Transcript for Episode 406: Everyday Life in France

Table of Contents for this Episode

Category: French Customs & Lifestyle

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent:

[00:00:14] Intro

[00:00:14] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 406. Quatre cent six.

[00:00:20] 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.

[00:00:35] Today on the podcast

[00:00:35] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks about everyday life in France. This is at the request of my patrons. I know a lot of you have this idea perhaps far in the back of your mind, that one day you might want to live in France. So what is life in France like? Is it very different, you know? Yes and no.

[00:00:58] Annie Sargent: I’ve lived most of my life in France since I was born and raised here, but I’ve also lived in London for a couple of years and in the US for 16 years. I moved home to France in 2005, so it’s been 17 plus years, but I have family by marriage in the US. We go back and visit them once a year, when there’s no pandemic and I love going back, and so it’s not entirely foreign to me.

[00:01:24] Annie Sargent: But being raised in France and then leaving and coming back, it gives you a different eye on your own country. It’s a different perspective on things.

[00:01:33] Annie Sargent: I think you’ll enjoy this episode. Let me know if we missed any major differences between France and the US. I think it’ll make for an interesting conversation.

[00:01:42] Self-guided tours

[00:01:42] 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.

[00:01:54] Annie Sargent: And you can browse all of that at my boutique:

[00:02:01] I want to read just couple quick reviews of one of my tours the Latin Quarter Tour. Somebody wrote, “one of the best Parisian tours so far. Great stories and very good spots to visit. We took a little longer than usual, because you stop on the way to grab something to drink or eat. Must recommend.”

[00:02:21] Annie Sargent: And another person also about the Latin Quarter wrote, “fantastic tour, I love the freedom of being able to stop and start at my own discretion. Annie’s descriptions are clear and engaging.” Thank you, whoever you are, both of you.

[00:02:35] Annie Sargent: And if you are on the Facebook group, mention how you enjoyed my tours is very much appreciated. As a matter of fact, please mention any tour or services you enjoy while in France, not just mine, the only rule is that you must have experienced it yourself. I don’t want you to go by the recommendation of someone famous, I want you to talk about the tours and services you’ve enjoyed.

[00:03:01] Travel question of the week

[00:03:01] Annie Sargent: For the travel question of the week, after my chat with Elyse, let’s talk about bread and butter. There’s a lot to say about that actually.

[00:03:11] Annie Sargent: There’s also a French tip of the week after the chat with Elyse, and this one is a pronunciation question.

[00:03:18] The France bootcamp

[00:03:18] Annie Sargent: About the France bootcamp, May 21st until May 27th, 2023, I have made a lot of progress and I’m getting to the point where I need to know who’s serious and who’s not. So we’re going to ask for a deposit for the language school and for the afternoon activities. All the details are going to be laid out in another 10 days. Can you be patient and wait that long? At that time, I’ll send you a link to a page on JoinUsinFrance.Com that will have all the details. And I will share that link with all the people who filled out the Google pre-registration form and also to everyone on my email list.

[00:03:57] And yes, there is a newsletter to go along with this podcast. I don’t email often enough at all, but I will do better someday, I promise. But I do want to only write when there’s something really important to say, but when there’s something important, like news about the bootcamp, it’ll be in the newsletter and you can sign up for it at

[00:04:28] Annie and Elyse about everyday life in France

[00:04:28] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Elyse.

[00:04:29] Elyse Rivin: Bonjour Annie.

[00:04:31] Annie Sargent: We have a fun conversation today, we want to talk about everyday life in France.

[00:04:36] Elyse Rivin: Yes, indeed.

[00:04:37] Annie Sargent: And we had to make a list because when I first proposed, actually several of my patrons who asked that we talk about everyday life in France. And I know we sprinkle that sort of stuff into all the episodes, but this one is just about that.

[00:04:51] Just about how we live.

[00:04:52] Annie Sargent: Yes, how we live, maybe differences about life, everyday life in America versus everyday life in France. Although it’s been a long time since I’ve lived in America.

[00:05:03] Elyse Rivin: Me too.

[00:05:03] Annie Sargent: It’s been even longer since you lived in America, but I do go visit and you go visit.

[00:05:09] Elyse Rivin: I go visit, too.

[00:05:10] Annie Sargent: So hopefully, we can still remember all of that.

[00:05:14] French people eat at set meal times

[00:05:14] Annie Sargent: Okay. So we made a list in no particular order, but a lot of these things have to do with just how we live. For instance, French people eat at set meal times.

[00:05:26] Elyse Rivin: Yes.

[00:05:27] Annie Sargent: This is really important, right?

[00:05:29] Elyse Rivin: Extremely important.

[00:05:31] Annie Sargent: Right. So French people get ornery if you, if it’s 12:30 and they haven’t another lunch yet. They want to eat.

[00:05:37] Elyse Rivin: And lunchtime is very much between 12 and 2:00 PM. This is really, I mean, other countries have a little later lunchtime, Spain maybe a little bit later, but it’s very interesting to see when you go, especially if you’re a working person, lunchtime begins at noon.

[00:05:54] Elyse Rivin: That’s just the bottom line. That doesn’t, there’s no exception to that. And you come back to work depending on whether you work in an office or whether you work in a school, like I did. You usually have either one hour or an hour and a half or two hours for lunch, which by American standards, is a lot of time.

[00:06:13] Annie Sargent: Right. Because most Americans, I think it’s still half an hour.

[00:06:17] Elyse Rivin: I think it’s a half an hour of 45 minutes.

[00:06:19] French people don’t eat at their desk

[00:06:19] And also in France, you don’t eat at your desk.

[00:06:23] Elyse Rivin: Never. Never. Never.

[00:06:24] Annie Sargent: Right. So this is something, I mean, if you work at a corporation, my daughterworks at a fairly big company right now called CEA, and she knows of one lady in her office who eats at her desk and she’s very shy and she’s from Germany, and she would rather just bring her own lunch and eat by herself at her desk. And everybody notices that and everybody thinks it’s odd.

[00:06:52] Elyse Rivin: Yes, I think that’s because food and eating is a highly social activity in France and it’s considered to be antisocial if you don’t join the group going out for lunch. And the other thing is, and this is something that’s connected to the economics of the two countries, many people who are salaried people have some of what is called Chèque Restaurant. And it’s basically a ticket that gives you a reduction on what you have to pay in a restaurant, whether it’s the company restaurant or outside, like when I was teaching, and it helps you pay for your lunch. So you have less excuse for not going out for lunch.

[00:07:30] Annie Sargent: Right. This is something they started, I think in the eighties or something, where they wanted to encourage more people. Because back then, french people would go home for lunch. And I remember my dad coming home to eat lunch with us almost every day.

[00:07:46] Annie Sargent: Yeah, when he wasn’t working away, you know, sometimes he was on assignment somewhere else, but usually he would just drive to the workshop and come home for lunch and go back. It wasn’t very far so he did that. But then they started wanting to entice to support restaurants.

[00:08:01] Annie Sargent: They wanted to entice people to go to the restaurant. So they gave you a card, well, at first it was paper checks, in kind of a booklet. And you would just pay part or even all of your meal at the restaurant with those checks. By now, it’s a credit card, but it’s the same idea.

[00:08:20] Elyse Rivin: Well, in the Beaux-Arts, when I was still teaching there,it was the checks.It was a check restaurant andeach company or establishment decides how much they want to pay into each one. So for instance, ours were seven or eight euros, and the typical lunch was 14 or 15 euros. So it was, it paid for half.

[00:08:38] Right. And also you get those checks. So if the face value of the check is 10, you’ve only paid five, typically.

[00:08:45] Elyse Rivin: Yes, out of your own pocket, out of your salary.

[00:08:47] Annie Sargent: So, it’s a really good deal. And during the pandemic, because all of the restaurants stopped, and I think even before the pandemic, they started making it possible for people to use those checks in grocery stores.

[00:09:01] Some restaurants in France only open at lunchtime

[00:09:01] Annie Sargent: But this encouraged a lot of people to go out to lunch instead of going home to lunch. And so nowadays, pretty much anybody who works, I mean, we have a lot of restaurants in France that are just open at lunchtime.

[00:09:16] Elyse Rivin: That’s true. And I have to admit that I was teaching in New York before I moved back to France, where had been before. And when I was teaching in New York, we had a teacher’s room and I used to bring my lunch every day and ate it in the teacher’s room. And I did not go out to lunch. And it took me a while to get used to the idea that I was supposed to go out to lunch.

[00:09:38] Elyse Rivin: And it is very interesting because you do see lots of places that fill up at lunchtime, just because of that.

[00:09:44] Workers’ restaurants

[00:09:44] Annie Sargent: Right. And we live in a village and the bigger village next to us has a restaurant that’s just open at lunchtime. And it really fills up, like noon, it starts being full. And usually these places will have some kind of a buffet for appetizers and a buffet for dessert and a main dish or two or three.

[00:10:08] Annie Sargent: And so you go, you decide, do I want the appetizer buffet? Do I want the dessert buffet? Do I want just the main dish, which main dish? I mean, it’s very simple and you’re in and out in an hour and it’s cost effective. We go with my husband. And you have people, I see people coming in there with like, they’re wearing stuff like they work in healthcare… like the I don’t know what you…

[00:10:28] Elyse Rivin: The blusone, the white blouse.

[00:10:30] Annie Sargent: Yeah. They’re dressed like they just came out of some healthcare site. You have people who are obviously painters, because they have paint on their clothes. I mean, you have all sorts of people and they just go there for lunch. And these places are usually a really good value. It’s just that they don’t advertise, they never have a website. No. So I can’t send you to them because like it’s just locals.

[00:10:50] I have to confess that it’s my husband’s favorite kind of restaurant, because you can usually eat all you want, you know?

[00:10:56] The appetizer buffet, you could go as much as you want.

[00:10:59] Elyse Rivin: But they’re basically workers restaurants, they’re not high end, but they’re perfectly fine.


[00:11:04] Families eat together in the evenings

[00:11:04] Elyse Rivin: But the other thing about the difference between eating in the States and eating meals in France, and again, this may have changed, but I know from listening to people and talking to people, in France it’s still extremely important in the evening for everyone who lives together in the same family or the same house to eat together.

[00:11:24] That is not the case a lot in the United States.

[00:11:27] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. I’ve never seen a French family where people just say, just eat whatever you want out of the fridge.

[00:11:34] Elyse Rivin: Exactly. Never.

[00:11:35] Elyse Rivin:

[00:11:35] Elyse Rivin: It just doesn’t happen here. Somebody is organizing a meal. Now, is it a fancy meal? Not necessarily. But somebody is organizing something. So that’s a very big, you know, meal times. And this matters to you listeners, because when you come to France, you should not decide to be hungry at 4:00 PM somewhere weird. You know, if you’re in Paris it doesn’t matter. But if you are, I don’t know, if you’re visiting the Dordogne and you would like a nice meal at 4:00 PM, it ain’t going to happen.

[00:12:04] Elyse Rivin: It is not going to happen. No.

[00:12:06] Annie Sargent: Okay. So just get hungry at French times.

[00:12:09] Annie Sargent: That’s it.

[00:12:10] Elyse Rivin: Get your stomach ready for French time.

[00:12:12] Annie Sargent: Exactly. Okay.

[00:12:14] Apartment or house?

[00:12:14] Annie Sargent: Another thing is that, French people, and I thought mistakenly that more French people lived in large cities than Americans. And that’s not true as far, and I’m not sure how they counted that, but it seems to me like that more young families live in apartments in cities, in France. And that it’s the more affluent people, who are probably older, who can buy a house.

[00:12:37] Elyse Rivin: Okay. You’re making the distinction between living in an apartment and living in a house. Yes. That’s that? I think that, that may be true in the sense that, there’s more of a push maybe in the United States forpeople, once they get to the idea of having children, to move into a house and leave the city center as a component of their life. But I think that has also changed, but I think you’re right, that there’s less push to immediately have a private house inFrance than there is in the States.

[00:13:07] Annie Sargent: Right, lots of people.

[00:13:08] Elyse Rivin: They own their apartments. That makes a big difference too.

[00:13:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. And so they just live in an apartment, it’s their own, but that’s minor differences I think, I think.

[00:13:17] Coffee Breaks

[00:13:17] Annie Sargent: Oh, one more thing about work in France is that coffee breaks are sacrosanct. So this is again, update from my daughter who is still doing this every day.

[00:13:28] Annie Sargent: When she gets to work, she has to immediately take a coffee break. So they gather around the coffee machine and get a coffee. And she says, sometimes it takes half an hour, and sometimes they talk about work and sometimes they talk about other things whatever, but this is so there’s a big, long coffee break at her company.

[00:13:48] Annie Sargent: It’s right when you arrive at work. And then there’s another one in the afternoon.

[00:13:52] Elyse Rivin: I think that’s interesting because, of course there’s the institution of the coffee break in the States, but it’s always mid-morning, you know, I think it’s usually 10, 10:30 in the morning. And if you take it for longer than 15 minutes, it’s considered to be that you’re slacking off.

[00:14:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:14:09] Elyse Rivin: You know, get back to your desk, whatever you’re doing,

[00:14:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. Well, and nowadays people they can track every click, every mouse, whatever. I don’t think that’s happening so much in France either, like it’s fine, you can go to the office, chit-chat with your coworkers for half an hour at the coffee machine, then get your work done.

[00:14:27] If you really need another coffee,I mean, no, they just don’t go back. Don’t go back.

[00:14:31] And then they go to lunch and they’ll have their coffee with lunch, obviously. And then later in the afternoon, they can take another half hour coffee break. It’s better than taking a smoking break, it’s healthier for you as I’m sure. So there you go. That’s a big one. And if you did not participate in the coffee break, you would be seen as a weirdo.

[00:14:49] More pressure to be part of a group

[00:14:49] Elyse Rivin: Yes. Well, there is more pressure, in general I would say, in French society, to be part of the group.

[00:14:57] Elyse Rivin: In all of these things what we’re talking about indicate that, you know, it’s like you should not be different from people. It sometimes can be hard if you, as Americans really prize their individuality, and the idea that you have to do this, because everybody does it. It can sometimes, I have found that there are times when it’s like, do I really want to do this? It’s hard.

[00:15:18] Today, the default is to use “tu” in business situations

[00:15:18] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and when you are in that group, anymore in French companies you have to say “TU” to everybody.

[00:15:25] Annie Sargent: There are very few situations, and this is a huge change. Because when I was working in companies, it was “vous” for work.

[00:15:33] Kissing people on the cheeks

[00:15:33] Annie Sargent: At least you started that way until somebody told you, please let’s do “TU”. Nowadays, the default is “TU”. And the default is back to kissing people on the cheeks when you arrive.

[00:15:44] Annie Sargent: It’s not as mandatory as it used to be, because of COVID, but it’s back. So you show up, you go find your coworkers at the coffee machine, you kiss everybody and you have your coffee and you chit-chat about whatever. And sometimes it’s going to be aboutwork, you know, sometimes it will be about work, but not every day.

[00:16:03] I really have to admit that after all my years of living here, I really hate that.

[00:16:07] Elyse Rivin: I really do. And now that the COVID has come and more or less gone, not completely obviously, I think that elbowing is fine. And that’s my excuse for elbowing people.

[00:16:18] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because America, you can just walk up to and say, hey, how you doing? Here, you cannot, you have to kiss them.

[00:16:23] Elyse Rivin: I just, there are some people I just don’t wanna do that.


[00:16:25] Annie Sargent: That’s true. That’s true. But that’s how it is.

[00:16:28] Vacations in France

[00:16:28] Annie Sargent: Vacations are sacred in France.

[00:16:31] Elyse Rivin: Oh yes.

[00:16:33] Annie Sargent: So just, there are people who choose their job based on vacations. Even young people, they just go, okay, what’s the profession I should pick that allows me to have vacation and long weekends?

[00:16:47] Elyse Rivin: The first time I heard a young person say that, I thought it was a joke. I really did. And then I realized, no, that person was serious. It really makes a big difference for them. They would rather have long vacation and earn less, and that’s the bottom line.

[00:17:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes.They want to take at least three weeks in a row in the summer.

[00:17:08] Elyse Rivin: And have one or two during the winter.

[00:17:09] Annie Sargent: And then in the winter, couple of weeks and kids have several, you know, vacation times throughout the year, and a lot of parents they will either. One parent will take those two weeks off, the other one will take the next batch, or sometimes the kids go stay with the grandparents or things like that, but vacations are sacrosanct.

[00:17:31] Elyse Rivin: Sacrosanct.

[00:17:32] People don’t respond when on vacation

[00:17:32] Annie Sargent: And when people go on vacation, they do not respond to emails, they do not return your calls, they do not check Facebook, they do not do any of that. They just have a vacation.

[00:17:43] Elyse Rivin: And really, and truly, I think that France would have a second revolution if the government decided to stop vacations.

[00:17:50] Elyse Rivin: yes

[00:17:51] People are discovering vacations in France instead of abroad

[00:17:51] Annie Sargent: People were very, very, and this has come back even stronger after COVID because people were cooped up, they could not go anywhere. A lot of French people are rediscovering vacations here in France, so when you go out to big sites, sites of interest, you see as many French people as foreigners, which is a good thing, you know, it’s wonderful. And some of them just visit from the next department over or something.

[00:18:20] Annie Sargent: They’re not necessarily coming from very far, but they do take their vacations and their long weekends.

[00:18:26] Check schedule for long weekends

[00:18:26] Annie Sargent: And if you plan to come to France in May, especially sometimes it’s June as well, check the schedule for the long weekends. And I always talk about that on the podcast as well, because it will mess you up.

[00:18:42] Annie Sargent: Like you will, you’ll wonder why are all the hotels full, like, what’s happening? And it’s because it’s a long weekend. And French people are booking up those rooms well ahead, because they want their primo spots and they look forward all year to going to X, Y, and Z for the long weekend in May, the first one or the second one or the third one, we usually have three long weekends in May.

[00:19:08] ,

[00:19:08] Annie Sargent: So these are reallyimportant for people.

[00:19:11] Elyse Rivin: When my sister was planning the trip to Provence for this past May, she did not know it and booked her arrival for one of the long weekends and had so much trouble, there was some, I think restaurant or hotel she wanted to go to and it was all filled. And this was a year before.

[00:19:25] And finally, I went on to the French calendar because it’s not on an American and I went, aha, that’s why, there you go!

[00:19:34] Annie Sargent: I probably newsletters about that because that would be helpful. Yeah. The French calendar. Yeah. That would be helpful to do.

[00:19:41] Appreciating nature more

[00:19:41] Elyse Rivin: And the other thing about, of course, since COVID is that not only are French people doing more vacations inside country, which had to do with restrictions and going out, but they’re rediscovering things like the mountains and places that they know are there, but starting to appreciate more.

[00:19:58] Yes, very much so. Very much so. If there is someone in your company who loves his or her vacations, instead of you slacker, like the attitude is completely different. Because I remember when I worked in high tech companies in the US, there was always this kind of people were suspicious of the people who would go off on vacation.

[00:20:23] Annie Sargent: Or take days off too much. Like they were slackers, they were not part of the team, not a team player, blah, blah, blah. It’s the opposite in France.

[00:20:32] Elyse Rivin: It is really the opposite. I had an unfortunately bad experience with that, but this is going back already, over 25 years ago.

[00:20:40] Elyse Rivin: This is when I did my Fullbright Exchange and that I was teaching in a high school in France and a person whose post I took, was teaching in my high school in New York. And she unfortunately had an incident where she got mugged, which is really unfortunate. But what happened was, she used it as an excuse, because she wasn’t hurt, she just got scared, luckily for her, but she went to a doctor, in France.

[00:21:05] Arrêt de travail

[00:21:05] Elyse Rivin: There is what they call un arrêt de travail.

[00:21:08] Elyse Rivin: It doesn’t exist in the States. If you have a serious injury, there’s a specific agency that deals with injuries until you get time off and you get paid. But she actually went to a doctor and asked for four weeks off.

[00:21:21] Elyse Rivin: And she really was justified in taking three or four days off. And she got into a lot of trouble. And the people, the whole rest of the crew she was working with, they could not understand why she would take all this time off. And so it became a real issue and it made me realize, because I was working in France.

[00:21:38] Annie Sargent: But this was in the US, right?

[00:21:39] Elyse Rivin: This was in the US. And I was here doubling up on, on work in the high school where I was teaching. And I thought, wow, that’s really an interesting difference because here in France, if you have an “arrêt de travail,” nobody can say anything to you.

[00:21:54] Annie Sargent: No. Yeah. Yeah. And nor would it occur to, I mean some people think, some people really abuse the privilege, so, but if not,it’s just done, like, that’s how it is. But especially when it comes to just using the vacation you have because there it’s to the point where Americans don’t even use the vacation that they’re entitled to.

[00:22:12] Because there’s so much pressure to be part of the team and stay on, even though the weather is glorious and you would like to go boating, you know.

[00:22:22] Annie Sargent: Yeah. My daughter, we were discussing this episode with my daughter and she had a fun example. She says, so a few years ago she was a camp counselor in a US camp and they were taking care of, it was a camp for kids with handicaps.

[00:22:39] Annie Sargent: And she was one of the counselors and there was another French girl in the camp.

[00:22:44] Cafe culture is important in France

[00:22:44] And Marianne relates that the French girl said to one of the American counselors, why don’t we go out and get a drink? And so the American counselor went, got her truck, they got into the truck, she went to the drive up window of some sort of fast food place nearby, and that was the, let’s get a drink, was to drive the drive up window.

[00:23:07] Annie Sargent: And the French girl was like, meant I want to go to cafe or something, like sit somewhere nice and have a drink.

[00:23:14] Elyse Rivin: Well, you know, part of that, I was just thinking, because we were just talking about this a couple of minutes ago, part of that is that unless you go to a big city in the States, there is no cafe culture.

[00:23:24] Here, even though many tiny villages no longer have a cafe, but that’s because there are not enough people to sustain it economically. It’s still a culture where like in Spain, you go out and you can sit over a drink. It doesn’t have to be alcohol, it can be any kind of drink at all, but you sit outside somewhere and you talk and you hang out for a while. And there are lots of places in the States where that doesn’t exist.

[00:23:47] Annie Sargent: Apparently, some places it happens, but it’s unusual.

[00:23:50] Elyse Rivin: Big cities, I think in cities you can do that.

[00:23:52] Annie Sargent: Maybe vacation towns?

[00:23:54] Elyse Rivin: Maybe vacation towns, you know.

[00:23:56] I think that one of the things is that you get the, not to bring in brands, but the whole culture that has grown up around things like Starbucks has changed that a little bit, because Starbucks is just about everywhere.

[00:24:07] Elyse Rivin: And even though it’s basically based on coffees and teas and sweets and things like that, it’s a place where you’re encouraged to hang out. So that has changed things a little bit, but you’re right, there are zillions of places in the States where there is no such place to hang out unless go to a bar.

[00:24:21] French bookstores don’t have a cafe

[00:24:21] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. And on the other hand, French bookstores typically do not have a cafe.

[00:24:27] Elyse Rivin: Right.

[00:24:29] Annie Sargent: Which is very different, you know? And when I discuss this with a bookstore owner, one of the major ones in Toulouse, he said he was worried about people, you know, taking books and staining them and damaging them. Because if they haven’t exited they don’t have to buy it. Like, they could just be reading it while they’re having their coffee, stain it, you know, and then. So he was still worried about that, and this was quite a few years ago and still to this day, there are very few bookstores with coffee places inside, and that surprises Americans. One of the big exceptions to that is Shakespearean company in Paris because, and even that is pretty recent, they put in a cafe next door maybe five years ago, a few years ago. Anyway, for the longest time there wasn’t a cafe next to it. And so now you can just go hang out there. So it’s a very different, we have cafes everywhere, right? But not where you might expect them.

[00:25:28] Relationship to money

[00:25:28] Annie Sargent: French people have a very different approach to money. Their relationship to money is quite different. A lot of French people are just like, you can’t take it with you kind of attitude is very prevalent here. So people will want to have enough money to live, but they don’t really go for a million. I mean, like you never see people say, I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30.

[00:25:55] Annie Sargent: I mean, there might be a few, but it’s odd. Like it’s not the same.

[00:25:59] Elyse Rivin: Well, they, I think the difference to me, there are two differences. One is that you don’t hear a lot of people claiming like here, you would say, I want a job that gives me a lot of vacation, but you don’t have a lot of people focusing on earning a living as a choice of career. But the other thing is that, and this is really I’ve been quite impressed by, and I’m saying that as a neutral sense, people here have an attitude of more, I’m going to put money away to leave to my children. And in the States, people spend their money and they get themselves often in in debt because they use a lot of credit cards.

[00:26:32] French people save their pennies

[00:26:32] Elyse Rivin: You don’t have a lot of people with a lot of credit cards here in France.

[00:26:36] Elyse Rivin: And most of the people I know will spend their money judiciously and they don’t just spend their money. They don’t just go out and spend and spend, and they save money, and saving is very important and it offers a certain assurance of stability. And I know a lot of people who talk about, well, I’m not going to spend all of this because I want my kids to have this kind of money. That is not the attitude of a lot of Americans.

[00:27:02] Not into consumerism

[00:27:02] Yes, saving, this is one of the reasons why the French economy will never be as good as the American economy, is that French people are not into consumerism.

[00:27:12] Annie Sargent: So they, once they have a perfectly fine TV they’re going to keep it until the TV dies, which could be 15 years.

[00:27:21] Elyse Rivin: That’s true. But it’s interesting you consider that not having a good economy. The fact is that French banks are safer than American banks.

[00:27:28] Annie Sargent: That’s possible, I don’t, but I’m by good economy, I mean, like it’s not obviously the standard of living. Right, it’s not as dynamic. The standard of living, people don’t change their cars constantly, people don’t upgrade their sound systems, they have a house, they have a fine house, right. And people do spend a lot of money onto on their private homes.

[00:27:48] Annie Sargent: Like, I live in a village where, you know, almost everybody has a pool, but they don’t have a McMansion to go with it. Right. You know? So it just, it’s a different relationship to money.

[00:28:00] To me, it’s more conservative. I don’t think it’s bad necessarily. I think that it’s interesting that, the idea is you don’t just spend your money and you certainly don’t go into debt over too many purchases.

[00:28:12] Don’t talk about how much you earn

[00:28:12] Elyse Rivin: You know, you really don’t. But the other aspect of it we’ve talked about is that you don’t talk about how much you earn. Ever.

[00:28:19] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:28:20] Elyse Rivin: It’s a no-no. And nobody will ever ask you.

[00:28:23] No, they don’t ask you and you’re not supposed to tell.

[00:28:25] Elyse Rivin: You’re not supposed to tell, you’d be bragging.

[00:28:26] Don’t talk about money.

[00:28:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Don’t brag.

[00:28:28] French banks issue debit card, not actual credit cards

[00:28:28] Annie Sargent: You mentioned credit cards earlier, and I want to make sure that this is very clear to everybody. French people have a plastic thing that looks like a credit card, but it’s almost never a real credit card, it’s a debit card. So it’s a card that you can use to make purchases, but you paid off at the end of the month, each month.

[00:28:48] Elyse Rivin: It’s not a rolling credit.

[00:28:49] Annie Sargent: Exactly. It’s not a rolling credit. And this is one of the reasons why Americans sometimes, used to anyway, it’s getting better all the time, but used to get in trouble when using machines that take credit cards. Because setting up machines for a debit card is very different than setting it up for a real credit card, American style credit card.

[00:29:13] Annie Sargent: And we don’t have those cards in France.

[00:29:16] Bring a debit card to France

[00:29:16] Annie Sargent: And so when you come to France, bring a debit card. It’s really important that you bring a debit card and it’s even more important, if you can link that debit card to either Google Pay or Apple Pay, because contactless payments are everywhere. And they work all the time.

[00:29:37] Annie Sargent: Like, I don’t know what the magic is, but sometimes it’s the same credit card. Because when you set up contactless, you’re going to set up your credit card. It’ll just go through your iPhone or your Apple Watch or Android phone or whatever.

[00:29:49] Annie Sargent: And once you set it up that way, anywhere that takes contactless will take it.

[00:29:54] Annie Sargent: Whereas if you just try to use the physical card, it may not work. It’s weird, but that’s how it is.

[00:30:00] Elyse Rivin: But let me just make an addendum to that, because it is a fact that you have to be careful not to confuse a debit card and a credit card.

[00:30:07] Elyse Rivin: I sometimes use my American credit card for purchases here when there are significant purchases, especially when I’m on vacation, because I do have that. And you can do that, but you have to be careful that it’s not for taking money out. Do not ever use that American credit card for taking money out. You don’t want to do that.

[00:30:27] Elyse Rivin: You need to do it with a debit card.

[00:30:29] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. That is very true.

[00:30:32] Don’t ask people about money, background, religion

[00:30:32] Annie Sargent: Another, so you mentioned that you don’t ask about how much people make.

[00:30:36] Annie Sargent: You do not. And you do not ask ’em about their religion either. That’s a big no-no here. Which it is not in America.

[00:30:43] Annie Sargent: Maybe it’s because I lived in Utah.

[00:30:45] Elyse Rivin: No, I think it’s more common, at least my experience was, and as you have said, I haven’t been back in a while, but it seems to me that it’s just more common as a basic subject of conversation in the States. It’s perfectly correct socially, to find out what people’s religious background is, not necessarily whether they’re still practicing.

[00:31:10] Elyse Rivin: Right. But you can bring it up and ask it just like in the States, people can ask, where did your family originally come from?

[00:31:17] Elyse Rivin: It’s kind of a basic thing that people do, you know, is it two three or four generations back? Where did they come from?

[00:31:25] Annie Sargent: Right. So if you look Asian and people ask you, where are you from? And you say I’m from California. And they insist, but no where you really from? Right? Yeah.

[00:31:37] Elyse Rivin: In France, people would take offense at that. But in the States, it’s just something people do. You know, there’s this basically assumption that it’s really, okay. And then you just go on to talk about something else, it’s no big deal.

[00:31:49] Annie Sargent: It’s so much of a no, no, that you can’t even ask for people’s religion in the French census.

[00:31:55] Annie Sargent: So, you know, they don’t, and it has disadvantages because if the French census actually ask people what religion they would like to associate with, then it would be easier to do stats about possibly, some religious groups being discriminated against or things of that nature.

[00:32:16] Elyse Rivin: And also it would help demographic studies to understand how many people associate with particular groups.

[00:32:22] Annie Sargent: Right. Right. So they don’t ask you and I’ve never been in a situation where people ask me, are you know, Protestant or Catholic or, in France. No, but ever. No, it wouldn’t occur to people to ask that. That’s a really private question.

[00:32:37] French employers can ask questions that aren’t allowed in the US

[00:32:37] Elyse Rivin: It’s a very private question, but the opposite of that, and I don’t know if it’s still true, but when I first came back to live in France and was applying for jobs, they have the right to ask you if you’re a woman, if you are married or not. I took offense at that, because in the States, you are not allowed to.

[00:32:54] Annie Sargent: Also, Frenchresumes still to this day, usually they encourage you to include a picture.

[00:33:01] Elyse Rivin: A picture and your date of birth.

[00:33:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. So it’s a problem because…

[00:33:06] Elyse Rivin: Because of prejudice.

[00:33:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because of your ageism, racial discrimination, things like that, they don’t anonymize for names in exams or inlike if you apply for a job, well, they’re going to know what your name is, your real name. And so they can infer a lot from a name, like, come on, we all do it. These are things where we could stand to makeprogress.

[00:33:31] In France it’s OK to discuss politics

[00:33:31] Annie Sargent: But on the other hand, something that’s totally okay to discuss in France is politics.

[00:33:37] Elyse Rivin: Yes.

[00:33:38] Annie Sargent: In America, it didn’t used to be okay to discuss politics. I have the impression that it’s changed recently in the last five, ten years, maybe.

[00:33:47] Elyse Rivin: I think so.

[00:33:48] Annie Sargent: But in France it’s always been fine to discuss politics, and you actually tease people when you know that they like a politician that you can’t stand, you know, it’s totally fine to just say, oh, your name favorite politician they’re too dumb to see this, or they’re gonna be in favor of that or whatever, and people never really get angry with each other about this. It’s very different, like okay, recently, I had somebody tell me he wanted to join Facebook with a completely different name, because he didn’t want friends and family to be able to find him on Facebook, because he knows he’s going to be annoyed by their political things. And so he made up a name and made up a completely new persona on Facebook, just not to be annoyed by all the politics.

[00:34:40] Annie Sargent: And in France, they just like to talk politics.

[00:34:42] Elyse Rivin: They like to talk, I mean, I’ve had discussions around the table with good friends and family that can turn into what an American would consider to be an argument. But it is almost an exercise in, it’s almost like an intellectual exercise. Everybody has a glass of wine, everybody starts to talk, everybody starts to get a little bit agitated about their particular political position or opinions, and then they have another glass of wine and the whole thing is all over and just, that’s the end of that.

[00:35:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And they don’t get mad at each other. There’s no threatening to cut you off, never see you again, never talk to you again. It’s just a thing like, you can, like I mentioned, you can tease people that you know are going to disagree with you on politics, but they will ask you to argument, you know, to actually just tell them, why do think this? And they will usually let you talk about it for quite some time before the conversation comes to a dead end because it always does, like, you’re never going to convince somebody to change their politics.

[00:35:47] Elyse Rivin: No, you’re not, unfortunately.

[00:35:49] Annie Sargent: No, but you do kind of tell them like, oh, but I don’t see it that way because of this and because of that, and that’s totally fine. So it’s a very differentkind of interaction within groups of friends or family gatherings or things like that.

[00:36:05] Acceptable topics for people you just met

[00:36:05] Annie Sargent: So you might ask, what are acceptable topics to discuss with people you’ve just met right, when you’re in France?

[00:36:12] Elyse Rivin: Yes.

[00:36:12] Annie Sargent: For you visiting, maybe perhaps you’re coming to, you’re hoping to stay here for a few months for possibly a few years.

[00:36:19] Talk about food

[00:36:19] Annie Sargent: So acceptable topics for people you just met are food. We love to talk about food, love to talk about the food we’re going to have, the food we’re eating now, where we like to get our breads, where we like to get our pastries, who’s the best butcher, like where do you go get that one particular cut of meat. Like everybody has to know.

[00:36:43] Elyse Rivin: What market do you go to?

[00:36:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah. What market you like? Things like that. So this is another thing, Americans will do lists like the top 10 bakeries in Paris, French people don’t do that.

[00:36:53] Annie Sargent: They just have their favorite, and they’ll just tell you, oh, the bread here is just fabulous. You got to go, you know, you got to, if you get the bread anywhere else, you are exposing yourself to just terrible pain and suffering because you won’t have the nice bread that I like. And then they argue about it.

[00:37:08] Elyse Rivin: And every village has a bakery. Every place. There are good pastry shops everywhere. I don’t think most French people think about, oh, this is the only one you can go to.

[00:37:17] Annie Sargent: Well, yesterday my husband managed to buy a terrible cake in a French bakery. So we were going out to eat with friends and these are new friends, to me anyway, he knew them, but I didn’t. And so we were leaving a little bit late and we stopped at a bakery along the way, La Panetiere, it’s a chain. And I pulled in and I stayed in the car, I should not have stayed in the car, it was a big mistake. My husband goes in and he comes out with this nice, beautiful looking cake, and he says we’re supposed to put it in the fridge until 20 minutes before we eat it.

[00:37:52] Annie Sargent: And I was like, oh, despite one of these frozen cakes, you that, they do that, and it was, it looked really nice from the top, and it was like a several layer of different chocolates, beautiful. We get to dessert, the thing was like cardboard.

[00:38:04] Annie Sargent: It was the nastiest stuff. And I was like, how can you sell such horrible cakes? And I fully intend to go back to La Panetiere and just to not sell this. This is terrible. Like, where’d you get this?

[00:38:16] Elyse Rivin: Well, you know, that’s really interesting because there are chains of bakeries. You know, the one that most tourists would probably know is Paul, because there are Pauls everywhere in Paris, and they’re pretty much everywhere in France. And down here, we have a couple of chain, one of them is La Panetiere. And I know for a fact that it’s a franchise, so they have the name, I don’t know if for instance, the pastries and the breads are actually really made there.

[00:38:40] Elyse Rivin: They make the bread. But I wonder about the pastries, whether they’re not made in a central place and then distributed in some way.

[00:38:47] Elyse Rivin: Because it’s not the same. And you have to know when it comes to a chain bakery, which ones are good and which ones are not.

[00:38:53] Annie Sargent: Well, normally I would’ve just it at my village bakery but they’re on vacation, we’re recording this in August, they’re on vacation, they’ve closed the bakery for three weeks. I mean, it is a fact that just like anywhere else, you can still get a bakery that has bad bread or bad pastries, I mean sometimes you know, it does happen.

[00:39:11] Annie Sargent: But I honestly, I have never bought something as bad as this.

[00:39:15] Elyse Rivin: I bet it was old.

[00:39:16] Annie Sargent: I don’t know what it was.

[00:39:17] Annie Sargent: I did not eat it. I took a bite. The guys both finished their serving. The other lady she kind of ate some of it and stopped. I was like, this is not worth the calories, I apologize profusely. I was like, I’m so sorry, like this is terrible.

[00:39:32] Annie Sargent: So it is possible to get a bad pastry in France, we did it last night, La Panetiere, shame on you.

[00:39:39] Annie Sargent: So, so, sorry we started talking about the…

[00:39:42] Elyse Rivin: We started about food and we just got stuck.

[00:39:44] Annie Sargent: So acceptable topics to discuss with people that you just met, food obviously, books.

[00:39:53] Talk about books

[00:39:53] Annie Sargent: You can talk about the books that you like, the authors you like, the types of books you like, stuff like that is great.

[00:40:00] Talk about TV shows

[00:40:00] Annie Sargent: TV shows, you can talk about TV shows. And most French people watch pretty much the same TV shows as Americans. I mean, we have extras, you know, we have our own TV production, but yeah.

[00:40:09] Talk about travel

[00:40:09] Annie Sargent: Travel is a favorite. So, you know, talking about some chateau you went to see, and these days it used to be people, French people would talk about their trips to, I don’t know, they went to India, they went to somewhere exotic like that. Anymore since we stayed closer, they will just say, oh, I went to see this chateau I went to see this, that, and it’s great for me because then it gives me ideas.

[00:40:33] Fine to ask what’s your profession?

[00:40:33] Elyse Rivin: I thought, do you not find that it’s okay to just ask somebody what they do as a profession?

[00:40:38] Elyse Rivin: I find that it’s okay.

[00:40:40] Annie Sargent: It’s fine. Not the first question out of your mouth, but you could ask them, you know, what sort of work do you? But don’t get too drilling down, like don’t, you know, just, yeah. What Kind of work you do? Do you more work in farming or in, uh

[00:40:57] Elyse Rivin: computer turism

[00:41:00] Annie Sargent: Yeah. exactly.

[00:41:01] Elyse Rivin: know

[00:41:02] Annie Sargent: that’s what I’m saying

[00:41:03] Talk about your next vacation

[00:41:03] Annie Sargent: Another thing that’s very popular to talk about is your next vacation. Just like your next meal is also very popular.

[00:41:09] Elyse Rivin: That’s another thing, it is eating and talking about food at the same time.

[00:41:13] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. Oh yeah. Yeah.

[00:41:15] Talk about pets

[00:41:15] Annie Sargent: And you can talk about your pets as well. People love to talk about their cats and their dogs and their, you know. Now I like to talk about hedgehogs and birds and things like that. And sometimes people look at me like, you’re interested in hedgehogs?

[00:41:29] Elyse Rivin: I have one. He comes out every night at nine o’clock and goes across my yard.

[00:41:34] Annie Sargent: Do you give him water?

[00:41:35] Elyse Rivin: No, should I? Oh, I wonder if he drinks the cat’s water. Because there’s a bowl of water out for the cat.

[00:41:43] Elyse Rivin: Okay. I’ll think about that tonight.

[00:41:44] Annie Sargent: Yeah, a shallow dish of water.

[00:41:45] Elyse Rivin: Shallow dish. Okay. Because he comes right across the same hour, every night.

[00:41:49] Elyse Rivin: There you go.

[00:41:50] Annie Sargent: That’s a nice hedgehog. I would like one like that, yes I would like one like that.

[00:41:55] Annie Sargent: Anyway, so these are some things that we thought of to discuss that are different between life, everyday life in France and in America.

[00:42:03] Annie Sargent: I hope we didn’t offend anyone by making assumptions about America that are not true. You know, it’s been a long time since I’ve lived in America.

[00:42:11] Elyse Rivin: I think these are generalizations anyway. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything, you know. But I think that it is true that there is certain DOs and DON’Ts, that are kind of understood in each culture. You know, for instance, I really would not know how to answer these questions about Spanish culture or Italian culture. I have no idea. So it is interesting to get an idea.

[00:42:33] Life is not as busy in France

[00:42:33] Annie Sargent: But life in France is not that different from life in America, other than overall, it’s not as busy. I know a lot of people think about moving to France, and if you do that, just be prepared that, unless you’re moving to Paris where there’s a lot of things happening, there are a lot of events, exhibits, you know, things that you want to do and see.

[00:42:54] Elyse Rivin: And it’s speedy, you know, it’s like a a big city speedy.

[00:42:57] Annie Sargent: Yes. Life in France typically is much, much slower, slower, slower. Like we just don’t, well, if you don’t get a response today. Like, from the guy who installed our gate, so the gate broke in May.

[00:43:11] Annie Sargent: The guy came to look at the gate also in May, a few days later. That didn’t take very long.

[00:43:16] Annie Sargent: He ordered the gate and told us it was going to be six, seven weeks. And indeed, it was much longer than it was 10 weeks before he got the gate and came to install the gate. And then there was a problem with the, so the cell to detect if somebody is in the path. And he said he’d come back and fix it next week.

[00:43:33] Annie Sargent: And it’s been well, it’s August. I mean, it’s been weeks.

[00:43:36] It’s August. So I didn’t even call him back or anything. I’ll wait till September.

[00:43:40] Don’t count on things in August

[00:43:40] Elyse Rivin: That there you hit something that really people who are not French really need to understand. In the month of August, don’t count on everything being open. Whatever it is you plan on doing, it might not be available right away. Stores close. Little companies close. This is something that would never, ever happen in the States. And probably not in other English speaking countries either.

[00:44:03] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I mean, in Paris, that’s not a problem. In Paris, so much stays open that you’re never going to have any trouble finding everything under the sun. But if you’re in a village like me, I don’t go bothering the guy. I know it’s August. He’ll get to it eventually. What’s my hurry? Like, you know, so you just need to, it’s really respectful to slow down and give people, especially workers, time to get the things and come install the things.

[00:44:32] Annie Sargent: And they’ll do a very good job once they come, but it may not be tomorrow. It might not be as fast as you’d like.

[00:44:39] Annie Sargent: That such is life, you know

[00:44:41] Elyse Rivin: C’est la vie

[00:44:42] Annie Sargent: Thank you Elise

[00:44:44] Annie Sargent: You’re welcome Annie wow

[00:44:47] Thank you, patrons

[00:44:47] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting this show and giving back. Patrons, get several exclusive rewards. You can see them at That’s P A T R E O N. Join us no spaces or dashes. Thank you all so much for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for a long time. You’re wonderful.

[00:45:10] Welcome new patrons

[00:45:10] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons, Svetlana Dickens, Michelle Wells, Steph Whitaker, Jeff and Marsha Hildebrand. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible. My thanks also to Chuck Barton, for sending in a one time donation by using the green button on any page on JoinUsinFrance that says, “Tip Your Guide”. Chuck wrote, “In late September, we will be on the Smithsonian Tour, France Through the Ages.” Ooh. “Your podcast is wonderful for background on places, providing a perspective on culture and preparing us to enjoy our first trip to France.”

[00:45:55] Annie Sargent: Wonderful to have you as a listener of the podcast, Chuck.

[00:45:59] Preparing a trip to France?

[00:45:59] Annie Sargent: If you’re preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, just like Chuck, keep listening to the podcast because it’s a great way to do it.

[00:46:10] Annie Sargent: And if you can’t remember all the stuff we talk about on the podcast, and who could? Search the website. You can also hire me to be your itinerary consultant. I can tell that the travel season is winding down a little bit because I’m only booked up one month ahead right now. It’s surprising.

[00:46:33] Annie Sargent: Here’s how this works. You go to, you click on the Itinerary Planning section. You buy however many days or weeks you need, then within one business day, usually I send you a form to fill out. And as soon as I get that form back from you, you can schedule a time to talk.

[00:46:56] Annie Sargent: I call you on the day and time. And we talk for at least half an hour, sometimes as long as an hour, depending on how many questions you have for me. Then I send you a written document that recaps all of the things we’ve discussed, plus it summarizes a lot of general advice about travel to France.

[00:47:14] Annie Sargent: This is advice you’ve heard over many episodes, you know, this is general France advice. But here it’s all in one place. And plus, you can email me at any point, if you have more questions. So it’s a great service, especially if France is all new to you.

[00:47:32] Self-guided tours

[00:47:32] Annie Sargent: But if you can’t talk to me because I’m booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tour on the VoiceMap app.

[00:47:42] Annie Sargent: I’ve made five tours of Paris. They are designed to show you the very best around iconic neighborhoods of Paris. Take a look at those,

[00:47:55] Travel Question of the Week

[00:47:55] Annie Sargent: Let’s get to the travel question of the week. Steve Yetter on the Join Us in France closed group on Facebook he said:

[00:48:02] Annie Sargent: ” I love France, but why do they bring you bread and butter with no bread plate? Then they come with a scraper and dust bin to clean up the crumbs and give you the stink eye? Question mark!”

[00:48:15] Annie Sargent: There were a lot of reactions to this one on the Facebook group. This is funny. It made me laugh, because yeah, it’s a huge difference between American ways and French ways. The only time French people spread butter on bread is at breakfast.

[00:48:31] Annie Sargent: If you’re not being served breakfast, they’ll bring bread but no butter. And French waiters by now know that it’s part of service in American restaurants, before your appetizer, they bring you bread and butter. French people would consider that just empty calories and you know French people, they don’t want to put on a pound that they don’t need to, so they don’t see the point of eating a bunch of bread before your meal. That’s like, why? Don’t do that! It’s bad for you. Okay. That’s what they think. I obviously don’t live by those rules or I would not be as heavy as I am, but it’s a very French thing.

[00:49:07] Annie Sargent: So yes, when they bring you bread in a French restaurant, the intention is that you will not eat it until you get your meal. It’s not a free appetizer. It’s something that you should eat with your meal.

[00:49:21] Annie Sargent: And also in France, we are not raised to put our bread on a plate. Bread goes on the tablecloth. Bread goes on the table. It’s normal, even at a fancy restaurant. I’m sure some of them break that rule, but typically, there is no bread plate,even at a fancy restaurant.

[00:49:41] Annie Sargent: Some very fanciest restaurants have someone going around, giving you a choice of different types of bread and they will come around several times. Some places. They just have the waiter drop off a basket of bread at your table, but they really don’t intend you to eat that as a snack before your meal.

[00:50:01] Annie Sargent: So that’s why it’s so different. Now, are there places in France where they will include butter? No. The only place where they might is Brittany because they love butter in Brittany. But even there, I don’t think they give you for lunch, they’re not going to bring you bread and butter. And if they do, it’s because they know you’re American and they’re expecting you to ask for butter. Okay? French people just don’t do that.

[00:50:26] Annie Sargent: It was a funny question, but that’s a very typical kind of cultural differences. And in America, I know if you are being raised properly, they’re going to tell you to put your bread on a plate and just let it go, you don’t need to in France. It can go on the table, it’s fine. Nobody’s gonna slap you.

[00:50:46] Annie Sargent: So also on the Facebook group. Somebody asked for help in pronouncing a proper name. And I told her, I would rather say it than try to explain how to say words. It’s hard to explain it without saying it.

[00:51:02] This was on a bottle of wine and it said Laougué Les Passionnés Madiran. So Laougué was the name of the vineyard, les Passionnés is the name of this bottle, and Madiran is a type of wine. I think the one she had a hard time with, was the proper name, Laougué. So you know how to say LA, OU as in where, où, where is it? Où est?

[00:51:31] Annie Sargent: And then Gué is the same as etre gaie by example Je suis gaie, which in French means happy. Okay. It only means happy. Like Happy and Gay in English. You have that, right? It’s the same word, but it’s gai, not gay. So gai. So it’s LA OU GUE.

[00:51:51] Annie Sargent: Don’t think about it too much. Laougué. Deciding how to read proper names is difficult in French, especially when it comes to the silent S at the end. But in this case, I don’t think there are any other ways to say this. It’s, Laougué. The end.

[00:52:04] No French news – Climate change

[00:52:04] Annie Sargent: So I’m not going to do French news today because these episodes get way too long and it’s mostly angst about climate change and how to deal with it. Because we were hit hard this summer in France by fires, by never ending heat wave. It’s still way too hot. Yesterday, it was in the nineties around Toulouse it’s way, way too hot. And the air is so dry, everything is just getting burned, it’s terrible.

[00:52:34] Annie Sargent: So because of that, there’s a lot of angst with everybody and a lot of news reports about who’s doing what, who’s not doing enough, who’s not doing their fair share, all of that. So, there you go, that’s French news for this week.

[00:52:48] Personal Update

[00:52:48] Annie Sargent: And for my personal update this week, I’ll also keep it short. Last weekend, Elyse and I went to Lavaur. Cute little town, not far from Toulouse, we had a good look around.

[00:52:59] Annie Sargent: She gives tours of Lavaur all the time, but I wanted to see it as well, to check out places where we want to take bootcamp participants. It’s really important to look around those places and imagine being there with a big group, and what might actually happen with a big group. So we are doing that and that was just doing our homework, because you know, somebody has to, and it’s so rough. We get to go explore places in the South of France, I mean, such a rough life.

[00:53:28] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on

[00:53:36] Annie Sargent: Transcripts are wonderful and they are also a pain to make, so please use them. And you can also help your francophile friends plan their own visit to France. Go to JoinUsinFrance.Com, click on the Share buttons on the left side and tag your friend. They will thank you.

[00:53:56] Next week on the podcast

[00:53:56] Next week on the podcast, an episode with Jennifer Gruenke where she tells us how she became a accidental francophile and even moved to Paris.

[00:54:08] She’s also one of the wonderful moderators of the Facebook group, beautiful people that they are. I love them so much. Send questions or feedback to Annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com.

[00:54:20] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.

[00:54:26] Annie Sargent: Au revoir!

[00:54:28] 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: French Customs & Lifestyle