnosed with a virus suddenly it wouldn’t take many you know if if because We don’t have that much hospital capacity. If 400 people get diagnosed in a week, boom, we’re we switch to red. So, but I think this color coding is, is good because it informs the population as to when it’s not really worth being paranoid, you know, because I think a lot of us are getting paranoid. I’m raising my hand here. But it’s not a perfect tool because most many people don’t show symptoms right away.

 

Annie Sargent  58:26

So you still have to keep your distance, you still have to wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face all of that. So, but if your area keeps being green, I think it will reassure people like me, like, you know, I really need a haircut. If we stay green, I’ll go get it. I’ll go do it. And besides, I know my hairdresser is perfectly healthy because I see her running around. Right, jogging. I mean, she’s, she’s a runner. So I know she hasn’t been sick and she waves at a distance you know.

 

Annie Sargent  58:56

Number 14, there will be a debate regarding The tracing app called stop COVID. And many European countries say they will adopt this app. But they want to have debate formal debate and followed by a vote. Because right now they’re not sure how it works or how it’s effective. So they’ll look at it but it doesn’t seem like a very important part of the of the plan.

 

Annie Sargent  59:26

Number Number 15. And this is really most important for all of you listening because most of you don’t live in France. As you can see, there is no talk of reopening friends to foreign visitors for vacations, okay. You, there might be people, foreign visitors who come to France for other reasons. If you’re going to run in the Tour de France, which is probably going to be held late August into September without audience without anybody along the roads. They will of course, That these, the racers in and their teams.

 

Annie Sargent  60:03

But if you just want to come to France for a visit, I don’t think you’ll be able to do that for many months to come. But I will keep an ear to the ground about that because I want you to be able to come back to France and enjoy it as soon as it’s safe.

 

Annie Sargent  60:20

If you enjoyed this episode, I’d appreciate if you’d share it with someone Join Us in France is in Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, and all your favorite podcast apps. And remember, lots of people do not know how to listen to a podcast. So show them how it’s done.

 

Annie Sargent  60:40

Send questions or feedback to annie@joinusinfrance.com. Have a great week. Stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next week!

 

Annie Sargent  60:51

The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2020 by addicted to France. It is really under a Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license

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Categories: Active Vacations in France, Provence