Transcript for Episode 410: Classic French Soups

Category: French Food & Wine

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent:

[00:00:13] Intro

[00:00:13] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 410, quatre cent dix.

[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.

[00:00:34] Today on the podcast

[00:00:34] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks about classic French soups. It’s getting to be soup weather in France and I made two soups for dinner this week, Bouillabaisse from Marseille and French Onion Soup, which is more of a Paris specialty.

[00:00:57] Annie Sargent: I’m pretty sure this was my first time making Bouillabaisse. I don’t remember ever making it before and, you know, for a first attempt, it was quite tasty.

[00:01:07] Annie Sargent: I went straight for an easy recipe because I really don’t believe in complicating my life when making delicious food, but you know, even if you make the easy recipes, if you have the right ingredients, it’s really good.

[00:01:21] Annie Sargent: As for French onion soup, I mastered that a couple of years ago when I was writing my cookbook Join us at the Table, and you know what? Making onion soup is like riding a bicycle. Once you mastered the craft, you can do it again and again with no trouble.

[00:01:37] Thank you, patrons

[00:01:37] Annie Sargent: At any rate, our attempt today with Elyse is to make you hungry for some delicious French soups and I will share all the recipes I try with my patrons, wonderful people that they are because they do keep this show going and they keep me being able to buy ingredients for French soups.

[00:01:59] Annie Sargent: The other thing that keeps this podcast going is the folks 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

[00:02:20] Newsletter

[00:02:20] Annie Sargent: I am working on the mother of all newsletters to be sent out as soon as it’s ready and not a minute sooner. It’s going to be about the main things you can enjoy in France month by month. In the future, when you’re coming to France, you’ll be able to look and see what cities have great events taking place at the time when you can visit.

[00:02:44] Annie Sargent: It turns out, there are fantastic events, festivals, and things of all sorts, activities of all sorts every month of the year in France. It’s not easy listing them all. I’m sure we won’t manage to list them all, but I’m giving it a try and I’m getting some help with that because it’s just a lot of work.

[00:03:04] Annie Sargent: You can sign up for the newsletter at

[00:03:10] Annie and Elyse about classic French Soups


[00:03:19] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Elyse.

[00:03:20] Elyse Rivin: Bonjour Annie.

[00:03:21] Annie Sargent: Today, we want to talk about soups.

[00:03:24] Elyse Rivin: Soup, soup, soup.

[00:03:26] Annie Sargent: La bonne souplette.

[00:03:27] Elyse Rivin: La Souplette, yes.

[00:03:30] Annie Sargent: We have so many soups in France and it’s very, I mean, people have always eaten soup and I think we eat less of it today in the French culinary traditions than in the past.

[00:03:43] Annie Sargent: This is David, Annie’s husband interupting, I just wanted to say that this topic is a super idea.

[00:03:51] Yay yay yay.

[00:03:54] Annie Sargent: That’s my husband. It’s a super idea.

[00:03:56] Soup and Bread

[00:03:56] Annie Sargent: Okay. So French soups. And it’s very old and the staple of people’s diets for a long, long time, was some sort of soup with bread.

[00:04:08] Elyse Rivin: Yes, right.

[00:04:09] Elyse Rivin: The two go together.

[00:04:10] Annie Sargent: Yes. And we even have this expression “Tremper la soupe”.

[00:04:15] Elyse Rivin: Tremper la soupe, meaning put the bread in the soup.

[00:04:19] Annie Sargent: Yes. So tremper means to soak,

[00:04:22] Annie Sargent: but it’s funny because it’s tremper la soupe. It’s not the soup that you’re soaking, it’s the bread that you’re soaking, but we say tremper la soupe. And usually, that soup was some sort of broth with vegetables, meat if you had some, sometimes you cracked eggs into it as well, whatever you had, you could put in the soup.

[00:04:39] Annie Sargent: For the longest time, the biggest part of French people’s meal was bread, to be eaten with something liquid. You could dip your bread in milk, wine, cider, beer.

[00:04:53] Annie Sargent: So if that’s what you had on hand, like, you had some wine and you had some bread, well, your meal that night was bread dipped in wine.

[00:05:03] Elyse Rivin: Would you consider that a soup?

[00:05:05] Annie Sargent: No, but I’m just talking about the way people ate long ago.

[00:05:09] Elyse Rivin: This is peasant food.

[00:05:11] Annie Sargent: This is peasant food, everyday food for French, you know, people who were not nobility and very rich, which is what maybe…

[00:05:20] Elyse Rivin: Most of the people.

[00:05:21] Annie Sargent: Right, because nobility and very rich in France was maybe a fraction of a percent or something, you know?

[00:05:27] How much Bread a French person eats?

[00:05:27] Annie Sargent: Historically, it was really common for French people to eat a whole kilo of bread every day. Good bread. Well, whatever bread they had, you know, a kilo is what? 2.2 pounds.

[00:05:40] Annie Sargent: There you go 2.2 pounds. So how many kilos of bread do you think we eat in France each year?

[00:05:50] Elyse Rivin: You mean now? A French person on average eats how many kilos of bread in a year?

[00:05:55] A baguette usually weighs 200 grams. I would guess the typical French person, unless they’re on a diet, eats a half a baguette a day. I can’t figure out how to multiply all of that.

[00:06:07] Annie Sargent: So, so, so let’s see 200 grams, that’s 100 gram a day, 356 days. Right? So that’s we would eat…

[00:06:15] Elyse Rivin: 36 kilos. No, that can’t be right.

[00:06:20] Annie Sargent: Let’s see. Let’s see. Let me get out the calculator.

[00:06:23] Elyse Rivin: Of course, some sandwiches are actually a half a baguette, but aside from that, I would guess that people eat a half a baguette a day.


[00:06:29] Elyse Rivin: A hundred grams a day times 365. Multiply that.

[00:06:34] So that’s 36,500 grams.

[00:06:38] Elyse Rivin: Divided by a thousand.

[00:06:39] Annie Sargent: So that’s 36 kilos and a half.

[00:06:42] Annie Sargent: Okay. Well, apparently, we eat 58 kilograms today of bread.

[00:06:50] Annie Sargent: So some people eat quite a bit more than you think.

[00:06:53] Elyse Rivin: My husband.

[00:06:55] We buy a bread a day and in the morning, I have a little piece, and then at lunchtime, I have a very small slice most of the time, and then he kind of looks at me and he says to me, I’m not sure we’re going to have enough for the rest of the day, you eat too much bread. Okay? He’s French. I’m not. Yeah. We eat plenty of bread in this house too. I think we eat one baguette, one tradition per day.

[00:07:18] Elyse Rivin: Per day?

[00:07:19] Annie Sargent: Per day. of us

[00:07:20] Annie Sargent: Which is exactly that. Which is why you got your 36 kilos in a year. At least.

[00:07:25] Annie Sargent: Plus whenever we eat sandwiches and whatever, you know? Yeah. So it’s a bit counterintuitive, but Americans actually eat more bread than French people.

[00:07:35] Elyse Rivin: Do they?

[00:07:35] Annie Sargent: Yes, overall. But when I include bagels, pretzels, foccacia, pita bread, sour dough, you know, all bread products.

[00:07:43] How many boulangeries we have in France?

[00:07:43] Annie Sargent: How many boulangerie do you think we have in France?

[00:07:46] Elyse Rivin: Okay. I will take a wild guess with rounded numbers because as far as I am concerned, it’s probably the thing that there are the most of in France. So I would say a hundred thousand.

[00:07:59] Annie Sargent: No, it’s 32,000.

[00:08:02] Annie Sargent: That’s all.

[00:08:04] Annie Sargent: But we have a lot of bakeries, boulangerie.

[00:08:08] Elyse Rivin: Really?

[00:08:09] Annie Sargent: In like the grocery stores. I mean, French people buy plenty of bread at the grocery stores.

[00:08:14] Elyse Rivin: Even your little village here, you have a nice bakery, I don’t know of hardly any village that has at least a couple of hundred people that doesn’t have a bakery. It’s amazing.

[00:08:25] Annie Sargent: Yeah. But this says 32,000 you know, the internet said, so got to be true. So how many baguettes do you figure are produced every second in France?

[00:08:36] Elyse Rivin: Oh God every second? How would I know that? I have no idea.

[00:08:43] Annie Sargent: I was surprised by the answer, it’s 320 baguettes are made every second in France.

[00:08:49] Annie Sargent: So that’s 10 billion baguettes are made in France every year, 10 billion.

[00:08:55] Elyse Rivin: Oh my God..

[00:08:56] Annie Sargent: And Emmanuel Macron would like baguette to become patrimoine mondial de l’humanité.

[00:09:03] Elyse Rivin: Of UNESCO?

[00:09:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah, the World Heritage.

[00:09:05] Elyse Rivin: Well it better be a good baguette.

[00:09:07] How do you get good soups in France today?

[00:09:07] Annie Sargent: But baguette is not that old. And so we’re back to my story about the old kind of way of eating. The two staples of French life were soups and bread. Okay. How do you think you can get good soup in France today?

[00:09:24] Elyse Rivin: To me, good soup means going to somebody’s house. Ah, okay. I like soup a lot. I make soup a lot, especially as the weather gets colder. And my feeling is, and my observation is after all the years of living here, is that you don’t get good soup in a restaurant. You just don’t. I know people who come to Paris, especially if it’s for the first time, have to have their onions soup. It’s the classic thing associated with Paris particularly, but I’ve always been very disappointed in restaurants all over France, except for maybe a couple of places because they have a different tradition, like if in Alsace, where there’s a more dramatic kind of tradition about things that soup is basically not often on the menu.

[00:10:13] Elyse Rivin: It really is not. And if it is, outside of certain places like the traditional Paris Bistro, it’s a thin watery vegetable soup.

[00:10:22] Elyse Rivin: So I don’t consider soup something that is something you would go for in a restaurant.

[00:10:27] Classic French Soups you should try at home

[00:10:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Try these soups that we’re going to talk about at home.

[00:10:30] Annie Sargent: At home make these soups, these are really easy, most of them, not all of them, but I think these are delicious and they’re really worth trying.

[00:10:38] Annie Sargent: Right, I’ll share some recipes with my patrons because we like to talk about food.

[00:10:43] Elyse Rivin: And pictures of the soups.

[00:10:44] Annie Sargent: And pictures and stuff. And I’m going to have to try and make some of those, because I must admit, I have not made all of the ones I’m going to talk about, but soups are really a basic, you know, a basic food.

[00:10:54] Chestnut Soup

[00:10:54] Annie Sargent: So one thing that is a repeat kind of type of soup is a Chestnut soup, because chestnuts are something you can harvest and keep for a while, right? And so this is the sort of staple food that if you have chestnut trees, you can store them for the winter and enjoy your chestnuts through the winter.

[00:11:15] Annie Sargent: Now this is notthe same conkers, you know, in England, they call them conkers. This is not something you eat. There are two kinds, there’s Horse Chestnut and chestnuts.

[00:11:23] Annie Sargent: Right. So this is the edible chestnuts, les Châtaigne.

[00:11:27] Annie Sargent: Okay, pas les Marron.

[00:11:28] If I’m not mistaken, chestnuts, edible chestnuts, particularly not the other kind, which are actually very pretty, grow in specific areas in France, like in Ardeche or on Corsica.

[00:11:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:11:39] Annie Sargent: Well you can have, you know, you can get lucky and have a good chestnut tree just about anywhere. And of course, France used to have a lot more forest than we do today, even though it’s going back up, we are planting more and more forest. Butlots of people had access to chestnuts. It was not a difficult thing to do. So you find a variation on chestnuts soup and today you find that as a festive kind of soup.

[00:12:02] Elyse Rivin: I’ve never had it. Never.

[00:12:03] Annie Sargent: Oh, it’s very good. Usually, it’s a chicken broth and you chop up your chestnuts, salt, it’s not much it’s, you know, broth, chestnuts and salt, cream of course, if you want that, but it’s very good, if you kind of puree it a little bit, not all the way, it’s kind of a thicker kind of soup.

[00:12:24] I have to find a recipe. The way I make it is I cook a lot of onions and then I add broth and I get the flavor of the broth just like I want it, and then I…

[00:12:34] Elyse Rivin: Do you use canned chestnuts?

[00:12:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah. In France you can buy them in a can, you know? I’ve cooked my own chestnut and opened them and peeled them and all that, but…

[00:12:42] Elyse Rivin: It’s funny, I’m not a big chestnut fan in general, but I use them in stuffing.

[00:12:46] Elyse Rivin: But I’ve never had a chestnut soup. You’re going to have to make me one.

[00:12:49] Annie Sargent: Yes. Well, I’m going to have to make you one.

[00:12:51] Vichyssoise

[00:12:51] Annie Sargent: Vichyssoise.

[00:12:53] Annie Sargent: Is it on your list? Tell us about it.

[00:12:55] I would like to tell this as a little anecdote. When I first lived in France, I learned to make Vichyssoise. And Vichyssoise is a soup that you can have either cold or hot and it’s based on leaks and potatoes and cream.

[00:13:09] Elyse Rivin: And when I went back to visit my parents in the States, I wanted to show off for them. And so I made them a Vichyssoise and every single time after that, when I went to visit my parents, I made them a Vichyssoise. And so for me, it’s a soup that’s associated with my parents. And it has such a wonderful nostalgic, I don’t know what the word is, association for me.

[00:13:34] Annie Sargent: And so do you make it thick or thin?

[00:13:37] Elyse Rivin: I made it thick in spite of the fact that, as you know, and maybe some people out there do know, but not everybody, I don’t eat a lot of cream. But what I did is, the basic recipe I used for Vichyssoise and I did serve it cold most of the time, except a couple of times when I made it in the winter, I actually like it cold, is I used a vegetable broth with the potatoes and leaks and onion, and then added some very light cream. But I made it thick by having lots and lots of leaks and potatoes. And so the cream was not a heavy cream, it wasn’t like it was based strictly on the cream thing, and I love it. I absolutely love it.

[00:14:15] Annie Sargent: Right. So it’s, I mean, it’s a leak and potato soup is essentially what it is. But traditionally, if you get it at a restaurant, which you sometimes find it at restaurants, occasionally, it’s going to be much thinner than what you described.

[00:14:28] In restaurants they serve it as a thinner soup.

[00:14:30] Annie Sargent: Yes. They serve it like as a, you know, a little thicker than broth, but not much thicker than that. Yeah.

[00:14:36] Elyse Rivin: But this is just a, all you have to do is say the word vichyssoise and it makes me, I get happy.

[00:14:41] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:14:41] Garbure

[00:14:41] Annie Sargent: So do you know what Garbure is?

[00:14:43] Elyse Rivin: Garbure is a soup from the Pyrénées. That’s like a stew, isn’t it? It’s lots of pieces of things.

[00:14:48] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:14:49] Annie Sargent: So it’s made with cabbage and potatoes, with duck or any other part of pork that you have, pork bones, whatever. This was an everyday food for laborers. It’s got plenty of calories. It keeps them warm. In the Pyrénées it’s rainy a lot, and I’m sure before climate change, it was rainier than it is today, even. So, if you were laboring in the fields, even in the summer, you can have, I mean, yesterday I was in the Pyrénées and I stopped for a couple of hours and we got rained on.

[00:15:21] Elyse Rivin: Did you have a Garbure?

[00:15:22] Elyse Rivin: No, but actually I have had Garbure in a couple of restaurants in the Pyrénées and I don’t know enough about it to know whether I had the best ones or not, you know, because I haven’t had, but they were very good. It’s a winter soup.

[00:15:37] Annie Sargent: Yes. And it’s the sort of thing that there isn’t a set recipe. It’s a family recipe. It’s what the flavor, when you say Garbure, what comes to your mind, what flavor do you want? And your mom, you know, made it that way. And so you want that, right? So it’s not a set, but typically, you know, it’s going to have cabbage, potatoes,

[00:15:57] Elyse Rivin: Beans, I had one with nice white beans in it.

[00:16:00] Annie Sargent: And duck a lot of the time, duck fat or pork. It’s a very hearty soup. Okay.

[00:16:05] Bouillabaisse

[00:16:05] Annie Sargent: Bouillabaisse, of course.

[00:16:07] Annie Sargent: So that’s the soup from Marseille and the Provence area. It’s a fish soup, a fish stew, I guess.

[00:16:14] It’s kind of like in between the classic fish soup and a stew. It’s somewhere in between, right?

[00:16:21] Annie Sargent: It is chunky. Yeah.

[00:16:22] Annie Sargent: And it is usually served with aioli which is agarlicky mayonnaise.

[00:16:28] Elyse Rivin: And it’s spicy.

[00:16:29] Annie Sargent: And withsome bread crouton.

[00:16:32] Annie Sargent: And it’s spicy, it’s got rouille in it, you know? Anyway, it’s delicious. It’s quite expensive, the real thing is very expensive. And if you want to have it, when you go to Marseille, you should really look up the restaurants that are known for making it. A couple of people in my family, my niece and her husband, who is a professional chef, the last couple of days that they were here, this was just a two months ago. They went to a restaurant in Marseille. I am going to ask my nephew in-law what restaurant he went to. Because he said it was very good. And I know for a fact, it’s like cassoulet, it’s hard to find a really homemade version of it that’s really with, because it’s made with rockfish and about five different kinds of fish and it takes a long time to make.

[00:17:19] Maybe I can find out the name of the restaurant.

[00:17:21] Annie Sargent: And we can put it on the website.

[00:17:22] The sort of fish that you need are expensive, they’re not your everyday fish. And so that’s why it’s expensive. Like, if you’re going to have Bouillabaisse in a restaurant, expect to pay at least 50 per person, you know, .

[00:17:33] Consommé

[00:17:33] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:17:33] Annie Sargent: Consommé. Do you know what that is?

[00:17:35] Elyse Rivin: Consommé is just broth.

[00:17:37] Annie Sargent: It’s a broth.A beef broth. If you have beef bones and you make broth with it, it’s a beef broth with salt, perhaps a little bit of celery, perhaps, but you don’t leave the vegetables in there, you know, some onion, to flavor it, and then you remove all that and you just drink it as a light, very light soup. I love those things.

[00:17:56] Elyse Rivin: Oh you like that?

[00:17:57] Elyse Rivin:

[00:17:57] Elyse Rivin: Isn’t that funny? Now in the states, the equivalent would be a chicken broth. It’s more, you there’s much more chicken broth in the States than there is beef broth.

[00:18:06] And that is something that I do make at home, the chicken broth, I don’t make a beef broth. Isn’t that funny?

[00:18:14] Annie Sargent: Well, you probably don’t buy big things of beef with a bone in it.

[00:18:18] Elyse Rivin: Exactly.

[00:18:18] Annie Sargent: How often do you have beef bones at home?

[00:18:21] Elyse Rivin: Not often. I don’t have a dog.

[00:18:23] Annie Sargent: And even for dogs, apparently, they can crack their teeth on those things, so yeah.

[00:18:28] Elyse Rivin: No, you’re right, I don’t.

[00:18:30] Annie Sargent: Yeah. But you can buy it. Consommé, you can buy it already made, you know. And it’s true that one big difference between France and America is that in America, you have all these soup restaurants, soup and salad and all sorts of different types of restaurants like that. You go to the restaurant and you get big bowls of, what do you call that, the potato with seafood, clam chowder.

[00:18:54] Annie Sargent: That’s a specialty that you’ll find at a lot of restaurants in America. French restaurants don’t put those sorts of soup on the menu as much as Americans.

[00:19:04] French restaurants usually don’t serve soup

[00:19:04] No. I must say that in the years of being a guide and taking Americans around, one of the comments that I hear the most, it’s not negative, but it’s a kind of criticism is that they’re disappointed that they can’t get soup in a restaurant. And mostly it’s at lunchtime, you know, because it’s such an American thing to have soup and sandwich at lunch. It’s like oh, I couldn’t get any soup. And I went, yeah, you have to go to somebody’s house, get yourself invited.

[00:19:30] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. Make some friends.

[00:19:32] Tourin

[00:19:32] Annie Sargent: Okay. One is called Tourin. Have you heard of that one?

[00:19:36] Elyse Rivin: I’ve heard it.

[00:19:37] Annie Sargent: Right. So this is a garlic soup. But it’s different. Okay. La Soupe à l’ail de Lautrec, is one thing, because that’s a garlic soup with mayonnaise. It is delicious.

[00:19:50] Elyse Rivin: I don’t think I would be eating it.

[00:19:52] Annie Sargent: Well, I wanted to try it.

[00:19:54] Elyse Rivin: And you did.

[00:19:55] I did, in Lautrec, I can even put a recommendation of that nice little restaurant in Lautrec where I had it, and it was the bomb. It was wonderful. I didn’t think I’d like it. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d like it, I was like, but oh, it was.

[00:20:09] Elyse Rivin: And it tastes very garlicky?

[00:20:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah, but it’s the garlic is cooked, so you don’t get garlic breath. I mean, I think you get garlic breath with raw garlic, but once the garlic is cooked, it’s much milder flavor and it’s easier to digest, I think.

[00:20:24] Annie Sargent: Anyway, Tourin is a garlic soup, but it’s not the same. It’s got water, oil, flour, vinegar, egg, and duck fat.

[00:20:33] Elyse Rivin: Oh.They come from Tour?

[00:20:34] Annie Sargent: I’m not sure where that’s from. But that’s the soup they served to newlyweds right before their wedding night. And for newlyweds, they served it with a lot of pepper.

[00:20:50] Elyse Rivin: No comment.

[00:20:51] Annie Sargent: No comment.

[00:20:52] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:20:53] Annie Sargent: So they want to know if they really love one another enough to have garlic on the breath.

[00:20:59] Elyse Rivin: Oh well.

[00:21:00] Annie Sargent: But lots of pepper. It makes up for it, I guess.

[00:21:03] Elyse Rivin: Yeah, sure. Okay. Whatever.

[00:21:06] Annie Sargent: Okay

[00:21:06] Aigo Boulido

[00:21:06] Annie Sargent: There’s another one, that’s also garlic, it’s Aigo Boulido. Which means…

[00:21:12] Elyse Rivin: I haven’t got a clue.

[00:21:12] Aigo Boulido

[00:21:13] Elyse Rivin: That means I go to you. I don’t know. I don’t know. C’est de l’eau bouillie. Where is it from? Nice?

[00:21:20] Annie Sargent: And it’s garlic and sage.

[00:21:24] Annie Sargent: It’s water with garlic and sage, it’s served, oh, it’s Provençal, you’re right, I’m wrong. It’s the soup served on Christmas Eve in the Provençal tradition.

[00:21:34] Annie Sargent: Aigo Boulido.

[00:21:36] Annie Sargent: It is what is

[00:21:37] Elyse Rivin: Aigo, I know is Ail garlic. Sage is, this interesting because sage, I associate personally, with stuffing and turkeys, which is interesting because that gets you closer to Christmas time.

[00:21:49] Annie Sargent: But for Christmas, you serve so many dishes that you need to have something light.

[00:21:55] Annie Sargent: The idea of a Christmas Eve dinner is that it’s going to take forever. You bring all the dishes at different times. You leave a good half an hour between, you know, so it’s very funny.

[00:22:06] Bajana or Badjana from Cévènnes

[00:22:06] Annie Sargent: Okay. So the next one is called Bajana or Badjana, and this is from the Cévènnes area. So, because I did not know where the Cévènnes are, I printed this thing.

[00:22:18] Elyse Rivin: It’s kind of south central. The Cévènnes is above Montpelier.

[00:22:24] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. So this is from the Cévènnes and it’s a Chestnut soup.

[00:22:31] Annie Sargent: Yes, but with a bit of milk or cream, which is typical. I mean, Chestnut soup often has, you know, onions andmilk or cream.

[00:22:39] Bourriquette

[00:22:39] Annie Sargent: La Bourriquette is a soup from the Limousin and it’s made of oseille. Sorrel. Shallots and potatoes, and it’s served with a poached egg. Now I don’t like sorrel, but it comes up in a lot of these traditional recipes. It must be really easy to grow.

[00:23:02] Elyse Rivin: Well, it’s very easy to grow. I think it’s kind of the equivalent of a wild herb in a lot of places, you know, because it grows along little streams and stuff like that.

[00:23:10] Elyse Rivin: Like water cress.

[00:23:11] Elyse Rivin: But it has a very special taste, it’s actually a little bit sour. It’s a taste that’s you have to either really like, or not like, you know, and I’ve had it as a soup with, I didn’t know that name, but with potatoes and a little bit of cream.

[00:23:26] Elyse Rivin: It’s actually good.

[00:23:27] Annie Sargent: But this is sorrel, shallots and potatoes. It might be good, but I don’t like flavor of the, but this is the Bourriquette.

[00:23:34] Bréjaude, root soup

[00:23:34] is also from the Limousin and the name comes from the Occitan bréjer, which means écraser or crush.

[00:23:43] Elyse Rivin: And what is crushed?

[00:23:44] Annie Sargent: So you crush all of the ingredients and you use typically anything that grows in the dirt. So it’s going to be, and in French, anything that grows in the dirt can be called “rave.”

[00:23:57] Elyse Rivin: You mean like a root?

[00:23:59] Annie Sargent: Exactly.

[00:24:00] Rave is like celery rave.

[00:24:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. The celery rave but any of these vegetable

[00:24:06] Annie Sargent: Exactly.

[00:24:07] Annie Sargent: Exactly. So like,the celeriac is the celery rave, potatoes grow in the dirt, carrots grow in the dirt, any sort of radishes, because as you know, we have lots of different sorts of radishes. In France, you can easily find the black radishes.

[00:24:22] Annie Sargent: They’re big old radishes and they’re very spicy, very spicy, you know, beets, yams, turnips, rutabagas onions, grows in the dirt. So it’s a sort of rave you use any of those, and then you crush them. But honestly, It’s whatever you have.

[00:24:41] Annie Sargent: And the advantage of these kind of rave vegetables, is that they keep a while.

[00:24:45] Elyse Rivin: That’s why they’re good for winter.

[00:24:47] Annie Sargent: Right, they’re good for winter because if you know what you’re doing, you can store them in a way that they’re going to be good for three, four months anyway. So you have the rave and then you can add bacon or any part of the pork.

[00:25:02] One pig per year

[00:25:02] Annie Sargent: Now, as you know, in the countryside, French people always used to raise a pig and butcher a pig per year, at least one. Okay. And my father grew up in a household where they had a farm. I mean, his father was making wheels. He was a charron so he made wheels for carts.

[00:25:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Big old, you know, the big old round wheels. And so this is my grandfather and he also had a little farm and they raised animals, but the pig, they always grew fond of the pig.

[00:25:37] Annie Sargent: Apparently, pigs are lovely animals. I’ve never really got to know a.

[00:25:40] Elyse Rivin: Apparently they’re very smart.

[00:25:42] Annie Sargent: Yes, and so before butchering the pig, it was normal to exchange the pig with another person.

[00:25:49] Annie Sargent: Somebody else would butcher your pig and you would butcher somebody else’s pig.

[00:25:53] Elyse Rivin: Don’t take a picture of me right now, please.

[00:25:54] Annie Sargent: Yes. So, but this was part of French life.

[00:25:57] And they would eat every part. They would use every part of the animal, to make all sorts of things.

[00:26:05] Elyse Rivin: That’s real farm life, peasant life.

[00:26:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And my father, you know, he would be 92 this year. He’s passed, but he was raised in that sort of family, you know, so it’s not that old.

[00:26:19] And it’s not every part of France that was like this. I never, I mean, I grew up in the city, I don’t know, but it was normal.

[00:26:26] Le Brésou

[00:26:26] Annie Sargent: It is from the Auvergne and it’s essentially a milk soup. So it’s a milk to which you add, I mean Auvergne, they have a lot of cows.

[00:26:39] Elyse Rivin: It’s like the aligot in Auvergne, everything with cheese and milk.

[00:26:44] Annie Sargent: Right, and so you add vegetables and meats to your milk and makes a brézou, which is

[00:26:50] La Cousinette

[00:26:50] Annie Sargent: la Cousinette or soupe verte à la mauve.I had to look up what mauve.

[00:26:57] Elyse Rivin: A plant with a purple flower.

[00:26:59] Annie Sargent: Yes. it’s a plant and it’s a wild plant and people pick it up, you know, it grows wild.

[00:27:05] Elyse Rivin: It grows in my garden, the flower is used as an herbal tea.

[00:27:09] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:27:10] Annie Sargent: And it’s used in soups as well. So, C’est la soupe verte à la mauve, it’s from the Basque country and it’s green leaves.

[00:27:19] Annie Sargent: It could be spinach, swiss chard, sorrell, lettuces or mauve if you have it, I’ve never had it. Have you eaten it? No. No. And then they add some pork or veal and butter and broth and serve it with a slice of bread. It’s probably very good.

[00:27:36] Elzekaria

[00:27:36] Annie Sargent: Another from the Basque country is Elzekaria. So it’s a soup with white cabbage, onions, white beans, or fava beans in season, lard, lots of garlic and piment d’Espellette.

[00:27:50] Annie Sargent: That’s got to be good, right?

[00:27:51] Yeah.

[00:27:52] Annie Sargent: And it’s finished with a tiny bit of white vinegar.

[00:27:55] Elyse Rivin: Just to give it a little zing.

[00:27:58] Jimboura

[00:27:58] Annie Sargent: La Jimboura. Jimboura is from Bergerac. So it’s from the Southwest. This is a soup that they made when they killed the pig, because when you kill the pig, one of the things you make is boudin, right?

[00:28:10] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:28:10] Annie Sargent: Boudin noir, blood of the pig.

[00:28:13] Elyse Rivin: I don’t eat.

[00:28:14] Annie Sargent: So they kept the water in which, because the sausages, you boil them, right. You stuff them in a casing and you close that and then you boil it to cook yourboudin. And they kept the broth because some of them would explode, right, and give lots of good flavor to the broth.

[00:28:33] Annie Sargent: So you save that broth, that you made your boudin into and you add carrots, leaks, turnip, cabbage, onions, and you serve it with bread. think I would like that.

[00:28:44] Moiuyzillars

[00:28:44] Annie Sargent: Alors, celui-là. I’m not sure how to even say that word Moiuyzillars. It’s from the Anjou area, which is Loire Valley, and it’s chestnuts with milk. It’s another variation on chestnut with milk. They have that all over France.

[00:29:00] Panade

[00:29:00] Annie Sargent: Panade, so this is bread leftovers, because if you eat a lot of bread, you probably have some bread leftover at some point.

[00:29:07] Annie Sargent: So it’s bread leftovers, water, milk, butter, raw egg yolk in the center. So it looks like, I saw picture of this, it looks like a bready, milky you know, kind of substance. And then they put a raw egg yolk on top in the center and then you mix it. I’ve never had that, I would like to try that.

[00:29:30] Annie Sargent: I think I would like that. Let’s see.

[00:29:32] Patranque

[00:29:32] La Patranque, so it’s from the Cantal area.

[00:29:37] Elyse Rivin: Cantal is the North Central part, it’s still the South of France, it’s in the Massif Central. It’s the center of the southern part of France, basically.

[00:29:48] Elyse Rivin: It’s about two hours north of Toulouse.

[00:29:51] Elyse Rivin: Very rural, very beautiful, very green, very cold in the winter. Lots of cows.

[00:29:57] So this Patranque is an old rye, you take some old rye bread, because apparently, they used to make rye bread a lot there. If it’s old and hard and yucky, you cut it up, put it in a frying pan with some oil and then you add milk, butter, onions, garlic, and salt.

[00:30:14] Elyse Rivin: I bet that would be good actually.

[00:30:15] Annie Sargent: And you could make that anywhere, if you have rye bread, you know.

[00:30:17] It’s interesting, because a lot of these soups are really what poor people would eat because that’s what they had left.

[00:30:24] Annie Sargent: Yes. You just make do with what you got. It’s okay, it feeds you, you know.

[00:30:28] La Rotie

[00:30:28] Annie Sargent: La Rotie, that’s an onion soup, right? To which you add red wine.

[00:30:34] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:30:35] So they make an onion soup, and remember, French onion soup does not have like a heavy crust ofcheese, and lots of bread in it.

[00:30:44] Annie Sargent: No, the original French onion, because that’s gratinée, okay? So La Gratinée is onion soup with bread in it and cheese on top. And it goes under the broiler and the cheese is all melty and yummy. But the soup, the onion soup, does not have any of that. So you take a basic onion soup and to make it a “rotie”, you take somebread that you’ve toasted, you dip it in red wine, and then you put that in your onion soup.

[00:31:13] Elyse Rivin: I think that would be good.

[00:31:14] Maybe, have you ever dipped bread in wine?

[00:31:17] Annie Sargent: But I mean, it used to be normal, okay? People dipped bread in anything.

[00:31:21] Elyse Rivin: If you have toasted bread like that, you dip it in the and then put it in the soup. I think that would be actually, it dissolves a little bit, I bet it would be good. Yeah.

[00:31:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah. We’ll try that.

[00:31:28] Elyse Rivin: Ah, I’ll try that. You can have the boudin one, the boudin one. We’ll split them up. I’ll eat a half of them and you’ll have the other half.

[00:31:33] Soupe a l’échalote

[00:31:33] Okay. Then there’s a city of d’Avranches in Normandy and they have soupe a l’échalote. So this is like an onion soup, but it’s shallot soup.

[00:31:41] Annie Sargent: Okay. So it’s shallots, potatoes, butter, and then flour that you add to thicken it. And you serve this with cream because…

[00:31:49] Elyse Rivin: Of course, because this is Normandy…

[00:31:50] Annie Sargent: For the people who don’t like it too heavy, they might also serve it with some broth on the sideto make it a little lighter.

[00:31:57] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:31:58] Elyse Rivin: Okay, I’m not getting indigestion yet.

[00:32:02] Soupe à la bierre

[00:32:02] Annie Sargent: That’s soupe à la bierre. That’s beer soup from Alsace. Chicken broth, beer, onions, nutmeg and no meat of any sort in that one. That’s probably like a Lent soup or something.

[00:32:16] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because they insisted, no meat. Chicken broth, beef, onions, and nutmeg.

[00:32:21] Annie Sargent: I don’t know if I’d like that.

[00:32:22] Soupe de Bricolin

[00:32:22] Annie Sargent: Okay, so you were just in Brittany, have you had Soupe de Bricolin?

[00:32:28] Annie Sargent: Bricolin.

[00:32:28] Elyse Rivin: I had gallette, I haven’t had any soup at all.

[00:32:31] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. So bricolin, are young cabbage starters. So if you are a gardener and you start your own cabbage, right, you have to thin it, you have to thin your rows. Well, so you let the plant get to about three inches maybe, and then you thin it out. Well, well, what you pull is called, a bricolin.

[00:32:53] Annie Sargent: And at that point, cabbage looks like a lettuce leaf, you know, it’s not round and big and thick and yet, you know. So the bricolin, you make soup with that young plant and you can also buy it at the open air markets, apparently, in season. This is only when you sow your…

[00:33:12] Elyse Rivin: Okay. I mean, I have gone to endless markets in the part of Brittany that I go to, but maybe it’s a winter soup because I certainly have not seen it.

[00:33:22] I don’t know when you would sow cabbage.

[00:33:24] Elyse Rivin: I don’t know. I think cabbage is basically for winter, fall and winter. It’s probably something I would get if I went back now.

[00:33:30] Annie Sargent: Anyway, so that’s a Soupe de Bricolin from Brittany.

[00:33:34] Annie Sargent: And then there’s this thing that we do that, you know, we have a lot of functional alcoholics in France, I don’t know if you noticed. So this, by that, I mean, people who drink an awful lot of wine.

[00:33:44] Annie Sargent: Butthey kind spread it out throughout the day, so they’re never drunk, but if you really count it all up, it’s a heck of a lot more than two drinks a day, you know?

[00:33:54] Faire chabrot

[00:33:54] Annie Sargent: So, people like that love to ils aiment faire chabrot. Which means, chabrol in Occitan, here it’s faire chabrol, the rest of France is faire chabrot. And this is when you’ve had a bowl of soup in a family situation, like you said, that’s the only place to get good soup, which is true. Eat your bowl of soup and then you add red wine to the bowl to make sure you don’t miss any of the soup. But of course, it’s really because you want to have some more wine.

[00:34:27] Elyse Rivin: And you wipe it all up.

[00:34:28] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and you wipe it all. You drink it all up and you have all your wine, I mean all your soup, you didn’t waste any soup. It was so good, you don’t waste any. You have to add wine to it.

[00:34:40] Annie Sargent: So I’m at the end of my list, Elyse,

[00:34:42] Elyse Rivin: there you go.

[00:34:43] Annie Sargent: I would love to hear about the soups that you wanted to mention.

[00:34:47] Elyse Rivin: Okay. Well, I just want to mention a few, two that I make a lot in the winter because I absolutely love them, and I think of them as being French soups.

[00:34:57] Elyse Rivin: But the other two, I would like to talk about briefly because I’ve had them, and in spite of what I’ve said, I’ve actually had them in restaurants. And so I take back what I said, not completely, but a little bit, because they were surprise soups and they were both absolutely delicious. And I have to admit that I have not made either of them at home, but I think I’m going to try one of them.

[00:35:21] Carrot soup by Elyse

[00:35:21] Elyse Rivin: So, but I’ll start with the two that I make at home. One of them is, I make a carrot soup, but that can also be made with butternut squash. And I don’t think, I think butternut squash actually originally comes from the Americas, I have no idea, but I think so, but it’s become extremely popular. There are a lot of winter squash that you can get in on the markets here.

[00:35:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:35:44] Elyse Rivin: Basically, the recipe is the same. I love it as a soup. Sometimes, I actually mix the butternut squash and the carrots. The difference between the two is the carrot soup becomes, in spite of the fact that I try to make it thick, it never has that dense consistency that it does if it’s butternut squash, but it’s a simple soup and I make it both as a vegan soup and as a vegetarian soup. That is sometimes I make it with no milk in it at all, or cream, and sometimes I add some milk or cream. It kind of depends how I feel. But it’s a simple soup because it starts off just with some onion and one potato and the rest of it is either the carrots or the butternut. And I either make it with ginger, using some thin slices of fresh ginger, because I like that little kick that it gives it at the end, or sometimes I actually make it with curry and a little bit of cumin, so that it’s not blant.

[00:36:36] Annie Sargent: I would prefer it with a curry.

[00:36:38] You don’t like the ginger, I love ginger, so it depends on my mood, you know. Sometimes I make it the curry cumin way and sometimes I make it the ginger way. If you come, I’ll make it the curry cumin way.

[00:36:48] Annie Sargent: I really hope that when people listen to this episode, they then tell us what their favorite soup is.

[00:36:53] Elyse Rivin: Exactly.

[00:36:54] Elyse Rivin: In the comments.

[00:36:55] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because I’ll post it right on Facebook as I always do.

[00:36:58] Mushrooms soup by Elyse

[00:36:58] Elyse Rivin: And the other winter soup that I have made a few times, and the first time I made it, it was because I just was in the mood and I kind of mixed together three or four different recipes, but now I kind of like it as a tradition to do around New Year’s day, is I make my own mushroom soup. But it’s not a cream of mushroom soup, I use a little red wine in my mushroom soup.

[00:37:20] Annie Sargent: Ooh.

[00:37:20] Elyse Rivin: And I buy a lot of mushrooms. And I was, I went online because I was trying to remember, I use what they call champignon de Paris here, your basic mushrooms. But there’s also one that’s similar, that’s called I think a Creon, which is a brownish color on the outside. And it’s like a Parisian mushroom, but it has more flavor to it. And both of those are easily available in the middle of the winter or, you know, certainly in December and stuff like that, and I buy lots and lots of them. And I add, I just do it with a little bit of onion and vegetable broth, and I really make it so that there’s a zillion amounts of mushrooms because of course they cook down, you know, there’s almost nothing. And I flavor it with thyme and some herbs from Provence. And I add a quarter of a cup of red wine.

[00:38:08] Elyse Rivin: And then I mix it.

[00:38:11] Elyse Rivin: And then I add a few slices, on top at the end.

[00:38:13] Annie Sargent: So it’s served as a kind of creamy soup or like at least I mean, not chunky.

[00:38:17] Elyse Rivin: Right, it’s not chunky, a couple of times I made it without adding any cream or milk and then couple of times, I just thought, oh, a drizzle of a little light cream on top, it wouldn’t hurt. You know? So, so those are my two favorite wintery type soups.

[00:38:29] Soups in restaurants

[00:38:29] Elyse Rivin: But the two that I’ve had in restaurants and that are really intriguing, one is a cold, sweet pea soup. And I just had this recently in Provence, it was in my opinion, rather decadent, but that’s because I’m not used to eating those kinds of soups.

[00:38:46] Elyse Rivin: And it was basically,salt and pepper, enormous amounts of fresh peas that had just been picked, a little bit of vegetable broth and cream. And as you know, I’m not a person who eats a lot of cream, but this time I ate it down to the last lick.

[00:39:02] Annie Sargent: Well you know, when you said, when you just said that, it occurred to me that the one place where you would often get a little bit of a serving of soup is in starred restaurants.

[00:39:12] Elyse Rivin: Yes.

[00:39:13] Annie Sargent: Because they like to have, you know, like different…

[00:39:17] Elyse Rivin: The little sampler things.

[00:39:18] Annie Sargent: And so they often will do a very flavorful, very nice little soup and they never give you a big bowl bowl, obviously. You know, they give you a, I don’t know, a quarter cup or something.

[00:39:29] Elyse Rivin: But that was a soup that I have to admit, it was absolutely delicious, I think. And there was, the chef had added a teeny little bit of fresh basil leaf to it. So it was very interesting. It was a delicious taste and it was very much what I would call, a late spring soup, you know?

[00:39:43] Annie Sargent: So, fresh. Fresh peas, onion, one onion, vegetable broth but there’s a quantity of peas like with the mushrooms that it really has a thick consistency, salt and pepper, cream and a little bit of fresh basil just sprinkled on top with a few peas put on top.

[00:40:00] Annie Sargent: Well, now you’re going to have to make it for me.

[00:40:02] Annie Sargent: And you could make it with frozen peas, I mean, it wouldn’t be as good,

[00:40:05] Elyse Rivin: You’re absolutely right, I went online and it’s, you know.

[00:40:08] Annie Sargent: Waiting until you get fresh peas.

[00:40:10] Elyse Rivin: You could wait forever.

[00:40:11] Elyse Rivin: Well, yes. I mean, it was in fact a kind of fancy place. I mean, let’s put it that way, it was a chance for me to have something a little bit out of the ordinary.

[00:40:19] Cold cherry soup

[00:40:19] Elyse Rivin: And the last, the one, I’ve actually had here, I had it the first time in Montauban, which is of course not very far from Toulouse.

[00:40:25] Elyse Rivin: I’ve had it three times in the Southwest of France and that is a cold cherry soup that is served as a dessert and it’s really good.

[00:40:35] Annie Sargent: A cold cherry soup.

[00:40:37] Annie Sargent: I think I’ve had strawberry soup, I’m pretty sure I’ve had watermelon kind of in a soup thing.

[00:40:42] Elyse Rivin: They call it a Gaspacho when it’s watermelon.

[00:40:45] Elyse Rivin: Yeah, but this is really straight up. It’s made with cherries, it’s made with red wine, a little bit of corn starch, just a teeny little bit, just a little bit to thicken it, just the equivalent of a couple of teaspoons. And a little bit of cinnamon, a dash of cinnamon. And if you like it, and I’m not someone who really likes it that much, you can use,badiane, which is like a star anise. Some people do it, but it’s absolutely delicious. It’s not very sweet. You put in a little bit of sugar, it depends on how sweet the cherries are to begin with. If the cherries are very dark and really sweet, you don’t have to put them. It’s a little bit acidic because of the cherries, you know, when you cook them up, they are. But yeah, and it’s served with either a big spoonful of cold cream or even cold icecream.

[00:41:30] Elyse Rivin: And it’s absolutely delicious.

[00:41:33] Annie Sargent: So folks, if you didn’t have time to write down all these recipes, you need to go to the show notes for this episode and then click on the transcript because you will see them nicely organized in the transcript with the description that we gave.

[00:41:48] Annie Sargent: Now, we’re not going to write you a recipe card, okay? You need to do that yourself. YesI will try a few and share them with my patrons. You should do the same.

[00:41:56] Elyse Rivin: I will, I think I will. And of course, if this should make you hungry, it’s made me hungry.

[00:42:01] Annie Sargent: Well, I am hungry because it’s like 1:30.

[00:42:03] Elyse Rivin: Do you have any soup Annie? Is there any soup to eat? I don’t have any soup, no.

[00:42:09] Annie Sargent: We’ll think of something.

[00:42:09] Annie Sargent: Merci

[00:42:12] Elyse Rivin: Au revoir

[00:42:14] Thank you, patrons


[00:42:14] 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 Thank you all for supporting this show. Some of you have been doing it for many years, you are wonderful.

[00:42:38] New patrons this week

[00:42:38] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons, Ann Berzin. Ann, thank you so much, that was a really generous donation and a yearly donation as well, so Merci, Merci!, and Bruce Chapman, thank you so much both of you for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:42:57] Annie Sargent: I did not publish a Patreon reward this week, but there will be winter soup recipes coming your way very soon, patrons.

[00:43:06] Preparing a trip to France?

[00:43:06] Annie Sargent: If you’re preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening to the podcast because that’s a great way to do it. But you can also hire me to be your itinerary consultant. This is how it works, you purchase the service on Then you fill out a document to tell me what you have in mind, we make a phone appointment and we chat for about an hour. And then I send you a document with the plan we discussed. And the document I send is usually quite long and quite detailed. And it’s kind of a summary of all the things that I’ve learned doing this podcast, talking to you, going around France myself.

[00:43:49] Self-guided tours

[00:43:49] Annie Sargent: And of course, if you can’t talk to me because I’m all booked up and these itinerary service consults do fill up quite far in advance, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tour of Paris on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five Tours of Paris, and they are designed to show you around different iconic neighborhoods of Paris.

[00:44:17] Annie Sargent: The VoiceMap technology gets better every day, and you can buy these tours directly from the VoiceMap app.

[00:44:24] Annie Sargent: But since you’re listening to me right now, you can get a juicy discount by getting the tours directly from me through

[00:44:36] This week in French News

[00:44:36] Annie Sargent: This week in French News, Europe has finally passed a law to force companies to standardize all devices to use the USB-C standard, starting in 2024.

[00:44:49] Annie Sargent: And I was very happy to hear this because when I took a trip, just last weekend, I had to carry four cables, lightning, USB-C, Micro USB, and I even took a USB-A just in case I needed my digital recorder. All of these different standards are a huge waste of money for consumers. We fill up drawers with chargers that we may or may not ever use again. Why can’t we just count on every device that needs to be charged to use the same standard plug? Europe had to fight for standardization for 10 years, and Apple was the company that fought them the most, but the European market is the biggest market in the world.

[00:45:33] Yes, there are more buyers, more purchasing power in Europe than in the US or China or India. And I think this will lead all companies to use USB-C on all devices, and I will be very happy to get rid of the others.

[00:45:52] Annie Sargent: This week, and this is a sad story, but this week, the third person died falling down the Etretat Cliff while attempting to do a selfie.

[00:46:05] Annie Sargent: Etretat is this beautiful place in Normandy. The first accident this year, happened on January 6th, 2022. It looks like this woman had a heart attack and then fell down the cliff. She was alone, nobody’s a hundred percent sure what happened, but that’s what the coroner said.

[00:46:22] Annie Sargent: On May 12th, another woman who was hiking with friends, fell down the same cliff. They saw it and couldn’t do a thing about it. This latest one, fell on October 3rd. She was a visitor from India, and she was taking a selfie when she slipped and fell. Her husband was taken to the hospital in a state of shock because he couldn’t do anything about it either. They have not been able to recover her body yet because the sea is really fierce in that spot.

[00:46:54] Annie Sargent: Now, the cliff at Etretat is 90 meters high, that’s about 300 feet. Not too far from there, a child also fell and died, falling off a cliff this year also. So local authorities are considering forbidding access to parts of the cliff where these accidents happen.

[00:47:16] Annie Sargent: And the take home message to you is this, be really, really careful when visiting monuments, and any natural wonder in France. We are not in the habit of babying our visitor the way they do in the US. Lots of places are treacherous, be aware of that and don’t do anything crazy for a selfie or for any other reason.

[00:47:38] Just be really, really careful, and especially with kids, you can’t let them run around too far ahead of you because they might get in trouble.

[00:47:46] Personal update this week

[00:47:46] Annie Sargent: For my personal update this week, I had a lovely four-day trip with four stops in four places.

[00:47:54] Annie Sargent: The first was Avignon, the second was Pont d’Arc and the nearby Grotte de Chauvet, which really should be called Grotte du Pont d’Arc, if you ask me. But I’ll get more into that when I do a full episode about it. And then Pont du Gard which I had been to many times, but it’s always a joy to see it again, and Aigues-Mortes in the Camargue, I have also visited Aigues-Mortes before, but what a place! It was very nice.

[00:48:21] Annie Sargent: The wonderful Jennifer Gruenke, who is one of the Join Us in France Facebook moderators met me in Avignon and we toured around in my electric car, and then she came to stay for a few days while exploring Toulouse, Carcassonne and Albi. She’s the most self-sufficient guest I’ve ever had at my house.

[00:48:43] Annie Sargent: She takes the bus, the metro, the train. She goes all day and she comes back at night to tell us about her adventures. She’s wonderful. I’ll have her on the podcast soon to talk about our adventures.

[00:48:54] Should you rent an electric car in France?

[00:48:54] Annie Sargent: And people ask me if they should rent an electric car when they visit France, and I think you should, if you rent a Tesla. But not if you plan to rent some other brand. I drive an MG car, and it’s a great car, there’s also, obviously, there’s Nissan Leafs, there’s a lot of Renault Zoe in France. The new Renault Megane Electric is very popular and selling very well. There’s a lot of really wonderful cars, electric cars in France. But there’s a lot of competition in the electric car charging space in Europe.

[00:49:36] Annie Sargent: There are apps that show all the chargers, some of these apps even give a pretty good idea if the charger works, most of the time anyway. But every time I have to charge outside of home, which, you know, I mostly, I charge at home. But every time I have to charge away from home, I’m dealing with a different company.

[00:49:56] I need to set up a payment system, I often end up needing to call support because I don’t understand, you know, some of them have very strict, like you’re supposed to plug in first and then you do this, and then you do that, and if you don’t do it in the right order, it will fail and you’ll be like, ah, crap.

[00:50:13] I end up needing to call support quite a bit. And they take calls rapidly, they’re very good about that. But it’s not as seamless as it needs to be. I think in America, as far as I know, you have Tesla and Charge America and that’s about it, right? In France we have dozens of manufacturers of different chargers and lots of different providers who all have their own systems and what have you. I mean, literally dozens.

[00:50:41] Annie Sargent: So if you rent a Tesla in France, there’s nothing to worry about. The car tells you when and where to charge, and it recognizes the Tesla charger, which are everywhere.

[00:50:53] It’s really plug and play. It’s not that easy with non-Tesla cars. Does it make me mad that I need to waste time dealing with all these different charging stations owned by different people? Not really. I do know that it’s going to be a bit of an adventure anytime I have to go somewhere different, and I just plan on it. I’m okay with it.

[00:51:14] Annie Sargent: My husband would hate it. My sister would not have the patience for it. But there’s a law in place that says that by January 2023, all gas stations on the freeway are supposed to have electric charging stations. I don’t believe they all will comply, but I can see that some of them are doing the work to make it comply. I can see that it’s happening. I’m not sure it’ll be by January 2023.

[00:51:45] Annie Sargent: So for now, if you are going to be visiting France and you want to rent an electric car, rent a Tesla. The other electric brands are more complicated to charge. Can be done, I do it, but you’ll get frustrated and that’s not what you want when you’re on vacation.

[00:52:05] Clean air zones in France

[00:52:05] Annie Sargent: Having said that, more and more cities in France are implementing rules that forbid older gas and diesel cars from entering the city. It’s not going to be a problem for rental cars because rental cars are usually newer, and they almost always get good rating for pollution. But eventually, they’re going to keep people who drive old beat up cars away from cities. And I used to drive an old beat up car, by the way, so I’m not poo pooing on these people, I’m just sharing the fact that it’s not going to be possible much longer.

[00:52:42] Annie Sargent: But if you rent a car from any of the big car rental companies, they’ll give you a fairly new car and it’ll go anywhere you want to go.

[00:52:49] All right, enough electric car preaching, but all, I mean, that electric car is so awesome, so, so awesome. Anyway, my sister calls it my spaceship. The other day she called me and the first thing she said “tu es dans ton vaisseaux spacial ?”, which means are you in your spaceship? It is like a spaceship.

[00:53:10] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on the numeral. Have you told a fellow Francophile about this podcast? You should, because they will thank you.

[00:53:26] Next week on the podcast

[00:53:26] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, a trip report with Melinda Cool about following the Tour de France in Carcassonne and the Pyrénées stages.

[00:53:40] Annie Sargent: That was quite the adventure. And I’m going to do another episode in a couple of weeks also about the Tour de France. So because there are getting ready to announce where the stages are going to be, and I know there are people who are wanting to plan their visit to France, to these cities to see The Tour.

[00:53:57] That’s why there’s going to be two of them close to one another.

[00:54:01] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.

[00:54:12] Annie Sargent: Au revoir!

[00:54:14] 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.


Annie's Zuchini Soup: Classic French Soups Episode

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Category: French Food & Wine