Transcript for Episode 376: 12 Days Solo in Paris

Table of Contents for this Episode

Category: Paris

[00:00:17] Twelve Days Solo in Paris

[00:00:17] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 376 trois cent soixante seize. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France everyday life in France. Great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel during the pandemic.

[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Heather Nellis from Canada, about her 12 days of solo in Paris. She had a nice list of favorites and great tips on how to stay safe when spending time alone in Paris. Lots and lots of changes on COVID travel news this week. That will all be after my chat with Heather.

[00:01:02] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my very popular itinerary planning service.

[00:01:10] Annie Sargent: You can browse all of that at Annie’s boutique. https://joinusinfrance.com/boutique and of course you can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, just search for Join Us in France. Another great way to stay in touch with travel news and the podcast is to sign up for the newsletter at https://JoinUsinFrance.com/newsletter.

[00:01:31] Annie Sargent: There will be a wicked good newsletter by the end of the month I hope. But not right now. I’m so busy.

[00:01:37] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Heather Nellis and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:01:58] Healther Nellis: Bonjour Annie, comment ça va ?

[00:02:01] Annie Sargent: Ça va

[00:02:02] Annie Sargent: So I am happy to be talking to you today about your 12 days solo in Paris. That sounds like an exciting proposition. What inspired this trip?

[00:02:17] Healther Nellis: I turned 50 about, uh, two years ago. And it has been on my bucket list to go to Paris, but to go by myself. I have not traveled very much on my own, always with family. And I thought this would be a trip that I could completely immerse myself in French culture, relaxing and seeing the beautiful sites. I had been there before with my daughter and husband, but only for two days. And it was Wonderful. So this was a trip of a lifetime.

[00:02:53] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. And you sound like you’re from Canada, right?

[00:02:58] Healther Nellis: That’s correct. Yes. I’m from the Toronto area in Ontario.

[00:03:02] Annie Sargent: So do you speak French?

[00:03:03] Healther Nellis: No, my daughter is in French immersion, in grade nine. But I do not speak French, except for the pleasantries that, I learned in school when I was a kid, but I also did Duolingo, which is an app that we have. And I did it for about nine months before traveling to Paris.

[00:03:26] Annie Sargent: Excellent. So what would you say was the best thing that came out of this solo trip to Paris for you?

[00:03:34] Enjoying the Relaxed Pace of Life in France

[00:03:34] Healther Nellis: I felt when I left, I was the most relaxed I have ever been. I felt so confident, happy and saw such beautiful things and places in such a relaxed atmosphere. I personally find the French culture to be wonderful and completely different than Canadian culture. Where in north America we’re so rushed. Everything is on a timeline. And in France, I was able to slow down and stop and quite enjoy being away.

[00:04:10] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I have, I felt the same way when I moved to France, which is home to me since this is where I grew up. But I had lived in London for a couple of years and then in the U S for 16 years. And when I moved home, it felt like time had crawled down to a standstill. Like it felt like nothing was happening.

[00:04:34] Annie Sargent: And it took me a good year to feel adjusted to the French pace of life, which is much slower. Like, you know, French people will always take time for their meals, for their walks, for their visits, but business meetings, you can have them next week.

[00:04:54] Healther Nellis: Yes. I felt that as well. I’m a very busy person. And I have a very busy occupation, which is always, very ramped up. I’m a police officer. So things get excited very quickly. So this was so nice to be able to take all of that away. And you can’t help, but sit in Luxembourg gardens and be with a huge smile, listening to an orchestra play on a Sunday morning. Uh, it was. It was incredible.

[00:05:23] Is Paris Safe for a Female Solo Traveler?

[00:05:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So since you’re a police officer, I have to ask you, did France feel safe to you? That Paris feels safe to you, especially as a solo traveler?

[00:05:32] Healther Nellis: Oh my goodness. Yes, totally. Uh, when I landed in the airport, I didn’t think some things through which is okay. You always have to have a margin of error or complication and the ATM machines had no money. And I did come with some, but what I wanted was a SIM card for my cell phone and I felt comfortable enough to walk up to a bunch of police officers with very large, you know, assault rifles and say, you know, can you help me?

[00:06:04] Healther Nellis: I need this, this and this. The gentleman was so kind and he took me to the store and spoke to the store keeper in French. And he spoke to me in English and he set me up, but even traveling and wandering around, yes, I felt completely safe.

[00:06:21] Healther Nellis: One area I did not like was, it was up by my apartment and it was just felt a little more crowded and people would approach you and ask you questions or, you know, want money. And that felt a little that was out of my realm as I’m, I don’t live in a city. Um, and, and I just left the area. Right. I didn’t freak out. I just moved on and went back to an area that I felt comfortable with then, and it was fine.

[00:06:47] Healther Nellis: But lots of police in the area because there’s the trial going on at the Palace of Justice. So there were lots of, lots of road closed, areas you couldn’t walk, but they were all wonderfully friendly. And if you spoke a little bit in French to them, they would respond in French and out of their little group of four officers, one usually spoke quite good English and would speak to, you know, me. And usually it ended up in a lengthy conversation.

[00:07:15] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Well, yeah, if you tell them you’re a police officer in Canada, they’re going to want to talk to you obviously.

[00:07:21] Healther Nellis: Yes. And their job is so much more different than mine is. So it’s was good.

[00:07:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So this area where you didn’t feel safe, do you remember the name of the street or any details? Because people are going to ask me.

[00:07:35] Healther Nellis: Yes. I’m looking on my notes to see where it was. It was just north of where I was staying on Rue Léopold Bellan. Oh, here it is. Um, Sebastopol?

[00:07:50] Annie Sargent: Sebastopol. Okay.

[00:07:51] Healther Nellis: I had somebody approached me and then start to follow myself. So I deeped into a couple of stores. And I found a crowded road and just walked back. It wasn’t, you know, it was in the evening, but it was my third or fourth, I, you know, night and I kind of wanted to, you know, go out in the evening as well, but I wasn’t disappointed nor was I upset. Um, it, it had tons of food, uh, on that street. Uh, but just, just that as a comfortable.

[00:08:25] Annie Sargent: And that’s excellent what you did. Just move on, go somewhere else. And probably things are going to be just fine.

[00:08:32] Don’t Engage with Street Folks, Walk with Purpose

[00:08:32] Healther Nellis: Right. And it depends too on how you carry yourself. I believe when you’re a solo traveler or even traveling with family, as long as you’re, you know, you don’t make eye contact, you continue walking and don’t engage. I believe you’re fine. I always look at where I’m going and what I’m doing and have a purpose. I don’t think anything bad would have happened in that area. They just, uh, they just come and approach you and see you as a tourist. Right? My Canada flag on my backpack.

[00:09:00] How to Connect with Locals in France

[00:09:00] Annie Sargent: Yes. And that’s excellent advice by the way, do not engage, just walk on and go wherever it is you wanted to go. Ignore them. Now, the problem is a lot of people who come to France have this kind of romantic notion that they would like to connect with the locals. Connecting with locals is good, but don’t think that somebody who approaches you on the street is a good candidate to be your new friend in France. This is not how it works.

[00:09:36] Healther Nellis: No, your boula ngerie around the corner from your apartment that you go to every morning. And finally, by the third day, I got exact euros to give to Antoine every morning. That’s the person that you want to chat to in the morning while you get your croissants and your coffee. Um, and he sees you every morning and then by the fourth or fifth asks you where you’re from, and if you’re enjoying your trip, that’s the connection.

[00:10:05] Annie Sargent: You got it. That’s exactly how it works. Go back to the same place. And it doesn’t matter which place it is so much as they’ve seen you before, they see you for a few days. And then they’re like, oh, I know you.

[00:10:20] Use French Pleasantries

[00:10:20] Healther Nellis: That’s right. And, uh, an important note for others traveling to France is to make an effort. To know a few words in French. When you come into a shop, pleasantries are always so well received. And most north America, we speak English, but French is not that hard to learn five or six different words and phrases that you can say. And it, it just makes for a much more pleasant interaction in a store.

[00:10:53] Annie Sargent: Absolutely. We had an episode long ago on the podcast called survival, French, and that’s all you need. It is just that little bit of French to make a connection and signal that you’re a friendly individual and that, uh, you’re trying to get along.

[00:11:13] Healther Nellis: Yes, that’s right. And you’re interested, you’re coming into their store and you want to see what they have. And it’s nice to have that conversation. And I think one thing about solo travel, I would say is that you are on your own. So a lot of us have interactions at home on a daily basis, either with your husband, to your, your children, um, going to work.

[00:11:37] Healther Nellis: And so for solo travel, you are on your own. So you kind of rely on that interaction in a shop or at the museum or the church that you go to to visit or at your meal. So it’s nice to be able to have some words that you can converse with.

[00:11:54] Favorite Things

[00:11:54] Annie Sargent: Indeed. Excellent advice. Okay. So what would you say was your favorite thing that you did on this solo trip?

[00:12:01] Healther Nellis: I enjoyed, I cannot probably peg it to one. The church, Saint Eustache. I will not pronounce it correctly

[00:12:10] Saint Eustache Church

[00:12:10] Annie Sargent: No, you’re not too far. Saint Eustache.

[00:12:13] Healther Nellis: That church, is stunning. It is so large and impressive. I spent more time there than I did probably anywhere else. One probably because of the location was so close. If I walked past it I always went in it .Just to look and there were things I would see that were different each time I thought it was just beautiful. I did really enjoy it.

[00:12:42] E. Dehillerin Kitchen Supply Store

[00:12:42] Healther Nellis: I’m not sure if anyone’s ever mentioned it to you before is just down the way past Au Pied de Cochon, the restaurant is a kitchen store called E D.

[00:12:54] Healther Nellis: Uh,

[00:12:55] Annie Sargent: Dehillerin. Dehillerin.

[00:12:58] Healther Nellis: Yes.

[00:12:59] Annie Sargent: We’ve mentioned it. It’s a favorite of a lot of people. Uh, there was even a whole episode about kitchen supply stores in Paris where it is featured prominently because it’s one of the most famous ones. But do tell what you liked about it.

[00:13:13] Healther Nellis: I went there for my husband, not so much for myself. He likes to be in the kitchen and cooking and they were, wonderfully helpful. Inside the little nooks and crannies and the old, uh, cabinetry that they have in the building is beautiful. And I was able to pick out a nice, uh, knife and a fork and have another few items, you know, that you wanted to make sure it had the, the stores, stamp on the handle. And of course the green apron. Was very important. That was a highlight on my husband’s list was you must get the green apron.

[00:13:53] Annie Sargent: That’s correct. It is their signature item.

[00:13:56] Palais Garnier Opera

[00:13:56] Healther Nellis: One place that I thought really stood out to me was the opera, the Paris Palace Garnier.

[00:14:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:14:05] Healther Nellis: It was a wonderful tour that I did with an audio tour on my own. And I probably was there for about three hours. I found it was just interesting to look at, and there were so many rooms and it, because I was there at the end of September, beginning of October, there was next to no people in the building itself.

[00:14:27] Healther Nellis: So lots of people wandering around that work there, that would answer any questions you had. And everybody was very pleasant and helpful.

[00:14:36] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a beautiful building. So you took the self guided audio tour. Yeah. You seem to like those.

[00:14:46] Healther Nellis: I do, yes, I did, Rick Steves, a few of his walking tours, and they found them easy to follow. We had used them before in other travels to, uh, to Europe. And so it was familiar to me, which is good. If I had paid more attention to yours, I would have done one of yours as well.

[00:15:05] Annie Sargent: Yes. I’m going to tell you off now because mine are good.

[00:15:09] Healther Nellis: Yes. So now I have to come back.

[00:15:11] Annie Sargent: That’s right. Yeah. And he does a nice job, but he doesn’t go into a lot of depth. Like, you know, and it’s stuff everybody goes to, so, eh,

[00:15:24] Healther Nellis: Right then that’s what you like to get that kind of depth. He can get you there and you can see an outlay and an overlook, but then it’s nice to be able to get a little bit more in depth.

[00:15:35] Day Use Hotel for the Day You Arrive

[00:15:35] Healther Nellis: But, uh, another famous point was Sainte Chapelle on Île de la Cité, which was stunning. Uh, I did that on my first day when I arrived. When you do arrive, don’t try to do too much. Because you’re already exhausted coming from North America. You’re also so excited. That it’s, there’s no way you can sleep. I used a what’s called a day use hotel because my apartment wasn’t ready for me until three in the afternoon.

[00:16:05] Healther Nellis: The day use hotel was a hotel Britannic Right. down on the center.

[00:16:10] Annie Sargent: Yeah, Hotel Britanique, 20 Rue Victoria. I’ve never been to it, but it’s often cited as an inexpensive well-placed hotel.

[00:16:21] Healther Nellis: Yes. It was 65 euros (she got a steal of a deal!) For my time there, they were wonderful. When I got in, it was five stairs up to my room. And the concierge like, oh, have a nap. And I’m like, oh no, no, no, I’m leaving. I’m just throwing my stuff in the room and going. But they were wonderful. They’re very helpful. And the location, you can’t beat the location.

[00:16:45] Annie Sargent: Was the room decent though? I mean, if you had wanted to stay there for a week?

[00:16:51] Healther Nellis: Uh, I’m not sure I could have stayed there for a week. It was quite small. Um, typical. European hotel room, it had a queen size bed and maybe enough space for you to walk around it. A washroom was very small, definitely one person. And I think if you were planning to be out all the time, it would be fine. I would say maybe three or four days max there.

[00:17:19] Annie Sargent: Right. Was the neighborhood safe?

[00:17:21] Healther Nellis: Oh yes, it was lovely.

[00:17:24] Annie Sargent: So that’s good to know. That’s that’s what matters really.

[00:17:27] Not Comfortable with Taking the Metro

[00:17:27] Healther Nellis: I did not go to Versailles. My husband was, you know, you should go to Versailles. It’s beautiful. I have been to Schonbrunn palace before in Vienna. And although it was interesting, uh, not, I didn’t, uh, I guess getting much out of it. So I chose not to go to Versailles and the main reason was being a solo traveler, I would have to navigate the Metro. And I was not, uh, confident in my abilities to do that and thought if I didn’t feel good about it, it’s just not going to be an option.

[00:18:00] Visiting the Saint Denis Basilica

[00:18:00] Healther Nellis: So instead I chose to walk to Sacré Coeur one day and then take an Uber from Sacré Coeur, up to. Uh, Saint Denis Basilica.

[00:18:14] Annie Sargent: Oh, yes. What did you think?

[00:18:15] Healther Nellis: It was lovely. Very pretty church. I enjoyed the architecture and I also enjoyed, the crypts that they had in the main floor and then in the basement as well. So it, you know, it gave you a little bit more to kind of, make that journey, to get up there. It was, it was well worth it. I think for myself to go there, I really do quite enjoy churches.

[00:18:37] Healther Nellis: Now the area there, wasn’t very, um. There’s a big market out the front of the church, selling a lot of, um, clothes, running shoes, knockoffs and such, household items. And it was very crowded and busy but kindly enough, there’s a tourist office right out of the church to the left.

[00:18:57] Healther Nellis: And I went in and spoke to him and said, okay, where’s the location for me to get an Uber to return back to the city center. So he was able to tell me, and I luckily got to walk through the food market as well. Um, and then met an Uber. Uber worked seamlessly in Paris.

[00:19:15] Annie Sargent: So Saint Denis, this whole area is one of the poorest departments in France. Possibly the poorest department in mainland France. And so you have a lot of immigrants and you have a lot of everything, but nothing classy and expensive. Um, I’m not very articulate of how I’m putting this, but it’s really, it can be disconcerting for somebody who is not very well traveled.

[00:19:47] Annie Sargent: So you did the right thing by taking an Uber to and from. An excellent idea because the trains that can take you there can be disconcerting unless you’re used to it. You know, if, if you live in New York and you go all over New York in the train, you won’t be surprised, but if you don’t do that sort of thing, it might be a little bit uncomfortable.

[00:20:13] Healther Nellis: Yes. That’s how I felt when I spoke to the tourist gentlemen, I said, so I have to walk through that market to get to the Uber stop. And he says, Yes. I’m like, okay. So it was a, it was a quick march.. Um, I didn’t stop to look at anything, but I wasn’t bothered by anyone. So it was fine.

[00:20:33] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:20:33] Healther Nellis: I, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have discounted it if I had known ahead of time that the area was not, um, you know, the, the nicest area of, of Paris by any means, I wouldn’t have taken Saint Denis off my list. I was still going irregardless.

[00:20:48] Annie Sargent: It’s a gorgeous church and lots of history in Saint Denis. I don’t know if you had a chance to take a tour with a tour guide.

[00:20:56] Healther Nellis: No, I did not.

[00:20:58] Annie Sargent: That’s worth doing. They have, I don’t know these days, what they offer because COVID has changed everything, but it used to be that you could show up and purchase a guided tour within a half an hour or so. And so that’s what I did. I looked at the schedule. I was like, ah, there’s one in a half an hour.

[00:21:19] Annie Sargent: So I walked around for a bit, then took a tour, then went back to the places that the tour guide had pointed out to take photos. It’s just a gorgeous, gorgeous church.

[00:21:30] Taking the Batobus: the Hop-On-Hop-Off Boat in Paris

[00:21:30] Annie Sargent: Oh, it sounds like you went on the Batobus. That’s the boats that take different stops along the Seine River.

[00:21:38] Healther Nellis: That’s correct. My girlfriend came from, Germany. On the Friday of my trip. And I thought I it would be nice to do an overview, which is a great boat ride where you go along the Seine and have nine different stops and you can get off and get back on.

[00:21:56] Healther Nellis: It was not crowded again, as it’s just not typical travel times and Paris and these COVID times. And it was wonderful. We did a 48 hour pass, and we were able to use it kind of as our transportation, and, and get really a nice wide variety of, what we wanted to see and not expensive either.

[00:22:16] Get a Discount on the Batobus with any Metro Card

[00:22:16] Annie Sargent: Right. Now, one thing to know is that if you have a Metro pass of any sort, they’ll give you the discount. So I think it’s 13 euros a day, if you show your Metro card. If you don’t have a Metro card, it’s 19 euros a day, but that’s still pretty inexpensive. The only problem with it is that the operating hours are kind of short. It’s like 11 to 6:30 or something.

[00:22:45] Healther Nellis: Yes, that’s correct. We did find that, uh, a challenge to make sure we could utilize it to, you know, get our money’s worth. But then try to navigate it when our entrance time was to the Eiffel tower as well as our entrance time to the Museum d’Orsay. So it was a juggling. We may not have used it as much as we could have, but I think, it’s nice to wander around and, explore on foot. Once you do that trip once you’re, you’re probably good.

[00:23:15] The Batobus Are Great in Bad Weather

[00:23:15] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And the other thing to know is that the Batobus is a covered boat. It’s plexiglass, but most of it is covered. So if you like photography, It’s not ideal because you often have the plexiglass between you and whatever you’re trying to take a photo of. There’s a small area where you can stand, but it’s pretty small. So just one thing to know. But that can be good if the weather isn’t great. I mean, you were there in October, so you might’ve run into some bad weather.

[00:23:53] Changing Weather in Paris in October

[00:23:53] Healther Nellis: I thought I had every weather the first few days that we did that boat, I was in a sleeveless shirt and it was about 24 degrees and sunny. And then come the Monday when I did my electric bicycle tour, I was in jeans and rain pants and a rain jacket because it was raining and cold.

[00:24:14] Annie Sargent: Oh, wow.

[00:24:16] Healther Nellis: So it was everything.

[00:24:17] Annie Sargent: So was this a guided bicycle trip?

[00:24:21] Taking an Electric Bike Tour in Paris

[00:24:21] Healther Nellis: Yes. So I booked my apartment through Airbnb and on an Airbnb website, they have trips or tours you might like, and it lists the different tours that are supported by Airbnb. So I picked an electric bike tour. It was called The Secret Tour of Paris.

[00:24:39] Annie Sargent: The secret tour of Paris tan-tan-tan! If secret, it must be better.

[00:24:46] Healther Nellis: I guess. My concern was is that it wasn’t going to overstep anything I’ve already done because being how already have the been there for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is now Monday. You know, I didn’t want to go through and spend this much money, but see all the same things I’ve already seen. Lucky enough, I was able to email the operator and we had a conversation back and forth and he said, Oh no, this will be different.

[00:25:12] Healther Nellis: And it truly was, we went into one church that was the same, but we looked at the Delacroix paintings and the tour guide is a historian in university. He was able to explain the paintings. We also went down to Le Procope the cafe where Napoleon had left his hat. So there were lots of different things, that we saw, which was perfect. And electric e-bike is awesome.

[00:25:39] Annie Sargent: Oh yes. I like those. They make it very pleasant. You know, you don’t even break a sweat. It’s wonderful.

[00:25:47] Be Mindful of the Bikes When Walking in Paris!

[00:25:47] Healther Nellis: I must say walking in the city, which people must always be cautious of. Is there are always accidents with pedestrians and bicycles or e-bikes because they are very quick and there are so many of them that you must always keep your head up. And if you want to stop and look at something, uh, you know, stop and look at something, go to the side and have a look, but don’t be looking around you’ve must focus.

[00:26:12] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. Look both ways before stepping onto the curb. And even when you stop somewhere, be aware of what’s surrounding you, because somebody might ream into you. I don’t know how to say that in English. Un arrêt intempestif. Is “intempesive” a word in English?

[00:26:32] Healther Nellis: Um,

[00:26:33] Annie Sargent: No, maybe not.

[00:26:35] Healther Nellis: They will, yell at you.

[00:26:37] Annie Sargent: Yeah. It’s a sudden stop. Like something that surprises everybody around you. So don’t do that because you’re in Paris! People are trying to get somewhere and be considerate, you know, move off to the side a little bit.

[00:26:50] Arc de Triomphe Wrapped by Cristo

[00:26:50] Healther Nellis: There, there was one when I was there, the arc de Triomphe was draped, with the, uh, yeah, the artists had, I can’t remember their names, came and draped it. I think the weekend before I got there. So my girlfriend and I had walked from the Eiffel tower, which of course was wonderful to see. Um, and we got to see the, the draping, which it was okay. I I’m glad I have seen it not draped before, because I think if I hadn’t seen it, I would have been kind of sad.

[00:27:23] Annie Sargent: So it was wrapped by Christo and this was a major event that had been just publicized everywhere and it looked really cool. I didn’t get to see it in person, but it was only there for maybe two, three weeks. I can’t remember exactly how long it lasted. But yeah, for people who wanted to just see the Arc de Triomphe, that was pretty different.

[00:27:49] Healther Nellis: Yes. And it was, I was there also during fashion week. So it was a lot of other decorations and such were, were out on the Champs Elysées. We did the Champs Elysées back in 2012 when we were in Paris and it was okay. It’s a big shopping street. That’s a lot of expensive stores, but then it seems to me that, you know, you have a big McDonald’s and there’s those stores that are there and I’m like, oh, like I kind of takes away from the ambiance I think of the street. So we, we got a few pictures of the arc de Triomphe, and then we were satisfied with that.

[00:28:25] Notre Dame Reconstruction

[00:28:25] Healther Nellis: Notre Dame of course is lovely. And they’ve made such great efforts, in rebuilding as well as having signage posted on the fencing on the outside of the history of Notre Dame and where they’re going to get the wood to fix it.

[00:28:41] Healther Nellis: And what happened that day, during the fire and how they tried to save items. And then there were some students that have made, pictures of support for the church to be rebuilt. And it’s nice to see that. They have done a good job of getting started and making everyone kind of up-to-date on their, their progress.

[00:29:03] The Orsay Museum

[00:29:03] Annie Sargent: Did you go into any museums that you want to tell us about?

[00:29:06] Healther Nellis: I went into one, we went into the museum d’Orsay. We had the choice, the Louvre, the museum d’Orsay. We chose one, we chose the museum d’Orsay I thought that it was a more interesting museum for my level of art appreciation, shall we say? Uh, and it was lovely. Not very crowded. We did an audio tour there, and it was interesting. We were there maybe hours.

[00:29:35] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s a long time,

[00:29:36] Healther Nellis: Is it? Okay.

[00:29:37] Annie Sargent: Well, for somebody who doesn’t particularly love art, that’s a long time to keep your interest.

[00:29:43] Healther Nellis: We wanted to see everything, but I don’t think we saw everything. But we did manage to do quite a bit of it. At this point. I think it was in the afternoon. We were quite tired and the feet were quite sore.

[00:29:56] The Orsay Audio Tour

[00:29:56] Annie Sargent: So what did you think of the audio tour? Was it interesting?

[00:29:59] Healther Nellis: Yes, it was good. It kept things brief. And with the audio tours, you can fast forward them and skip because sometimes you may not be that good at following as to exactly. You might have missed something and then you have to kind of go back and recalculate where you were and where you left off. But it was good.

[00:30:17] Making Time for Down Time in Paris

[00:30:17] Annie Sargent: What’s the best way, according to you to get some downtime while in Paris? I do itinerary reviews with people and I help them plan their days in Paris. And almost everybody tells me, oh, I want some downtime, but they also list a million things that they want to do. I’m like, you’re packing too much in every day to make room for the downtime. You probably couldn’t do it all. Even if you ran all day for 20 hours. So how did you feel about that balance of seeing the things and having some relaxing time?

[00:30:56] Healther Nellis: It is hard because there are so many things you want to see. I think fortunate for me, I was able to do a trip that was much longer than what most people would go and do. I was there for 12 days, so I was able to spread, I think, things out, and have, one day was the museum d’Orsay, and another day was the opera house.

[00:31:18] Healther Nellis: And I would make my way into that area. And I would spend the time in that area. So I wouldn’t be walking. I mean, I still walked quite a bit, but I was able to say, okay, between two and three, that’s the time we’re sitting down. We find a cafe, you sit down, you enjoy a meal and you relax and, you know, go over your itinerary, have a look at where your next stop is going to be.

[00:31:43] Healther Nellis: And for me, I like to be in my apartment in the evening. So my apartment had 88 stairs to get to the top.

[00:31:52] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s a lot.

[00:31:54] Healther Nellis: You only wanted to do that one time in a day. So in the evening after dinner, or if I brought dinner and would go up to the room, I always had wine, upstairs, but I also had a beautiful balcony that I could sit at and I have my downtime and relax. But I think every time I found a park, that was pretty, that was interesting. I would find a bench or some grass and I would sit down and enjoy. And so you take 20 minutes out of your day here and there. And you have to make sure you build that in because if you don’t you’re right, that people will run off their feet and be exhausted.

[00:32:37] Lots of Walking When Visiting Paris!

[00:32:37] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I think you, I mean, you worked out how much you walked every day and all of this will be in the guest notes obviously, but sometimes you say walked 15.8 kilometers was one day. Walked 17.7 kilometers. Was this your pedometer keeping track?

[00:32:56] Get an External Battery to Charge Your Phone Mid-Day!

[00:32:56] Healther Nellis: Yes. I have walkameter app on my phone, so I would start it and I will say to people. Uh, one of the best items I purchased for traveling was a external battery for my cell phone to recharge it when it started to get low, because it doesn’t last all day. And this was one of the greatest purchases that I had bought for that trip was that. I did buy a traditional selfie stick. And only use that when my girlfriend was present and I did not bring it out again.

[00:33:33] Annie Sargent: Why did you feel self-conscious?

[00:33:35] Healther Nellis: Oh, yes.

[00:33:39] Annie Sargent: You should! So it doesn’t sound like you’re very much of a foodie in general, but did you, did you have any food that you particularly enjoyed? Or did you have any trouble finding food that you enjoyed?

[00:33:54] Enjoying the Food in Paris

[00:33:54] Healther Nellis: Oh, no, the food there is is lovely. I did a duck confit was one night, which was lovely. Um, I Did steak frittes. I think my first night there, I love crepes. So I enjoy having crepes or omelets and I’m definitely into the baked goods. I, uh, love a good bakery and cheese and baguettes. So I was quite happy with the food.

[00:34:22] Use Google Maps to Find Restaurants in the Areas You’ll Visit

[00:34:22] Annie Sargent: Did you like, did you make a list of bakeries or a list of restaurants that you wanted to go to or did you just play it by ear?

[00:34:31] Healther Nellis: No, I did not make a list of, any restaurants. So before I traveled, I used Google maps and I put, places to go on the Google maps. So I was able to see, okay, this looks like a good restaurant. You know, I’ll try there for dinner once. So I did make a point of picking places that I knew were in the area that I wanted to try to eat. The bakery, as I said, I went to the same bakery every morning, just it was comfortable and just very pleasant in the street that I was close to had so much food on it. It was great, but as long as, you know, kind of where you want to go, but even the one that I picked one night to have a croque Madame and I had a Kir for dinner. It was just a hole in the wall, small, tiny little place obscure. And it was a wonderful meal. And the gentleman that was working there was so pleasant to tell talk to.

[00:35:25] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s good. Okay. Anything you would not do again? Anything that you think didn’t work out so well for you?

[00:35:32] Don’t Call an Uber at the Airport

[00:35:32] Healther Nellis: Taking an Uber from the airport in the morning.

[00:35:35] Annie Sargent: Oh, I was gonna point that out as a mistake. Okay. Do explain.

[00:35:42] Healther Nellis: When I landed, it was high traffic time. So very, very busy and Ubers aren’t able to take certain roads or lanes. Only taxi cabs can, so you’re limited in your driver’s ability to get you to point a to point B. So for me, it took an hour and a half to get to the hotel Britannique. It was very congested into the center and I would say, definitely take the arrangements that your Airbnb or the hotel can provide, use them. And if you have to pay, you know, 80 euros or whatnot for that transportation, it is well worth spending that money for transportation.

[00:36:29] Annie Sargent: Okay. So if I may give you some advice for next time, right? What you did is you showed up in Paris and you wanted to have a local SIM card, which is a good idea. So you had a police officer take you to the right place, and then you popped that SIM card into your phone. And then you had a French number and you used that to call your Uber.

[00:36:54] Use a Taxi to Take You into Paris

[00:36:54] Annie Sargent: I would have completely not done any of that. I would have exited the airport, followed the taxi signs, the taxis in Paris are just fine. Some of them are better than others obviously, but it’s a fine experience. It’s 58 euros maximum to anywhere in Paris. Like you mentioned the taxis, unlike Uber, they can take bus lanes.

[00:37:20] Annie Sargent: And so once you get into the city, it’s much faster to go across the city. If that’s something that they need to do. And so that was a mistake that I think you made . You should have just used the taxis. And then once, once you’re in Paris, you can go to any tobacco shop to get your Orange SIM card or whatever SIM card you want. They sell them there.

[00:37:44] Luggage Lockers in Paris

[00:37:44] Annie Sargent: The other thing that I probably wouldn’t have done is to get that hotel of convenience for the day, because in Paris, there are lots of lockers kind of things. So they’re not necessarily a locker with a key. But there are services where you can pay a fee and they put you in contact with a storekeeper who is going to be open most of the day where you can drop off your luggage for a few hours and they get paid by this website that arranges all of this. And you just drop off and pick up your luggage a few hours later and easy. And you can pick one, not too far from your Airbnb.

[00:38:31] Annie Sargent: If you’re going to a hotel, this is not going to be a problem. Hotels can hang on to your luggage until you check in. But if you’re going Airbnb, probably you won’t be able to check until at least three sometimes later. So these kinds of arrangements, for lockers, I guess, but it’s not really a locker you hadn’t heard of those, I suppose.

[00:38:54] Healther Nellis: Uh, no, I had, it was through the Airbnb. They told me about services, but they didn’t mention the one, although I didn’t look into it further, but it was that they would take the luggage and store it. And when I looked at the prices, it was expensive. And I thought, Oh, I didn’t want to do that. I wanted a place to be able to go wash my face, brush my teeth.

[00:39:16] Healther Nellis: And you use the facility, changed my clothes possibly, from flying all night. And then move on. So for me, probably, if I do this again, I would still use the hotel, just for the convenience sake. And if you wanted to lie down. You know, for half an hour, you could lie down. I didn’t want to have to try and repack bags, to be prepared to go out for the rest of the day.

[00:39:39] Healther Nellis: So to each his own, it’s a good option to have, and I almost got an extra day out of the Airbnb, but they had just booked somebody else in. So it wasn’t ready, but that was okay. It was all good.

[00:39:53] What Heather Wouldn’t Do Again

[00:39:53] Annie Sargent: All right. So I never give you time to answer this thing about, is there anything you would not do again.

[00:40:00] Healther Nellis: There was one thing. I’m not sure where I read it, but, uh, by Notre Dame there’s streets with lots and lots of gardens stores. Um, I’m trying to find what this street was called. And it has on Sunday mornings, they have a, uh, bird show.

[00:40:18] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so it’s right by the Cité Metro station.

[00:40:24] Healther Nellis: It was interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect it like, uh, uh, Uh, American pet store with a bunch of birds. So it was, it was interesting. I think what was, I would not do that again, um, more than, more than likely, but there’s lots of things. I think you see, you know, one time that maybe you don’t necessarily have to, uh, to go back again, to look at, but for me, I wouldn’t go to maybe say museum d’Orsay again. Uh, there’s nothing I don’t think I would take right out of itinerary. I had spent months, going over the itinerary, picking, changing things, rearranging it to what would be most convenient. Um, and that’s, so you’re not going across the city back and forth.

[00:41:09] What Tools Did You Use to Prepare for Your Trip?

[00:41:09] Annie Sargent: So, how did you prepare your days and what, what tools did you use?

[00:41:14] Healther Nellis: Google maps was, was a big one. Basically, you need to find your Airbnb. So where is your landing point and taking off point daily. And then be able to spread out and kind of say, you know, I listed probably 15 things that were to definitely do on my list. And then I tried to spread those out so that it wasn’t, you know, you weren’t doing museum d’Orsay and the Palais Garnier all in one day. You give them space so that if you’re in that area, you may be in St. Germain and find a lovely place to go and sit down and have a, have a latte and, and relax for a little while. .

[00:41:54] Healther Nellis: So I guess in July is when I booked. Because we, we dropped our quarantine in Canada. So anybody traveling internationally could return to Canada and not have to quarantine for 14 days. So I booked immediately and then also had cancellation for both flights and, uh, the Airbnb. And it wasn’t until the cancellation expired is when I booked my tickets for the Eiffel tower, the Palais Garnier. Um, anything else that required, required a ticket? Um, that’s when I purchased, purchased those

[00:42:33] Annie Sargent: Right. So you booked, how long in advance? More or less?

[00:42:37] Healther Nellis: A week. Oh, sorry. I booked in July. For September, that was the flights and the Airbnb. And then for all of the secondary, like all the trips I booked a week in advance.

[00:42:51] Annie Sargent: Right. And so this works in COVID times. I’m not sure it will continue to work, you know, once we’re done with this curse. So.

[00:43:01] Healther Nellis: No, it, it wouldn’t work because the things they sell out too quick. Um, and you have to book, you know, in advance. So you have to be prepared for that. But I, I found you could book through say, TripAdvisor or Airbnb or any of the other tour agencies and you could book and have a cancellation insurance.

[00:43:21] Healther Nellis: So you could book your trip to the Eiffel tower. Um, and you could spend a little bit more money and you get that cancellation security. Um, for me, I looked at it and kind of thought, okay, what are you getting extra. And sometimes it really wasn’t anything extra other than the security to cancel.

[00:43:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah. The Eiffel tower is 16 euros. So if you lose the 16 euros, your life is probably not over.

[00:43:49] Healther Nellis: And that’s what I looked at. I made the decision that I wanted to book directly on the site. I didn’t see that there was an extra benefit to booking through a different company that gave you, like, what kind of tour are they? Are they giving, giving us there? It depends. You have to weigh the, the options, right?

[00:44:07] Using this Podcast to Prepare for Her Trip

[00:44:07] Healther Nellis: But it’s, uh, it takes a long time researching, you know, going through a TripAdvisor and seeing what other people have done. Then you can get pretty. You can get pretty specific. Uh, also listening to your podcasts. I found your podcast probably in August and I listened to most everything I could find that was pertaining to my trip and would take notes, um, and then go back and revise and, you know, search things that you had said to look at. So, it’s a big research trip, right? Do you want to do a good job? You don’t want to miss anything. There’s things already on the list for the next trip.

[00:44:46] Itinerary Plannig Service

[00:44:46] Annie Sargent: Yep. And that’s why when I do itinerary planning with people, it saves them a ton of time because I’ve done this a few hundred times . I can just take them straight to the things that interest them. But there’s advantages to doing it by yourself, because then you’re fully invested in the process, but it takes a lot of time. So for people who don’t have a lot of time, there are options, but the way you did it is also very good.

[00:45:16] Healther Nellis: Yes, I’m happy. I’ve had a few friends, that’s my work who have said that they were going and, you know, can we get a copy of that? And I can, you know, model or scale it down or have a look what you did, uh, and see, you know, what they would do, you know, differently. But it does take some time and you have to be, if you want to have a good trip, then you must put the work and the effort into knowing what it is that you want to do and how you’re going to get to that.

[00:45:41] Did You Ever Get Bored as a Solo Traveler?

[00:45:41] Annie Sargent: Definitely. So one last question, before we say goodbye, since you were traveling solo, did you ever get bored?

[00:45:50] Healther Nellis: No, I was never bored. I took a novel with me, a brand new novel that I was really excited to read and I never opened the page on the, on the 12th days. I, you know, just enjoyed, uh, people watching, uh, going to the Rodin museum is lovely. And I must have sat there for quite some time out in the park.

[00:46:11] Rue Cler Was Meh

[00:46:11] Healther Nellis: Um, that was there the same with the Luxembourg gardens. And there was some things that, you know, there, there was one food street, uh, Rue Cler. I didn’t find it as interesting as I expected,

[00:46:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s boring. Yeah.

[00:46:24] Healther Nellis: Yes, it was boring. Um,

[00:46:26] Annie Sargent: That’s another one that Rick Steve hyped that it’s like, okay, it’s a street. There are shopkeepers on that street. Hello? Like all the other streets or pretty much all the other streets. It’s just that, that one has become so famous, through Rick Steves, mostly that now everything is expensive on that street and you don’t see a lot of locals unless they are very, very wealthy.

[00:46:58] Annie Sargent: I mean, President Macron, he has a private apartment on that street that, that level of wealthy.

[00:47:05] Healther Nellis: Yes.

[00:47:06] Annie Sargent: So, if you want to hang out with regular French people, don’t go on Rue Cler, Go somewhere else

[00:47:12] Healther Nellis: The street around the corner from my apartment was lovely. And I won’t say it correctly, rue Montorgueil.

[00:47:18] Annie Sargent: is what it’s called.

[00:47:26] Healther Nellis: That street has way more than Rue Cler did with regards to food establishments and, uh, places you could go and you could afford.

[00:47:36] Other Food Markets

[00:47:36] Annie Sargent: Yeah, another one. That’s very fun that nobody ever talks about is called Rue du Commerce in, uh, uh, Montparnasse and it’s just like, it’s a regular French street with lots of businesses, lots of happening stuff. And it’s not full of tourists, which is a plus.

[00:47:55] Healther Nellis: Nice. Right. Like, I, I did spend a day doing markets and I just didn’t find them. Uh, I’m not sure if my expectation was, was different or maybe I wasn’t. I did plan and look at the days to make sure I went to the right ones. But, uh, I went to the Marché Saint martin by the canal area, um, Marché des Enfants Rouges and they were okay. Um, I just don’t think it was. you know, my, my expectation was I guess, a little different, um, but, uh,

[00:48:31] Annie Sargent: Well, yeah, if you are. Somebody who loves to cook, somebody who’s always looking for the right ingredients, then going to one of these markets is going to be delightful because you’re like, oh, look at this and they have this and they have that. But if you’re not all that much into cooking, I mean, it’s going to be fine, but it’s not going to be as delightful.

[00:48:54] Healther Nellis: No, no exactly. Um, and in that area as well was the Place des Vosges, which is where I went to sit down, it’s near the other and the Marais, the Carnavalet Museum, which had just reopened

[00:49:07] Annie Sargent: Right. So that’s Place des Vosges.

[00:49:09] Healther Nellis: Places des Vosges. Yes, my French has, my accent is not good. It’s not existent.

[00:49:15] Healther Nellis: That was a lovely square to go and sit. And I sat there quite a few, probably two or three times I popped into there, uh, on my travels. And it was just very nice, relaxing.

[00:49:26] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. Well, Heather, thank you so much for sharing your experiences of Paris as a solo traveler. You did it right. You really had a lot of good experiences and you managed to leave enough time to enjoy Paris and not just run, run, run from one thing to the other. And so that’s really commendable.

[00:49:50] Healther Nellis: Thank you.

[00:49:52] Annie Sargent: Merci, beaucoup,

[00:49:54] Healther Nellis: It’s Merci Annie!

[00:49:55] Annie Sargent: Au

[00:49:55] Healther Nellis: revoir !

[00:49:58] Patreon Rewards!

[00:49:58] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons, get several exclusive rewards for doing so you can see them at https://patreon.com/JoinUs. Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have done it for a long time. You are wonderful. And a shout out this week to new patrons, Yara Brenton, Tamara Mays, and Jan G ray. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:50:26] Annie Sargent: There is a new video for patrons about how Elyse and I met, log into your Patreon account patrons, or see it on your Addicted to France account if you have one. My thanks also to Mary Pat Shaffer for sending in a one-time donation by using the green button on any page on Join Us in France dot com that says, tip your guide.

[00:50:47] Annie Sargent: Mary wrote Bonjour, I’ve been enjoying listening to your podcasts as we plan our trip to France. Thanks for all the energy and work you put into creating such helpful and entertaining episodes. Well, thank you, Mary pat.

[00:51:01] Annie Sargent: And because Mary Pat is a donor, I made her an account on Addicted to France. See how this works? I have to mention that if you enjoyed this episode, you might also want to listen to episode 224, which was called Solo in Paris.

[00:51:17] Newest Covid Rules in France

[00:51:17] Annie Sargent: Okay. This weekend, French news effective immediately.

[00:51:21] Annie Sargent: Vaccinated visitors will not have to show a negative COVID test to enter France. This was already the case for European travelers, but it is now extended to everyone. Keep in mind that you will probably still need a negative COVID test to go back to wherever you live, but that might also change soon. Unvaccinated persons over 12, still need to demonstrate that they have a very good reason to come to France.

[00:51:50] Annie Sargent: Masks are not required outdoors anywhere at this time. Now some people still choose to wear masks outside, but. You know, maybe they’re just being cautious and I appreciate that.

[00:52:03] Annie Sargent: Mayors can enforce mask rules outside if they see fit. So have a mask in your purse just in case, but typically no more masks outside in France.

[00:52:15] Annie Sargent: After February 28th, we won’t have to wear masks indoors either. If they enforce the vaccine pass at the door. This includes places like museums, restaurants, movies, indoor sports venues. Because in all those places, they check the vaccine pass at the door. But it does not include grocery stores or pharmacies, for example, because nobody shows a vaccine pass to enter those stores.

[00:52:45] Annie Sargent: We’ll have to continue to have both a vaccine pass and a mask to get on an airplane. You don’t need a vaccine pass to get on the Metro or the RER, but you do need a mask. To me, this is common sense. Close quarters. Keep a mask on.

[00:53:03] Annie Sargent: Two doses of any approved vaccine are enough to come to France, but once you get to France, you may not qualify for a vaccine pass unless you’ve had a third dose. If you’re over 18 and your second dose was more than nine months ago, you will need a third dose to get a vaccine pass.

[00:53:24] Annie Sargent: French health authorities have stated that they don’t see a need for a fourth dose for the public at large, at this time. And requirements to test for folks who come in contact with someone who’s tested positive are also being relaxed. Up until now they said test as soon as you find out, then two days later, and then four days later. Right now, the test four days later is no longer necessary.

[00:53:50] Annie Sargent: People who test positive are still asked to self isolate for five days and unvaccinated people who come in contact with someone who is positive need to self isolate for seven days, need to test at day zero, and then at day seven and may not leave isolation until they test negative.

[00:54:10] Annie Sargent: Why is all of this happening? Because COVID infection rates are plummeting in France, admissions to critical care are down and so are deaths although these are lagging indicators. Let’s keep in mind that to the unvaccinated, Omicron is just as deadly as previous variants of COVID.

[00:54:32] Annie Sargent: 80.3% of the entire population of France, and I’m counting kids in that, I have had one dose of vaccine. Of those 78.6. I’ve had two doses and 50.2% have had three doses. Yesterday, February 11th, 13,735 people in France got their first dose of vaccine. So we’re still convincing a lot of people to get vaccinated every day. And there are plenty of people who are still waiting for their nine months to be up before they get their 3rd dose, so these things take time. My sister is one of these people. She doesn’t want to get vaccinated any sooner than she has to. And she was hesitant to begin with, so that makes sense I guess.

[00:55:21] Annie Sargent: There is talk of doing a way with vaccination pass by late March or early April in France. So let me repeat, no more vaccine pass or health pass or anything like that possibly as early as April. This is contingent on a continued decrease in COVID-19 cases, of course, but so far it seems like it might happen.

[00:55:47] Annie Sargent: Coincidence, we also have an election in April. But no matter what the motivation is for lifting restrictions, I’m all for it if it can be done safely. Let’s hope some nasty new variant doesn’t raise its ugly head. It would help a lot if we sent more vaccine doses to all the countries that don’t have enough because there’s no point giving me and you four and five doses of a vaccine when so many people haven’t had one yet. There are millions in the world who would get vaccinated today if it were available to them. So let’s give them a chance.

[00:56:28] Going All Electric in France

[00:56:28] Annie Sargent: Something completely different. We’re pushing ahead with all electric in France. A couple of years back, I noticed that the grocery store chain Lidl was installing free charging stations in their store parking lots. But now stores are announcing charging stations left and right. Just this week, I saw articles about how Casino which is a grocery store chain in France will have fast charging Tesla stations. And apparently all electric vehicles can use these Tesla charging stations if they have the right adapter and installed Tesla app.

[00:57:06] Annie Sargent: Norauto, which is a store where you can buy all sorts of automotive things, will have, a more generic charging station. I think cities need to have parking lots with EV charging stations sparkled throughout the city, and then we’ll be good to.

[00:57:24] Annie Sargent: Another thing that holds me back anyway is that there are many types of plugs and many types of payment systems. I hope these things get flushed out, you know, eventually.

[00:57:36] Polution Stickers in France: Crit’Air

[00:57:36] Annie Sargent: We already have pollution sticker indicators on our cars in France. Next time you’re in France you may notice a thing people display on their windshield. It’s a little circular thing with a number in it. It’s called Crit’Air and the higher, the number, the more the vehicle pollutes. Electric vehicles get a zero. So they’re great. Plug-in hybrids get a one. And it goes all the way up to six. In my family, we drive two vehicles that get a one and a VW diesel beast that has a three.

[00:58:13] Annie Sargent: That means that on high pollution days, if I drive the diesel car into the city, I can get a ticket. I’ve never done that, by the way, the diesel car rarely goes anywhere. I keep it around because it has a tow ball. And sometimes I need that.

[00:58:28] Annie Sargent: Delivery vehicles are all switching to electric as fast as possible because they need to deliver all sorts of things into the city every day and the old diesel or gas vans can’t do that anymore. They’re forbidden to go into cities on many days of the year.

[00:58:48] Developping New Nuclear and Hydrogen

[00:58:48] Annie Sargent: Macron has announced that he’s allotting a lot of new funds to nuclear and hydrogen power. 70% of power in France already comes from nuclear power plants. And the plan is to put into production smaller and more efficient nuclear generators starting in 2030. Hydrogen made from solar and wind is also getting off the ground in France. Hydrogen is not ready for family cars yet, but it is perfect for trains and long haul, big trucks.

[00:59:20] Annie Sargent: People have been putting solar panels on their roofs for a long time, and it’s wonderful. But the power infrastructure needs to change and that’s not up to individuals. Governments need to take the lead and I I’m excited about those prospects.

[00:59:38] Presidential Campaign

[00:59:38] Annie Sargent: Various candidates are running for president in France, and a lot of newspapers cover the blow by blow, but I don’t find any of it interesting. You know, people make crazy campaign promises that they know they can never keep. And there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is. Don’t listen to any of it really.

[00:59:58] Macron an Putin

[00:59:58] Annie Sargent: I’m sure you saw the photo of Emmanuel McComb sitting across from Vladimir Putin with a huge white table between them. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I heard that Emmanuel Macron asked for a big distance between them because he refused to take a COVID test that was being given by the Russian authorities. He was thinking they might use that to sample his DNA and he didn’t want that. Maybe they would have, who knows.

[01:00:32] Annie Sargent: Anyway, they talked for over five hours and it seems to be helping in terms of diffusing this tense situation. Keep talking no war, please. Macron is still not a candidate officially, but he’s ahead in the polls. I’m sure eventually he’ll do rallies and all that, but he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to start.

[01:00:53] Annie Sargent: While America was having fun with the gaspacho police and the sangria law. We saw a video of a French soccer player kicking his cat like it was a soccer ball. And making a video of it because apparently he thought it was funny. I think a lot of blowhards are amused by things that are not funny at all. He’s been fined 300,000 euros by his club because he plays in England. Sponsors are withdrawing their support for him and pets have been removed from his home, which is how it should be.

[01:01:30] Annie Sargent: Show notes for this episode are on https://joinusinfrance.com/376, the numeral, where you can see a recap of what we’ve discussed with Heather, as well as Heather’s notes and a full transcript.

[01:01:44] Annie Sargent: If you enjoy the show, introduce a friend to the podcast and tell them that it’s their ticket to a great trip to France because it is! Join Us in France is on all podcast apps and they can listen on https://joinusinfrance.Com too if they are technology phobic.

[01:02:01] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast. Well, I’m not sure yet. I’ll be in Paris for a couple of weeks working on VoiceMap tours. I will publish an episode the next two Sundays as I always do, but they’ll be very short and very sweet because I won’t have time.

[01:02:18] Annie Sargent: And speaking of my VoiceMap tours, you can buy them directly from the app if you’d like, but since you’re a podcast listener and you’re still with me at the end of this episode, you can get a nice discount if you buy them at https://joinusinfrance.com/boutique. Send questions or feedback to annie@joinusinfrance.Com. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.

[01:02:46] Annie Sargent: Au revoir !

[01:02:47] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2022 by addicted to France. It is released under a creative commons attribution non-commercial no derivatives license. .

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Category: Paris