Transcript for Episode 423: Dog Poop and Other Problems Suffered in France

Categories: France How To, French Customs & Lifestyle

[00:00:00]

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 423 – quatre cent vingt-trois.

[00:00:23] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France, everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy and news related to travel to France.

[00:00:40] Annie Sargent: I am recording this introduction on January 4th, 2023, so I want to wish you a wonderful new year with health, peace and a visit to France.

[00:00:53] Today on the Podcast

[00:00:53] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks about a series of old tropes about France that will not die. It starts with dog poop, and because this conversation took place in a Facebook group, from dog doo they went to French people hate English-speaking tourists and even hate their own children.

[00:01:17] Annie Sargent: I normally do not engage with such posts because you know what they say, “Never wrestle with a pig, because you’ll both get dirty and the pig likes it”. This quote is attributed to George Bernard Shaw. But this time I wanted to respond, but not do it immediately, give it time and respond with my head, not with my emotions.

[00:01:42] Annie Sargent: I think that Francophiles should know better than to say such silly things, and that coming to France with inane ideas is not conducing to having a great time on your vacation in France either. This is why I am publishing this episode. Elyse had not participated in this Facebook thread, she’s not on Facebook very much, so her reactions were great too. It was a fun recording session.

[00:02:10] Trip to Strasbourg

[00:02:10] After my chat with Elyse I’ll share a day-by-day account of my five days in Strasbourg and around the Alsace area. I just got back and have tips for those of you considering such a visit, especially around Christmas time.

[00:02:26] Podcast supporters

[00:02:26] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my Itinerary Consult Service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. And you can browse all of that at my boutique JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.

[00:02:45] Annie Sargent: And there is a newsletter to go along with this podcast. Right now, I only email once a month, if that, but when I email, it’s always something that will help you next time you visit France.

[00:02:58] Annie Sargent: You can sign up for this newsletter at JoinUsinFrance.com/newsletter.

[00:03:04]

[00:03:13] Annie and Elyse

[00:03:13] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Elyse.

[00:03:14] Elyse Rivin: Bonjour Annie.

[00:03:16] Annie Sargent: Okay. We have a strange topic today. You weren’t sure about doing this one.

[00:03:21] Elyse Rivin: I’m still not really sure about doing this but…

[00:03:23] Annie Sargent: Let’s, see how we do. Okay. You know, I have a really soft spot for dogs. I’m a dog person.

[00:03:29] Elyse Rivin: Oh you definitely are!

[00:03:30] Annie Sargent: And I can not envision daily life without a dog. It’s just the way I am. And I’ve been like that my whole life and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to have a dog most of my life.

[00:03:41] Annie Sargent: And I was on Facebook one day, wasting time as one does, you know, and I ran across a post. And I can’t remember what group it was in. It was not the Join Us in France group because I would’ve put an end to it immediately.

[00:03:55] But it was in some other Anglo group in France, which I subscribe to, and sometimes Facebook shows me the things. And somebody said something that seemed totally wrong-headed to me. And I would like you to read it. Now you’re reading it, but this is not you. You did not write this.

[00:04:12] Elyse Rivin: No. Okay. So let’s just make sure everybody out there knows. We’re going to be doing a little bit of kind of a, like a play script here where I’m going to read different people’s comments. So it is not me. I am making that as an official comment right away.

[00:04:27] Annie Sargent: She’s not crazy.

[00:04:28] Elyse Rivin: I am not crazy, and these are not my ideas. Okay, so this is what set Annie off from the very beginning.

[00:04:36] She wouldn’t give me a bag

[00:04:36] Elyse Rivin: So here we go. “We are visiting Nice to check out to see if we want to live here. We brought our two dogs with us. We were walking our dogs towards the grocery store to buy poop bags because we ran out while walking the pups in front of a business. Well… guess what? You can figure out what happened. I asked the person in the store for a bag and she said no.

[00:05:05] Elyse Rivin: My boyfriend went in to find a bag. The street bags provided by the city were empty. He asked several businesses for a bag and all of them said no. The only way he could get a bag was to buy something. Did I mention it was raining and waited for 15 minutes outside for my boyfriend to finally bring back a bag to pick up the poop?

[00:05:29] Elyse Rivin: This woman at the business wouldn’t give me a bag. Why? Would she rather I leave the poop in front of her little stall? I don’t think so. So does anyone have an answer for me as to why this type of behavior exists here? I feel she could have given me a bag after me waiting for 10 minutes, but no. So I stayed and watched over the poop so people wouldn’t step in it. What’s up with this? Help me understand.”

[00:06:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. And this question got 253 comments. Comments were all over the map, but many were about how French people don’t mind dog poop. That’s an old trope that will not die. That French people hate everybody anyway, especially English-speaking tourists. Another trope that will not die. And the city of Nice is awful, anyway.

[00:06:30] And I jumped in because bad-mouthing dogs or France is one of my triggers.

[00:06:37] Elyse Rivin: Which is not surprising.

[00:06:38] Annie Sargent: No, it is not. And so I said, ” I pick up after my dogs all the time. Bringing bags is my responsibility.

[00:06:47] Annie Sargent: Are you trying to blame store owners for your forgetfulness? Plastic bags are not free in France. You should have offered to pay, but then they would have sold you a big plastic bag and that’s not what you should use for dog duty. Moral of the story, random French people are not responsible for your dogs.

[00:07:08] Annie Sargent: And if you think my response is blunt and unpleasant, that’s because I am French and you should get used to bluntness”.

[00:07:17] Elyse Rivin: Now I’m going to add in a comment right here that’s not on the paper. Annie, you are blunt and you say what you think. I don’t think that bluntness is necessarily a characteristic in France so much as it is that people in France are not going to be obsequious about certain things.

[00:07:37] And the difference is, is that what this person who wrote this long thing about the dogs and the poop and everything is talking about,the fact that a shopkeeper said no, shocked her because she does not imagine ever that somebody who is running a shop is going to say no. And I think this is one of the primary differences between the United States and other cultures.

[00:08:01] Annie Sargent: Right, right. We don’t have to say yes to everything.

[00:08:04] Elyse Rivin: We don’t have to say yes to everything.

[00:08:06] Annie Sargent: So because of my response to this woman, several people let me have it, and I will let you read those as well, Elyse.

[00:08:14] Elyse Rivin: Oh, she’s having a good time. She’s given me the bad parts to read in this one. Okay, here we go. This is a quote now, everybody, okay? This is a response to Annie’s comments, right?

[00:08:25] Elyse Rivin: “You just have a shitty attitude, Annie Sargent. Maybe travel outside of your little French world and you’ll discover that your bluntness isn’t respected or appreciated outside of France.”

[00:08:38] Elyse Rivin: Okay. Well, obviously the person who wrote that does not know who Annie is.

[00:08:43] Annie Sargent: No. No. So I would like to rephrase what this person says. This person feels entitled to be cuddled by all. A better French person would know not to hurt her feelings. Alas, France is not a place where we believe in sugarcoating things, just like you explained, Elyse.

[00:09:07] Elyse Rivin: Yeah, I think that there are two worlds out there and the reality is that the way people who own shops and commerces, and the way people respond to a question in France very often is by telling exactly what they think.

[00:09:23] Annie Sargent: Well, and also there’s this knee-jerk reaction in France to say no to a lot of things without really considering, and it’s possible that if this person had been better about negotiating, they would’ve gotten a bag in the end. But really, all they had to do is buy something.

[00:09:40] Annie Sargent: Buy a banana, and buy a bag to go with it. Bags are, what, 2 cents? They’re really cheap. Like it’s really stupid. Okay, so here’s what someone else said, and I’ll let you read that as well.

[00:09:50] Elyse Rivin: Okay. Annie Sargent, this is in response to you. Okay? So listen carefully, Annie.

[00:09:55] Elyse Rivin:If she, meaning the person who we are talking about who began this whole thing, if she is VISITING.” I like the fact that the visiting is in major capital letters. Okay?

[00:10:04] Elyse Rivin: “To see if she likes it, she likely doesn’t know that bags aren’t free. That is a fact. Okay. That was new to me as well. They are absolutely not responsible for her dog, but she was trying to do what a lot of French people don’t. Pick up after her dog. Honestly, after I’d asked a few different stores, I’m assuming she means, I would’ve said, forget it, and left and come out prepared the next time. Intentional?”

[00:10:33] Annie Sargent: Yeah, she says that the person had good intentions and that good intentions matter.

[00:10:37] Annie Sargent: So to me, this is the syndrome of the virtuous visitor who means well, as a matter of fact, is better than locals. Her only flaw was to be unaware of local customs about plastic bags.

[00:10:53] Annie Sargent: What do you think, Elyse? Should we give that visitor a medal for showing French people the way to better behavior, merit badge perhaps, for understanding that if she needs to pick up her dog’s doo, we must drop everything we’re doing and make her feel like the hero that she really is. Please spare me.

[00:11:15] Elyse Rivin: Well, I think that there’s cultural misunderstanding. I think there’s an assumption that is really part of being ignorant about the way things work in France. And I think also that there is no such thing in this case as being virtuous. I think that the problem is that there’s a real difference in the way you go about approaching people from the beginning, between the way you do it in France and the way you do it in the United States.

[00:11:43] Elyse Rivin: Andto go back to what you said a minute ago, people in France do tend to say no first. Now that’s not necessarily a wonderful thing, but it depends on how it is said at the same time. And you’re absolutely right, if she needed a bag and it was a dire situation and they didn’t have poop bags, which by the way are not something that you find in every store anyway, they’re not that easy to find, all you had to do, she could have just used anything, even buy, as you said, one item, a paper bag, a plastic bag, and then she would’ve had something to pick it up.

[00:12:15] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, it was definitely some bad faith in this.

[00:12:19] Annie Sargent: But someone, I want to point out that if, you know, if you think that my suggestion that perhaps we should give this person a medal for knowing better than we do, somebody actuallycalled the original poster a hero for trying to do the right thing. That’s for you to read, Elyse.

[00:12:36] “Now, never seen anyone pick up dog poo in France. She probably thought you were some crazy person. You are a hero. Thank you for actually bothering”.

[00:12:45] It’s much better than in the past

[00:12:45] Elyse Rivin: Let me say, having lived here for now 25 years, that it is no longer the case that not everyone picks up the dog poop.

[00:12:55] Elyse Rivin: It is a fact that 25 years ago there was a lot of poop everywhere and there really was, and it was not exactly something that was pleasant, especially parts of Paris. I can remember walking around where I really was upset about it. Much more so than here where I live, down here in Toulouse and that is not the case anymore.

[00:13:14] Elyse Rivin: So I think that that is the other part of it, is that it is much better than it was, maybe it’s not perfect, but it is better. And so I think that the stereotype is something that is to be avoided.

[00:13:28] Annie Sargent: Right. We’ve come a long way, we’re not perfect, but we’ve come a long way. And you know, cities have a lot of street cleaners who will take care of this, but regular people who walk their own dogs, typically will pick up. This is not strange anymore, it’s really, really changed.

[00:13:46] Annie Sargent: And I think it’s hard for people to think about a country like France changing, they perhaps they think that the image they have from the first time they came or whatever is how it is today still. No, we’ve changed a lot and we probably have a lot more changing to do, but that’s, you know, that’s every country, I think. And then a few people said well, that’s for you to read, the next couple of things, very short ones.

[00:14:11] Elyse Rivin: Okay. Little questions. “Why didn’t you just buy some small thing, like a snack and get your bag as part of it?”

[00:14:16] And then somebody just commented very, very categorically. “Just don’t move there.” Okay. Well, now first of all, where is there? Is there Nice, or is there France?

[00:14:27] I think it was Nice.

[00:14:28] Elyse Rivin: Well, I mean, if you’re going to take a city that is the fourth or fifth biggest city in France and say that you’re not going to move there because of this one incident, well that’s fine. But that’s kind of strange to me.

[00:14:40] Annie Sargent: Especially about an incident you read about on Facebook. Anyway. But then somebody really psychoanalyzed me and that one, it was a little bit, it was so idiotic that I just laughed it off. You’re going to have to read this one Elyse, I’m afraid.

[00:14:54] Elyse Rivin: Oh boy. You owe me for these now, okay? This is really…

[00:14:59] Elyse Rivin: “You are only used to it because you were raised that way”. You, oh boy, Annie you were raised that way. I don’t know what that means.

[00:15:09] Annie Sargent: So, OK, as a child?This is about being blunt.

[00:15:12] Elyse Rivin: Ah, so about being blunt.

[00:15:13] Annie Sargent: Being blunt and being, you know, kind of a little mean. These people thought I was being mean.

[00:15:19] Elyse Rivin: Yeah. Okay, here we go. This person doesn’t know you, right? No. Okay. Okay.

[00:15:23] Children are “barely tolerated”

[00:15:23] Elyse Rivin: As a child, your parents and teachers judged you harshly, often unfairly, and without the respect you generally afforded to people. French children are not understood or respected.

[00:15:36] Elyse Rivin: What?

[00:15:38] Elyse Rivin: They’re barely tolerated.

[00:15:40] Elyse Rivin: Oh my God. Okay.

[00:15:42] Elyse Rivin: Your parents and teachers were your most influential models, so as a result, you’ve normalized that treatment and it’s your standard, and now you do the same to others. Please don’t take what I’m saying personally, it’s not your fault, you were in a developmental phase when you experienced this and your school teachers and parents didn’t know better, just as you don’t now.

[00:16:13] Elyse Rivin: What?

[00:16:16] Annie Sargent: So, you know, French children are barely tolerated and that’s why I turned out so blunt. And then later, and I’m not going to make you read this, but she also said that I should read Jean Piaget, and if my parents had read Jean Piaget, they wouldn’t have been so cruel, yada, yada. You know, I have the sweetest parents anybody could wish for, so this is ridiculous. And the fact that people think that they can diagnose someone, say such horrible things to people on Facebook, just kills me.

[00:16:46] Elyse Rivin: I am actually speechless in response to what I just read. They don’t even know you, they don’t know anything about you. Okay?

[00:16:54] I really, having known a little bit your parents and knowing what kind of parent you are, and knowing you as a very good friend, I would say, what the hell?

[00:17:03] Annie Sargent: Yes. French children being barely tolerated, that is just so, that is just precious.

[00:17:08] Elyse Rivin: You know what? I think that French parents, the way they deal with children is so much better in general than the way Americans deal with their children. They don’t hover over them, they give them freedom, they give them the respect of allowing them to discover and try things for themselves, and they are always there.

[00:17:28] Elyse Rivin: In France, now I’m getting annoyed, I’m really getting annoyed here, okay? In France, families eat together. They don’t go their separate way. The families go on vacations together. They teach their children things. What is this?

[00:17:43] Annie Sargent: Well, yeah, it’s… I think the next person finally hit it on the head, I think, and I’ll let you read that one as well.

[00:17:50] Bonjour first

[00:17:50] Elyse Rivin: I am from Nice and when I visit, I have to remember, not excuse me, or please in French, but Bonjour. No Bonjour, no soup for you.

[00:18:04] Annie Sargent: So this is a French person, okay? But she lives away from France. And when she visits, she has to remind herself, oh, Bonjour first, not excuse me, not please. And it’s probably what happened, you know.

[00:18:17] Annie Sargent: But honestly, just because you didn’t bring poop bags doesn’t mean that they need to get you one. You know, like immediately.

[00:18:24] Annie Sargent: Now, the best thing they could have done is just buy a little something. You don’t get a free bag when you buy something in France. Okay? If you want a plastic bag, you have to pay for it, but like I said, it’s like 2 cents or…

[00:18:35] Elyse Rivin: 10. Even if it’s 10 cents. Okay, you got a big fancy one. Okay,there are two things here.

[00:18:39] Elyse Rivin: Number one, I think there’s a basic assumption about behavioral patterns that are not the same in two different cultures.

[00:18:47] Elyse Rivin: The other is making a diagnosis about an entire city based on this one specific incident, which I think is kind of insane. Just totally insane. Okay? And I need to add another comment. And I am not a dog person. I’ve never had a dog. I’m a cat person, so I don’t have to worry about the poop on the outside. I just have to worry about the poop on the inside of my house. Okay?

[00:19:07] Elyse Rivin: But I’d like to say this, dogs are really well treated in France. But at the same time, perhaps I don’t quite understand what this couple was doing, but if they’re going to visit a city to see if it’s a city that they like, are they necessarily supposed to take two dogs with them to travel around?

[00:19:28] Annie Sargent: Well, that’s another thing is, I suppose either they were not coming from very far, so perhaps they drove or they have very small dogs that can be in the plane with them.

[00:19:42] And they can travel easily.

[00:19:43] I don’t know. I mean, I would really tell people not to put a dog in the belly of the plane just to have him on vacation. That’s really cruel, I think. You don’t do that to dogs. It’s better to find another way.

[00:19:56] Feeling of entitlement

[00:19:56] Annie Sargent: But that’s all we’re going to say about the dog poop thing, but I think it all really comes from you know, a feeling of entitlement that some people have. Like, you know, this is the way my life is at home, and so it should be the same anywhere I go. Because I’m entitled to being treated the same way no matter where I go. And unfortunately, that’s not true.

[00:20:21] Elyse Rivin: You know, I’m not even sure anymore if I would call it entitlement. I think that it is simply a fact that every country has a different way of doing things and different customs and different reactions to things, and there’s a basic assumption sometimes that where you come from, whoever you are, that it’s better than where you’re going to visit.

[00:20:43] Elyse Rivin: I think that is, I guess if you call that entitlement, yes.

[00:20:47] You know, it’s not one is better than the other. Perhaps it is for some people. I think it’s just that there is difference.

[00:20:54] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah.

[00:20:55] Is France dog-friendly?

[00:20:55] Annie Sargent: So do you think France is dog-friendly, Elyse?

[00:20:58] Elyse Rivin: I actually do. I mean, considering that I, I really, seriously, I’ve never had a dog, although I do like dogs and Annie knows that I like her dogs. But listen, in France, you can bring your dog to a restaurant. We were joking before and I said, one day I’m going to walk into a restaurant and it’s going to be the dog sitting at the table and the human being is going to be underneath waiting for the scraps.

[00:21:20] Elyse Rivin: But yes, in France, you can bring dogs into restaurants, you can take dogs to hotels, not all hotels, but to a lot of hotels. I think that basically France is for me, a very dog-friendly country.

[00:21:35] Annie Sargent: Right. So one of the people, and I did not keep this comment, but one of the people that commented on this dog poop thing said that she finds France not dog-friendly at all, because there are no dog parks or very few dog parks.

[00:21:50] Annie Sargent: And as a matter of fact, I think it’s better not to have so many dog parks because dog parks are a place where dogs get into fights and where they share germs. There are a lot of dog parks in Spain where I go and I’ve taken my dog to some of them and I’ve stopped because there’s often fights between the dogs.

[00:22:12] Elyse Rivin: They get aggressive. Well, it’s kind of funny. I mean obviously, in old city centers. We’re talking about a country that has a majority of its villages and cities have old city centers. These are not places that are designed with enough space to have parks that would have a special park for dogs.

[00:22:29] I happen to live next to a very big park that has a dog park inside it.

[00:22:35] Elyse Rivin: There you go, there are some. And if not, I also know that dogs here have to be kept on a leash in the parks. I mean, there are occasionally people they let them loose a little bit in the grass and stuff like that.

[00:22:46] But honestly, for me, France is definitely a dog-friendly country.

[00:22:51] Annie Sargent: Right, right. I think overall it is, at least as much as the US anyway, in different ways, you know.

[00:22:59] Annie Sargent: We’ve had dogs in France forever. And for the longest time, dogs had a purpose and they were used for hunting. There are at least 50 breeds of hunting dogs that were developed in France alone, for instance, and every region has one.

[00:23:17] Hunting Dogs from Gascogne

[00:23:17] Annie Sargent: So you have hunting dogs from Gascony. Gascogne is not far from us. You have, and I’m going read some of the names of these dogs: Le Grand Bleu de Gascogne, Le Petit Bleu de Gascogne. So you have the big and the small. Le Griffon Bleu De Gascogne, Le Basset Bleu de Gascogne. So you have four blue dogs all specialized in different aspects of hunting. And there are more hunting dogs from Gascogne,like the Braque Francaisthat can either be from Gascogne or from the Pyrenees.

[00:23:49] I know I’ve seen those, but I didn’t there was a difference.

[00:23:52] Hunting dogs from Vendeen

[00:23:52] Annie Sargent: It’s probably the coat, probably the temperament a little bit.

[00:23:56] Annie Sargent: You have hunting dogs from the Vendée region. You’ve heard of this one, Le Grand Griffon Vendéen, Le Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, Le Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. Which is the PBGV. Adorable little things that they are. And Le Briquet Griffon Vendéen.

[00:24:16] Annie Sargent: So that’s just from the Vendée, which is a little north of La Rochelle. It’s between La Rochelle and Brittany.

[00:24:24] Hunting dogs from other regions of France

[00:24:24] Annie Sargent: You have hunting dogs from the Juras, le bruno du Juras is one of them. You have dogs from the Nivernais, Griffon Nivernais, like Swiffer. I’ve talked about Swiffer on the podcast, because I take care of him. I’ve taken care of him on occasion.

[00:24:39] Elyse Rivin: So there are lots of Griffon in fact.

[00:24:40] Annie Sargent: Lots of Griffon, yes. Lots of hunting dogs from Bretagne, le Basset Fauve, Le Griffon Fauve, l’épagneul Breton, Le Spaniel Bretagne, so that’s the Spaniel.

[00:24:50] A few hunting dogs from France

[00:24:50] Annie Sargent: Italy, Germany, England have lots of hunting dogs as well, but I think we have the most hunting dogs in France. If a dog is a korthal, un berger, un griffon, un épagneul, un braque, un dogue they’re all of French origin. Okay.

[00:25:06] Elyse Rivin: Thanks to the kings, I guess.

[00:25:08] Annie Sargent: That’s thanks to the kings and the tradition of hunting that was huge.

[00:25:12] Annie Sargent: So we’ve had dogs, but for the longest time, the dogs just had a purpose. You didn’t keep a dog if you lived in the city. Because hunting dogs have to be kept, if you want them to hunt, you have to keep them in a sort of deprivation, you have to keep them tied up, you have to keep them in a small pen, so that they are excited to go out and hunt. And if they have run of the house and sleep on a sofa, they’re not going to work, you know, and it’s the same today with the dogs in Alaska, the racing dogs, sled dogs. If you have a sled dog living in a house, first of all, it’s going to freeze once you go sledding with them.

[00:25:53] Working dogs

[00:25:53] Annie Sargent: And so you have to keep them outside and you have to keep them in very specific conditions. Anyway, the condition of dogs in France was not that fantastic because they were working dogs and working dogs work. They work and to get the work done, you have to keep them in kind of deprivation kind of situations.

[00:26:14] War Dogs

[00:26:14] Annie Sargent: Then the war came along, the First World War, and I’m sure they did this in previous wars as well, where they used dogs to carry things between the trenches. So you had dogs carrying letters, you had dogs carrying boxes of food, medicine, whatever. Terriers were used to find men hidden in the trenches.

[00:26:35] Annie Sargent: We still use certain rescue dogs.

[00:26:37] Elyse Rivin: And they’re very well used in France.

[00:26:39] Annie Sargent: Exactly. We use them a lot.

[00:26:41] Companion Dogs

[00:26:41] Annie Sargent: But nowadays, we have a lot of companion dogs. So these are, you know, most dogs in France nowadays. Now, I live in the country, there are some hunting dogs, but very few. The hunting dogs perhaps it’s one in 10, you know. Mostly it’s companion dogs these days. Some have a job like guide dogs for the blind, they have a job, but most of them, they’re like sofa dogs.

[00:27:05] Elyse Rivin: I like this. Did you invent that expression?

[00:27:07] Annie Sargent: Chiens de canapé? Yes I did. They are there just to make you happy.

[00:27:12] Elyse Rivin: We have a photo of one coming up in front of us, I think right now.

[00:27:16] Evolving attitudes about dogs in France

[00:27:16] Annie Sargent: So we have in France, we’ve had evolving attitudes about dogs.

[00:27:20] Dogs used to be mostly on farms in the countryside, you never saw a dog in the city. Now there’s lots of dogs in the city. And cities understand that they need to keep their sidewalks clean, and they send out teams of street cleaners that do all sorts of cleaning. But French people today are a hundred times more likely to pick up after their own dogs than say, 20 years ago.

[00:27:45] Elyse Rivin: Yes. It is not a hundred percent perfect, but it is definitely absolutely that much better than it used to be. Yeah.

[00:27:52] And the other thing about dogs is that I think at the end of the reigns of the kings, I don’t know exactly at what point, but I know they started to have breeding to have little dogs so that the women of the court could have dogs as their little pets that they carried around with them, like the pomeranian, that kind of little thing.

[00:28:10] Annie Sargent: Right. So those breeds of dogs were actually like the caniche, the poodle was used as a hunting dog, a water dog. But most caniche these days, they’re not hunting dog, they want nothing to do with the water.

[00:28:24] Elyse Rivin: I think it was like they discovered that there was an aesthetic to having a dog, you know? It became kind of like a playmate.

[00:28:30] Annie Sargent: Right. So they took some of these smaller dogs and bred them smaller and smaller and smaller, Just by picking the smallest of the litter and breeding it with a different small dog. And that’s how you got to those.

[00:28:41] Dogs in the city keep us in contact with nature

[00:28:41] Elyse Rivin: And just a comment, because it had nothing to do specifically with either France or not France, but in the sense that France is more and more an urbanized country, like a lot of parts of the world. People take their dogs with them when they move to the city. People live in the city, but they want something that’s a contact that goes back to being in nature. And the contact is often an animal. And so, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best thing that people who live in the city who don’t have yards and gardens and things, have dogs, because a lot of them do.

[00:29:12] I reserve my opinion on that because I am not a dog owner, but I think that, that is part of the phenomenon, that people move into the city, they want this contact, which is basically in a way, a contact with nature. And so they bring with them animals that they had that could roam around outside in the countryside.

[00:29:30] Elyse Rivin: And that is one of the reasons why we now have to deal with the issue of dogs in the city.

[00:29:36] Dogs in apartments and walking

[00:29:36] Annie Sargent: One thing is for sure, and I know that you’re like, I’m not sure if having a dog in an apartment is such a great idea. What happens is that people who have a dog in an apartment, they have to walk the dog at least twice a day. An adult dog, you’d have to walk them at least twice a day. A puppy, you would have to walk many more times than that, because they don’t have great bladder control.

[00:29:56] Annie Sargent: So city dogs actually get walked more than country dogs, because when people have a country place and they have a yard that’s fenced, they just let the dogs out to do their business in the yard. And those dogs very often don’t get walked as much as they should.

[00:30:13] You need to walk, this is public service announcement, you need to walk your dogs. The only dogs that don’t really need walks are less than, you know, less than 10 pounds. Those dogs, they do fine either way.

[00:30:25] Elyse Rivin: But that of course is one of the reasons why you have the problem with the poop on the streets sometimes, you know.

[00:30:31]

[00:30:31] Annie Sargent: Right, because you have to walk them, and it happens, I mean, as soon as a dog starts walking, that’s when they’re going to want to move their bowel, you know? That’s normal.

[00:30:40] Elyse Rivin: Now, I mean, I don’t know if Toulouse is typical or not. When I first moved to Toulouse, it was a serious problem here in the city center and it is not anymore. And there are dispensers for the little bags, you know. And then obviously, I mean, I have no idea what part of the city agency runs it. I’m sure that they run out of bags. I’m not sure if that they’re always up to date on filling them in or something like that. But we’re not living in an uncivilized country here, you know? I mean, those things do exist. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:14] Experience with dogs in a recent visit to Tennessee

[00:31:14] Annie Sargent: Now I do want to relate, I was just in the US and Tennessee, and I want to relate a couple of experiences I had. The first one was going up Clingmans Dome, it’s a path, mountain path in the Smokey Mountains, gorgeous place that it is. And, there was signs everywhere in the parking lot that said, “No dogs except service animals”.

[00:31:35] Annie Sargent: And of course there are a lot of service animals these days in America, even dogs that I don’t think are service animals at all. And you can tell when you’ve raised a service animal, which I have, that no, these are not trained dogs. Anyway, this one guy who was walking much faster than us went up Clingmans Dome with his dog. It was a young dog. And he got to the top faster than we did. And then by the time we weren’t quite at the top, when he was already heading down. And then when we headed down, there’s dog poop on the walk, on the boardwalk and he didn’t pick it up.

[00:32:08] Annie Sargent: And, you know, so this is supposed to be a service animal and you don’t pick up after your dog like, this is a problem. In a National Park when you’re not supposed to have dogs, nobody is supposed to bring their dogs there. And the other time was in Townsend. I was in a grocery store and this woman had a service animal with her, supposedly.We came in at the same time, she had her dog on a leash and she went straight to the back of the store. I need to buy milk, so I also went straight to the back of the store. And she was walking along, you know, looking at various things. Her dog was sniffing everything so hard and was tangling walking around her, and she ended up with her, she was tangled in the leash. Okay. This is not a service animal. I know guide dogs for the blind are very highly trained, but that’s basic. You train your dog to stay on one side or the other of the person and not walk around like a maniac. That is not a service dog. There are going to be incidents with these dogs that are supposedly service dogs and are not trained. There are going to be incidents and there’s going to be a backlash.

[00:33:16] Annie Sargent: There’s going to be a backlash for sure.

[00:33:18] Service dogs in France

[00:33:18] Annie Sargent: And I don’t know, in France if to walk into a grocery store with a puppy guide dog in training, I had to have an identification jacket for the dog, I had to have an ID for me and for the dog. And before I went in any new store, I would have to go to the person managing the store and introduce myself, introduce the dog, say this is a puppy, you know, from this school, in training. Is it okay?

[00:33:44] Annie Sargent: And if they said yes, I could go in. If they said no, I couldn’t go in, because I’m not blind, I don’t have any right to be in a store with a dog.

[00:33:54] Annie Sargent: Now, once the dog is guiding a blind person, they have to let them in.

[00:34:00] Elyse Rivin: They have to let them in, obviously. And I was just thinking as you were saying that when I said that about dogs in France being allowed into restaurants. Restaurants are privately owned and it’s up to the discretion of the owner to whether or not they want to have dogs in their establishment.

[00:34:15] Elyse Rivin: There is no law that says that dogs must be allowed in or not. So it’s not like a food store where there’s a question of hygiene involved. It’s a totally different situation.

[00:34:25] Annie Sargent: Right, right. right And I’ve had a puppy guide dog pee and poop in a store, and it’s not good. It’s not good. But they’re puppies, you know, once they’re trained, once they’re adult dogs and they’re trained, they don’t do this anymore, but yeah.

[00:34:39] What visitors would like

[00:34:39] Annie Sargent: So let’s move off of the dogs for the last few minutes of our conversation and let’s talk a little bit about what visitors would like to have that they might not get.

[00:34:51] Annie Sargent: Okay. So we might feel entitled to these things, but who knows if we’re going to get them or not. For instance, you would want nice broad sidewalks that are well maintained. You would like them free of dog poop, you would like no cars parked on them, but unfortunately it happens all the time.

[00:35:11] Annie Sargent: It’s actually more often a problem in France that there’s a car parked on the sidewalk obstructing your view or your path than a dog poop. Cars are still a bigger problem than dogs at this point, and unfortunately, you just have to live with it. I mean, you can’t have a tantrum every time you see a car badly parked.

[00:35:30] Elyse Rivin: What I have seen is that there are major changes going on, and here, at least in Toulouse, what they have now done is they have started systematically to make it impossible for people to park on the sidewalks, which is not the case in Italy, by the way.

[00:35:45] Elyse Rivin: And so they are freeing up the sidewalks for people and they’re expanding the sidewalks. Because again, a lot of these are old city centers, whether it’s a village, a town, or a bigger city, and they weren’t designed initially for the wide sidewalks and lots of people walking. They certainly were not designed for cars.

[00:36:03] Elyse Rivin: So these are things that yes, it can be an annoyance.

[00:36:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a minor annoyance, just know it might happen.

[00:36:10] Can you bring your laptop to the cafe?

[00:36:10] Annie Sargent: The other thing that people complain about sometimes is that typically in America, you can bring your laptop to a cafe, usually it’s going to be a Starbucks, because let’s face it, that’s what cafes are in America, or Costa. There are two, three chains. But people are used to bringing their laptop and even their charger and they just work at the cafe all day.

[00:36:31] Annie Sargent: You can’t really do that in France and people complain bitterly about this. I saw on another Facebook post, somebody was complaining that the cafe she was sitting at in Paris asked her to leave. She was there for several hours, but her plan was to stay there all day. And she didn’t understand, she was like, I don’t understand, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was nice, I was polite, I bought some drinks. What’s wrong? Like, why won’t they let me? They won’t let you because they don’t want to turn their cafe into a place where people just look at their laptop all day. That’s just not what they want.

[00:37:04] Elyse Rivin: There arecities like Toulouse or Montpellier that have huge university populations, are now starting to have some cafes that are really designed for students.

[00:37:14] Elyse Rivin: So they have a setup so that you have wifi inside and you can sit there, but it is a very different kind of establishment than the typical real French cafe where certainly, you can sit for an hour or more and watch people go by over a tiny little coffee, but you’re not there for the day.

[00:37:36] Annie Sargent: Right, right. And, and it’s just, it’s changing some, but I mean, read the room, okay? If nobody else has a laptop out, then don’t bring yours out.

[00:37:46] Elyse Rivin: I mean, you can sit for an hour in a cafe if you have a laptop and if you don’t have to plug it in. But there’s a big difference between that, like sitting there with your smartphone and everybody sits there and watches their phone and basically now nobody looks at anybody going by anymore, and places where you can say, okay, I’m going to do my entire days of work here. I mean, that’s a whole other thing.

[00:38:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is very different.

[00:38:12] Crowd control measures

[00:38:12] Annie Sargent: The other thing that people complain about at times is crowd control measures. Okay. Just like we are recording this a couple of days after this horrible incident in Korea,where they had a Halloween celebration that turned to tragedy.

[00:38:27] Annie Sargent: And the reason why is because they did not have good crowd control. And you know, we don’t understand. I mean, I’ve been told to go around venue or whatever, and sometimes I don’t understand why did they have to close this door? Like, why? I don’t understand why they do it, but this is how crowd control works and it’s really important, and when the police tells you, no, you can’t go through here, you have to take another road. Well just take another road. I mean, you know, we must live with that sort of frustration because it happens in cities. And I think in general, when we are traveling, but this is like big picture thing, travel brings a lot of joy and a lot of surprises and a lot of delights, but it also brings some frustrations.

[00:39:12] Annie Sargent: You show up somewhere and it’s not quite what you expected and you ran into minor problems, and it’s really good when visitors are prepared to just roll with it and just don’t make a big deal about it. Like you know, for instance, my husband loves to have eggs in the morning and when we were visiting France before we lived here, he was always frustrated that he couldn’t find eggs anywhere in the morning.

[00:39:37] Breakfast at French hotels

[00:39:37] Annie Sargent: Well, he learned to live with it. He’s like, when we go to a hotel now, well, first of all, some hotel chains now will have boiled eggs.

[00:39:45] Elyse Rivin: A full breakfast, right?

[00:39:47] Annie Sargent: Yeah, but that’s rare. If you go to a chain hotel, like a Novotel or Mercure or whatever, they will usually have some ham and some boiled eggs, right? Nobody’s going to make you a fried egg or, you know.

[00:40:00] Annie Sargent: But again, the restaurants in America, I mean, the hotels in America that offer full breakfast, they usually cost 400 bucks, 500 bucks a night. So you know, you can’t really bitch that in Paris, they won’t give you a full breakfast for the money they’re charging you, they really can’t have a full staff in the kitchen making you eggs or whatever.

[00:40:20] But besides that, it’s different country. It’s different customs. When we were in Istanbul, my husband was complaining, he’s not even a big breakfast eater, but they had feta cheese and tomatoes in the morning. I thought that was kind of cool.

[00:40:34] Elyse Rivin: You know, they didn’t have a lot of sweet stuff on the table. No croissant. They had little bread rolls, you know, and they had cucumber and tomato and feta cheese and hard boiled eggs. And that was as good as you get. And I said, roll with it, boy. Roll with it. You know?

[00:40:49] Don’t bring your dog to France unless you’re moving here

[00:40:49] Annie Sargent: Exactly. Exactly. You just, that’s why we travel, right? So we can experience something different. And sometimes it is a bit frustrating, but I think it’s fine. And please don’t bring your dogs if you don’t have to. Like, if you’re moving here, that’s different. But if you’re just visiting, why bring dogs when you’re visiting?

[00:41:07] Annie Sargent: Find a good house sitter, pet sitter, or a good kennel even, I mean, I’ve never put my dog in a kennel, but perhaps it’s, some are good, I don’t know. I don’t know if you have those in America, but here we have lots of places that are family run things where you have a person who shares their home with dogs that they tend to for a few days or whatever.

[00:41:27] Annie Sargent: And what we always do is, we’re very lucky that we have this young lady that we know, she comes to our house to pet sit. And we’ve used a service called Mind My House, and it’s really good. Like you can just have somebody you don’t know from Adam, but you can read their reviews and they will take care of your house and dogs and it doesn’t cost very much at all. So, anyway…

[00:41:50] Annie Sargent: Well, Elyse, thank you for putting up with my weird dog poop episode.

[00:41:54] Elyse Rivin: I think it’s a specific issue that relates to a larger one, which is the idea of why travel, why be in another country, and if you’re going to be in another country, whether it’s just for a few days or for a longer period of time, I think it doesn’t serve anybody well to assume that everything’s going to be like back home.

[00:42:16] Annie Sargent: Indeed. Merci Elyse. Merci Annie.

[00:42:20] Annie Sargent: Au revoir.

[00:42:21] Elyse Rivin: Bye.

[00:42:21]

[00:42:28] Thank you Patrons

[00:42:28] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting this show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that, you can see them at Patreon.com/joinus. Thank you all for supporting this show, some of you have been doing it for a long time, and those of you joining today will get a long backlog of rewards. You are all fantastic.

[00:42:52] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons Lynda Dennis, Jay Harcastle, Deborah Gudger, Mandy Shuck-Moore, Chris Larson, and Ken Knobler. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:43:12] Annie Sargent: This week I published a video reward for patrons where I recap my visit to Strasbourg and the Alsace region with a video and in longer form with lots of details. My number one professional development goal for 2023 is to get better at video and at newsletter writing. Mark my words, this is a commitment.

[00:43:38] Thank you Donors

[00:43:38] My thanks also to Miriam McLeod for sending in a one-time donation by using the green button on any page on JoinUsinFrance.com that says, Tip your guide.

[00:43:51] Annie Sargent: Miriam wrote, “We listened to Join Us in France before our trip to France this fall. This was our 4th visit, but we learned so much. Thank you!”

[00:44:02] Annie Sargent: Oh, thank you so much, Miriam. Yes. You can learn a lot just by listening to me, Elyse, and all the other people who get invited on the podcast.

[00:44:12] Itinerary Consult / VoiceMap tours

[00:44:12] Annie Sargent: If you are preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening to the podcast because that’s a great way to do it. Search the website as well because there is a lot of stuff that you might have forgotten that you’ll find again, if you search.

[00:44:30] 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, and then I send you the document with the plan we discussed.

[00:44:53] Annie Sargent: Remember that my time is always booked up several weeks in advance. You can see the date for my next availability on the only page where you can buy the service at the Join Us in France Boutique.

[00:45:05] 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 tour on the VoiceMap app.

[00:45:16] Annie Sargent: I’ve produced five tours and they are designed to show you around different iconic neighborhoods of Paris. Ile de la Cité, Le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain des Prés, and the Latin Quarter.

[00:45:29] Annie Sargent: And I’m working on a 6th VoiceMap tour, it’ll be an exploration of the Eiffel Tower neighborhood. I’m hoping for an early February release. I’ll let you know what’s going on in the podcast, of course. VoiceMap technology makes it really easy to find your way around the best of Paris, it’s almost as good as me taking you around in person and it offers a lot more flexibility. Take a look at these tours, JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.

[00:45:57] Five Days around Strasbourg at Christmas

[00:45:57] Annie Sargent: This week I want to share with you myitinerary in the Strasbourg and the Alsace area because I think it’ll help those of you who are considering making a similar trip perhaps next year around Christmas time like we did.

[00:46:11] Annie Sargent: We did not rent a car once we arrived in Strasbourg, so we relied on the train and ran into some problems. I won’t go into that here, but I will when we do an episode dedicated to train travel in France, coming up in the next few weeks.

[00:46:27] Annie Sargent: My husband and I landed in Strasbourg bright and early on December 26th, and stayed until late December 30th. So we had five full days. We flew from Toulouse where we live because going by train or by car would’ve taken two days, I mean two whole days. And we didn’t have that sort of time.

[00:46:47] Annie Sargent: On the first day we took a walking tour with the Tourist Office. We saw the astronomical clock go off at 12:30. We walked around Petite France, an oddly-named part of the city. We went up the Vauban barrage and had dinner at a wonderful Winstub called Le Saint Sépulcre. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say Vinstub or Winstub. It’s spelled with a W. I should note that the Strasbourg Christmas market closes on December 24th, so most of the booths were closed by the time we got there. A few of them were open in a particular section of the city, but it had limited interest. All Christmas decorations were still up, so the festive feeling was there anyway. And there were lots of people in the streets, especially afternoon and early evening.

[00:47:40] Annie Sargent: On day two, we took the train to Obernai. What an adorable little town. The Christmas market was still on in Obernai and they had a fabulous display of Crêches nativities from all over the world inside of the church. I enjoyed it immensely and I recommend that you include it if you’re going, especially around Christmas time.

[00:48:03] Annie Sargent: I’m not sure if I would include it if you’re going at another time of the year. Perhaps Sélestat would be a better choice in that case, but I didn’t have time to test that theory. Either Obernai or Sélestat would take most of a day, and that’s definitely what it did to us.

[00:48:18] Annie Sargent: That night we went back to Strasbourg for dinner at Chez Yvonne, I’m not sure which one of the Saint Sépulcre or Chez Yvonne, I liked better. Both were greatly enjoyable. The food was classic Alsace. I picked them because they were recommended in a French magazine that I enjoy, and you can’t go wrong with either one, I think. These are popular restaurants and you need to book them a couple of weeks in advance. I use The Fork to book my restaurants, and I like to do that because it’s both easy to reserve and to cancel if you need to. They also send you reminders, so it’s a great app.

[00:48:57] Annie Sargent: On day three we took the train to Colmar. Colmar is a much bigger city than Obernai. And the medieval city center is truly like walking in a movie set. It’s amazing. There is a boat ride you can take and we did that, but it wasn’t as impressive as the one we did in Strasbourg later that week.

[00:49:15] I had also reserved a classic Winstub in Colmar, or Winstub? Oh, I should have asked them. It’s called Winstub Brenner. And when I saw it, I thought, oh, tourist trap.

[00:49:28] Annie Sargent: Honestly, much of Colmar is really touristy and it was full of people and you know, it gave that vibe. But what said touristy to me is that it’s right by one of the scenic bridges and it looks all decked out to attract visitors. But the food was just as good as any other Winstub. Our waitress was a matronly friendly lady, she muttered some Alascian to herself when I asked her about one of the food choices. For all I know, she said, oh my god, another clueless visitor, but she did it all with a smile and a friendly attitude. So I don’t know. But she clearly could speak the local lingo.

[00:50:08] Annie Sargent: In Colmar, we walked around for three hours, like I mentioned. It’s bigger than Obernai so there’s more to see. It’s really picturesque. I was glad I had my selfie stick because I could take photos from higher up, otherwise we’d see a sea of heads, is all we see.

[00:50:26] Annie Sargent: In Colmar we went to the Unterlinden Museum to see the Altarpiece of Issenheim. It’s a fantastic piece of art that’s kind of like a storybook, but it’s designed to be behind the altar of a Catholic church. There are vivid scenes from the Bible. Very cool looking. The priest got to open various panels, depending on the liturgy of the day. It’s well worth getting the audio guide, or you may not understand what you’re looking at, but that was a great thing. We didn’t spend much time in the rest of the museum to tell you the truth, but we wanted to see that.

[00:51:02] Annie Sargent: I asked one of the ladies who helped at a boulangerie in Colmar if it’s always so busy, and she said definitely this time of year. She said it’s best not to come to Colmar in January because so many stores close. But by late January the number of visitors increases until Easter, and then between Easter and late November it’s pretty busy, and then all of December it’s a mad house. So, literally shoulder to shoulder in the historical city center, it’s still worth going, but just be warned.

[00:51:36] Annie Sargent: The Christmas market vendors in both Obernai and Colmar sold all sorts of cool items, locally made crafts, Christmas decorations, all sorts of hats and scarves, I forget, but there were a lot of different things that all looked really neat. It’s a feast for the eyes and there are a lot of places to buy mulled wine or warm apple juice. My husband tried the warm apple juice with ginger, which I did not like. I don’t like ginger, but he loves ginger. My daughter loves ginger. Everybody loves ginger, but me.

[00:52:09] Annie Sargent: There weren’t as many street food vendors as we get in Toulouse, however, perhapsthat way there’s not so much competition for local restaurants.

[00:52:19] Annie Sargent: Now on day four and five, we decided to stay in Strasbourg because there was still plenty for us to do there, and Meteo France said it was going to be rainy both of those days.

[00:52:29] Annie Sargent: So I didn’t want to be walking around a village soaking wet all day. I had planned to go to Sélestat, but I was like, no, I give up, not going to Sélestat, next time. And of course, there are more indoor activities in Strasbourg or any other big city than in villages, obviously.

[00:52:46] Annie Sargent: That morning, on the fourth day, we had planned to visit the European New Parliament, but it was closed. I had looked at their website and it looked like it was going to be open, but I didn’t read far enough down the page. They don’t make a lot of effort to be crystal clear. Who knew that European institutions would try not to be crystal clear? Who knew? Who knew?

[00:53:10] Annie Sargent: Instead, we decided to take a river cruise with Batorama, which was great. The best boat tour company I’ve tried so far, actually, very smooth, very professional, and a beautiful ride, of course. Strasbourg is a gorgeous city. The cruise was about 90 minutes, very comprehensive.

[00:53:29] Annie Sargent: That day I also visited the Musée Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg, which I really enjoyed. It helped me see the ploy of the alsacians going back and forth between France and Germany, and it was really difficult. We’ll probably do an episode about that at some point. My husband didn’t want to wait while I read every sign, because I get like that when I’m interested in museum, I stop and I read everything. So he went through it quickly, and then he went to the Vodoo Museum, which is a museum dedicated to the voodoo practice of East Africa. It turned out there’s a lot more to this than sticking pins in dolls. They actually have no dolls in that museum. He thought it was really interesting and he really enjoyed it, so we recommended it, as well.

[00:54:13] Annie Sargent: No choucroute for us that night, we stopped at an Italian restaurant, which name I cannot remember, but there are a lot of food options in Strasbourg besides the Winstubs, thankfully, because it would get old after, you know, a few meals, you had enough. On day five we checked out of our room at the Mercure Petite France, early. I don’t love that hotel, by the way. Our flight didn’t leave until 9:30 PM so we had the whole day to ourselves. It was rainy that day, so we went to the Rohan Art Museum where I wanted to find a spooky piece by Jusepe de Ribera with the face of a child showing through a more recent painting that he had done. I found it interesting, and it wasn’t hard to find. But most people walked right by it without seeing it, but I was expecting it, so I was looking for it. That day we had sushi for lunch and then we went to the Alsacian Museum. That one was my least favorite because it’s so touristy and it didn’t have anything that we hadn’t seen already several times. Having said that, you know, it was our last afternoon, I was tired, I was ready to go home, so perhaps that was it. And you know, it did show a lot of artifacts of Jewish life in Strasbourg, which I hadn’t seen before and I really liked. So yeah, I mean, it was good, but just not my favorite. Of the ones in Strasbourg I would say the history of the city of Strasbourg was my favourite.

[00:55:36] Annie Sargent: So there you have it. Our five days in Strasbourg, it may seem like a long time, but we did not run out of things to do at any time, and it’s a gorgeous city. I will talk about it in more details in various episodes, probably one to come out in the late spring for folks planning a visit to Alsace at Christmas.

[00:55:56] Annie Sargent: And definitely when we talk about trains in France, because we had a couple of things that were like, ah, people need to know about this, they need to be warned.

[00:56:04] Shownotes and Transcript

[00:56:04] Annie Sargent: Show notes and full transcript for this episode are on JoinUsinFrance.com/423, the numeral.

[00:56:12] Annie Sargent: And please, if you enjoy this show, tell someone about it because your friends who are visiting France also will enjoy getting some good tips from trip reports and all of that good stuff.

[00:56:25] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode about a dream trip to France becoming a reality, with Nicole Morin Scribner, a delightful Canadian who had some great insights about her visit.

[00:56:39] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir.

[00:56:51] Copyright

[00:56:51] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2022 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial, No Derivatives license.

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Categories: France How To, French Customs & Lifestyle