Transcript for Episode 403: A Visit to Narbonne and the Mediterranean Coast

Category: Toulouse Area

Discussed in this Episode

  • Languedoc-Roussillon
  • Narbonne
  • Carcassonne
  • Collioure
  • Clos de la Lombarde archeological dig

[00:00:00] Intro

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 403, quatre cent trois.

[00:00:24] Annie Sargent: 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 to France.

[00:00:40] Today on the podcast

[00:00:40] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Jennifer Jerzyk about using Narbonne as a launching point to discover the Mediterranean coast. She has great tips about travel by train and it’s clear she really enjoyed Narbonne, the Languedoc-Roussillon, that’s the old name of the area.

[00:01:00] Annie Sargent: Now it’s called Occitanie it’s all been turned into one big region. We also talked about Carcassonne, Coullioure and a few other places. The complete list will be in the show notes that you can see right now, if you’re listening on your smartphone.

[00:01:16] Thank you supporters

[00:01:16] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my itinerary consult service and my GPS self guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. You can browse all of that at my boutique, JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.

[00:01:35] VoiceMap review

[00:01:35] Annie Sargent: Somebody left a comment about my Montmartre tour that I think is worth sharing with you. By now, there are quite a few comments on my tours and I rarely read them on the podcast, but I like that this one speaks to the technology which I chose, which is VoiceMap.

[00:01:51] Annie Sargent: He or she wrote, “This was our first time using VoiceMap. I can say that Annie Sargent gifted us a great experience and a newfound pocket companion for her tours. The technology works better than I would’ve thought with near pinpoint accuracy about where we were at a given time. The story was great and the stories gave color to the area. Some tips, try to stay close together with a group so that you also stay together on the audio. If you wander, make use of the map to tap where you need to rejoin and enjoy.

[00:02:29] Annie Sargent: Yes. Well, you don’t really need to stay together if you don’t want to, but yes, it makes it easier if you want to stay at the same pace.

[00:02:36]

[00:02:36] Annie Sargent: I chose the VoiceMap app because I think they do a great job keeping the app clean and also they don’t spy on you, which is a good thing, I think.

[00:02:47] Travel update

[00:02:47] Annie Sargent: For the travel update, I’ll give you a quick reason why people who take the RER between the airport in Paris and the city downtown Paris are asking for trouble. No news on the France bootcamp yet more on that in September, but do save the date, if you’re interested, it’ll be in Toulouse May 21st until May 27th, 2022.

[00:03:11] Newsletter

[00:03:11] Annie Sargent: Now there is a newsletter to go along with this podcast. Right now I only email once a month, if that, honestly, but when I email it’s always something that will help you next time you visit France. And also, if you’re interested in the bootcamp, that’s where you need to go sign up for the newsletter at JoinUsinFrance.com/newsletter.

[00:03:40] Main interview

[00:03:40] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Jennifer Jerzyk and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:03:45] Jennifer Jerzyk: Bonjour Annie.

[00:03:45] Annie Sargent: I’m very happy to talk to you about my favorite place in the world, the Southwest of France.

[00:03:51] Jennifer Jerzyk: Well, I was really glad to have the opportunity to spend a few days there and explore some of the towns.

[00:03:58] Trip details

[00:03:58] Tell us first when your took place and if you were traveling with other people or if it was just you, that sort of thing.

[00:04:06] I was in Europe for a work trip and wanted to extend it with a few days in France, so I was there by myself and spent a few days in three of the cities in the Southwest. And this was at the beginning of April of this year.

[00:04:21] Annie Sargent: 2022.

[00:04:22] Jennifer Jerzyk: Correct.

[00:04:23] Annie Sargent: It looks from your photos that you had good weather.

[00:04:25] Jennifer Jerzyk: It was, it was beautiful. It was beautiful the entire time.

[00:04:29] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Okay. So you went to Narbonne, you went to Carcassonne and you went to Collioure, which are all lovely places. I assume you had a car?

[00:04:39] Traveled exclusively by train

[00:04:39] Jennifer Jerzyk: I actually did not have a car. I really love traveling by train and I am now over 60 years old so I qualify for the SNCFCarte Avantage Senior. So I purchased one of those in advance which got me 30% off the train tickets automatically, which makes it a really great deal. So I used the train exclusively to get around.

[00:05:03] Jennifer Jerzyk: I think I rode a bus a couple of times, but mostly by train.

[00:05:07] SNCF discounts

[00:05:07] Annie Sargent: Very nice. Yes, those cards are really great because with the SNCF, so that’s the official train company in France, you can get great prices if you book very early, but if you don’t have a chance, if you didn’t know that far in advance that you wanted to do this, or if you weren’t sure the dates or whatever, then you may qualify for a discount card, either as a family or as a youth or as a person over 60.

[00:05:35] And so these cards, you usually have to pay a little bit to get the card but then you get discounts. And since you’re buying last minute tickets, usually when you do this, 30% is a lot of money. I mean not millions, but you know, it’s a good amount.

[00:05:49] The SNCF app

[00:05:49] Jennifer Jerzyk: It is, it was a great deal. And the app on the SNCF website is fantastic. I downloaded it to my phone and you could just use it from anywhere. It’s very user friendly, it’s all in English so you know exactly what you’re doing. You don’t have to print out any tickets because the conductors just come by and look at your phone, just like they do here.

[00:06:09] Jennifer Jerzyk: And yeah, I highly recommend

[00:06:11] Annie Sargent: Right. I cannot highlight this strongly enough and recommend this strongly enough. When you’re traveling in France, use the official French train app. I know there are others, Don’t to talk about the others. I want to talk about the SNCF Connect app. If your phone is in English, the app will install in English, which is what you want, and you can buy your tickets directly from the app.

[00:06:35] Annie Sargent: You can change your tickets directly from the app. If there is a strike, you’ll be notified of that in the app. It is absolutely perfect. 90% of the people who get freaked out about strikes in France, that happens because they didn’t buy their ticket from SNCF. They bought it from some other vendor who is going to keep them in the dark, thank you very much. So don’t do that. Make the French app work, it’s wonderful. It works great.

[00:07:03] Jennifer Jerzyk: That’s a very good point.

[00:07:04] When did she book her tickets?

[00:07:04] And did you indeed book at the last minute, most of your tickets?

[00:07:08] So I was coming from Nantes down to Narbonne and I booked that ticket in advance. And then as I was at the end of the trip, I was leaving out of Barcelona, so I also booked the ticket from Narbonne to Barcelona early on. And so it was extremely reasonable, particularly with this additional discount.

[00:07:27] But the day trips, which were all on the regional trains, I think I could have boarded the train and purchased the ticket, I just did it the same day and none of those tickets were more than 10 Euros a piece. It was very reasonable.

[00:07:41] Buying your train ticket from the conductor

[00:07:41] Annie Sargent: Yes. And it used to be, I’m not sure if it’s still possible, on the TGV I’m sure it’s not, but on regional trains or even Grande Ligne trains which are like the long distance trains, we still have quite a few of those, you could just show up at the train station, get on the train, and go find the controller.

[00:08:01] Annie Sargent: How would you say that? The person who checks your tickets.

[00:08:04] Jennifer Jerzyk: The conductor.

[00:08:05] Annie Sargent: The conductor. And buy your ticket there from the conductor. The only thing is, you can’t be sitting on your seat and wait for the conductor to come check you. If you do it that way, you will get a ticket, because you didn’t buy a ticket. You know, you’re a fraudster. But if you by yourself, go find the guy and say, I’m sorry, I got on the train late, I want to buy a ticket now. You can do that. Well, you used to be able to do that. I’m not sure if it’s still true, but I would guess it is because French people do that all the time.

[00:08:34] Annie Sargent: They just hop on and there you go.

[00:08:36] Jennifer Jerzyk: Well, I didn’t test that out.

[00:08:37] Annie Sargent: No, I don’t recommend you test that.But it’s that flexible. The train is that flexible. When people get used to the train it’s like, they just go when they’re ready to go, and that’s the end of that.

[00:08:47] Narbonne

[00:08:47] Annie Sargent: All right. So let’s talk about Narbonne a little bit. What did you like there?

[00:08:51] Jennifer Jerzyk: You know, I loved the size of the city. It used to be a much bigger city way, way back when, and I will point out it’s an extremely old city. It’s a Roman city established in 118 BC. There was an amazing archeological dig that I just kind of wandered into called, Le Clos de la Lombarde. Wish I had spent more time there.

[00:09:15] They’ve recently opened up a historical museum called the Narbo Via and I would go back there and spend time there and learn more about the history. But it was a medium sized city. I would compare it to a suburb in a Metro area in the United States. So not too big, not too small. Like I said, easy access by train, very reasonably priced.

[00:09:40] I got an Airbnb. I went back and looked at how much I paid for $43 a night. It was a one bedroom apartment near the center of Narbonne with a full kitchen, a bathroom, a washing machine, which I was in week two of my trip, that was nice to be able to wash a few clothes. You know, it just checked a lot of boxes.

[00:10:02] What can you visit in and around Narbonne?

[00:10:02] It was 10 miles from the Mediterranean and you could hop on a bus and go down to the beach. And then it was this great jumping off point to go see many other cities in the Southwest, easily. So it was kind of that like cruise ship mentality, where you drop your bags once and then you just go out and keep exploring something different every day you’re there.

[00:10:24] Annie Sargent: Which is a really nice, Narbonne is an excellent point to do that because there’s lots of different things around there. And I think you even listed them on your notes, you know, you could go to Beziers, you could go to Nimes, you could go to Montpellier, Avignon, Agde, Sete, Perpignan, Port Vendres, Banyuls sur Mer, Barcelona and of course, you have others. If you have a car you can go to many more places around there that you can visit. The train doesn’t necessarily go there. Okay. But if you have a car, there’s even more, the sky’s the limit. There’s lots to see in that part of the country.

[00:10:59] Jennifer Jerzyk: Exactly. But I was kind of keen on showing how much you could see without renting a car. Because let’s face it, it’s expensive to rent cars, it’s a little bit anxiety-producing because you’re driving in a foreign country and then gasoline is a lot more expensive than what we’re used to.

[00:11:17] Jennifer Jerzyk: So, you know, it was really fun. And plus I just think the trains in France are a huge pleasure. They’re quiet, you have a seat, it’s a very relaxing experience to ride the trains.

[00:11:28] How did she travel by train?

[00:11:28] Annie Sargent: Right. So did you get the TGV? Did you go first class? What did you pick?

[00:11:32] On the TGV trains, I did go ahead and spring for first class because there isn’t that much difference in the price. It’s a very small bump up to get a first class and then you get a little bigger seat. You usually have a place to plug in your phone. Sometimes you’re getting a little table, so you can set your food or your work or whatever you’re doing there.

[00:11:52] You can pretty much spread out. So it’s a lovely experience.

[00:11:56] Lock your luggage on the train?

[00:11:56] Annie Sargent: Now, one thing that I started doing recently is, instead of, because when you board a train, TGV train, you have areas where you just put your luggage. And you know, people worry about their suitcase being taken, whatever, and it’s never happened to me, but I suppose it could happen. So what you can do is bring a little lock.

[00:12:18] They make these locks that have like a piece of wire and you could just lock your luggage to the metal grate where you put all your, and then you don’t worry about it. I have an Amazon page with products that I recommend, so I’ll just add that to that page and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes because you know, it makes it so simple to just peace of mind that, oh my suitcase is locked, nobody’s going to take my stuff. You know, I will say over decades that I’ve traveled in France, in Europe, I’ve never seen anyone lock their suitcase to the place where they set it down.

[00:12:52] No, it’s not something that most people do, but you can, if that’s going to worry you, you know, you can.

[00:12:58] Jennifer Jerzyk: Sure it could. Yeah.

[00:13:00] Le Grand Buffets

[00:13:00] Annie Sargent: Okay. So you enjoyed Narbonne very much. One thing that you did not do that I think people might consider, is to have a meal at Le Grand Buffet, is what it’s called, and I’ll put a link in the show notes again. it’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant with just French specialties.

[00:13:21] Annie Sargent: Now, we were chatting before we started recording that, well tell me what you told me, because this, this was funny.

[00:13:28] Jennifer Jerzyk: Well, I tend to be a little bit of a food snob. And so I did extensively research restaurants in Narbonne and all the places that I was going to see where I might want eat. And of course, Le Grand Buffet features prominently like, oh, everyone must go, and a lot of the properties that I was going to stay at mentioned, oh, you’re only five minutes walking from Les Grands Buffets.

[00:13:52] Jennifer Jerzyk: And when I looked at their website and I looked at what it was, it looked like an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I just thought, oh, that I’m a single, I’m traveling alone, I don’t want to sit there and gorge on food. I would rather have a beautiful meal that is brought to my table and enjoy the service and whatnot.

[00:14:13] Jennifer Jerzyk: So I did not go to Les Grands Buffets, but I could see it’s something very popular area, but you’ve gone there so tell us what that was like.

[00:14:23] Annie Sargent: So it’s constantly full. So you have to book well in advance. Like, I wanted to go there last weekend and I looked a week early and it was full. Especially July, August, when people are driving through France, this is a destination kind of restaurant. It’s a nice dining room with white tablecloths, comfortable chairs, the prices just under 50 euros per person. I think it’s the same at lunch and dinner, I’m not sure, and you can park reasonably close, there’s even electric chargers, I checked, not far. So it’s made for people to come and enjoy a long lunch or a long dinner. So what they do is, they give you this buffet of appetizers. Okay. So you have all sorts of appetizers, but they are all of the regional foods of France. You choose an entree or two or three, whatever you’d like, and they will bring them to you. So that’s the part where they bring it to you, and then they have cheeses. The cheese course is like ridiculous, there’s like 300 cheeses, always on hand. So if you want to try all these different regional specialties, this would be the place to do it. And when we ate there, it was delicious, it was a lot of food, but you don’t have to eat it all, obviously. You can just be selective and I do remember having a really hard time picking, but not, we didn’t walk out of there feeling like we were going to barf.

[00:15:59] Annie Sargent: This is not, you know, we didn’t do that. But we could have, if we have wanted to.

[00:16:03] Annie Sargent: But it’s a nice experience and it’s really the place to go try, you know, if you want to try. I remember this is the last time I ate a frog leg. I had not had frog legs for years and I was like, oh, it was one of the appetizers, so I just grabbed one to try it. So if you want to have one escargot, one frog leg, whatever, you can do that, because they have it all. And it’s good quality food. This is not the cheapestlike fill you up quick kind of food. It’s good food.

[00:16:31] So it’s something to consider. I would recommend it if you’re curious about French specialties and regional foods that you’ve never tried. If you wanted to try a little bit of tripe, go for it, you can have a little bit of tripe right there without ordering a whole dish of tripe. You know what I mean?

[00:16:45] Jennifer Jerzyk: That sounds like the perfect reason for going there, is to sample a bunch of different things. And I think I’ve eaten so much French food that I know what all of those things are, so…

[00:16:56] L’Estagnol

[00:16:56] I had an absolutely amazing, for me anyway, dining experience at a restaurant in Narbonne and it’s not a Michelin starred restaurant, it wasn’t even written up in anything. I just happened to be walking along the Canal de la Robine, which runs right through the beautiful center of Narbonne. And I noticed there was a restaurant called, correct mypronunciation L’Estagnol, The Spanish Place.

[00:17:22] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yeah, I think it’s L’Estagnol. Yep.And they seem to have a lot of fruit de mer as featured item on their menu, and I love those cold seafood plates. You know, we pay a fortune in the United States for those kinds of things. In Europe, in France along the coast, this is just like what people eat, this is just normal fair. And I think I sent you a picture of the beautiful plate of cold seafood and that was what I ate for dinner. So I noticed it as I was walking by this restaurant that they were going to have a winemaker there one evening and that she was going to be sharing her wines and you could buy them and so forth. And then presumably eat it this restaurant, or there were a couple of other restaurants participating.

[00:18:06] Jennifer Jerzyk: So I came back at that time, and they explained to me that she was going to set up her little table. It was kind of in an alley with no traffic, it wasn’t an alley, it was a nice walking street area next to the restaurant.

[00:18:20] Jennifer Jerzyk: So I went over and bought a, you had to buy a whole bottle you couldn’t just buy a glass of wine. Bought a bottle of her wine, which was lovely, it was a rosé. And then I brought it back and sat down at the table, which was just a few steps away.

[00:18:35] Surprising event

[00:18:35] Jennifer Jerzyk: And as I started eating, I started hearing music and I was like, oh, this is great. This is like a whole event here, like a popup event almost taking place. And sure enough, there was a band which was mainly percussion, but also brass uh, musicians playing sort of at the other end of this street. And they spent about a half hour down there and then they walked up to the end where I was sitting and continued to play for another half hour.

[00:19:07] Jennifer Jerzyk: And I don’t know if it was the surprise of it or, but it was just an absolutely delightful experience. And the people in the band looked like they were having a blast. The music was loud, it was not background music, I mean, you had to pay attention to them. But they only played for about a half hour.

[00:19:23] I was finishing my dinner by that point, so that I left, I don’t know what happened afterwards, but to me, this is why you travel, because you can’t plan that kind of an event, this was something where you arrive, you see what’s going on locally, and then you just jump in and participate, and it turns out to be like one of the most memorable things that you did during that particular trip.

[00:19:47] Annie Sargent: Indeed.

[00:19:48] Important to stay downtown

[00:19:48] You know, that’s why it’s important to stay downtown. French cities, French downtowns are alive with things. If the weather is good, there are going to be things happening in the city center. And if you decide to stay, you know, further away or go back to your hotel, because you wanted to save 20 bucks and you wanted to stay at a hotel further away from the city, you’re going to miss out on these things. So, don’t do that, stay in the city center because that’s where it’s happening.

[00:20:20] Annie Sargent: And you even texted me, you asked me if I knew the name of this, and I couldn’t remember the sort of music that they were doing, couldn’t remember it. But then you had taken a picture of the poster and it reminded me that it’s called a Bandas and they are very, very common in the Southwest of France.

[00:20:37] Annie Sargent: I’m sure they’re common in the Southeast as well. It’s usually a dozen drums and a few trumpets, maybe saxophone, not quite a marching band, but they can march a little bit. And most of the time it’s the drums playing, and then sometimes the other instruments will join in.

[00:20:56] Jennifer Jerzyk: Well it was a real delight, a highlight of the trip, super enjoyable, and the weather was just picture perfect. That alwaysit makes it wonderful.

[00:21:04] Annie Sargent: Since I do itineraries with people and I help them plan their time, often I would like to find things like that ahead of time, but you can’t. Because it’s something that’s thrown together, like at the last minute. Because one, COVID. And people here are very, we’ve had real shutdowns where like you, you plan a whole thing and boom, it’s shut down, nothing’s happening. And it could happen again. We could have a big spike and have a city decide, nope, this weekend nothing’s happening. So that’s the first reason.

[00:21:38] Annie Sargent: And also because people are more spontaneous here, and they don’t update their websites.

[00:21:42] Annie Sargent: Honestly. The only way I can have information like that is if I call the Tourist Office and I say, next week, what’s happening? And then they can tell me. But if you call them six months ahead, they don’t know. And trust me, it’s happened many times. When I’ve had a customer who is insistent that they want to know, this is just an example, like they want to know where to go for Christmas Mass on Christmas Day, but they want to know this in April. And there’s no way I can tell you that they don’t know that yet.

[00:22:11] Jennifer Jerzyk: It does underscore the importance of stopping in at the Tourist Office, and granted, they don’t know everything, but they know a lot. And if you’re looking for something specific, it’s definitely worth a stop and a conversation with them. And most of the time, they speak English, and can help you out.

[00:22:28] So, lovely time in Narbonne, you can’t underscore enough how that’s a beautiful town with not a lot of tourists. I didn’t see any tourists, quite frankly.

[00:22:36] Rent electric boats in Narbonne

[00:22:36] The other good thing that you can do in Narbonne before move on, is that you can rent little electric boats to go on the Canal de la Robine or further, if you rent them for longer. So it’s a lovely place to rent a boat and do a little canal trip for a day or a few hours or a few days, you know, they have different options.

[00:22:56] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yes, I wholeheartedly agree, and I did want to do that, I just didn’t allow myself enough time. So that would definitely be on the list next trip. And I believe there’s many towns in France or small cities like this that have water running through the middle and they all have these little electric boats, they’re very popular.

[00:23:16] It’s not only in Narbonne it’s in many places.

[00:23:18] Carcassonne

[00:23:18] Jennifer Jerzyk: So, let’s see, one of the following days I hopped on the train and went over to Carcassonne, which of course, is a world renowned site. And I have to say, even after reading about it in advance,people’s descriptions, I was absolutely blown away by this medieval city.

[00:23:36] I mean, this truly is one of the great UNESCO sites in the world. It surprised me that the actual medieval city that’s up on the hill, the walled city with all the towers, it’s still a functioning city. People are living there. You can go stay there you know, stay in an Airbnb or a hotel, they even had a five star beautiful hotel with a swimming pool and a gorgeous garden and a Michelin starred restaurant. There were amazing things inside of this ancient walled city.

[00:24:09]

[00:24:09] Annie Sargent: Yes. It’s a great experience. Honestly, I would not spend several days there, maybe one overnight, but that’s it. You don’t need, I mean, after a while, it’s all the same. I mean, you just took the train and back. Right?

[00:24:23] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yes.

[00:24:23] Annie Sargent: Right. And did you feel deprived? Like you didn’t get to see it all?

[00:24:27] I would certainly enjoy an overnight there and spend more time in the town, the Bastide town below. It’s a great contrast between two of these cities side by side, the old walled city where they’re clearly just trying to protect themselves from invaders, versus the English-style Bastide city, which is laid out on a grid, kind of very organized and you know, they’re what, 20 minutes, 30 minutes walking apart.

[00:24:54] From a historical perspective, and on many levels, very, very interesting, to go there. And it’s not, you know, it’s not near, what’s the closest big city maybe Toulouse?

[00:25:04] Jennifer Jerzyk: It’s sort of out in the country, if you will, but also on a couple of rivers, so there’s a lot of water running through there, you can see why it was a place where that people wanted to build a town. Oh, it’s on the Aude and the Fresquel . And then the Canal du Midi goes through it as well.

[00:25:21] Annie Sargent: Well, Canal du Midi doesn’t go to the city de Carcassonne, it goes not far.

[00:25:25] Jennifer Jerzyk: Not far. Okay. But in the area, yeah.

[00:25:28] It’s an outstanding place, honestly, if you’ve never been, I know people say, we’ve said it’s touristic and everything. Well, yeah. There’s a good reason why it’s also outstanding. That’s what it is. You know, now I poo it sometimes, maybe in my tone, because I’ve been there so many times I live like an hour away.

[00:25:46] Annie Sargent: So obviously it’s the obvious

[00:25:48] Marker

[00:25:48] Annie Sargent: place to take people who visit us. And so I’ve been there hundreds of times, so of course it has lost a little bit of that first time,but every time I go it’s enjoyable. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful place. And there’s good services, like you said, there’s starred restaurants, there’s a great hotel, Hôtel de la Cité is very nice. It’s fairly easy to park, you have to pay, but you know, it’s a really good place to visit for a day or possibly an overnight.

[00:26:21] Best place to spend Bastille Day?

[00:26:21] One of the things that I read about it afterwards, it is that it is one of the top sites to spend Bastille Day, which is coming up here in a couple of weeks.

[00:26:31] Annie Sargent: And you reminded me because I had forgotten, but you said, you know, oh, it would be cool to go stay at one of the hotels along the river and have a balcony over there. And I was like, why didn’t I think of that? So I’m going to try and find one. This is nine days. So I will try and see if I can find one, but that would be fun, right?

[00:26:49] Jennifer Jerzyk: I was going to say, you may have to book for next year, I’m guessing. Because that’s got to be the most popular thing in the area to do. And granted, you wouldn’t need a hotel, I mean, it would be nice, but you could just stand there’s a lot of places along the river there. I’m sure that gets filled up with people coming to watch the fireworks.

[00:27:06] Annie Sargent: Packed, packed, packed. And the Tourist Office even gives you, I mean, I just found a thing where they say, so they tell you where to go see it. And it is it’s stout is beautiful, but there’s lots and lots of people, but seeing it from a hotel balcony, that I would like.

[00:27:26] Jennifer Jerzyk: Wouldn’t that be neat? Plan in advance.

[00:27:29] Jennifer Jerzyk: That would be super because to see the fireworks going up over the top of that medieval city on the hill would just be an unforgettable experience.

[00:27:38] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I mean, that’s why it attracts so many thousands and thousands and thousands of people, it draws people from all over the world really, but also locals. We also like it.

[00:27:48] Bring toilet paper!

[00:27:48] So, I don’t know if you want to pause here and I would just make a reminder because whenever I leave the comfort of where I’m staying, I have to remember that you must take toilet paper with you everywhere you go in France when you’re out traveling, because you cannot be assured that there will be paper.

[00:28:07] Jennifer Jerzyk: And so anyway, pack your little packet of Kleenex, lots of them.

[00:28:13] Annie Sargent: Yeah, Kleenex and hand gel.

[00:28:16] Jennifer Jerzyk: Hand sanitizer. Yes. I mean, there are bathrooms, but you just never know what you’re going to be finding, when you’re out and about.

[00:28:23] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. I like to have in my day pack, I like to have little wipes. Now it’s important not to put these wipes in the toilet, but rather in the garbage can because, you know, but yes, it’s very good to have. If you know you’re going to be touring, take some.

[00:28:39] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yeah, take some with you.

[00:28:40] Bring change and small bills

[00:28:40] Jennifer Jerzyk: And then the other thing that I was reminded of, which I don’t know, I guess I just haven’t run up against this as much as I did on this particular trip, was the need to have small coins, small Euro coins with you at all times. Because even though, I know you’re a fan of Apple Wallet and I love to be able to charge everything because it’s just easier, it just seems like I run into a lot of places where I need a Euro for this, I need five Euros for that. And it’s hard to get small bills and change in France. And at one point, I think I was in Narbonne, I walked into a bank and I said, can you give me a bunch of coins for this 10 Euro note or something?

[00:29:25] Jennifer Jerzyk: They were like, no, we can’t do that.

[00:29:28] Jennifer Jerzyk: And that is a surprise to Americans who can walk into any bank in the United States and get change.

[00:29:36]

[00:29:36] Strategies for breaking bills in France

[00:29:36] Annie Sargent: You’re right. This is a service that banks provide to businesses who pay for a business account. So if you are a restaurateur, they will provide you with cash, they will count your coins, they will do rolls of money and all of that. But if you just have a checking account, they don’t want to do that. If you have a free checking account or no account at all, they definitely don’t want to do that. Because it’s just, they have to manage all this, all these coins and it’s more work and they don’t want to do it.

[00:30:12] Annie Sargent: Soif you’re visiting, when you withdraw cash from an ATM in France, sometimes they let you choose what bills they will give you. And if you’re not sure, ask, just withdraw 40 euros, because they’ll give you two twenties and twenties, you can use anywhere. Fifties are harder to use, and bigger than 50, don’t even think about it. If you order cash and your American bank asks you what denominations you’d like, you want to go for twenties, because that’s easy to use anywhere, just about.

[00:30:47] Jennifer Jerzyk: Or smaller, I would say, that’s what I get. I try to get all fives, if I can. Usually American banks are not going to have single Euro. Well, they’re certainly not going to have coins. But I try to get all five Euro notes before I go.

[00:31:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And if you can walk, I mean, if you have a 20 and you go buy, I don’t know, a piece of cheese or whatever, you know, or brand cheese, well, you’ll be left with I don’t know, 14, 13 Euros. And so that’s cash, you know, so that’s how you break it up is you go buy something and but don’t use.

[00:31:21] Jennifer Jerzyk: That is the way to do it. And so, Annie, can you comment on, like, if I went into a store and bought something with a 20 Euro note and I’m due back, let’s say 15 euros. If you ask them to give you all single Euro coins, would they do it or would that be annoying to them?

[00:31:38] Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Take what they give you, the end, because again, it forces them to make a trip to the bank to get more coins. And since they’re a business, they can, but that person doesn’t want to, you know, no, don’t,

[00:31:57] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yeah.

[00:31:58] Annie Sargent: Don’t ask.

[00:31:58] Jennifer Jerzyk: So anyway, it’s something you need to just sort of be conscious of in trying to, you know, don’t just give those coins away. Those are very useful for very specific things. And so if you get coins, save them because you’ll need them for tips or on a bus or something.

[00:32:17] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and you know, you can have just to bring a little coin purse special for your trip.And if you’re someone who uses a lot of cash in the US, then you’ll probably want to continue using a lot of cash in France, which is fine. But plan for that, I’m someone who doesn’t use cash harly, anywhere.

[00:32:33] Jennifer Jerzyk: Oh, I try not to. Yeah, but when you’re traveling, there are times when you do need it.

[00:32:36] You can ask to leave a tip for your waiter on your credit card

[00:32:36] Annie Sargent: But nowadays, you can ask to add a tip on top of your credit card, which is what we do now. But you have to ask. It’s not like there’s a line for the tip. When the person brings you the bill, you just say, can you add five euros for a tip? And they will.

[00:32:53] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yeah, I guess I have done that. I guess I have done that. Yes, you should do that. Try to charge as much as you can, because it is hard to get the Esbe as they say., The coins.

[00:33:03] It seems to be in short supply.

[00:33:05] Collioure

[00:33:05] Annie Sargent: Yeah, let’s talk about Collioure a little bit, because our time is running short.

[00:33:10] Jennifer Jerzyk: It is, it is. And I cannot say enough about this absolutely gorgeous town. And I have talked about it with some French people that I’ve run into, locally, back in the United States. And they just swoon, when you mention the name of this town, they absolutely swoon because it is so beautiful. The whole setting is just gorgeous.

[00:33:33] Jennifer Jerzyk: And is it touristy? Yes, it is. But in a nice way. I don’t know. First of all, it’s very easy to get to on the train. Again, the regional train stops there. You’re at no more than five or ten minutes to walk, right into the downtown gorgeous area that is surrounded by these small hills, filled with vineyards.

[00:33:53] Jennifer Jerzyk: And I guess they’ve got their own AOC for their wines. I tasted a little bit of their wine, but not a ton. I did not have the anchovies, which I guess are very much a specialty.

[00:34:03] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I love them. But they’re very expensive there. They sell them for too much. I’ve had anchovies everywhere I go, I love anchovies, but, yeah, but whatever, you’re visiting have some.

[00:34:14] Jennifer Jerzyk: I was only there for the day, but there are many, many places to stay, hotels, Airbnbs, you know, just lots of places to stay. It would be a pleasure to go back and spend a longer amount of time there. But it was in Collioure that I also had one of these sort of unique travel experiences that, you know, if you don’t wander off and just go check something out, these things don’t happen to you. So I had gotten there early in the morning, weren’t a lot of people out yet. I walked down to the beach and there was a little cafe on the beach, Out from the center of town. And I noticed, first of all, I said, can I get a coffee?

[00:34:55] Jennifer Jerzyk: Yes. And I said, do you guys have croissant? Nope, they didn’t have. Then I was like, what kind of a French cafe is this, that doesn’t have croissant? But they didn’t.

[00:35:03] Annie Sargent: Well, it’s one where they showed up late to work, is what it is.

[00:35:06] Maybe that was it.

[00:35:08] Day Camp

[00:35:08] Jennifer Jerzyk: So anyway, I had my nice coffee and I’m sitting there and I noticed there’s like a group of children and there are some tiny little sailboats out on the beach.

[00:35:18] Jennifer Jerzyk: And these kids are all putting life jackets on and, you know, doing what kids do, you know, goofing around and so forth. And I said to the waitress, so what are they doing? Oh, they’re going to teach them how to sail. And I got this look of horror on my face. Like, what? These kids couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old. And I was like, you’re going to put them in those tiny sailboats and send them out? Granted this is a little bay that’s very protected, the water’s very calm. But there’s no way that you would put a small child in a boat by themselves and go out. And there were only a handful of adults.

[00:35:53] Jennifer Jerzyk: So, I’m watching and they take them all down by the boats and their man is giving them these lessons and talking, you could tell he’s pointing out the different parts of the boat.

[00:36:03] Jennifer Jerzyk: Well, what they wound up doing was, he went and got like a motorized boat. And then they loaded the kids in two to a boat, and they attached them all together, so it was like a little train and then he pulled them out into the bay. So they’re, I guess they are quote unquote sailing, but they’re basically being pulled by this little motorized raft that he was in.

[00:36:30] Annie Sargent: Right. So probably this was their first day, because this is a day camp situation. And so they have people to teach the kids. And the first day they do that, the next day they let them loose and they will pull them and then let them loose in the middle and then attach them again, and than take them back. And then after that, they can go by themselves. Once they have the certificate that they’ve passed the thing, they can go by themselves,

[00:36:55] Jennifer Jerzyk: Do they have to know how to swim? It just looks kind of like a dangerous activity for small children.

[00:37:01] Annie Sargent: I’m not sure what all the rules are, but they’re being watched.They have people. There’s even a diploma that you can take in France to be that sort of instructor with kids. It’s under control, and most cities along the water will have this sort of thing.

[00:37:17] Annie Sargent: And of course again, people who do itinerary reviews with me, they often ask me, can I put my kid in that sort of thing?

[00:37:23] Annie Sargent: They don’t speak French, it’s all in French. It’s not only locals, you could be vacationing from Paris in Collioure and your parents could sign you up, but at least you speak French. If you don’t speak any French, these guys they know how to teach sailing, they don’t know how to teach kids to speak French.

[00:37:40] Jennifer Jerzyk: Right. Exactly.

[00:37:41] Annie Sargent: But this is normal.

[00:37:42] Jennifer Jerzyk: But, you know, just from a visitor’s standpoint, I mean, this was like the most adorable thing that I saw all day. So cute to see these children out in their little sails. And then as I walked around the bay, I could still see they were out in the middle of the bay in the boats and it was very cute.

[00:38:00] It’s very fun. And you know, I mean, this was not summer, right? Oh, I forgot. You told me at the beginning.

[00:38:06] Jennifer Jerzyk: This was the beginning of May, so I presume school was still in session. So maybe this was a field trip or something.

[00:38:13] Annie Sargent: Probably a Wednesday. It was probably a Wednesday because on Wednesdays, French kids don’t have school and so they do day camp type things.

[00:38:21] Jennifer Jerzyk: There we go. That’s probably what was going on.

[00:38:23] Annie Sargent: Probably. That would be my guess anyway, it’s totally normal and it’s fun because that’s one of the things that you get to do when you grow up the beach, is you get to how to sail.

[00:38:36] Jennifer Jerzyk: Learn how to sail it. It was very cute, very cute.

[00:38:40] Lunch by the bay

[00:38:40] Jennifer Jerzyk: And so along those same lines, I ate lunch at a beautiful restaurant with a gorgeous view, overlooking the bay in Collioure called, La Voile, so The Sail. It was just fantastic. I think I had squid in a special sauce and it was absolutely phenomenal, a glass of wine, I could’ve stayed there all afternoon. And they would’ve let me, it was just fantastic. It was just fantastic.

[00:39:05] Jennifer Jerzyk: There was a Michelin starred restaurant there and I stopped in and I said, I’m just one person, do you have one place? They looked at me like I was crazy. They were like, of course not, we are full today.

[00:39:15] Annie Sargent: The starred restaurants you really need to book in advance, and sometimes even the ones without a star, you need to book in advance. It just depends. So it’s worth doing a little bit of research ahead of time, and looking at the Michelin Bib website to see if there’s a Bib restaurant in the area, but that you would have to do a month early or something like that.

[00:39:38] I like to try the Michelin Bibs.

[00:39:40] Jennifer Jerzyk: Good value.

[00:39:41] Annie Sargent: Right. And also the Michelin stars, it takes even longer, and sometimes you get to places where, we were at one recently, actually it was a Bib, it wasn’t a starred. And when we got home, my husband made himself a dish of pasta because he was still hungry.

[00:39:57] Annie Sargent: I was fine, but it wasn’t enough for him. But granted, this is a thing where they told us, do you want three or four or five, you could get six courses.

[00:40:08] Annie Sargent: And I decided on three, I thought he would go for four, but he decided to go for three as well, and it wasn’t enough for him. So you just need to know that some of these places, if they offer six courses, it’s probably because if you’re hungry, you probably need the six courses.

[00:40:23] Annie Sargent: Because they’re not going to serve

[00:40:24] Jennifer Jerzyk: you huge portions, no French restaurant will do that. No.

[00:40:28] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:40:29] Places mentioned in other episodes

[00:40:29] Annie Sargent: So, let me just mention that all of these places that we’ve mentioned today, Narbonne, we did a whole episode about that with Elyse, it was episode number 163. Collioure, it was episode number 262 and Carcassonne was one of the early ones, 23.

[00:40:49] Annie Sargent: So if you want to know more about each of these places, and of course they’ve been mentioned many times in trip reviews with different people. Definitely gorgeous places to see in the Southwest of France.

[00:41:02] What group are these places best for?

[00:41:02] Annie Sargent: Would you say, so what sort of group do you think these places are best for?

[00:41:07] Annie Sargent: Like Narbonne, would you recommend it more for very young people, for older people, for everybody? What do you think?

[00:41:14] Jennifer Jerzyk: You know, I talked to people in Narbonne and most people told me that Narbonne is sort of perceived as a place for retirees, kind of for older French people. Now, who did I see out at the cafes? They were mostly 20 somethings. They were younger 30 somethings. They were younger people.

[00:41:33] Jennifer Jerzyk: So. It doesn’t have a university, so you don’t have that sort of like built in set of very young people. So yeah, I would say that probably skews a little bit older. But I met no Americans, I’d saw no American tourists, maybe there were in Carcassonne, but honestly I didn’t see them. It was people from Spain, it was people from Germany, maybe Italians, but I did not see any Americans in any of these areas.

[00:42:00] Annie Sargent: Well, and it’s really important to mention that because if you’ve been listening to the podcast, we’re always telling people to come South, to the Southwest in particular, because we don’t get that many visitors from the US. We get some Canadians, but mostly like you mentioned, it’s going to be Italians, Spanish, Germans, some English, but you know, it’s going to be Europeans visiting and French visitors as well, because these are places we like to go as well, right?

[00:42:30] If you want to practice your French, get out of Paris and come South, Southwest especially, because there’s a lot to do, lots to see and lots to enjoy.

[00:42:41] Jennifer Jerzyk: Indeed. I wholeheartedly agree.

[00:42:43] Annie Sargent: Jennifer, thank you so much. It’s been lovely talking to you. I’m sure it will inspire some people to come visit the Southwest. And I hope to meet you in person. Are you one of the ones planning to take the French bootcamp with us? Your French sounds like it’s good.

[00:42:58] Jennifer Jerzyk: It’s good enough to get by, but I’d love to improve it. So yes, I would love to do the bootcamp. I’ve got that marked on my calendar for next year. So I hope to join the group that’s going to get together for that. Sounds like a lot of fun.

[00:43:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a lot of people. I finally got through all my emails and oh, lot of people want to do this, which is going to be wonderful, it’s going to take some planning and some organizational skills here because,it might be a lot to handle. Anyway, we’ll have fun.

[00:43:26] Annie Sargent: Well, thank you very much, Jennifer. And, well, hopefully I’ll meet you at the boot camp.

[00:43:30] Jennifer Jerzyk: Take care.

[00:43:32] Annie Sargent: Au revoir.

[00:43:32] Jennifer Jerzyk: Au revoir.

[00:43:34] Thank you, patrons

[00:43:34] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. It was wonderful on vacation to see that so many of you signed upand want this podcast to continue. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that. You can see them at Patreon.com/joinus. That’s P A T R E O N Join Us, no spaces or dashes.

[00:44:05] Annie Sargent: Thank you all for supporting the show, some of you for many years. You are wonderful and a shout out this week to new patrons.

[00:44:13] New patrons

[00:44:13] Annie Sargent: Let’s see if I can say this list of wonderful people without butchering their names too much. Caitlin Stella, Maxine J Schmitz, Colleen Radford, Lara Hitchcock, Charlie and Morgan Runner, Anna Dziamski and Anne Haugh, Linda Zach, Maddy Salz, Karen Hurlbutt, Liz Riviera Goldstein, Juan Paez and Darlene Amdahl. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:44:51] Annie Sargent: Also welcome back, Brian Sumner, who had to update his credit card information, this happens a lot. People stop being patrons because their credit card expires. And by the time they realize it, they often email me saying, oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t realize. No need to apologize, but I do appreciate those of you who take care of that little detail of the credit card expiring.

[00:45:12] Annie Sargent: My thanks also to Wilf Rogers and Esther Leto for sending in a one time donation by using the green button on any page on Join Us in France that says, tip your guide.

[00:45:25] Esther sets hers up as a recurring because, yes, you can give a few dollars every month to this podcast, if you enjoy it week after week. And thank you very much.

[00:45:38] Elyse has a Patreon too!

[00:45:38] Annie Sargent: Elyse, let’s talk about your Patreon for a minute.

[00:45:40] Elyse Rivin: Oh, okay, let’s talk about my Patreon. My Patreon site is called Elyse’s Corner,

[00:45:45] Annie Sargent: Right, and you can find it at patreon.com, and that’s P A T R E O n.com/elysart.

[00:45:56] Annie Sargent: E L Y S A R T. And then what, you call it Elyse’s Corner, but if you type in Elyse’s Corner, you’re never going to find it.

[00:46:05] Elyse Rivin: No, it’s ElysArt.

[00:46:06] Elyse Rivin: And it’s just a way of saying, I listen to what you do and I appreciate what you do, and it’s wonderful to hear from people. It’s wonderful to know that the work is appreciated. And I would like to give a nice little thank you to a couple of people. And that is to Lynn S to Linda, to Glenn, and a very big thank you with a big hug to Robert G from Manhattan.

[00:46:37] Elyse Rivin: And to add to his thank you, I need to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for the big bottle of champagne.

[00:46:43] Annie Sargent: nice.

[00:46:44] Elyse Rivin: That’s another whole story, but if you enjoy my participation in the podcast, it is a wonderful way to show that, and coming up, I think I’m going to be doing a little bit more of a survey and some questions about what you like to look for on markets, outdoor markets.

[00:47:02] Elyse Rivin: The summertime, of course, there are markets all over France, but in the summer there are zillions of them. And having spent a lot of time in the last month and a half being with people who do markets, I’m sort of curious to know what you look for.

[00:47:15] Annie Sargent: Yeah, what you look for, yeah.

[00:47:17] Elyse Rivin: Yeah.

[00:47:17] Annie Sargent: And Patreon’s wonderful because it’s a way to let podcasters, lots of podcasters do this, right? It’s still a way to let them know that you enjoy what they do and also to interact with the podcaster directly. So if you want to interact with Elyse directly, do it through Patreon. It’s again, Patreon.com/ElysArt. Merci.

[00:47:41] Elyse Rivin: Merci, Annie!

[00:47:43] Preparing a Trip to France?

[00:47:43] Annie Sargent: If you’re preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening to the podcast because it’s a great way to get ready.

[00:47:52] Annie Sargent: You can search the website as well, and just choose the episodes that you want to listen to first, based on what they’re about. but if that’s not quite enough and you would like a little extra help, you can hire me to be your itinerary consultant. Here’s how it works. You purchase the service on JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique, then you fill out a document to tell me what you have in mind, we make a phone appointment and we chat for about an hour. And then I send you a document with the plan we discussed, usually the next business day. I’ve done this with a bunch of people and, you know, it really helps me as well as you, because it forces me to organize things in a way that makes sense. I plan on continuing to do this. But this service is usually booked up far in advance, although because we’re heading towards the colder months, it’s coming down. So, I’m booked about four or five weeks in advance right now. So that’s really good.

[00:48:55] Self-guided tours

[00:48:55] But if that’s too late for you and you can’t talk to me because I’m all booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tour on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five tours of Paris and they are designed to show you the different, iconic neighborhoods of Paris.

[00:49:15] Annie Sargent: And I understand, maybe you’ve never used an app, but like I said at the beginning, people who’ve never used those apps really enjoy them. So give it a try, you’ll like it.

[00:49:25] Travel Question of the Week

[00:49:25] For the travel question of the week I want to tell you why people who take the RER between the airport and Paris are kind of asking for trouble. And I’m not making this up, a guy who just retired from driving that train for decades was interviewed on French radio. And he talked about why they have so many problems with that line. He said that unlike London where it’s only direct trains between the airport and the city, in Paris, the RER makes stops. Some of those stops are neighborhoods that are not great. Drunks fall on the tracks, people throw stuff on the tracks, and even if nothing like that goes wrong, the train makes several stops between the airport and Paris to pick up new riders. What happens when the train stops? People get robbed.

[00:50:17] Annie Sargent: I know a lot of Americans don’t take trains, and so that’s probably why you never think about this, but anytime a train or a Metro stops somewhere, there may be someone looking to grab something of yours and run out. The doors close and you can’t go in pursuit. This is robbery 101.

[00:50:37] Annie Sargent: My laptop was taken just like that on a regional train in Spain. This was years ago, okay? But this guy must have noticed me that he could grab my laptop and run. And when the bell rang, announcing that the doors were about to close, he grabbed my laptop and ran. And I couldn’t do a thing about it because the doors closed right behind him, and I was stuck. I was very lucky that a Catalan lady on the platform saw the whole thing and she alerted security immediately. I mean, she started screaming, I could hear her from inside the train. They stopped the train from moving on, and some of the security people went in pursuit of the guy. Once I was out of the train with all my stuff, the train left and a security guy brought my laptop back within about 15 minutes. He was a young person, he ran and the guy eventually just threw my laptop on the side of the road, because he didn’t want to get caught with it.

[00:51:33] Annie Sargent: I was really lucky because these were the days when I didn’t have all my work in the cloud like I do now. So I had months and months of work on that laptop, it would’ve been devastating to lose it. At any rate, this happens a lot. If you have a suitcase, a carry-on bag and a backpack, which was my case, you are easy pickings.

[00:51:56] Annie Sargent: Now, this is what I think, if you’re not traveling super light, and by that, I mean a small carry on not too heavy, and one bag that you can zip up and carry around your body. Then the RER is not for you, because also getting around the security gates to be in and out is really awful. And besides, it’s packed, it’s smelly, it’s hot, it’s a miserable experience. Most locals would rather not suffer through that, I don’t know why so many visitors insist on taking the RER. You are on vacation, take a taxi from the official taxi line at the airport. No need to reserve anything, just get on the next taxi. In all fairness, I will also mention that every two or three RER trains between Paris and the airport are direct. If you’re on a budget and you must use the RER, wait for the direct RER. It will slow you down a bit, but it will reduce the odds of you getting robbed.

[00:52:56] This week in French news

[00:52:56] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, well a lot has happened since I did an update after the episode.

[00:53:01] Annie Sargent: This summer in France has been unbearably hot and dry. When I came home from Spain, all the grass in my yard was dead because we weren’t allowed to water. There were severe water restrictions put almost everywhere in France. The person taking care of the house and the dog and the cat watered pots and the young trees, but anything that didn’t get water every day, died. It was scorching hot and it really didn’t cool off at night very much at all. So it was between 95 and 105 for at least 10 days solid. But it would go down maybe for a couple of days and then right back up for days on end. There were devastating fires in a lot of areas of France. Firefighters from all over Europe came to the rescue. For some reason, this year France got hit worse than other places. It’s now all under control, because as soon as it stopped being so hot, huge storms happened. And this is like the last two, three days. Heavy storms with lots of rain, wind, lots of things gotdamaged.

[00:54:08] Annie Sargent: In Toulouse, we didn’t get a lot of rain, but in Paris they got hammered. The Metro flooded and everything. I’m not a climate scientist and that’s probably why I have no problem telling you that this is what climate change is doing to France. And I can say that with confidence because that’s what 99% of climate scientists are saying.

[00:54:28] Annie Sargent: We have to speed up our transition to clean energy, and thank God, this is not a controversial statement in France. All the news shows that cannot interview politicians, since they’re mostly on vacation, this is August after all, they interview climate scientists and firefighters and people like that because we’ve had drought, this terrible drought and fires.

[00:54:50] Annie Sargent: All these dried up rivers, lakes, and ponds, have everyone worried. Even Brittany and Normandy got slammed with really hot temperature. We broke all records this year. What this means for you who want to travel to France, is that more than ever do not book any accommodations in France that do not have air conditioning, if you’re coming between June and September. Always plan on things you can do if it’s inhumanely hot. Indoor places with AC preferably, but also churches, caves, those sorts of places, beaches, lakes, whatever. I feel really terrible for the hedgehogs, the foxes, the birds, you know, I’m a softie when it comes to animals, all these animals are dying because of this heat.

[00:55:36] Annie Sargent: And we really, really have to do better right now. Whatever you can do to stop burning oil and gas, do it. And for the love of God, do not vote for any politician who are not going to change anything. Inaction is not an option.

[00:55:53] Personal Update

[00:55:53] Annie Sargent: Now for my personal update this week, I had a wonderful, relaxing time at the beach.

[00:55:58] Annie Sargent: It wasn’t as hot in Villanova as it was in Toulouse. I did the drive in my electric car, it was perfect on the way to Spain. On the way back, I got a little daring and I wanted to try new stops and new charging stations, and it took forever to get home because not all of them worked. I didn’t get stranded or anything, but it took more time than I had planned. Live and learn.

[00:56:22] Annie Sargent: I love the car, it is really comfortable. I’m never going back to gas of any sort. At the beach I swam every day, I walked a lot.

[00:56:31] Annie Sargent: I think I mentioned before I went on vacation that I have a bum knee, my left knee is getting older and I need to see a rheumatologist and I’m probably going to get some kind of, I think they call it Visco supplementation or something. Anyway, but my appointment is not for another month, so my bum knee really said, oh, slow down woman, you’re swimming, you’re walking, it’s too much. I really need to spend more time riding my bicycle, because the knee should be okay with riding the bicycle.

[00:56:58] Annie Sargent: Do you think that can be arranged in France, bicycling? Yes, indeed.

[00:57:04] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on JoinUsinFrance.com/403. Use the transcripts, they make the website really easy to search. And you can help your Francophile friends plan their visit to France bygoing to JoinUsinFrance.Com. Click on the Share buttons on the side and tag your friends.

[00:57:26] Annie Sargent: They will thank you.

[00:57:28] Next week on the podcast

[00:57:28] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode with my friend Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks about Victor Hugo. What an interesting man he was and what a wonderful author. And we’ll also talk about places in France where you can seewhere he lived and things like that.

[00:57:44] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to Annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com

[00:57:48] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir.

[00:57:56] 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: Toulouse Area