Transcript for Episode 405: France with a Baby

Table of Contents for this Episode

Categories: France How To, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Lyon
  • Annecy
  • Chamonix
  • Beanne
  • Paris
  • Bad Airbnb experience
  • 10e Arrondissement the hip area
  • Areas you want to avoid in Paris
  • Avoid the area between Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est
  • Avoid Barbès
  • Baptism at the Armenian Cathedral in Paris
  • Celebration at the Créatures Restaurant on top of the Galleries Lafayette
  • Asnière-sur-Seine
  • La Rentrée
  • Forum des Associations
  • Gaillac

[00:00:00] Intro

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 405. Quatre cent cinq.

[00:00:22] 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.

[00:00:38] Today on the Podcast

[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Eddie Hamalian about visiting France with a baby.

[00:00:45] Annie Sargent: He’s quite the dad and a definite francophile. His wife has family in France as well, so this was something they really wanted to do, and he has great tips for all of you young parents who want to come to France.

[00:00:59] Thank You, Patrons

[00:00:59] 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. And you can browse all of that at my boutique JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique

[00:01:19] Annie Sargent: For the travel update this week, I’ll tell you about the Père Lachaise for pets, not far from Paris. A serene and very unusual place.

[00:01:29] France Bootcamp

[00:01:29] Annie Sargent: I have 74 people so far interested in the France bootcamp taking place next spring, May 21st until May 27th, 2023. I am now hurrying to get all the details laid out on a page on JoinUsinFrance.com where you can do the registration, pay the deposits, where I can keep track of who’s coming and so forth, but it’s a lot of work and I haven’t managed to finish that. I’ve been so busy with itinerary reviews, which is fine, I like doing those as well, but it’s on top of my list.

[00:02:00] Annie Sargent: So if you’ve signed up for the newsletter and filled out the initial registration form, you’re good to go, you’ll get the news. I’m delighted to see that there is so much excitement for this and I really look forward to it.

[00:02:14] I will put a link to the initial registration form on the show notes for this episode. And at this point, all I’m doing is just getting a feel for who’s seriously considering it.

[00:02:34] Main Interview

[00:02:34] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, Eddie Hamalian and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:02:39] Eddie Hamalian: Thank you. Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

[00:02:41] It’s going to be a fun conversation about your recent trip to France. You were all over France. You were in Lyon, Annecy, Beaune and Paris with a baby. And you had a bad Airbnb experience, I definitely want to hear about that. And in Paris, you didn’t do the typical touristy things.

[00:03:02] You went to Les Batignoles, the 10th arrondissement, and you also had some good suggestions about neighborhoods to avoid in Paris. So I look forward to all of that.

[00:03:11] How long was he in Paris?

[00:03:11] Annie Sargent: First of all, Eddie, tell us, when were you in Paris and how long did you stay?

[00:03:15] We were in France fromApril 27th until May18th, and it was a little under three and a half weeks.

[00:03:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and this is 2022.

[00:03:25] Yes. Just two months ago. Yeah. 2022

[00:03:27] Annie Sargent: Cool. Very cool. And you have some ties to France and Switzerland, don’t you?

[00:03:32] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. My wife has family in France, in Paris and I have a pretty extended family in Switzerland and Geneva. And both my wife and I at separate times, lived in Europe for, I lived there for about four years, my wife lived there for just a year doing her masters. And so we’ve done quite a bit of traveling and this was our fifth trip to France since we got married in 20 15.

[00:03:55] Annie Sargent: Wow, this is cool. So, very well informed travelers here, okay?

[00:03:59] Eddie Hamalian: Yes.

[00:04:00] Annie Sargent: Which tend to make better choices than the first time, obviously.

[00:04:04] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah.

[00:04:04] Paul Bocuse market

[00:04:04] Annie Sargent: That’s natural, you know. Okay. So tell us about Lyon. You did some, for instance, you went to Bocuse several times. How did you like that? Tell us what it’s like and what you liked about it.

[00:04:15] Eddie Hamalian:

[00:04:15] Paul Bocuse with a Baby

[00:04:15] Eddie Hamalian: About Bocuse?

[00:04:16] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:04:17] We have always wanted to go to one of Paul Bocuse restaurants, but having a one year old or 11 month old at the time, that was just not feasible to go to a Michelin starred restaurant. So, we want to get a similar experience with the upscaled food in Lyon and the different things to try.

[00:04:32] And we were staying near Part Dieu train station, and so it’s a very, you know, it was maybe a five minute walk from there. So whenever we walk the central part of Lyon, we’d stop there for breakfast or stop there for dinner on the way back, and you get to try a little bit of everything when it comes to Lyonnaise cuisine.

[00:04:49] You know, whether it’s the cheese or the charcuterie, the pastries. There’s so many stalls and so you only have so much time. But we were there for four days, so we would stop there sometimes even once a day on our way into the city.

[00:05:02] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so this is a covered market in Lyon and it’s named after Paul Bocuse because he’s from there and he is a fantastic chef. Most cities in France have covered markets like this. It’s just that the one in Lyon is particularly famous, because Lyon is such a foody city.

[00:05:22] His Favorite Food in Lyon

[00:05:22] Annie Sargent: Do you have a favorite food in Lyon that you want to tell us about?

[00:05:26] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So we really enjoyed the quenelles. Did I say that right?

[00:05:29] Annie Sargent: Les quenelles. Yes.

[00:05:31] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, I really enjoyed the quenelles. And then the one thing that we should have tried and we didn’t, it was a total fail on our part, was the Salade Lyonnaise.

[00:05:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah that’s good.

[00:05:41] After we ordered the food at the Bouchon, we saw the people next to us. And it’s all French people in the restaurant. We saw the people next to us order a couple things. And I was like, oh, we should have ordered that. I didn’t want to try the andouillettes. I’ve tried it in the past and I couldn’t do it. And I’m like, I don’t want to try it again. So I got this other sausage in a wine sauce, and we also got the quenelles. And the quenelles was just off the charts amasing.

[00:06:03] Annie Sargent: Yeah, le quenelles is very good. I think I said it wrong earlier. Les quenelles is very good. It is this kind of soft,I don’t know how to…

[00:06:11] Eddie Hamalian: Souflee-ish.

[00:06:12] Annie Sargent: Yes, exactly. And it’s in a sausage shape, but it’s really not a sausage. It’s much less meat than a sausage. Anyway, it has some meat, it has either fish or egg or they make it with different flavors. The plain one, I think doesn’t have any meat in it. I’m not sure.

[00:06:30] I believe ours had fish.

[00:06:31] Yeah. And it’s really delicious, so do try that when you’re in Lyon or anywhere else in France, you can buy this anywhere in France. Very good.

[00:06:38] Lunch Times in France

[00:06:38] In Bouchon we went to Le Poêlon d’Or. The one thing that we discovered that we should have discovered on our prior trips, but it was the actual lunch times in French restaurants, from 12 to 2, and sometimes we’d be touring around walking around and it’d be two o’clock, we want to go into a restaurant and they’d be closed.

[00:06:57] That thing for travelers have to realize is if you want to go to a restaurant, that’s not a brasserie or just a quick pickup sandwich, you have to actually plan your day around that 12 to 2 mark.

[00:07:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah, you do. And at dinnertime, they’re not going to start serving until 7:30 not going to have you there at two in the morning. Well, most places, some places stay open a lot, but most places don’t.

[00:07:18] The Tête-d’Or Park

[00:07:18] Annie Sargent: The other iconic things that you did in Lyon is you went to the Tête-d’Or, the park. I want to hear about that because since you had a kid, this is ideal for little children. So do tell us about that.

[00:07:29] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. We walked everywhere from Airbnb. We really even used the Metro or taxi. Well, we couldn’t use a taxi, but we walked there. It was a beautiful walk. The weather was amazing. You walk into these beautiful gates into the park, and it is just this huge park full of kids from the schools.

[00:07:45] Eddie Hamalian: I think they go there on field trips. It’s actually really nice seeing that environment. There’s a massive rose garden and this beautiful greenhouse that you walk in. We just walked around, we let our daughter out, kind of like crawl around. She just started had started like taking a step or two when we got to Lyon.

[00:08:02] Eddie Hamalian: And then,we didn’t end up renting the four-person bikes because she was too small to sit in front of us, but we did rent a boat. A little electric boat and we cruised around the lake and there’s swans and birds and our daughter was getting a kick out of it. And there’s an island, I think it’s a World War II Memorial Island, and we kind of, we went around it. And it was fairly inexpensive, you know, half hour.

[00:08:24] Would You Tip a Boat Attendant?

[00:08:24] Eddie Hamalian: And the actually interesting thing is when we returned the boat, the guy was so helpful with us. Like I tried to give him a two Euro tip just for helping us, like with everything.

[00:08:33] Eddie Hamalian: And then he refused. And I know tipping is not your typical thing in France, butI thought he would just take it, but he refused it and he said, no, this is his job. So that’s one thing, you know for tourists.

[00:08:45] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:08:45] Annie Sargent: So a boat attendant, you would not normally tip. That’s why he said no, but of course, if you want to give a two Euro tip at a cafe or a place like that, that would be gratefully accepted. So it just depends on the situation, but with a person like that doing bicycles or stuff like that, they wouldn’t.

[00:09:02] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah.

[00:09:03] Lyon with a Stroller

[00:09:03] How was Lyon, did you have a stroller or did you, how do you think Lyon is with a stroller?

[00:09:10] So prior to leaving for France, we bought a travel stroller. I think it’s called yo-yo zen. It folds very small. And so we thought we were being like these,we got like a really good travel one, which we did. And then we get there and every single European family, French family, has the same stroller, because it’s the only stroller that fits in the train compartments that in the overhead, it fits in the plane overheads.

[00:09:34] We bought that stroller before we went and it was just amazing, because it folds to the size of smaller than a briefcase. And it has storage and everything. So you know, when you see other American families there, having their larger fold up strollers that the airline’s giving them problems, they can’t fit them on the trains properly, the restaurants don’t want you to have them in the restaurant because they take up space. We would literally sit down, fold it up, stick it under the table. And the cobblestone streets sometimes are harder, but it’s still, you know, it held up just fine.

[00:10:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So it was doable. Obviously, having a stroller is never ideal, but it’s better than carrying the kid everywhere.

[00:10:08] No Baby Seats in Restaurants

[00:10:08] Eddie Hamalian: Exactly. And then the other thing that you know, is all through France that I wanted to bring up was, when you go to restaurants, most restaurant don’t have a baby seat, for the baby to sit in to eat. Some restaurants did, but most of the time they didn’t.

[00:10:22] Eddie Hamalian: And so we had actually taken a,it’s called inglesina chair that you attached to the table. And it fit underneath our stroller, now it didn’t work on those bistro tables, which are your most common tables in France, because the weight could potentially tip over. We did find some other options, but that’s one thing that travelers could think about is, when you go to a restaurant, you’re not going to enjoy it if your baby is sitting on your lap and they’re like fidgeting around. And most restaurants don’t have baby seats. So, if you think ahead, they’re, we’re getting this one called a Bombol, that actually folds up tiny and gets in, you can put in your backpack. And so you have to think about that aspect of it.

[00:10:58] Annie Sargent: Could you spell that, Bombol?

[00:11:00] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, it’s actually just B O M B O L.

[00:11:04] Annie Sargent: Interesting. Okay. Okay. Well, these great tips for people who travel with babies, because yeah, having a nice lunch with a baby on your lap is not the ideal thing. I guess if you had a strap, if you had a strap and the baby was happy just sleeping while you’re eating, I guess.

[00:11:20] That’s fine if the baby’s six months old, but once they’re like starting to move around, to walk around they don’t want to sit on your lap.

[00:11:27] Annie Sargent: You are bright, you know these things.

[00:11:29] Annecy

[00:11:29] Annie Sargent: Okay. Let’s move on to Annecy a little bit. You visited Annecy, a beautiful town, right?

[00:11:35] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. Annecy was beautiful. I don’t know if you would call it an Alpine town, but it’s right on the foothill of the Alps. And there’s a bright, shiny blue lake that is just immaculate. It’s beautiful with the Alps in the background, the snow cap, they still had snow on the peaks at that point.

[00:11:53] Eddie Hamalian: I’m not sure if it melts during the year, but at least on those lower Alps, they still hadsnow on the peaks. We did go on May 1st, which we didn’t realize was a holiday until when we’re in France. So it was full of people. Butit was definitely, you know, it was beautiful. We didn’t really have issues.

[00:12:09] Eddie Hamalian: We had rented a car in Lyon. After we left Lyon and we drove into Annecy, and just walked on the canals. Had lunch, but you know, it was kind of touristic, so it wasn’t anything really to write home about.

[00:12:18]

[00:12:19] Eddie Hamalian: So we had the raclette and stuff like that.

[00:12:21] Yeah. So that’s actually interesting. Yesterday I was writing an itinerary review for somebody who’s going to Annecy and Chamonix, and I was like, it’s so hard to recommend a specific restaurant for these places, because they’re all the same. They’re all touristy. What are you going to do? Just pick the one that looks good. I don’t know.

[00:12:35] Eddie Hamalian: Exactly. Yeah.It’s, like, I can’t find the genuine article there, because they’re all genuine in their own way and they’re all touristy in their own way. So pick the one that looks the best to you.

[00:12:44] Bad Airbnb experience

[00:12:44] Annie Sargent: Okay. So this is where you had a bad Airbnb experience?

[00:12:48] Annie Sargent: Tell us about that a little bit.

[00:12:49] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So just, we did Airbnbs everywhere just because we wanted to have a two bedroom apartment. We didn’t want to have a hotel and then have to have the baby in our room and she falls asleep and then we’re just sitting there in the dark. So we did Airbnbs everywhere. I suggested for everyone when you have traveled with a child.

[00:13:04] So I had this picturesque idea of a beautiful chalet, so I rented this beautiful chalet in between Chamonix and Annecy, to use that as the home base. And so as we’re driving up to the Chalet, the road is tiny, barely one car passed. And then it was very windy and I’m thinking to myself as I’m driving, how am I going to do this if it rains and if it’s dark? And so that was my first worry.

[00:13:30] Eddie Hamalian: So then we finally get up to the chalet and we park on, they have a little parking pad on top and then a steep driveway down to the chalet. And then again, I’m not about back a rental car down this driveway and then end up having an issue.

[00:13:44] Eddie Hamalian: So we decided to walk down. So we walk down and the view is amazing. There’s cows with bells, and they’re just like, they’re roaming around in the hillside. And then the Alps are in the background. We go into the chalet, we walk in and it was all windows. So it was really hot when we got in there. But you know, it cools down, but there’s no screens on the windows. There’s mosquitoes and whatever. So like, well, how to do this? We’re cool enough, but then…

[00:14:07] Annie Sargent: The bugs. That wasn’t even the biggest problem. So we walk into the house and then my wife’s like, where’s the bathroom?

[00:14:14] And then she said, there’s a shower and a sink here, but where’s the toilet? So I’m like looking around, it’s not a big place. It can’t be hidden somewhere. So then I step outside and it’s outside the chalet, attached to the house, but outside.

[00:14:25] And so my wife said, what are we going to do at night?

[00:14:28] Eddie Hamalian: You know, what if it’s late night and we want just go to the bathroom, what do we do? And then, so I was like, oh, I don’t know it. Now I’m starting to have that, the regret, what did I do? And then, because it was May 1st I had this, like this grand idea, we’ll check in, then I’ll drive down, then I’ll buy some milk for the baby and whatever. But there’s no stores open. So we didn’t have, and there was no stores in the area, so I was stuck. But then, so my wife’s like, all right, I just need to go to the bathroom. So she goes and uses the restroom and she calls me and she’s like, where’s the toilet paper?

[00:14:56] Eddie Hamalian: And I was like, and there’s none in the bathroom? And then she’s like, no. So I look around the house and there’s no toilet paper. And then I, so I called the Airbnb person and I said, is there extra toilet paper in storage somewhere? Oh, did they not leave any? I was like, no, it was like, well, today is a holiday, I’ll be there tomorrow. And I said, what do we do for the next 24 hours?

[00:15:16] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:15:17] While my wife is starting to have like a mini mini, mini mini meltdown, it wasn’t bad at all, but I just said, you know, I’m just going to find a hotel in Annecy. So I just went on Kayak and I booked a hotel, a Best Western Annecy, and I said all right, let’s go, it’s beautiful, but it’s not worth the stress.

[00:15:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah.So we just got back in the car and then drove to Annecy, checked into the Best Western. They actually upgraded our room to a little bit bigger of a room because we had a baby. And that’s another thing about France, people love children and love babies. And so they’re very accommodating.

[00:15:46] Eddie Hamalian: And so they gave us a larger room, but the next day we felt like, oh, okay, this was hard because we had nothing to do after 7:30 PM. So I went and talked to the hotel receptionist that night and I said, are there any rooms with adjoining? And so they, they said we don’t have an adjoining, but the room next to us is vacant starting tomorrow.

[00:16:04] Eddie Hamalian: So they let us book it. And then they only charged us like 50 euros a night for it, which was way cheaper than normal because they just wanted to be accommodating to us. And so that was amazing, you know? So we ended up having a second room for the baby.

[00:16:16] Annie Sargent: So did you get your money back from the Airbnb that you didn’t want?

[00:16:20] Eddie Hamalian: You know, I didn’t even pursue it at the time because I just wanted to get on with a trip. I didn’t want to have dispute back and forth and I just, you know, like it’s my fault, I guess, too, I didn’t ask enough questions, but it’s okay. C’est la vie.

[00:16:34] Le Jardin De Cinq Sens

[00:16:34]

[00:16:34] Annie Sargent: C’est la vie. Okay. Very good. You went to this place in Annecy that I don’t know anything about. It’s called Le Jardin De Cinq Sens, do tell us about that.

[00:16:43] Eddie Hamalian: Oh, no. That was actually in the small medieval town called Yvoire.

[00:16:47] It’s right on that medieval, oh, sorry, right on the Lake Geneva.

[00:16:50] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, the beautiful little medieval town, and I’ve been there several times because my family would always take us there, but I had never been tothat place. So, it’s actually a sensory experience. So you walk in and then they give you kind of the rundown saying, this is actually an interactive park. You touch, you smell, you taste, you feel, and there’s different areasof the park that you walk through, and there’s kind of a guide that you use.

[00:17:12] Eddie Hamalian: And so, there’s like in the taste section, you walk up and you take a leaf off of it and you put it in your mouth and it tastes like chocolate. And there’s maybe another leaf you pick up and it tastes like asparagus, you know, and they said they have a chef that creates these plants, I guess maybe they do splicing of seeds and whatnot, and they create plants.

[00:17:30] It was very good experience, very beautiful,very well kept garden and there’s a history about it too, how they’ve spent time over the last 30 years renovating it. So it was really great experience and the town, Yvoire, is beautiful. It’s tiny, but it was a good time and it was a good family memories for me.

[00:17:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah. If you have a car, it’s good to go to Yvoire. It’s a lovely little place. Yeah.

[00:17:50] Chamonix

[00:17:50] Annie Sargent: And you also went to Chamonix?

[00:17:53] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, we went to Chamonix and we discovered this while we were there between from May 1st to May 15th, it’s kind of that middle season between the end of the ski season and the beginning of the trekking season. So because of that, most places are closed. So when we got to Chamonix, , beautiful town, we walked around, had a nice time, had a nice lunch, cheese fondue at Le Monchu. Really, it was really nice.

[00:18:17] Eddie Hamalian: But there everything was closed. And so we didn’t have too much to do. And we weren’t going to take our baby up to the glacier. And there’s also, I think, they have to be older than three years old to be able to go up to the higher elevations.

[00:18:29] I think you might even be older than three. I think, I don’t know for sure, but yeah, there are age restrictions.

[00:18:35] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So we spent I’d say like, till lunchtime there, and then I’ve always had the bucket list, I wanted to drive the Mont Blanc tunnel. So we just got back in our car and went up to the tunnel. I didn’t realize how expensive it is, it’s 70 Euros round trip or something.

[00:18:48] But we took the tunnel, we went into Italy, we drove all the way to Aosta, spent half day in Aosta. Had some dinner and some Apéro Spritz and it’s a beautiful city as well, not France, but it’s there.

[00:19:00] Annie Sargent: Very nice. Okay. And then you went to Aix-les-Bains and…

[00:19:05] We were planning on going to Aix-les-Bains, but it was raining, and so we didn’t. It was the one day on our entire trip, the entire time we were there, the 24 days or whatever it was, that it actually rained. Which is pretty amazing. And so we decided that, instead of going there, we went to Geneva, and just spent time with family there, and it’s half hour from Annecy.

[00:19:24] Beaune

[00:19:24] Annie Sargent: Cool. Very cool. And from there you went to Beaune, so what’s it like visiting Beaune with a baby?

[00:19:32] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So, you know, Beaune’s a beautiful town. It is definitely harder on the stroller, because the cobble stones and whatnot. But, you know, we loved it. We checked into our Airbnb. Then we immediately went to the hospice, and we took an audio tour of the hospice and then we just kind of toured around the city.

[00:19:48] Actually, the funny part is on the way into Beaune we were listening to your podcast about Beaune. And in that podcast you suggested, because you know, for us Beaune was going to be the food experience as well. Lyon was also, but this was like another food experience,

[00:20:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:20:03] Eddie Hamalian: And so you had suggested a restaurant, I’ll let you pronounce it.

[00:20:09] Annie Sargent: Au Raisin Gourmand is what it’s called. And by the way, all of these names are going to be in, if you go to the episode page from there, you’ll see a button that says guest notes, and so all of this will be in the guest notes.

[00:20:23] Eddie Hamalian: Perfect. So you had suggested this place that it was a very local place and not as expensive as maybe those other restaurants in Beaune, because, yeah, every restaurant in Beaune is about the same. So we went to this place for lunch, it was kind of a little bit later, but they had space, they took us, they had a baby seat, so it was great. And we ordered, you know, the typical, the escargot, I forgot the name of it, the poached eggs in the wine sauce.

[00:20:44] Annie Sargent: Les Oeufs en meurette.

[00:20:44]

[00:20:46] Eddie Hamalian: And then the Boeuf Bourguigon, it was just a, it was a fantastic meal. And then we did a kind of like a take two that night of a similar meal atCaveau Des Arches.

[00:20:55] Yeah. Les Caveau Des Arches. That was actually a very nice, fancy restaurant in a wine cellar.

[00:20:59] The food was incredible and it wasn’t right there in that Central Square of Beaune near the hospice, it was a little bit outside.And it was great, the food was great, they actually had a baby seat as well. And our daughter was fine until like 10:00 PM.

[00:21:14] Baby-friendly country, might feel too friendly to some

[00:21:14] Eddie Hamalian: She just sat there with us playing and the waiters would come by and tickle her. And that’s another thing I want to bring up about France is, you know, in America, you never approach someone’s baby. You know, like you say hi from a distance or you maybe like you ask permission to even say hi. In France it’s very much, you known, people will walk up to the baby, like just a stranger and go Hey, do, do, do do, and like coo coo, coo coo and tickle.

[00:21:39] Eddie Hamalian: And we liked it, you know, but I could see many people being like, Hey, stay away from my baby, especially during COVID, but we were fine. We actually loved it. We loved that people were so engaged with our daughter, and our daughter loved it too.

[00:21:50] Eddie Hamalian: And people will stop us in middle of the street and comment on her hair color, cause she has red hair. It was just fun. So in the restaurants, the waiters would always bring her things, bring her toys,play with her. So it was a lot of fun.

[00:22:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I think this is a definite difference between French and American culture. Is that here, it’s totally fine to interact with children and babies.

[00:22:09] Annie Sargent: And some people will even tickle them or whatever. I don’t do that. I never do that, but I will wave up at them and say hi, and, you know, try to make faces at them or something to make them laugh.

[00:22:21] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. But some people will actually, it’s true, will touch your baby and you can tell it’s not a mean thing, like they always have this demeanor of the fool who wants to make the baby laugh, you know? It’s not hard to tell from their body language that they’re being totally, you know, not threatening at all. But I can see how, as an American you’re like, ooh, don’t touch my baby. You know? I mean, you could, you can give them a dirty look if you want, but…

[00:22:46] Eddie Hamalian: No, you know, because eventually my wife and I, we want to move to Europe. I don’t know if we would live in France just because we don’t speak the language, and it’s really hard to work in France and not speak the language perfectly. So it’s, these are all cultural things that one has to get used to, you know, because you can’t be a hundred percent American living there without accepting the traditions and the way people are there.

[00:23:10] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and also French, now I’m not talking babies here, I’m talking children, but French people let their children do things that Americans might find scary or something.

[00:23:19] Annie Sargent: But that’s because it’s really not that dangerous. Like, you know, just letting your kid ride a bike around the lake…

[00:23:26] Eddie Hamalian: Or, sometimes you would see a little kid, maybe like 10 years old on the Metro by themselves. You would never see that in America.

[00:23:31] Yeah, but we, it’s not like we have a lot of problems with kids getting hurt when they are out and about by themselves. It just doesn’t happen, so why worry about it? We don’t have to be, I can see how in America it’s things are a little more dangerous, I think overall.

[00:23:46] Let’s pretend we live in Paris

[00:23:46] Annie Sargent: So, alright, so now let’s move on to Paris. Because you’ve been to Paris many times, and so you have a different perspective and you don’t go through the normal touristy stuff in Paris. So do tell us about what you enjoy in Paris.

[00:24:00] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So, this trip we wanted this to be kind of our, let’s pretend we live here type trip. We’ve done all the different tourist stuff in the past. And we always stay away from the touristic areas and restaurants in general, you know, we would we’ll pop in and see the Arc de Triomphe, but then we’ll never eat anywhere around it, you know?

[00:24:19] We have neighborhoods that we like to explore. We’ve explored the 10th neighborhood pretty extensively. Now the 17th, even some outskirts, as well, you know, because we want to get a feel for it. And so, when we were looking for a place to stay I chose the Battignoles neighborhood, because I just heard so much about it, that it’s like lively, but also family friendly. So we stayed right in Battignoles, like it maybe was even a little bit like one street outside of it. But regardless, you know, everything was walking distance. We wanted to be able to experience France as much as we can as a local, you know?

[00:24:52] Eddie Hamalian: And so, we weren’t running around for museums and whatnot, which we had done in the past, so don’t get me wrong. People should do that.

[00:24:59] You Need Time to Visit the Louvre

[00:24:59] Eddie Hamalian: We haven’t gone to the Louvre. I’ve been to Louvre a couple times in the past, but with my wife and I, we haven’t gone just because that’s an all day affair. And especially if you’re in Paris for just a couple of days, do you want to spend the whole day in the Louvre?

[00:25:10] Eddie Hamalian: I don’t think so, but…

[00:25:11] Annie Sargent: You can do it a little faster than that, but yes, most people end up spending a lot of time in the Louvre because it’s, they’re not sure what to do and it’s disorienting, like it’s too big. If you have a plan, you can do it faster than that, but you have to have a plan and some people never make a plan for some reason.

[00:25:27] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, exactly. And so we pretty much, I feel like we tasted every single restaurant in Battignoles, for either lunch or for dinner, you know, we went to Montparnasse, St. Germain, we went to Marais, we went to these places as well. Excellent food and none of them were like touristic restaurants.

[00:25:43] Paris is inexpensive compared to Los Angeles

[00:25:43] Eddie Hamalian: And also there’s the misconception how expensive Paris is, but we’re from Los Angeles, and I feel Los Angeles is so much more expensive than Paris. Yes, if you go to that brasserie that’s right, that has the view of the Eiffel Tower, you’re going to spend 6, 7 euros on a cup of coffee that’s probably not even that great, and maybe some salad that’s not that great. But if you stay away from those types of places and you go to more like nice French restaurants, you know, it’s cheaper than most places in the United States. Well, at least between New York and California, I’d say.

[00:26:17] You pay for the view, even in Franc!

[00:26:17] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a very good point because there are people who ask for, you know, they want the marvelous restaurant with a view to the Eiffel Tower, but they want it to be cheap as well. And that’s just not going to happen. And same with hotels, to have a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower, you know, a nice one that you’d want to put on Instagram. The minimum is going to be 500 Euros a night, the very minimum, you know, and it could be 3,000- 4,000 a night.

[00:26:45] But people don’t think of that. Of course, everybody wants the view on the Eiffel Tower, dude, like of course.

[00:26:52] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, it’s romantic, Paris is a romantic city. You wake up, you open the windows and boom, there it is.

[00:26:57] So you open your window and there’s the Eiffel Tower and there’s your breakfast all laid out on the little table, you know, and all you have to do is justsit there and enjoy and look fabulous, right?

[00:27:07] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, definitely.

[00:27:08] That’s what people see on Instagram. And I’m like, yeah, you can have that, but it’ll cost, it’s not going to be cheap, you know?

[00:27:15] Annie Sargent: And the same with all the nice little restaurants and cafes that have a view to the Eiffel Tower, some of them are cheap, I list them regularly on the Facebook group and I share all that with the people who do itinerary reviews with me. There are ways to have a nice view to the Eiffel Tower that’s not expensive, but there’s only a few ways.

[00:27:32] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, exactly.

[00:27:33] Annie Sargent: Let’s let’s put it that way. Yeah. And anyway, who needs the Eiffel Tower? You’re in Paris. There’s so much more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower.

[00:27:40] You go up Eiffel Tower once or you see it, it’s beautiful backdrop, but I don’t, how many times do you go to it is, it’s probably overkill.

[00:27:47] Annie Sargent: Yeah. It would get a little boring. Yeah.

[00:27:49] Eddie Hamalian: There’s so much to see in Paris.

[00:27:50] Favorite Restaurants in Les Battignole

[00:27:50] Annie Sargent: So what are some restaurants and places you liked in Les Battignole?

[00:27:54] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So, I probably I’d say our favorite is a restaurant called Calypso, and it was a fusion of Reunion Island, Madagascar and French Mediterranean seafood cuisine. I know that’s like a mouthful, but you know, the Madagascar, Reunion’s still part of France, Madagascar is a former colony and French Mediterranean is very seafood heavy.

[00:28:18] Eddie Hamalian: It was just very interesting food, had some Asian influence because I guess there’s a heavy Chinese influence in Reunion.

[00:28:26] Eddie Hamalian: And then, you know, there’s African spices and it was just like a party in our mouths, you know, it was so good. And the restaurant was very accommodating to have, we had our little portable chair and we attached it to the table, they didn’t say anything, they were fine with it.

[00:28:40] Eddie Hamalian: They brought food for her special because you know, not all the things that we were eating, like the raw fish and whatnot, or even like squid and pasta, and it wasn’t something that our baby was going to eat. So they, you know, they were, of course accommodating.

[00:28:52] Eddie Hamalian: It was great. The food was perfect.

[00:28:54] Le Costaud des Battignolles

[00:28:54] Eddie Hamalian: And then there was a place called Le Costaud des Battignolles.

[00:28:59] Annie Sargent: Le Costaud des Battignolles, that’s a funny name, because it means the strong man of the Battignolles.

[00:29:06] Eddie Hamalian: Oh, I had no idea. And there was like a, it was a modern French, very hip, very young, most people were sitting outside, they had this salmon, a play on salmon tartar that, you know, salmon tartar is one of our favorite things, but here they had like mango in it and like mustard seed, and it was very, very good. And then I had, I wanted a burger, but I wanted like a French burger. So I had, they had a burger with Duck Confit and was off the hook, it was so good.

[00:29:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Duck burgers are good. Yeah. It’s a treat, it’s very, you know, it’s not low fat or nothing, but it’s delicious.When you’re in France, like we walked so much, you know. We were averaging something from 15 to 20,000 steps a day. So at that point, we weren’t worrying about what we were eating and like the best part is when we came back, we had both lost weight, just, and we were eating whatever we want whenever we want, but we made a point to walk everywhere.

[00:29:56] Gazette Brasserie

[00:29:56] Another good restaurant there was, if you want a brasserie experience, was Gazette. It was like a very good brasserie, typical brasserie menu, but it was kind of more, a little more upscale, but the pricing was very fair, a fair restaurant here. Like I think probably for two people, maybe 40 Euros, including like a drink and stuff.

[00:30:14] Annie Sargent: Oh, wow, that’s cheap. Yeah. That’s very cheap.

[00:30:17] Baby trying new foods in France

[00:30:17] Annie Sargent: So was your daughter eating solid food at that time?

[00:30:20] Eddie Hamalian: Yes. So she was eating solid foods and we were getting a little more adventurous. Like we, I don’t know if she’s supposed to try it, but we let her try like a foie gras and she liked it. She loved the duck confit she pretty much ate everything that we were eating, she’s not a very picky eater.

[00:30:36] Annie Sargent: Okay, so she was 11 months, but she was already trying all these different foods? That’s amazing.

[00:30:41] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, she was almost 12 months, so almost a year, but yeah. You know, we weren’t like putting a steak in front of her, but she, but like, yeah, but there’s only so often that you want to feed your child buttered pasta. Because every restaurant’s like, oh, we have buttered pasta. And it’s kind of like, well, you know, we want her to have maybe some vegetables or lentils or something, some kind of meat besides just butter pasta.

[00:31:02] We feel that trip to France expanded her palate because, you know, now she’s even more open to different foods, even as like a one year old. I know one, they don’t get picky yet, but sometimes they start to get picky at this age. And so, but she was open to everything.

[00:31:15] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Yeah, that’s a really fun thing to do with kids. I mean, you have to have a really healthy child that you’re not worried about, you know, problems, whatever. I mean, that’s just, I had a preemie so I could not do that with my preemie. I was like no, no. no. We had to control.

[00:31:32] Eddie Hamalian: And prior to the trip, we had already gone through all the allergens. And so she didn’t have any allergies at that point. So we were comfortable doing what we did.

[00:31:41] Annie Sargent: And obviously it worked out so good for you, that’s great. That’s great. Yeah. Okay.

[00:31:46] 10th arrondissement

[00:31:46] Annie Sargent: Let’s talk a little bit about the 10th arrondissement becauseyou spent some time there as well.

[00:31:51] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So, the 10th, right on the Canal Saint-Martin. It’s such a fun hip area, I guess maybe you see some more tourists there now, but still, it’s more like, I’d say 30 something young,smaller restaurants, nothing big, you know, smaller restaurants, very lively,

[00:32:08] Great shopping if you want to shop.If you are interested in like a coffee, that’s not cafe reach out and something like with oat milk or something, you’re going to find it in the 10th arrondissement. Every year we go to this one restaurant calledLa Valmy.

[00:32:23] Eddie Hamalian: Did I pronounce alright?

[00:32:24] Annie Sargent: La Valmy It’s a unassuming place, it’s very, maybe like young working class,maybe like, with a two or three, two course meal, plus a dessert plus a drink it’s like 20 euros a person. So it’s cheap and it’s very good quality, whether it’s like a steak or, you know, it’s not like, it’s not, food that you would be like, oh, it was okay.

[00:32:46] Eddie Hamalian: You actually, every meal that we’ve had there has been, wow. And it’s always adventurous stuff. Like I had a watermelon gazpacho soup with some like ricotta in there, you know, so they have like an adventurous menu. But it’s very good, unassuming and all the food is beautifully prepared.

[00:33:02] That’s great. Yeah, you have several restaurant recommendations here and I don’t want to, we want to talk about some other things, so we don’t want to go through all of them, but really you, you pay attention to restaurants. And so that’s wonderful. So, I’ll make a list in the show notes for people to look at.

[00:33:17] Areas to avoid in Paris

[00:33:17] Annie Sargent: I want to ask you about, you also mentioned areas to avoid in Paris, and that’s a question that comes up all the time. So let’s talk about that for a second.

[00:33:26] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah. So around, especially around Gare du Nord and Gare du Est, and this is in the 10th arrondissement, in the top of it, there’s pockets of very bad, and coming from, let’s say Los Angeles, I’m sure we have areas that are much, much, much worse.

[00:33:41] Annie Sargent: Well, they’re the same, but with the guns on top.

[00:33:43] Eddie Hamalian: Exactly, but the thing is in Paris, they’re closer together.

[00:33:47] Eddie Hamalian: So you might go from a very cool area and walk one street over and then, you know, life is different. And so when we got out of the train station and we had to, we were going to go over towards Battignoles the first day we got out, and we were walking through Barbès.

[00:34:03] Eddie Hamalian: And Barbès is like right above thetrain station Gare du Nord. And so it’s, you just feel uncomfortable, people are selling let’s say stuff on the streets, like bootleg cigarettes or drugs and they offer to you. And when you have a one year old baby in a stroller and you have bags and you’re just thinking like, where did I just end up?

[00:34:22] So right there, right there between the two train stations, there’s you know, you also see some of the drug problem, you see some homeless. There are needle exchange facilities around there, which I mean, I’m not a public health expert, I don’t know, but I guess they need to have needle exchange programs. But the thing is, it attracts a lot of people that I don’t normally hang out with, you know, so it’s a rough area.

[00:34:47] Annie Sargent: And like you said, you can be in a perfectly touristy street one second, and then the next, you’re in the middle of like, whoa, where have I landed?

[00:34:56] And you have that with Montmartre, you know. So Montmartre is this beautiful picturesque area with cute streets, and then you had the Sacré Coeur on the top, the Basilica. And the 18th arrondissement, it goes either way, it’s either like really nice or it could go really bad, really fast.

[00:35:12] And they’ve really cleaned up in the last few years Pigalle and Moulin Rouge area, what that area is?

[00:35:18] Annie Sargent: Yeah, Moulin Rouge, Pigalle and Moulin Rouge, it’s Blanche and all of these Metro stations.

[00:35:24] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, they’ve definitely cleaned it up from like even three years ago. Before, it was a lot seedier. Now it’s a little better, there’s that big walking path in the middle.

[00:35:33] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:35:33] Eddie Hamalian: There’s people that are kind of loitering and whatnot, but it’s not as bad as it used to be, you don’t feel as unsafe. But right, if you go a little bit North, Northeast of Montmartre, it gets a little bit dicey. Or if you go Northwest towards Clichy, it gets a little bit dicey. So, you know, those are the areas you kind of want to, you know, nothing to see there either.

[00:35:53] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s the Northeast corner of Paris where such things pop in. Like you’ve mentioned, it’s not everywhere, but some of it in pockets. I would say that if you’ve never been to Paris, and especially if you’re not from a big city, it might be better if you avoid the Northeast quarter of Paris, unless you’re going to Montmartre or something.

[00:36:14] If you’re going to take my walking tour of Montmartre, obviously I’m not going to take you to anything like that, but if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know where you’re stepping, if you’re looking for a hotel. And typically, these are places where the hotels are a tiny bit cheaper.

[00:36:27] Unsavory Parts of Paris

[00:36:27] Annie Sargent: The Airbnbs are tiny bit cheaper, not by a ton, you know, but you’ll spend maybe 10, 20% less in those areas. And that’s the reason, it’s because there are unsavory areas in these parts. And when I say unsavory, I mean, it just depends on what you’re used to, right? It might be totally fine.

[00:36:46] Annie Sargent: Like if you don’t care that there’s a sex shop and people selling drugs on the street, well, then you don’t care, it’s fine, you know, but if you do care, don’t go there.

[00:36:54] Eddie Hamalian: But if you’re from any big US city, we have it just as bad. So it’s more just it’s when you’re a tourist somewhere, you don’t want to have to think too much about like looking over your shoulder. So, you know, if maybe on your sixth trip you want to go check out some cool restaurant or bar that’s in the 18th District, you know, do it then, but…

[00:37:15]

[00:37:15] Annie Sargent: Not your first time in Paris.

[00:37:16] Eddie Hamalian: Definitely not.

[00:37:17] Annie Sargent: Just because some cool blogger wrote a blog post about it doesn’t mean you need to schlep it all the way over there because, you’re like, woo, where have I landed?

[00:37:24] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, exactly. Hipster’s guide to Paris.

[00:37:27] Annie Sargent: Exactly. Yes. And there’s plenty of that going on, because this is a thing, like a lot of bloggers they, Paris has been talked about so much, that they don’t know what to write anymore.

[00:37:38] Annie Sargent: And they’re not about to learn the history because honestly, that’s not something they do, which is where I go. I’m like, well, if it’s been done a million times, let me talk about the history, because that’s really interesting to me. But to a lot of these people, they’d much rather concentrate on some hip whatever. And I don’t go there, but if you are into that sort of thing, you’re going to read plenty of blog posts and plenty of, you know, whatever about these places that are just right in the middle of stuff that I’m like, ay ay ay, why?

[00:38:06] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, exactly. Like right now, the place to go is like Belleville. We didn’t go this time around, but we’ll check it out next time, but you know.

[00:38:14] Annie Sargent: It’s got some nice stuff, but not for everybody. Your mileage may vary.

[00:38:18] Daughter’s baptism at the Armenian cathedral

[00:38:18] Annie Sargent: Okay, the last thing I want you to mention is your daughter’s baptism at the American Cathedral. That sounds lovely. How did that go? How did you organize it, and all of that?

[00:38:29] Eddie Hamalian: So we planned to have our daughter’s baptism at the Armenian Cathedral. That’s there in the Golden Triangle, in the 8th District.

[00:38:37] Annie Sargent: Oh, sorry. I misread that, it’s Armenian, not American, sorry.

[00:38:41] Eddie Hamalian: No, no problem. Okay, so just to back up, so, like a little sad story, part of it. The reason why we planned this entire France trip was, because we didn’t really have a chance to celebrate much when our baby was born. My dad passed away the same day our daughter was born.

[00:38:56] Annie Sargent: Oh, sorry.Thank you. And so because of that, the whole year, you know, the first few months was just a hard time.

[00:39:03] Eddie Hamalian: And so we decided, like, I remember like our baby was like month and a half old, and I told my wife, Hey, I just booked a trip to France. We’re going to celebrate when we’re there.

[00:39:10] Annie Sargent: That’s good, that you put a date, you’re like, okay, we can be sad for a while, but then when we go to France, we’re going to celebrate. We’re going to, yeah, oh that’s wonderful, I love that.

[00:39:20] Eddie Hamalian: And we celebrated her first birthday in Paris as well. So prior to going we learned about the different Armenian churches there, we have friends there, of course, in Paris. And while we were there, we were kind of like arranging the restaurants and stuff like that.

[00:39:32] Eddie Hamalian: And the funny part is, the restaurant we originally chose was actually in Barbes because it was like, it was a awesome blog post about this restaurant. And when we ended up in Barbes, we’re like, no, we can’t have our guests come here. Check it out. Check it out first. Yes.

[00:39:45] Eddie Hamalian: Exactly. So we had the baptism, it was a beautiful little ceremony.

[00:39:49] The Galleries Lafayette, family celebration

[00:39:49] Eddie Hamalian: We had some family and friends there as well that came in from, some came in from the United States. And then we had booked the restaurant on top of the Galleries Lafayette next to Opera. And if anyone wants an amazing view of Paris, that’s the spot, you know, the Sacre Coeur, you see everything, Eiffel Tower, everything from that restaurant. Or even that rooftop, you don’t even have to eat at the restaurant, that rooftop. Yeah,it’s a tourist trap, it’s full of people that, you know, that they’re coming for that one view, but is an amazing place to have lunch because you just sit there with this amazing background.

[00:40:22] Annie Sargent: Now do you mean the cafeteria or do you mean the open air restaurant above?

[00:40:26] Eddie Hamalian: It’s an open air restaurant above, I think it’s called, it’s written “creatures,” but I’m sure it means something else for like creatures.

[00:40:33] Annie Sargent: Creatures.

[00:40:33] Annie Sargent: And in, and just below that, there’s also a cafeteria. So if the weather’s bad and you can, and the cafeteria is all like,the French people go eat at the cafeteria, that’s you know, when I’m at the Galleries Lafayette, that’s often where I go eat, because it’s inexpensive, it’s quick, and you do have a nice view from out of the windows, you know?

[00:40:50] But yes, above is there’s I think there’s a champagne bar and some other restaurants, it’s fancier and more,yeah, stuff like that. I’ve never eaten there, but that was good for your celebration?

[00:41:01] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, it was amazing. We had a great time. The restaurant was very accommodating. You know, we were there for like four hours and they never bug you about leaving and you know, like that they want to seat the next customer.

[00:41:11] Eddie Hamalian: That’s another thing in France, is they never bug you about leaving because when they make your reservation, they assume one group per table per night, or for lunch. They’re not stacking reservations.

[00:41:20] Eddie Hamalian: So there’s no one, Hey, can I get you something else? Can I get you something else? And then you feel urged to leave. So that’s a really nice thing.

[00:41:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah, you have the place until the end of that service. So if it’s lunch service, it’s going to be between noon and three or whatever. And if it’s a place with a view, they’ll let you sit there for a long time. Like they don’t care, they won’t serve you food at three probably, but they’ll let you sit there and enjoy the rest of the time and bring you drinks and things like that.

[00:41:47] Eddie Hamalian: Definitely.

[00:41:48] General Advice for France with a Baby

[00:41:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Well, so do you have any general advice for people who are visiting France with a baby? Recap some of the things that you perhaps told us already.

[00:41:58] Eddie Hamalian: So, places to stay Airbnbs are, you know, having that kitchen in a second bedroom, it’s huge. You know, it’s huge for your own mental health as well. Like to have a space separate from your baby, so you could like at least hang out or have some wine and charcuterie that you bring into the house.

[00:42:13] Other things to think about, is you want to kind of recreate that same environment that your baby has at your home, so that way they sleep. So we actually, all three of us didn’t have any jet lag because we kept our same, we put like, we brought with us, it was really cheap from like Amazon, we bought like a blackout curtains that you did with a suction cup put on the windows to make the room darker. And that was key. We brought like a little sound machine, that was like a travel sound machine and a little baby monitor, so we could be in another room. It was just battery powered. Also cheap from Amazon.

[00:42:43] Annie Sargent: But, I should say that most French bedrooms, you can already have it quite dark. Like we often have shuttersand drapes and things like that. So maybe….You’re totally right. Our Paris flat didn’t have shutters, so it was like, light was still seeping in. So you were totally, when they have those like mechanical shutters that come down that makes it completely pitch black. But yeah, so just in case, I mean, the stroller, the baby’s and yoyo it’s tiny, it fits everywhere, you’ll see every single mom in Paris has one.Maybe a little portable child seat, and then, you know, justbe ready to be inconvenienced. That’s what traveling is.

[00:43:20] Annie Sargent: How about changing tables?

[00:43:21] Some restaurants have changing tables, but some don’t. You know, we would regularly just go to a park, put the strollers back down a little bit and then just change her there.

[00:43:31] Yeah, but you know, most restaurants, they had something for us to use. I wouldn’t say that was very inconvenient. We didn’t have like, oh my God, what are we going to do? But you have to be flexible, of course, you’re not going to have that perfect situation that you have at like most restaurants here.

[00:43:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah, in the US, you have these changing tables that are like, oh my God, you could put like a full grown adult on this thing, it’s huge.

[00:43:49] Eddie Hamalian: Exactly. Yeah.

[00:43:51] Annie Sargent: No, they’re going to put you on some little rickety thing but it’ll work.

[00:43:54] Avoid the Train If You Can

[00:43:54] Eddie Hamalian: And then, traveling with bags and a baby taking a train is probably the hardest thing about traveling. And so we took one train from, well, one like a high speed train from Paris to Lyon. And we were already jet lagged and tired. And getting on and off the train with our bags and the baby and the stroller and this and that, and the train stops at the station for maybe like two minutes.

[00:44:18] Eddie Hamalian: And you’re like running back of course, trying to get everything off the train. So if you can avoid a train, if you can rent a car, probably the best way to travel with a kid.

[00:44:28] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Well, and that’s true anywhere in the world. I mean, honestly, you know. But the trick is, when you have a short connection like that, is to have all your stuff ready by the door several minutes before you actually leave the train. So you have to keep your eye on the watch and…

[00:44:45] And that’s also when you’re booking your train tickets, make sure that, so our train car didn’t have a door on both sides. It only had a door on one side and they made us put our bags on the side of the train car that doesn’t have a door. So getting everything to the door, it was just, it was a hassle.

[00:45:02] Eddie Hamalian: Luckily, luckily, you know, a gentleman saw that we were struggling and he helped get all our bags off. And you know, people are very kind. The misconception of a rude Parisian or rude French person, that’s really just a misconception, in my opinion, you know, like we’ve never had a negative experience.

[00:45:17] Don’t Assume Everyone Speaks English

[00:45:17] Eddie Hamalian: And I guess a tip to most people that are traveling, whether you’re not just with a baby, traveling to France in general,to avoid any kind of rude experiences, when you walk into a store or a restaurant, you walk up someone on the street, don’t just walk up assuming they speak English and just start speaking English saying, Hey, excuse me, where could I find, blah, blah, blah.

[00:45:34] Walk up to someone in a store wherever and ask, do you speak English? Parlez vous anglais? And then once you ask that question, then they’re much more open to helping you. But if you just assume they speak English, then even if they speak it, many times, they’ll say no English. Because they just, it’s a pride thing, you know, like respect my language, you’re in my country.

[00:45:53] So that was like, you know, that’s why I think why we’ve never had a negative experience because, we do those little things that, you know, I guess soften the blow.

[00:46:00] Annie Sargent: It helps,

[00:46:01] Annie Sargent: Eddie. Thank you so much, it was a lovely conversation. I don’t know, will you someday, someday you might move to Europe, but maybe England because, or Ireland, because they speak English?

[00:46:11] Eddie Hamalian: Yeah, most probably England, London most likely. But you know, if there was a job that, you know, if my company even like, because we have offices there in Paris. I went and toured our office in Paris and spoke to the COO and I asked, do you guys hire Americans? And just, you know, they do, but you know, the work culture is different in France and you have to have a good understanding of the language, especially if you’re working with French people and not just with expats and foreigners.

[00:46:35] Annie Sargent:All right. Thank you very much, Eddie for coming on the podcast, it’s been lovely and, hopefully you’ll come back to France with many more babies.

[00:46:43] Eddie Hamalian: Oh we’ll be there again. No doubt.

[00:46:46] Annie Sargent: Merci, au revoir!

[00:46:50] Eddie Hamalian: Au revoir.

[00:46:58] Thank You, Patrons

[00:46:58] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting this show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that. You can see them at Patreon.com/joinus P A T R E O N join us no spaces or dashes. Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for a long time, you’re wonderful.

[00:47:20] New Patrons

[00:47:20] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons, Nancy McDowell, Jerry Carrie and Mini. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:47:33] Annie Sargent: Many thanks also to Jeanie Castro Schmidt for sending in a one time donation using the green button on any page on JoinUsinFrance.Com that says Tip your guide. Jean wrote, “Thank you so much for all you do and for answering my email a few weeks ago. I’ve never been to France and I will be taking my first trip this September to Toulouse the Hautes-Pyrénées and Sarlat after getting inspiration from your show.”

[00:48:01] Annie Sargent: You know, that really means a lot to me and it’s wonderful that you are thinking of coming to the Southwest of France for your first visit. That’s amazing. So I’m glad that the podcast is helping you and thank you for your donation.

[00:48:14] Annie Sargent: And thank you also to Sonia Yruel who says, “Bonjour Annie, your podcast and Facebook group was so helpful in the planning of our recent trip to Paris. Merci beaucoup.”

[00:48:27] The Facebook Group

[00:48:27] The Facebook group that goes with this podcast is also quite helpful to a lot of you.

[00:48:33] It’s called the Join Us in France Closed Group. It’s on Facebook. To join, you have to answer questions because we want to make sure that the people who join the group are listeners of the podcast, or at least potential listeners to the podcast. We really would rather not have a million people who just want to ask dumb questions about Paris because yeah, there’s other places for that. Ask Google, ask Google, they know, they know, hopefully.

[00:49:02] Annie Sargent: But anyway, if you would like to invite some of your friends to join this group, they are very, very welcome. Just remind them that they have to answer the questions, otherwise we’re not gonna let them in. And thank you so very much moderators for the amazing job you do with the group. Before you starting helping me with this, I cannot tell you how much time and mental time, mental exertion time I spent doing group management. And you do it so brilliantly and there’s several of you and you cover all the time zones. It’s wonderful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

[00:49:39] Annie Sargent: If you are preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening to the podcast because that’s a great way to do it.

[00:49:48] Hire Me as Your Itinerary Consultant

[00:49:48] Annie Sargent: But if that’s not quite enough, you can hire me to be your itinerary consultant. You can 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 the document with the plan we discussed. And I of course, answer all your questions.

[00:50:10] Annie Sargent: But remember that my time is always booked up several weeks in advance. You’ll see the date for the next appointment availability on the boutique page where you can buy this service. Please pay attention to that.

[00:50:24] Self-guided VoiceMap Tours

[00:50:24] Annie Sargent: And if you cannot talk to me because I’m all booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five tours of Paris and they are designed to show you all the different, wonderful neighborhoods of Paris.

[00:50:42] Annie Sargent: I might add some more. I’m thinking about adding more. There are a lot of work, but you know, I love those things. So take a look JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.

[00:50:52] Pet Cemetary in Asnière-sur-Seine near Paris

[00:50:52] Annie Sargent: For the travel question of the week, I want to tell you about the Père Lachaise of animals. It’s near Paris, so this is not in Père Lachaise, this is the pet cemetery in Asnières-sur-Seine. It looks very much like Père Lachaise, but it’s for dogs and cats.

[00:51:09] Annie Sargent: There are a few horses, a monkey, a few chickens and even a pet duck. It is the sort of place where some people go every day because their pet was that important to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of Rin Tin Tin. Well, Rin Tin Tin was based on a dog born in France at the end of World War I and taken back to the US by the American soldier who adopted him. That dog could do all sorts of amazing things, and his descendant Rin Tin Tin the fourth is the one we saw in the movies. The original Rin Tin Tin is buried at the Asnières Pet Cemetery along with about 4,000 other pets, some famous, others totally unknown from families who wanted their pet to be remembered.

[00:51:59] Annie Sargent: It’s a cool place, and I’ll post a video of the pet cemetery in the show notes. If you’ve been, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve just seen it on the video and thought it was cool.

[00:52:09] This week in French news

[00:52:09] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, well, it’s back to school week, La Rentree, so that means the return. Everything starts back up today on September 1st, kids go back to school or go to school for the first time, of course. Associations welcome new members. All over the country villages will hold something Forum des Associations where locals go to meet the local soccer club, judo club, theater club, et cetera.

[00:52:42] Annie Sargent: In my village the big activities are tennis because we just got a gorgeous indoor tennis facility, and we have outdoor courts as well. We have majorettes in the village and we have a marching band. As a matter of fact, that’s who you hear at the closing of this podcast every week. And we also have a running club, these are crazy people, they go running rain or shine, they put on the frontal lights and they just go.

[00:53:07] Annie Sargent: The next village over has a major rugby club and, you know, Toulouse is big, big rugby place, and some of the very young, talented players who play in the national French team were raised right here and grew up to be major professional rugby players. We also have a handball next door to us, a theater group, a big choir. Most villages have some sort of fitness class, many have an English class.

[00:53:37] Annie Sargent: Yes, older French people are really trying to learn English. Most have a cycling club of some sort, a senior club where you can go chat and play board games. I know for a fact that the senior club in my village is better than the others, because there’s one lady who walks two miles to come to this club rather than go to the one in her village. She says, it’s way better, and all that walking keeps her fit as well. So that’s great.

[00:54:03] Annie Sargent: La Rentree is a big day all around France, regular bus schedules resume, so do normal TV programs, all my favorite podcast hosts come back. It’s cooling off a little bit, not as much as I’d like, but it’s cooling off a little bit.

[00:54:18] Gaillac

[00:54:18] Annie Sargent: This week, I went on a short trip to the lovely small town of Gaillac. We haven’t done an episode about it, it’s not very far from my house, an hour drive to and from. But we probably will do an episode about it because I really enjoyed it.

[00:54:33] Annie Sargent: It’s only about 4,000 people, but it’s famous because it’s a big wine producing area. The town has a nice but small medieval city center, lots of cute cafes, a nice Sunday morning market, super friendly people. I mean everybody I chatted with, and I do that just to get a feel for what the place is like. Everybody was smiley, happy, friendly, happy to chat, whatever.

[00:54:57] Annie Sargent: This town also has a small museum. I didn’t have time to see it, because they were about to close. And a Maison du Vin, big Maison des Vins. Lots and lots bottles of wine. It’s right next to the museum.

[00:55:10] Annie Sargent: And it turns out that they make all sorts of different kinds of wine in Gaillac, from bubbles to hearty reds, with a large selection of whites, sweet whites, dry whites, flowery whites, all sorts of things. I tasted four wines and I brought home three bottles. That’s the sort of thing you can do when you travel through France.

[00:55:30] There was a big group in the room at the same time as I was there. And I’m pretty sure they tried every wine in the house. Gaillac also has lots of wineries around the village. These are places where you can go to visit. I have a map and a list of all of them, and I think I will arrange to go visit some of these wineries, make a wine tasting tour that all of you can come do with me.

[00:55:57] Annie Sargent: Whether I do that or not, it’s a great day trip out of Toulouse for sure. And I’m really enjoying taking day trips around Toulouse with my new electric car, it’s just fantastic. I need to do as many as possible while the weather is still very nice.

[00:56:12] Annie Sargent: I would like to go further into the Dordogne, but I need to figure out the charging situation in the Dordogne yet. I don’t see any fast chargers in the area, so I hope they get some very soon.

[00:56:24] Show Notes

[00:56:24] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on JoinUsinFrance.com/405. Transcripts are great, they make the website easy to search, and I hope you use them.

[00:56:36] And the show notes for this podcast are, they’re pretty good. I mean, you can find a lot of stuff in there. And I’d love it if you would share this episode of the podcast or any other with a friend of yours, that’s the very best way for the podcast to grow, and once you put the bug in their ear, that there is a podcast they can use to plan their trip to France and do tell them the name, because the word France comes up a lot in the world online in general. You know, once you tell them the name and you tell them it’s a podcast, they’ll find it. Most people know how to search for a podcast these days, so, I really appreciate those of you who do that.

[00:57:12] Next Week on the Podcast

[00:57:12] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast an episode with Elyse about Every Day Life in France. This is one where we try to tease out things that make life in France different from life in the US where we’ve both lived, although it’s been a while, so hopefully we don’t get that too wrong.

[00:57:28] Annie Sargent: Well, we do know what it’s like to live in France, and we do talk about that quite a bit.

[00:57:32] Annie Sargent: 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.

[00:57:43] Annie Sargent: Au revoir.

[00:57:44] 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.

Eddie's wife and baby daughter: France with a baby episode

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Categories: France How To, Paris