[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 420, quatre cent vingt.
[00:00:22] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and I’m happy to bring you a little bit of France directly to your ears.
[00:00:28] Today on the podcast
[00:00:28] Annie Sargent: Today, a trip report with Shmuel Perl about his Jewish perspective on Paris.
[00:00:35] Annie Sargent: This is a side of Paris that I don’t know anything about, and our conversation was fascinating, lots of tips for Jewish visitors who are contemplating visiting Paris and for anyone who is curious about this as well.
[00:00:50] Annie Sargent: After the interview, I’ll update you on dicey neighborhoods in Paris, places where you don’t want to go and where locals wish they wouldn’t have to be either, honestly. These are not the areas where visitors typically go, but some of you probably in search of cheaper accommodations might choose a hotel or Airbnb in a spot that isn’t great. As we say in French “ça craint” that means, oh, I don’t know how to translate that, it’s fearful is what it is, literally, but it means, it creates fear.
[00:01:25] Annie Sargent: Anyway, on a much happier note, let’s talk about what Paris is like on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because even if most of you won’t be in Paris for Christmas this year, you might be there one of these years. And, just knowing a few things will help you understand how things work here. All of that is after the interview.
[00:01:47] Podcast support
[00:01:47] 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.
[00:01:59] Annie Sargent: There are two ways to buy my tours, you can get them directly on the VoiceMap app, you download the free app, search for Paris Tours, and you’ll find mine. And you can buy them. And if you do that, you can read the reviews and all of that.
[00:02:14] Or you can buy them directly from my boutique JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique and click on the section about audio tours.
[00:02:22] Annie Sargent: There is a substantial discount for podcast listeners, so buy all the ones that you want on the same day. And if you know someone who already has everything and you’re having a hard time finding an interesting holiday gift for them, you can buy them tour codes and make it possible for them to see Paris in a new light. Buy them a great experience in Paris, rather than a thing that they’re going to put away and never use.
[00:02:48] Annie Sargent: Maybe they’re not going to be visiting Paris right away, that’s okay, the tours never expire and you can listen to them at home as well.
[00:03:07] A Jewish perspective on Paris
[00:03:07] Bonjour Shmuel Perl and welcome to Join Us in France.
[00:03:12] Shmuel Perl: Bonjour. Thank you for having me.
[00:03:14] Annie Sargent: Lovely to have you. You know, you are the first person on the podcast from Israel, so lovely to talk to somebody from Israel.
[00:03:23] I’m happy to be the first person, I’m not really from Israel, I mean, I live here now, but I’m originally from the States. But I do live in Israel.
[00:03:29] First visit to France
[00:03:29] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Okay, so was this your first visit to France?
[00:03:34] Shmuel Perl: Yes, this was my first visit, my wife and I went for our belated honeymoon, but neither of us had been before.
[00:03:41] Annie Sargent: Great. And so did you have, what did you think before you came? What did you expect?
[00:03:46] Shmuel Perl: I did a lot of research, including listening to this podcast and other podcasts and spending a lot of time on the internet and planning things. And then we basically had to redo our entire trip in the span of a day. The original dates that we thought we wanted to go, we actually couldn’t go.
[00:04:02] Shmuel Perl: And so we had to cancel everything and rebook everything. But the thing I found is that because I actually spent so much time researching everything, I was actually able to do most of that pretty quickly.
[00:04:12] When was the trip?
[00:04:12] Annie Sargent: That’s cool. So when was your trip?
[00:04:15] Our trip was this past August from the 14th to the 21st. Which I would say, I would caution, is not necessarily the best time to visit if you want to experience, get a local Parisian experience. I think there were no locals in the entire city.
[00:04:29] Annie Sargent: Well, the ones that had to work had to be there, but all the other ones got out.
[00:04:34] Shmuel Perl: Exactly. That’s normal.
[00:04:36] Shmuel Perl: We enjoyed some of the times that we were walking through more residential areas and there were just no one, there was no one on the streets. All the stores were closed, and it was kind of like we had the entire city to ourselves. So that was pretty cool.
[00:04:48] Yeah. So the theme of our conversation is going to be a Jewish perspective on Paris, and I really look forward to learning about this because, I mean, I do know that the Marais is a Jewish area, I’ve even written a tour of the Marais. My tour takes people in front of at least one of the beautiful synagogues in Paris, but I don’t know that much about it. So how did you experience Jewish Paris?
[00:05:18] Experiencing Jewish Paris, the Marais and more
[00:05:18] Shmuel Perl: So first of all, it’s interesting because the Marais is historically, the Jewish neighborhood, although it’s actual Jewish presence is on the decline, unfortunately, sadly. Especially since a lot of the events that have occurred in the 2010s,just the general exodus of French jewery and that area has been particularly affected.
[00:05:37] We took a tour there as one of the things that we did when we were in Paris and our tour guide was telling us all about how, you know, all of these stores that used to be Jewish stores or bakeries or delis or like a Judaica shop, which is a store that sells Jewish artifacts, and now it’s Adidas, and you know, other Western brands that have kind of taken over. So it’s definitely sad. But there are other areas of Paris, which will still have thriving Jewish community. They’re just, they’re more residential, tourists don’t normally go there.
[00:06:07] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah. So around Rue de Rosiers where you see a few Jewish establishments, they sell a lot of falafel, there’s a bakery, you know, there’s different things like that, but it probably used to be bigger. Yeah, I’m sure.
[00:06:22] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, no, there’s still a number of Jewish establishments. Some are pretty good and definitely worth visiting. Others, I might not recommend. And the whole street has just so much history, so you know, you have to go. And one of the things my wife said is that it’s a nice change from some other parts of Paris, which, you know, the Grand has minion boulevards, and here it’s this, you know, quaint little very narrow street. So it’s almost like you’re in a different city.
[00:06:46] Shoah Museum
[00:06:46] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. Yeah. It’s narrow enough that there are few cars, definitely no buses because it’s just too small. They couldn’t take turns in there. It’s like the whole area around Rue de Rosiers, it’s pretty tight around there. And also not far from there, you have the museum, I need to make sure I get the name right, it’s the Shoah Museum.
[00:07:08] Shmuel Perl: The Shoah Museum is really, it’s not so far, it’s interesting, another thing our guide told us is that it’s actually not in the Jewish part of the Marais, but it’s pretty close. It’s a small museum and us not being French speakers, it was a little hard for us to get so much out of it because you know, like other museums in France, it’s not necessarily the most English-friendly museum, but it’s a meaningful experience and you know, even if you have a few minutes, it’s worth going inside and it’s free.
[00:07:32] Annie Sargent: Yes, it is free. You first walk through the names of so many, so many people, and then you go inside and there’s more rooms dedicated to specific parts of the Shoah and the bit with the kids, it’s just heartbreaking, it’s terrible. They also have a very nice bookstore in that museum.
[00:07:54] Annie Sargent: I bought a couple of books about the history of Jews in France. So yeah, it’s an interesting little museum.
[00:08:00] Allée des Justes
[00:08:00] Annie Sargent: Right by there is something called, Allée des Justes where they have the names of French people that saved Jews from extermination by various means during World War II. So those are two places that I know about, but there’s got to be many more.
[00:08:19] Where do you go to see Jewish Paris today?
[00:08:19] Annie Sargent: So tell us where did you go to see Jewish Paris?
[00:08:22] Well first of all, I would say that we went, like we said to the Marais, and specifically the area that’s called, I think the Pletzl, which is Yiddish for ‘The place’, which is that area around Rue de Rosiers.
[00:08:35] Museum of Art and History of Judaism
[00:08:35] And then we went to the Shoah Memorial and we also went to the museum, correct me if I’m saying this wrong, I’m just going to say it English, but the Museum of Art and History of Judaism.
[00:08:44] Annie Sargent: Yes, I’ve been to that one, it’s a very good museum. It’s in a beautiful palace and I think they have different exhibits, rotating exhibits, I’m not sure if they have a very big permanent collection.
[00:08:57] Shmuel Perl: So they have a fairly decent permanent collection actually. And especially if, you know, you’ve never been to a museum like that before, and if you have any interest in, you know, it can give you a lot of insight into Jewish ritual practice and just kind of artifacts that are used in daily life.
[00:09:12] Annie Sargent: Yes, they have beautiful things.
[00:09:14] Yes, really, really beautiful and I have to say that most people probably don’t have as beautiful artifacts as the one in the museum. I guess that’s why they’re in the museum. But it’s really nice.
[00:09:26] Annie Sargent: But there’s still objects that you would use in the normal worship, the normal Jewish worship.
[00:09:33] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Maybe not as intricate, you know, and as beautiful to look at. I mean, there are, there are plenty of artifacts that we use, you know, there’swhat we call Menorah, which is what we use on Hanukkah, you have Torah coverings. One of the things that we found interesting is actually, you have all these documents, like religious documents, like you have marriage contracts and marriage documents that date back hundreds of years, which are basically the exact same template that are used today, which is, you know, it’s very cool how much has just been preserved over the years.
[00:10:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a very old culture, for sure.
[00:10:10] Annie Sargent: Are there places that you really enjoyed that brought out this Jewish history in Paris?
[00:10:15] Modern Jewish life is in the 17th Arrondissement
[00:10:15] Shmuel Perl: Yeah. So it’s interesting because a lot of the center of modern Jewish life actually isn’t in the Marais anymore, just because it’s so small and I think expensive. So one of the areas we found ourselves in a lot is there’s a big Jewish community around the 17th Arrondissement which is, I don’t think a very touristy area, but there are a lot of, you know, kosher restaurants and establishments there. Unfortunately, because we went when we went, most of them were closed, because they were also taking vacation. But it, yeah, everyone went to the beach, even the jews.
[00:10:48] Annie Sargent: Yes, everybody. Yes.
[00:10:50] But there are so many kosher restaurants in Paris that we still had plenty to choose from, and it also just kind of forced us to explore this neighborhood that we definitely wouldn’t have been otherwise. And it’s interesting because the 17th is just, it’s really beautiful and like you have this kind of very upscale area and interspersed through it are all these kosher restaurants and Jewish establishments that you probably might not realize if you don’t, if you weren’t looking out for them like we are, we can notice them right away and then you take a few steps and all of a sudden you have the view of the Arc de Triomphe which we just thought was really cool, is that you’re in this pretty residential area and all of a sudden, you can see this beautiful giant monument that’s kind of towering over everything.
[00:11:33] Favorite kosher restaurants
[00:11:33] Annie Sargent: Hmm mm-hmm. So did you have favorite kosher restaurants that you want to recommend?
[00:11:38] Shmuel Perl: Sure. I mean, I feel a little bad recommending them because I don’t know if they’re going to give you the best authentic Parisian experience. And also, if you don’t eat kosher, I don’t know how useful the recommendations are going to be, but…
[00:11:51] Annie Sargent: Oh, plenty of listeners I’m sure eat kosher.
[00:11:54] Shmuel Perl: So the best restaurant we went to actually is this place called Le Bazar, which is not in Paris itself, it’s in a suburb that I also can’t pronounce.
[00:12:01] Annie Sargent: yeah,
[00:12:05] Shmuel Perl: Which is right over, it’s right outside, it’s really, really close.
[00:12:08] And it’s also really nice. So if you are, if you do keep kosher, that’s a great place to go. It’s not, I wouldn’t say it’s authentic French food, they kind of do fusion and all sorts of interesting stuff that they use a lot of dry ice.
[00:12:23] Everything they bring out, there’s kind of like smoke coming out of it. They really make a show of everything.
[00:12:29] Annie Sargent: Cool.
[00:12:29] Shmuel Perl: But it’s really, really good. I got a duck there. That’s probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.
[00:12:36] Yeah. There are a few places that actually cater just to the general population.
[00:12:40] There’s this chocolate and macaron shop, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it called Damyel. They have locations all over Paris and their main location is on Rue de Rosiers and it’s chocolate, it’s, I think it’s a hundred percent vegan, meaning there’s no milk in any of their products, which is important for Jews because we don’t eat meat and milk together. So sometimes you want to have, you know, if you have a meat meal, you want to have a chocolate, something for dessert. So they specifically cater to that population, but then they also cater to anybody who wants to have kind of non-dairy chocolate or vegan chocolate.
[00:13:12] Shmuel Perl: And it’s really good, and you wouldn’t be able, you wouldn’t taste the difference. They have special dark chocolate, they also have chocolate that you really wouldn’t know there’s no milk in it.
[00:13:20] Shmuel Perl: But I think the best thing they have is their macarons, and again, I don’t know to compare it to anything because I’ve only had it from this one place, so I don’t know if they’re objectively good compared to the other places in Paris.
[00:13:32] Annie Sargent: But you enjoyed them.
[00:13:34] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, they were great.
[00:13:35] Annie Sargent: That’s what matters.
[00:13:36] An authentic Jewish Pastry in the Marais
[00:13:36] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, of course. And then there’s another place that’s also on the Rue de Rosiers, this bakery called The Murciano, I think. It’s not a French bakery, it’s a Jewish bakery, so if you’re looking for, you know, authentic Jewish pastries, they have, it’s only like a few doors down from L’As du Fallafel.
[00:13:52] Annie Sargent: L’As du Fallafel. Yes, I know it. Yes. I’ve been to both.
[00:13:56] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, so I, we didn’t love L’As du Fallafel because coming from Israel, we actually get better falafel for cheaper, just kind of everywhere we go. But the bakery was really great and one of the things we loved, which actually wasn’t a Jewish pastry at all, is the Brioche au sucre I think. Tell me if I’m pronouncing that correct.
[00:14:15] Annie Sargent: Brioche au sucre
[00:14:17] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, that sounds a lot better than what I said, yeah, which is really simple, but really, really good.
[00:14:24] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Good brioches can’t be beat. It’s delicious.
[00:14:28] Shmuel Perl: Yeah. So I would say those are my kind of top recommendations, probably the most accessible recommendations. And then obviously, we didn’t get to see so many places which we would. Maybe next time we go back, we’ll go not in the middle of August, and so we can get to experience even more.
[00:14:45] How long was the visit?
[00:14:45] Annie Sargent: So you were there for how many days?
[00:14:47] Shmuel Perl: We were there for a week, Sunday to Sunday.
[00:14:49] Which was I think a great amount of time. We got to see basically everything we wanted to see in Paris and we got to Versailles. Obviously wish we could have been there for longer, but we really accomplished everything that we set out to.
[00:15:01] Yeah. So you have a longer list of food and wine recommendations. You even recommend a kosher wine store. Do they do wine tasting or just sells?
[00:15:12] Shmuel Perl: So, I don’t even know, I don’t think they do wine tasting. I didn’t even go to the store. I found it on, it was actually delivered on Uber Eats, so we ordered a bottle of wine to our hotel room and just enjoyed it on our balcony, which was really, really nice. Because I know one of the things that you’ve recommended is just going into the grocery store and buying a bottle of wine and enjoying it in your hotel room.
[00:15:33] Shmuel Perl: So that’s not something that was so accessible for us. This was kind of the best alternative that we could find.
[00:15:37] Annie Sargent: You could do it that way. Yeah, sure, sure. That’s a great recommendation.
[00:15:42] French-Jewish Food Influences
[00:15:42] Annie Sargent: And you mentioned that French Jewish food is influenced by Tunisian culture. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
[00:15:51] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, so there were a lot of Jews in North Africa in general, up until kind of, right after World War II, which is and when, right after World War II is also when the state of Israel was founded. And so at that time, many Jews were kind of kicked out of their countries in North Africa.
[00:16:08] Shmuel Perl: So a lot of Jews came to Israel, but a lot of Jews in French-speaking countries like Tunisia and Algeria actually came to France. So there are a lot of Tunisian Jews in France or Jews of Tunisian heritage in France. And they’ve kind of had a big influence on modern French jewery. So it’s interesting because Tunisian food, which we knew nothing about, for some reason, they really, really like canned tuna, which I think is just because it’s something that’s very accessible, but also has this integrated into the Tunisian cuisine and it’s just all over. And like, you’ll find it in places that you would never expect, they put it on pizza, in pasta, and you know, these little pastries. We didn’t really eat so much of that, but if that’s something that you enjoy, then it’s a very kind of niche cuisine to look out for.
[00:16:56] I know that there’s a place called, I think like, Baba Loony, which is on, right off of Rue de Rosiers, which serves authentic Tunisian Jewish food, which we didn’t go, but we passed by it and looks like a cute little place. So, you know, if that’s something that you’re looking for, that, that’s also something you can find all over in Paris.
[00:17:13] So did you attend services while you were in Paris?
[00:17:17] Hotel near a Synagogue
[00:17:17] Shmuel Perl: Yeah. So there’s a place that’s called the Habad of Champs Elysees, which is right, it’s on the Champs Elysees. And part of the reason we chose our hotel, which it’s the Hotel Atala, which was recently bought by this hotel chain called Sonder. They have a few hotels in Paris now, and this is kind of their original hotel there that they’ve had for, I don’t know, two years or something like that.
[00:17:38] Shmuel Perl: And it’s right off the Champs-Élysées and it’s very nice, quiet, beautiful little street called Rue de Chateau. And especially if you want to be near that area, it’s kind of perfect combination of accessible to that area, but the street is really quiet. And like, all of a sudden you go from this busy, you know, very tourist area to just beautiful little street, very quiet, little nice little boutique hotel, and the amenities are great.
[00:18:04] Shmuel Perl: So anyway, around the corner from our hotel was the habas. That’s why we chose to stay there because on Shabbat, we can’t drive, we don’t use any electricity, so we can take an Uber, we couldn’t take the metro. So we want it to be within walking distance of where we could attend services.
[00:18:18] Shmuel Perl: And the other thing is that, one of the things we can’t do on Shabbat is actually carry anything. So some places in the world have, and I don’t, I’m not going to spend the time to explain it, but they have, there’s a way to kind of make it as if everybody lives in this joint area so that you can carry within it.
[00:18:36] Shmuel Perl: So you can kind of enclose the city in a wire, basically. Like you got to put it up around the telephone poles and then you can carry. But if the city is too big, then they can’t do it. So Paris, which is a big metropolitan area, doesn’t have this loophole. You actually can’t, we can’t carry anything on Shabbat, so we couldn’t bring water, we couldn’t bring a key to our room.
[00:18:56] So we were really limited in how far we could walk.
[00:18:58] Annie Sargent: You can’t even put it in your pockets?
[00:19:00] Shmuel Perl: No, can’t put anything in your pockets. Pockets have to be empty.
[00:19:03] Annie Sargent: Oh. I did not know anything about this.
[00:19:05] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, yeah, you really have to like, make sure that you empty your pockets. There’s nothing in them. It’s crazy, yeah. And it’s also not something we usually think about because normally we can carry because of the loophole, which is called an Eruv.
[00:19:17] So we didn’t have that, we thankfully were a five minute walk. We spoke to some people who walked like an hour or more. This place Habad, they have services, they have meals, and they really catered to everything you need. It happened to be because you went in August, which is kind of the peak tourist season, it was packed and it’s not a very big building. It’s interesting, it’s like this two floor building that’s nestled in between these giant Haussmannien buildings and it kind of looks very funny. You can access it through this inner courtyard and it’s just this tiny little building. But it was perfect for what we needed.
[00:19:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Interesting. I know you mentioned the name of the hotel, but I don’t see it in your notes. Oh yeah. No, no. There it is. Hotel Sonder Atala. Okay. Very good. So I’ll put a link to it if people want to go check it out.
[00:20:05] It’s a little further away from the main central area, so if you’re okay, you know, it’s very accessible by the metro, I think the one, or we took Uber, so it’s also very accessible at Uber. So if you’re Okay staying a little further out, it’s really an amazing hotel. And the staff is incredibly friendly, and they have complimentary breakfast. And our favorite perk was they have this little cabinet, which they stock with boxes of water, like little juice boxes, but filled with water. And you have, our room had like a mini fridge in it, So every day we would just take out water and put it in our fridge and we just had a cold water with us every day.
[00:20:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah, in August, you need that.
[00:20:42] Shmuel Perl: Yeah.
[00:20:42] Shmuel Perl: And it’s a small little perk and you wouldn’t think it would make so much of an impression on us, but we really, really appreciated it.
[00:20:49] Experienced any antisemitism?
[00:20:49] So I’ve got to ask this, you mentioned earlier that there were some, lots of Jews left Paris in the 70s because there was a massive terror attack on Rue des Rosiers, as a matter of fact. And that scared everybody, unfortunately, that’s why they do it, is to scare people. But even today you hear that, oh, you have to be careful when you are a Jew, in France, whatever.
[00:21:17] Annie Sargent: What did you, how did that feel to you?
[00:21:20] Shmuel Perl: So initially, you know, we had heard that there’s significant antisemitism. So I’m an Orthodox Jew. So one of the things that I have, you know, they’re marks in my appearance. I wear a kippah or a yamaka. And I have these strings called tzitzit, which I also hang from my side, so pretty identifiable. I don’t wear, I’m not ultra orthodox, I don’t wear, you know, that kind of traditional black and white garb that you might see. Like I just walked around in jeans and a shirt. But pretty identifiable. So one of the things that I did is I wore, I wore a baseball hat, most of the places I went, which kind of marked me as a tourist.
[00:21:54] Annie Sargent: Right, but lots of French people wear baseball hats.
[00:21:57] Shmuel Perl: Right. Right, exactly. So that’s what kind of make us fit in a little more. And then there were a few days, I think one of the that we were there, we was the day that we went to the Marais and we basically spent all day in the Marais, so I made the decision that, you know, okay, we’re going to meet in this very Jewish area, I’ll just dress how I normally dress. And I think we actually had two days where we did that and it was totally fine. And I didn’t experience anything, no one said anything to me. And in fact, we found other Orthodox Jews all over Paris, especially Israelis. Israelis like to kind of vacation to Europe and especially around this time.
[00:22:32] Shmuel Perl: And they were everywhere and you know, it was really, so much better than we expected. I mean, I don’t know exactly what we anticipated happening, but we didn’t experience anything at all. Everyone was really nice.
[00:22:43] Annie Sargent: I mean, it was your first time you weren’t, you couldn’t have known like, you know, but it’s true that in the Marais I’ve seen especially older gentlemen who were obviously Orthodox Jews and were quite identifiable and nobody seems to care, like, you know. There’s probably areas of Paris where they’d get funny looks, I suppose, but not everywhere. Thank God, you know? It’d be pretty sad.
[00:23:11] Shmuel Perl: I think that as long as you stay in the more touristy areas or, you know, areas not even necessarily that are touristy, but areas that any tourist would normally avoid, probably it’s best to avoid as a Jew, if you don’t want to experience antisemitism but, we really didn’t experience anything at all.
[00:23:27] Shmuel Perl: So that was, that was a pleasant surprise.
[00:23:29] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. That’s very good to know. Yes, and I would say you know, if you’re an Orthodox Jew and it shows, you might want to stay away from, you know, all the areas around Saint Denis that are not going to be friendly. There’s parts of Paris where, you know, but these are the same parts of Paris where I wouldn’t recommend people go hang out, and I often get told off like, ah, they’re fine. Well, yeah, I’m sure they’re fine most of the time, but not all of the time. Okay. So, yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:00] I was just going to say that it was really just overall much better than we expected. And if we went back, I would probably do the same thing just out of an abundance of caution. And I would recommend, especially if it’s your first time there, just being a little more cautious than you would in, if you were visiting, you know, if you were touring somewhere in the US or especially if you’re here in Israel.
[00:24:20] Shmuel Perl: But we really didn’t experience anything. And I wouldn’t be scared, I wouldn’t say that you shouldn’t go because that’s something that you’re scared of.
[00:24:27] Did your wife notice anything different?
[00:24:29] Shmuel Perl: No, I think, and she also, what she does, she covers her hair. That’s another thing that’s part of being an Orthodox Jew. So she has like a hair covering that may not be noticeable to someone who doesn’t necessarily know what they’re looking for. But again, if she didn’t experience anything, I didn’t experience anything. We were really, totally fine.
[00:24:49] Annie Sargent: Great. That’s wonderful to hear. I hope it stays that way because, you know, we’re a nation of laws and in France we allow people to have whatever religion they want. And the one thing that’s not allowed, that is probably very different from Israel or even the US is, I’m not sure you’d be able to wear a kippah in public school in France the same way that young girls, muslim girls can’t cover their hair in public school in France.
[00:25:20] Annie Sargent: So we do have restrictions like that and I’m not sure they are that smart, but whatever. That’s how it is. I didn’t make the laws, so…
[00:25:28] Areas they enjoyed the most
[00:25:28] Annie Sargent: So what parts of your trip in France you enjoyed the most? What do you recommend other people do?
[00:25:35] Shmuel Perl: Oh, I don’t know. Well, first of all, I would say probably a thing that we loved the most was really just walking the streets, because everywhere you look, there’s something to see. And just the area that around the Seine from, you know, by the Louvre, by the Ille de la Cite, even out to the Orsay, that whole area, just anywhere you walk is just beautiful. We walked from the Luxembourg Gardens up to, really to the Pompidou. So we walked down Boulevard St. Michel, across Ile de la Cite into Marais and that was just a really enjoyable walk and you could kind of peek into the right and see all the tourists crammed Latin Quarter, which we didn’t really go into.
[00:26:14] And especially as we got toward the Fountaine and right along the Seine, you know, all of a sudden there’s just all these tourists. It’s really just like a pleasant walk, and even just being in the Luxembourg Gardens was something that was like, it’s, I knew that it was a place we had to go, but the beauty is, it’s incredible.
[00:26:33] Shmuel Perl: Like we just sat there and just watched the kids push the boats in the fountains and just took in the weather because for August, the weather was really nice. So we’re used to 90 plus degrees and humidity, so, having like just low eighties and beautiful weather and just being able to sit outside was really, really great.
[00:26:52] Annie Sargent: Oh, so you thought that Paris was cool in the summer.
[00:26:56] Shmuel Perl: Oh, yes. For us it was, the weather was great. I mean, we happened to come in between heat waves, so it rained a bunch, but the weather, it never got over probably in Fahrenheit, I don’t know it Celsius, but 83, 84 degrees.
[00:27:11] Vedettes du Pont Neuf
[00:27:11] Shmuel Perl: The other thing that we really loved was we took a boat tour on the Seine at night, which everybody recommended, and I would say is certainly worth it.
[00:27:21] And we got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It was interesting, we did a Vedettes du Pont Neuf and we took the boat at 9:45, so we were a little worried that we were going to miss the Eiffel Tower. But the way they did the tour is they sped through the first 15 minutes. You actually end up at Eiffel Tower right as it sparkles, and then they take a leisurely cruise back.
[00:27:43] Annie Sargent: They all do that. Like they will do whatever they can to get you to the sparkle on time. And in the summer like that, it starts kind of late, so you know, at 7:00 PM it’s not going to sparkle, you have to look at sunset time and it’s the hour after sunset time.
[00:28:01] Photoshoot at Trocadero
[00:28:01] Shmuel Perl: Right, and that was certainly, we thought the best way to experience the Eiffel Tower, we actually did a photoshoot at the Trocadero, which thankfully we did early in the morning. And even early in the morning, it just wasn’t really the place that we wanted to be, you know, there are people trying to sell us stuff and we really, our photographer even told us like, hold on to your belongings, like, keep an eye on everything.
[00:28:24] So just experiencing it from the boat was, I think, the best way that we actually had to experience the Eiffel Tower. And also because we took Uber everywhere, we weren’t underground traveling places, so, you know, you can just kind of see it
[00:28:36] Shmuel Perl: in the skyline when you’re driving around.
[00:28:38] Annie Sargent: Yes. So you enjoyed Paris in a way that I think is lovely, which is, you know, you’re not underground and you’re not with sweaty visitors packed in a metro, you know…
[00:28:51] Shmuel Perl: Yeah.
[00:28:52] Arc de Triomphe
[00:28:52] Shmuel Perl: But probably our favorite place is actually around the Arc de Triomphe, because we just weren’t prepared for how massive it is, and it’s like I could look at that all day. It’s so impressive how they built it, you know, how intricate it is, we actually were walking right by it during sunset, and you can see the sun through the center of the arch going down.
[00:29:13] It’s really beautiful. Like that’s, it’s something that, I guess most people know that they should come and visit, but it’s really crazy just having this city and having this giant archway just kind of in the middle of a regular city and not even in a place where there are other real touristattractions. So it just kind of stands on its own.
[00:29:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So you enjoyed that.
[00:29:34] Shmuel Perl: Yeah. And the other thing that we enjoyed, of course, was seeing all the art museums and kind of seeing them all together. And also we went on a tour of Montmartre that focused on art history. So being able to see kind of the way that art progressed. We went to the Orsay, we went to Louvre, we went to the Pompidou, and we kind of got to see the whole history.
[00:29:51] Montmartre tour
[00:29:51] And we also did the Montmartre tour on the same day that we went to the Orsay. So we got a lot of background on all the artists that we were about to see. That pairing, which we did not do on purpose, but it happened to work out and it was really nice.
[00:30:04] Annie Sargent: So these were in-person tours with people, right? You had tour guides.
[00:30:09] Shmuel Perl: Yes. So we did basically all of our tours through Airbnb Experiences, which we highly recommend because you can get these pretty small tours for not so much. They’re usually like younger guides who probably haven’t been doing it for as long, but they know what they’re talking about and they’re probably more personable because it’s not, they’re not doing it from a, you know, real professional standard, their leading group of 35 people, they’re going through the same script every time, and you can kind of get more of their personal take on things.
[00:30:40] And you know, our groups were five people, four people, six people. I don’t even know if we got to six. And they have tours, you know, the whole range of everything.
[00:30:49] Annie Sargent: Yeah. No, that’s a very good way to do it. You mentioned all the places you went on your Montmartre tour. Well, of course, that’s where I take people on my VoiceMap tour, like it’s the same, you know, because these are all the places, I mean, I added a few churches that you probably wouldn’t go to necessarily on a Jewish tour, if that’s, but maybe your Montmartre tour it wasn’t necessarily a religious tour, was it?
[00:31:15] Shmuel Perl: No. It was an art history tour, and it was amazing because in the description our tour guide had said that we’re going to take you to part of Montmartre where you’re not going to see the tourists. And obviously, my wife and I looked at that and we’re like, we don’t believe that, right? Montmartre is crawling with tourists. How are we going to go to the place?
[00:31:30] Shmuel Perl: And somehow he managed it, he took the alternate routes and got to all the places we wanted to go. And we saw, we went up the back of Sacre Coeur and as soon as we got to the front, all of a sudden, you see all the tourists. You’re just like, you know, all these people are really missing out.
[00:31:46] Annie Sargent: Well they just don’t know that there’s a lot more to Montmartre than that area. But yes, I do exactly the same thing. I start my tour on the off the beaten track stuff, which is still very interesting.
[00:31:59] Candora Perfume Workshop
[00:31:59] Annie Sargent: So did you have a very favorite activity or were they all just, it all blends together in your head? I would say the best thing we did was probably the boat tour, then the other really great thing that we did is on the last day that we were there, we did a perfume workshop with Candora, which is a small kind of boutique perfumery in the Marais. They offer workshops. It’s two hours. They spend the first hour kind of teaching you about how your nose works the olfactory nerve and kind of how you smell things and how perfumery works. And then you spend the second half of it actually making your own blend of perfume. And each person who participates in the workshop actually gets to take home a regular size bottle.
[00:32:42] Which if you buy at retail is going to be like $60. The workshop is only $85. It sounds like a lot, but you know, if you consider the fact of what you’re kind of taking home with you, it’s really not a bad price at all.
[00:32:56] Annie Sargent: Well, you had a great time learning about perfume and making it, so that’s fantastic.
[00:33:00] Parselle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor
[00:33:00] Annie Sargent: One thing that you mention in your document that I’m curious about is the Parselle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor, the pedestrian bridge. Tell us about that, because it doesn’t come up that often, but it is a nice place.
[00:33:12] It’s the bridge between basically the Orsay and the Tuileries Gardens, and it’s just a pedestrian bridge, and it’s a really nice bridge and it’s actually one of the bridges that had taken over in terms of the locks that were on the sides of the bridge. So when we first walked over it, all of a sudden we see all these locks that people have put up. So we decide we wanted to join in.
[00:33:33] Shmuel Perl: We went to some guy who was on the side selling locks, and my wife and I bought one, and we wrote our initials on it and threw the key into the river. And this was Sunday, the first day we got there. And we went to the Orsay on Thursday, so we decided we wanted to go back and see our lock. And this bridge is just a gorgeous bridge. You can see down the Seine in either direction, you can see Notre Dame and then you can see basically, down toward the Eiffel Tower, and it’s just a great place to sit and enjoy the world go by. But we came back on Thursday and we saw that they had taken the grating, the metal grating off the side of the bridge. And all of the locks that we had seen were piled now, like on these grates piled up. And so our lock had stayed on there for a total of four days because they had replaced the whole siding with this plastic siding.
[00:34:18] Shmuel Perl: And then by some miracle, the grate that we happened to put our lock on was on the top. So we found it. So I got a picture of it. But it was pretty funny that we thought, oh, well we’re going to put this up there and who knows how long it’s going to stay up. And it was on there for four days, and then they took everything down.
[00:34:35] Don’t do the love-lock thing
[00:34:35] Annie Sargent: I really don’t recommend people do the lock thing because it hurts the bridges, it will damage the structure, that’s why they take them away, because they want to discourage that. But at the same time, there are people selling locks right there, and the police doesn’t do anything about it.
[00:34:54] Shmuel Perl: We totally understand why they take it down. And we weren’t actually upset, I think it makes sense and I think they’re doing it on all the bridges. They’re replacing the grates with plastic siding so that people don’t do it. Because, you know, the bridges were going to collapse and you know, this such a nice bridge. It would be really terrible if it collapsed, but it was just funny.
[00:35:11] Annie Sargent: It bends the metal, and if there’s any wind or ice, whatever, it really damages the structure.
[00:35:17] Shmuel Perl: But aside from the locks, it’s a beautiful bridge to cross, especially if you’re walking in that direction.
[00:35:22] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a lovely place. All right. Well, so we don’t have a lot of time left.
[00:35:25] How did Paris feel to you?
[00:35:25] Annie Sargent: Do you have any last thoughts that you want to share about, you know, overall impression of your visit to Paris and how it felt to you?
[00:35:33] Yeah, I mean we were, we had very high expectations, obviously, but I think it met our expectations if not exceeded it. We really enjoyed the whole time. And we had pretty busy days. One of the things we did is we kind of did our days almost nine to five, and then came back and took a little break before going out again for dinner, which I think is a good way to do it.
[00:35:51] It was definitely hard for me to hold back and not try to pack in the itinerary every single moment. And I think in the end we kind of got a good balance between, you know, doing things and seeing all the things we wanted to see, but also just enjoying ourselves and slowing down and taking in everything that was all around us.
[00:36:09] And also just before we go, I want to recommend the name of the Jewish tour that we went on, which is, there’s a tour company called Site Seekers Paris, I think is the name. They run a bunch of tours including the Jewish tour that we went on, which I found in all my research, I think is the only specifically Jewish tour of the Marais.
[00:36:25] Shmuel Perl: And then one of the things that’s included in the tour, is they actually get you a reservation at L’As du Fallafel. So that’s something that you also want to do, you can kind of skip the line and include it in your tour. And they also go inside a number of synagogues, which you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise because they have such heavy security.
[00:36:43] So if that’s something that you’re interested in, I think it’s really great and it’ll give you a unique perspective on Marais. Obviously, you know, I know that there are a number of churches that are also worth visiting, so that’s not going to be on there. So you’re not going to get a comprehensive tour, but if you are looking for something around the area of Rue de Rossier, that’s really great. That would be my other recommendation aside from the tours that we took with Airbnb.
[00:37:05] Annie Sargent: Yeah. That’s great, I’ll put a link to their services in the show notes for this episode because I love it when people recommend good tour guides that they’ve experienced. I don’t like it so much when they say, oh, I heard somewhere that this guy was great. No, that doesn’t fly with me. But when you’ve experienced it and it was a great tour, I’m happy to give him a plug. That’s great.
[00:37:29] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, they were great. And they run a number of other tours too. And, you know, I think it’s pretty small and they’ve customized all the tours themselves and they’re really great. So I would highly recommend using them.
[00:37:39] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Okay. You’re going to have to teach me how to say goodbye in Hebrew.
[00:37:43] Shmuel Perl: So in Hebrew, hello and goodbye is the same, you could say Shalom, but you could also say Jiro, which just means to see you again or hope to see you again.
[00:37:52] Annie Sargent: Loro,
[00:37:52] Shmuel Perl: Jiro.
[00:37:53] Shmuel Perl: Yeah.
[00:37:53] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. I will try to remember that.
[00:37:55] Shmuel Perl: Close enough.
[00:37:56] Annie Sargent: Sorry, I can’t even pass. Oh, it’s terrible.
[00:37:59] Shmuel Perl: French is terrible, so
[00:38:02] We do what we can, don’t we? And I think you know, it’s important to be respectful and try to use your polite words whenever you can. Even if you don’t say them perfectly, it’s fine.
[00:38:13] Shmuel Perl: Yeah. I mean, we got very good at just saying, you know, Merci Beaucoup and Au revoir and Bonjour and it really made a difference, I think.
[00:38:23] Shmuel Perl: Especially when we took Uber, you have to communicate with people. One of the things that I learned to say is “ici c’est bien” which is good because I think that one’s very useful, especially when you’re taking Uber.
[00:38:35] But yeah, just like learning the pleasantries, I think really made a difference.
[00:38:38] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it really does.
[00:38:40] Annie Sargent: Well, Schmuel, thank you so much for talking to me about your experiences in Paris. It’s wonderful to see that, as newly weds you were able to experience Paris in a way that brought you some joy. Because I get sad with people who just go to Paris and they just drag their feet and they’re like, oh, I don’t know. I’m tired, you know.
[00:38:59] You did your homework and you found the great places for you to enjoy, so that’s fantastic.
[00:39:04] Shmuel Perl: Yeah, it was really great. I do recommend doing your homework, I think it definitely helps, and listening to this podcast was one of the best pieces of homework that I did.
[00:39:12] Annie Sargent: Well, yeah, because you hear it from other people’s experiences, it’s genuine. They’re not paying us to say nice things, we say nice things because we liked it.
[00:39:22] Shmuel Perl: Right. And for people who are not necessarily going to even go back through all the 400 episodes, listen to all the trip reports, people who have done it, really have good things to contribute and really helpful tips. That really helped us in planning.
[00:39:32] Annie Sargent: Yes. And it’s much appreciated that so many people agree to do trip reports, because I think that adds a ton of value to the show. So, yeah, indeed.
[00:39:42] Annie Sargent: Merci Beaucoup.
[00:39:43] Shmuel Perl: Well, we’re happy to help.
[00:39:45] Annie Sargent: Au revoir.
[00:39:45] Shmuel Perl: Au revoir.
[00:39:54] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my Patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so, you can see them at patreon.com/joinus. Thank you all for supporting the show, some of you have been Patreon donors for a long time, you are wonderful. And a shout out this week to one new patron, Randal Macnair, thank you so much for becoming a patron and making this podcast possible.
[00:40:21] Annie Sargent: November and December and I suppose, January is going to be the same, it’s the doldrums of patronage somehow, you know, things calm down, we all go hibernate. But I hope to get many more new patrons early next year.
[00:40:36] Annie Sargent: This week I published a personal video update where I chatted with my patrons about what’s going on in my life, and also ask them to give me their questions about taking the train in France.
[00:40:48] Because I plan on publishing an episode for folks who are hesitant about taking the train in France and where I explain how it works and why it’s such a great way to get around France.
[00:41:00] Preparing a trip to France?
[00:41:00] 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.
[00:41:08] Annie Sargent: You can also hire me to be your itinerary consultant. Here’s how it works. You purchase the service on JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique. Then you fill out a document to tell me what you have in mind. We make a phone appointment and we chat for about an hour. You get to ask me all your questions, and I also present to you what my opinion is on what would work really well for your situation. And then I send you a document with the plan we discussed. Remember, my time is always booked up several weeks in advance. Right now it’s January 31st, so if you’re going to visit France in the Spring, book now. You can see the date for my next availability on the only page where you can buy this service, and that’s at the Join Us in France Boutique.
[00:41:53] Annie Sargent: And if you cannot talk to me because I’m all booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tours on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five tours and they are designed to show you around different wonderful neighborhoods of Paris, Ile de la Cité, le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain des Prés and the Latin Quarter.
[00:42:16] Annie Sargent: And I’m working on a sixth VoiceMap tour to come out in February, I hope. Can you guess what part of Paris I’m going to concentrate on this time? Reveal coming up soon.
[00:42:29] Annie Sargent: Take a look at these tours JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique, or just get them directly from the VoiceMap app. But you can only get the discount if you buy tour codes through my boutique.
[00:42:41] Crack cocaine in Paris
[00:42:41] Annie Sargent: Let’s talk about the problem of crack cocaine in Paris. This is not a new problem, there’s been crack cocaine users in Paris for a long time. I even did a whole episode about this in April, 2018. It’s called Dicey Paris Neighborhoods, and it’s episode 194.
[00:43:01] Annie Sargent: And a lot has happened since then. But the problem are still concentrated mostly in the northeast quadrant of Paris. And, you know, the 19th arrondissement, 10th, 18th, 19th, are a problem, some parts of them anyway.
[00:43:16] Annie Sargent: Politicians don’t know what to do with this, ideally you try to help users stop using and get back to a healthier lifestyle. That unfortunately, does not work very often, especially if you don’t have very, very good services for them. These users are totally disconnected from normal life, they’ve lost contacts with friends and family, they live in groups of users. Their dealers usually live right within the group. They are homeless and their encampments are moved around from place to place in the northeast area of Paris.
[00:43:53] Annie Sargent: Right now, the approach is to have a lot of police in those areas and break up the groups. You’ll find most of them around Porte de la Chapelle, Rue de la Chapelle in particular, and on Quai de la Seine in La Vilette. But they move around. Okay, so these are the trouble areas this week, but it’s going to move around.
[00:44:14] Annie Sargent: When the local population has had it, the city is forced to do something, but they can’t do that much.
[00:44:22] Annie Sargent: These people can be dangerous, because they’ll attack anyone to rob them and get their next hit. This drug is dirt-cheap. One hit is around five euros right now. Anyone who looks like they might have five euros is fair game. Some of these addicts sometimes take a dozen hits per day. Most of the time when they rough up someone and take a few euros, there are no consequences because, you know, it’s hard to have heavy consequences for a tiny robbery like that.
[00:44:56] Annie Sargent: Recently, a couple of them attacked a very elderly man and he’s in bad shape, he’s in the hospital. A little girl was attacked last month as well, as if she was likely to have any money, but these people are out of their minds. They attack because they need a fix.
[00:45:12] Annie Sargent: The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo keeps promising treatment centers, but she has not been able to open a single one yet, and if you owned an apartment somewhere in a big city and the Mayor said, we’re going to open a crack cocaine treatment center in your building, would you be okay with it? I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t either. There’s lots of pushback from the population as well as political attacks on the mayor because lots of people don’t like her. That’s just a fact of life when you’re in politics.
[00:45:44] What YOU can do to avoid dicey neighborhoods in Paris in 2022
[00:45:44] Annie Sargent: So here’s what you can do. I recommend you stay out of parts of the 10e, so that’s the 10th Arrondissement, 18th Arrondissement and 19th Arrondissement. Obviously, not all parts of thesearrondissements are a problem. Okay? It’s a really street by street thing and it’s only a small part of these arrondissements.
[00:46:09] Annie Sargent: But the problem keeps moving around because since they can’t open enough treatment centers or any treatment centers, as a matter of fact, well then they just push it around to a different area every few weeks. And the 18th Arrondissement includes Montmartre, but that’s not where the issue is. East and North of Montmartre there might be issues, but Montmartre itself where the tourists go, the police keep an eye on that and they wouldn’t let that sort of deals going on in that area.
[00:46:39] Annie Sargent: The one thing that you can do is if you are going to stay in those areas, look very carefully on Google Maps to see if anything looks untoward. Just be aware that it could be a problem. I’m not sure you’d really see it on Google Maps every time, but perhaps you will.
[00:46:56] Annie Sargent: Also listen to episode 194, a lot of what I shared back then is still true. Be aware that lots of bloggers reach out to hotels and Airbnb owners and in return give them a favorable review. Some podcasters do that too. I don’t, never have, never will, but some do. So I know they always say, oh, it doesn’t influence me, B S. If you take something free, you are influenced, okay? I don’t care who you are. So take all of these glowing reviews with a grain of salt. And also, just because someone said, I was there last year and it was fine, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be fine this year because it keeps moving around, that’s the only thing that they’re able to do, is to push them out of this street or whatever and go somewhere else, you know? And they never go that far.
[00:47:55] Annie Sargent: Don’t be surprised if you see some very strange characters on line 12 of the metro, especially between Montmartre and the end of the line, which is Front Populaire. I don’t want to scare you, this is a tiny area of Paris where there are very few tourists anyway, but be aware that if you found a super cheap deal, that might be why.
[00:48:20] Annie Sargent: Okay? Look into it.
[00:48:21] Christmas in Paris
[00:48:21] Annie Sargent: Now a quick update on Christmas in Paris. On Christmas Eve, which is coming up very, very soon, almost everything is going to close sometime in the afternoon. Some places will close at 2, some places will close at 6, but most places will close. Not hotels, obviously. Some restaurants will stay open, but a lot of them will not.
[00:48:48] Annie Sargent: Christmas is a family thing in France. People don’t go out to eat at Christmas because we just celebrate within the family. So not very many restaurants stay open.
[00:49:02] Annie Sargent: There are a few venues that you can go visit. The Eiffel Tower is open every day of the year, so you can go to the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day and you can also go to the Pompidou Center on Christmas Day. So that’s in the Marais.
[00:49:18] Annie Sargent: There are obviously places, you know, restaurants that will stay open. But if you’re going to be in Paris on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve for that matter, I recommend that you definitely find a place that’s open for all of these meals. So, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Christmas, the 25th in the evening, or you buy something that you can just warm up in your hotel or whatever, because you are not going to find a lot.
[00:49:46] Annie Sargent: Some things will be open, but you know, it’s pointless to ask, what’s the best restaurant to go to on Christmas day in Paris, because you’re not going to have a lot of choice. Okay, there’s some.
[00:49:57] Annie Sargent: Okay, so Pied de Cochon Les Halles is open every day of the year. There are a few like that. If you go to “The Fork”, that’s a website, it started out as La Fourchette it’s one of these French tech companies that’s taken off. And they have talked a lot of French restaurants because it’s a local company, they’ve talked a lot of French restaurants into listing in La Fourchette and giving discounts and whatever.
[00:50:23] And it’s a really good service. And you can book ahead on “The Fork”, and you can just choose your neighborhood, you can choose the date, how many people, and obviously if it shows no availability, it’s probably because it’s closed. So do that, if you’re going to be in France around those holidays.
[00:50:44] This week in French news
[00:50:44] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, other than the fact that the French team is playing Morocco tonight in the World Cup, is going to be huge, there are going to be people on the streets. You’re not going to hear this on time, but anytime there’s a big game like this, there’s going to be a lot of police on the streets. They are there to keep the peace, not to frighten you. So don’t worry about seeing police around big game celebrations and stuff.
[00:51:11] Annie Sargent: But it could turn nasty in some areas, you never know. Some kids might get a bit argumentative, let’s put it that way, and take on the police.
[00:51:18] Annie Sargent: So you might want to stay away from those sorts of crowds, but just seeing police keeping an eye on things is not an indication that it’s scary. It’s just that they’re doing their job, they’re keeping the peace is what they do.
[00:51:31] Free condoms for folks under 25 in France
[00:51:31] Annie Sargent: But the other big news, this week was that last week, President Macron announced that starting in January, condoms will be free.
[00:51:41] Annie Sargent: At first, he said for people between ages 18 and 25, and that was immediately held as a wonderful thing, but then somebody said that, but why not minors? And he said, okay, let’s extend it to minors as well. So there’s an upper limit, but not a lower limit. Upper limit is 25, so anybody under the age of 25 can walk into a French pharmacy and ask for condoms and get them free.
[00:52:06] Which is, you know, this took everybody by surprise, but it was something health officials have been asking for since the seventies, really, and everybody in the political class took it as good news. And so this was not controversial, and it starts early in January. I guess it means that, you know, no more 15 year old pregnant girls or something.
[00:52:28] Annie Sargent: That’s what we are hoping for anyway.
[00:52:30] Show notes
[00:52:30] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on JoinUsInFrance.com/420, the numeral. And honestly, if you know someone who’s a Francophile or someone who is going to be visiting France next year, tell them about this. They will thank you because they’re going to learn a lot.
[00:52:51] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode about rookie mistakes people make when they visit France for the first time. This is going to be a light and pleasant episode to listen to. It’ll come out on Christmas Day, as a matter of fact. And usually, on Christmas I try to do a Christmasy theme, but I’ve done so many.
[00:53:10] But I will be going to Strasbourg this year right after Christmas, so I’m sure next year I’ll talk about that in great detail, because nothing is more like one Christmas than the next Christmas, and that’s what we’re hoping for anyway.
[00:53:24] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.
[00:53:35] Annie Sargent: Au revoir!
[00:53:36] 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.