Transcript for Episode 436: Four Days in Strasbourg

Category: Alsace and Lorraine

[00:00:16] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 436, quatre-cent trente-six.

[00:00:22] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France, is the podcast where we talk about France, everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel to France.

Today on the podcast: Four days in Strasbourg

[00:00:37] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Marion Hill and Brenda Orozco about spending four days in Strasbourg, which if you’re just going to Strasbourg, is a good amount of time.

[00:00:49] Annie Sargent: One thing I liked about our conversation is that they actually took it easy. Can you imagine taking it easy on a vacation? Who knew?

Powering the Podcast: The Role of Your Support in Sustaining Our Show

[00:00:59] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my itinerary consult service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app.

[00:01:12] Annie Sargent: And you can browse all of that at my boutique,

Magazine part of the episode: free museums for kids

[00:01:17] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast after the interview, I’ll answer the question, do kids under 18 get in museums in Paris for free? Someone brought it up on the Facebook group and I honestly wasn’t sure, so I made some calls and I will share the definitive answer after the interview, and I’ll also tell you about my hedgehogs.

[00:01:41] Annie Sargent: It’s been a long time since I’ve told you about my hedgehogs, right? They’re back!



[00:01:55] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Brenda and Marion and welcome to Join us in France.

[00:02:00] Marion and Brenda: Bonjour. Bonjour Annie.

[00:02:02] Annie Sargent: Lovely to talk to you. I do apologize for calling you so early, but that’s how these podcast recordings work out, usually. You end up having to get up early, so thank you so much.

[00:02:13] Marion and Brenda: You are very welcome. No, no worries.

[00:02:15] Annie Sargent: So this morning we’re going to talk about mostly four days that you spent in Strasbourg. We did an itinerary review and I gave you lots of suggestions for Strasbourg. I’m sure you found new stuff once you got there. So I want to hear about your overall impression of Strasbourg.

Why did you choose Strasbourg?

[00:02:35] Annie Sargent: Why did you choose Strasbourg to begin with?

[00:02:38] Marion and Brenda: Well, I went to Germany in October 2019, but actually six months before the pandemic started, I went to Frankfurt and I had spent some time there. And I was in Heidelberg, which you know, is about an hour, hour and a half south of Frankfurt. And the tour guide there was talking about Strasbourg. He was like, you need to really check this place out.

[00:02:56] Marion and Brenda: And I ran out of time, so I had to get back here to the States. I say, well, if if I get another opportunity, I want to come visit Strasbourg. And then this opportunity came in September, so I was like, well, we can split the trip here, but, you know, four days in Strasbourg and our remaining time in Paris.

[00:03:10] Marion and Brenda: So, but it was the folks in Germany telling me you need to visit Strasbourg. It’s very much alike German culture and stuff like that. So that’s the reason for the trip.

[00:03:18] Marion and Brenda: Right. So do you agree? Was it very much like Germany?

[00:03:22] Marion and Brenda: It was and it wasn’t. I mean there’s definitely the blend of both the French and the German there. I saw you could see very much both blends there, but it definitely, I could see why those folks on the other side of Germany really recommended coming to the city.

[00:03:34] Marion and Brenda: Right, and Brenda, was it your first time in France, or had you been before as well?

[00:03:40] Marion and Brenda: Yes, it was my first time in France, so it was such a wonderful experience just to see all different cultures come together in that town, and I mean, even throughout France, it’s just, it was just a wonderful experience.

What did you enjoy the most?

[00:03:56] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. Okay, so tell us a little bit about some of the things that you did and that you enjoyed most. Perhaps let’s start with you, Marion.

[00:04:05] Marion and Brenda: Yeah. So we spent our four days there. We actually left on the 5th on Labor Day, and we spent the night in Atlanta, and then we flew from Atlanta to Paris and then got Paris and got on the train, which was kind of its own little adventure. So, because the Delta agent in Paris, there was only one agent working and we were standing in line.

[00:04:22] Marion and Brenda: So it was kind of a little bit stressful, but we made it.

[00:04:24] Annie Sargent: Tell us a little bit about what made it stressful. So you went directly from the airport to Strasbourg, you took the train at CDG?

[00:04:32] Marion and Brenda: Yes. Yeah, we took the train at CDG and then we took the train to Strasbourg.

[00:04:36] Annie Sargent: And how much time?

[00:04:38] Marion and Brenda: It was about two hours, just about right around two hours from CDG to Strasbourg train station.

[00:04:43] Annie Sargent: Right. So, but how much time did you allow between the time you landed and the time your train departed?

[00:04:49] Marion and Brenda: I think we had a couple of hours because we got there about 6:15 in the morning and I think our train left at, was it 9:30 Brenda? I don’t remember. There was something around that area, but it was, we had a couple hours before we departed for Strasbourg.

[00:05:03] Marion and Brenda: Right. Yeah. That’s about a good timeframe.

[00:05:05] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm. And did that feel rushed or was it sufficient?

[00:05:08] Marion and Brenda: No, it was sufficient. We were, I guess we were worried that we were going to get there and then just have to go directly to the train. So we got there and we stayed at the train station a little bit. But no, I didn’t feel rushed at all. I thought that was a right amount of time.

[00:05:20] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. Alright. So what happened once you got to, I assume the ride to Strasbourg, the train ride was fun and fast and all of that.

About Jet Lag

[00:05:31] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, it was, I won’t say fast, it was decent. It was nice going across France. It was nothing, it was a nice train ride. We were exhausted because you know, we were flying from Atlanta and in Paris and so we were just, we were just ready to get to the rooms first and foremost.

[00:05:47] Annie Sargent: I hear you.

[00:05:49] Marion and Brenda: The time difference going there is just such a kicker going from America to Europe. Coming back, it wasn’t as much, but going there, you just, you really felt it, you know? So, so we just ready to get to the hotel room.

[00:06:00] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because I assume, so we just did Atlanta to London, and then London to the South of France in Toulouse where I live. And so we arrived in Toulouse, it was kind of late, it was like 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM or something. So we went to bed, you know, within a couple of hours we were in bed. Is that how it worked out for you?

Do not underestimate jet lag!

[00:06:23] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, we got to Strasbourg around noon, right around lunchtime. And in our hotel, which we’re going to talk about here obviously in a little bit, was right in the city center. So we got there and I think we just, I know I did. I think both of us just crashed you know, and slept for a couple hours before we just decided to do anything. We were both pretty exhausted.

[00:06:41] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I mean, if you can, it’s better not to take a nap that first day, but if you can’t help it, you can’t help it. What did you think, Brenda?

[00:06:50] Marion and Brenda: I actually have to agree with you. It’s better to not have that nap. I was a bit restless anyway, but yeah, you’re right because then it allows you to adjust to the time better. That was actually my biggestsetback actually, is with my sleep. So I had kind of just adjust to time difference.

[00:07:11] Marion and Brenda: Plus for me, I had never flown an eight hour flight. And so, in addition to the train ride, so you add two hours and then two hours of waiting. So it was just, you know, that was a little bit hard on my body, but it was good. I mean, actually you overlook it as you begin to do a lot more while you’re there.

[00:07:33] Marion and Brenda: But yeah, I knew for myself, you know, my sleep deprived it was going to be well worth it.

[00:07:39] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. No, it is totally a big factor because when you come from the US, you are going to be jet lagged and you’re right, Marion that it’s worse coming from the US to Europe than Europe to the US. Typically, because when you land in the US the schedules of the flights is such that you land in the evening, you go straight to bed and it’s a little bit easier to get adjusted, whereas in the other direction, you landed at noon and so you’re like, oh, I got to stay up all afternoon.

[00:08:15] Marion and Brenda: Yeah. I think I’m going to take that tip the next time when we go, I’m going to try to make sure I stay up because it did create a little restless evening there for me. But I guess when your body’s like, wants to sleep, you just obey it.

[00:08:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and you guys are young’uns, you’re like in your forties, right?

[00:08:29] Marion and Brenda: Well, I’m 51. I’m across the 50 line.

[00:08:32] Annie Sargent: Well barely, but the older you get, the harder it gets, I’m sorry to say so this is something to consider. Yeah.

The hotel downtown Strasbourg

[00:08:39] Annie Sargent: Tell me about your hotel, perhaps because you said you had a hotel in downtown Strasbourg. Tell us about that.

[00:08:45] Marion and Brenda: So we stayed at Hotel Cathedral, which is right across the main cathedral. It was an interesting little hotel. I guess it’s obviously it was an older hotel, and the room was split in two, so it looked, it seemed like, when you walk in it was a very tight and I warned Brenda, I said, things are a little smaller here, so we have to kind of get used to the size.

[00:09:05] Marion and Brenda: I know for us as Americans, we like our size about stuff, but it’s different. It’s different. But it was a very nice hotel, we had a very nice experience. All the front doors, the service people spoke English, so we were able to speak back and forth and it just was a nice, nice hotel. And we could look out and see the church from there. And we heard the bells at 12 o’clock every day and we could see people, because obviously, in the city center that’s a lot of traffic.

[00:09:29] Marion and Brenda: So we could watch and see people, but so it was a very, it was a very nice hotel. I would very highly recommend staying there if you can.

[00:09:36] Annie Sargent: Wonderful, wonderful. Did you feel the same way, Brenda?

[00:09:39] Marion and Brenda: Yes, it was such a nice experience. My biggest laugh is going into the restroom there because I realized, ooh things are real tiny here. It’s minimal, you know, it’s like, but no, I mean, I’m short, so I was fine in the shower. I told Marion, good luck in the shower! Thanks. But no. Yes, I did. You know, it’s very nice the way they have it set up. That hotel was very nice actually. I mean, it is tight quarters, but they make you feel so welcome and so, you know, that experience in the restaurant. And then, I mean, kudos to their breakfast every morning. I think that was my biggest morning treat is having breakfast in that hotel.

[00:10:29] Marion and Brenda: They really do a good spread and they make the fluffiest eggs ever and it’s just a beautiful experience. The coffees, the variety of choices that you get in the morning there, it was just amazing. I really do give a lot of kudos to their staff, of how they do. I mean, because it seems like breakfast is a, you know, it’s just like your mornings start, but for them it, you know, it’s just, you get a variety of what you could start with.

[00:10:59] Marion and Brenda: So I really liked that I had so many choices to choose from. But yes, very, very wonderful spread. Yes.

Favorite attractions in Strasbourg

[00:11:06] Annie Sargent: As far as visiting Strasbourg is concerned, what would you say was your favorite Marion?

[00:11:12] Marion and Brenda: Good question. I think we, because we basically stayed in the city center, we didn’t go outside the city center our four days. So just walking around looking at the different buildings. Just that to me was really the fun, the most enjoyable thing, you know? And we did a lot of walking, so I’m pretty sure Brenda would tell you from her experience for doing a lot of walking.

[00:11:31] Marion and Brenda: But for the most part, we stayed in the City Center. We didn’t venture outside other than when went to go to see the European Parliament. We were on the boat. But for the most part it wasn’t any one, well the church, I have to say the cathedral, which when we got, were able to get inside on the last day, being inside and just seeing the architecture and seeing the detail was very, we didn’t go up to the top to take the 300 steps to go up to the top.

[00:11:53] Marion and Brenda: Unfortunately, we didn’t, we ran out of time, but just seeing the church and just how, you know, it was very nice.

The Astronomical Clock

[00:11:58] Annie Sargent: Did you see the clock go off?

[00:12:00] Marion and Brenda: Yes, we did. Did we? I think we saw the clock. Yes, I heard it. That’s for sure. We did hear it. Yeah, we heard it. I think actually the first day when we were trying to sleep. It was, I heard it. I heard it. I think it goes off around noon-ish. So I would hear it. Yes. When we were in that area around noon, it would go off.

It’s best to be inside the Cathedral when the clock goes off

[00:12:22] Annie Sargent: Well, it’s really important to be inside when the clock goes off because there’s this beautiful, astronomical clock inside and it’s just gorgeous. It’s at 12:30 every day. So you have to be inside by 12:30 to see the progression.

[00:12:42] Annie Sargent: They have people coming out and proceeding across this big clock. It’s gorgeous. Anyway, for other people who are in Strasbourg, 12:30 every day inside the cathedral .

[00:12:54] Marion and Brenda: Mm-hmm.

[00:12:55] Annie Sargent: So you enjoyed walking around and just the half timbered houses. It is true. What time of the year were you there?

[00:13:02] Marion and Brenda: We were early September, so we were there from the 6th until the 10th.

Strasbourg, a Christmas town

[00:13:06] Annie Sargent: Right, so there was not much, there was no Christmas stuff going on, right? I mean, they probably had some Christmas stores that they have year round, but that’s it.

[00:13:16] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, just the stores were open, nothing Christmasy out yet, but we visited the stores, so I’ll let Brenda tell you about that. But it’s, yeah, we saw the several Christmas stores open and then we found out, obviously Strasbourg is considered the Christmas capital of the country, and so we would obviously love to return for during Christmas just to see, you know, all the people and how it is. But to answer your question directly, it was just the Christmas stores that were open in the City Center.

[00:13:41] Annie Sargent: So Brenda, what did you think of the stores that you saw in Strasbourg?

[00:13:45] Marion and Brenda: Oh, I think it’s wonderful. I think it just sets the tone for what the town is about. Like many, many people explain to us that it was a Christmas town. Actually, even just the buildings itself, you know, like you said, they really symbolize, you know, like you’re in a Christmas story really, honestly, you know, gingerbread-type looking houses, it’s really, I mean, it’s almost like you step back in time a little bit, you know?

[00:14:12] Marion and Brenda: But honestly, with the wonderful people and good food. Yeah, I love the Christmas. I came home with several nutcrackers, let me just say that. We stuffed them in Marion’s luggage.

[00:14:24] Annie Sargent: Yes, you’ll bring them out soon. It’s almost Thanksgiving as we record this. So you’ll bring them out.

[00:14:33] Marion and Brenda: Yes, they’ll be coming out soon. But yeah, I brought one home for each of my sisters and I thought I’d surprise them, and each of them have enjoyed their nutcracker. And Marion bought some nice ornaments and gifts for his coworkers.

Good dolar value

[00:14:47] Marion and Brenda: So it was really nice. What I love the most too is, you know, even the shopping there itself for me it’s, you know, the dollar there is right now at this time we’re in September where we went, it’s almost dollar for dollar from the US. So it, you know, it’s really, I think it’s a good time that we chose to go around that timeframe.

[00:15:08] Marion and Brenda: Many of my friends who, I have many friends who have lived in Europe due to the military, and they’ve told me they hadn’t seen it in that way in such a long time. So it was actually a good time for us to travel there, for that dollar.

[00:15:22] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. yeah. It is a good time for Americans. Your dollar is pretty strong against the Euro. Enjoy it. Enjoy it.

[00:15:29] Marion and Brenda: Yes, yes.

Chez Yvonne

[00:15:31] Annie Sargent: Yes. So let’s talk about the food a little bit. Did you have favorites, Marion? I assume you enjoy a good meal.

[00:15:38] Marion and Brenda: Well, I’m looking at our pictures here because kind of remember everywhere we went, so, and there was this place called Chez Yvonne which was right, I wish I could describe exactly, but it was right on the city center. It was like probably about eight, nine minute walk from our hotel room. And we had the best lemon tart.

[00:15:54] Marion and Brenda: And it was interesting because we went there, I think we went there the first evening we got there. And so both of us was pretty exhausted and I thought, and the way because Brenda ordered the lemon tart and I thought she was upset because her face went blank. And then she was, then I was like, is something wrong?

[00:16:08] Marion and Brenda: She’s like, no, this is like the best lemon tart I ever had. I just didn’t know what to say.

[00:16:13] Marion and Brenda: I was like, oh, you know, she’s traveling with me and I’m trying to make sure everything is right. And I was like, oh, there’s something wrong? Just like I said, her expression and she just, then she shared how much, and then I tasted it and I was like, oh man, this is so good. So that, that stood out as a dessert.

[00:16:30] Marion and Brenda: For as actual meals, we did the, is it the flambee? I know there’s a French word and a German word for it.

[00:16:37] Annie Sargent: Right, right. So it’s La Tarte Flambee in French and in kind of the germanicword is Flammekueche,is how they would put it locally. So you tried that, what did you think?

[00:16:51] Marion and Brenda: It was very good. We had, we went to a place called La Frigonette, which is probably about a 10, 12 minute walk from our hotel room. I think we did that on the last night and we had the, with ham and then arugula, and obviously, it’s a flatbread pizza, and we actually tried it on our wine and food tour first the prior day.

[00:17:08] Marion and Brenda: But it was really good. I was, I would have never guessed putting those type of ingredients together to eat, but it was, I was, we ate. It was very tasty.

[00:17:17] Annie Sargent: What did you think Brenda, did you have a favorite?

[00:17:20] Marion and Brenda: You know, I, oh gosh, there were so many favorites. There, you know, of course the flambee like we talked about because and then you can add a salad to that. And even the salad was freshly made. What did we have? Oh, I had actually at the first restaurant that Marion talked about, the Chez,what is it?

[00:17:41] Marion and Brenda: Chez Yvonne. Chez Yvonne, I ordered, it came like an in cast iron pot. It was a chicken dish. And it had vegetables and it was made like in a gravy and everything was tasty. It was just, you know, the like homemade cooking. I mean, it was amazing. Yes.

[00:18:04] Marion and Brenda: I think they’re known to make a lot of dishes in those little cast iron things where they, you know, from what I could tell many other places had those cast iron dishes with the chicken in it. It was just so amazing, the taste of it. I mean, like it had been roasted for hours. But yes, so tender.

Sauerkraut / Choucroute

[00:18:25] Annie Sargent: Did you try any sauerkraut or Choucroute?

[00:18:28] Marion and Brenda: Yes. Actually, you know, I’m a sauerkraut person. So here in America, yeah, here in America it has more of a pungent taste, like it’s sour and I like sour stuff too, so I’m okay with it. But then I go there and I’m like, oh, it’s not as pungent to me and it’s served warm, so I’m not used to having sauerkraut warm, but actually I really enjoyed that. I really did.

[00:18:57] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Oh, and they usually don’t serve it by itself. They add sausages and potatoes and things like that. What did you think Marion?

[00:19:06] Marion and Brenda: I’m actually not a fan of sauerkraut, but I actually ate it there. She was like, oh, this is actually pretty good. So, yeah, but you’re right. We had it with sausage and it was quite tasty, I have to say, I was, and again, I usually don’t eat sauerkraut here in the States, so… but it was good. It was very good.

Wine and food tour

[00:19:23] Annie Sargent: So did you go into any museums, any places like that stuck out to you that you enjoyed?

[00:19:29] Marion and Brenda: We did a wine and food tour with the local, I’m trying to think either the second or third day, I’m trying to remember, but it was about four and a half hours and we went through different restaurants and she kind of, she was very nice, she explained the history of Strasbourg and the fact that it was between France and Germany, I believe four times.

[00:19:48] Marion and Brenda: It changed be between history into 1945. So she kind of talked about that a little bit in just some of the places. And also it’s a white wine country, and I drank mostly red wine, so it was an adjustment, but it was fine. I enjoyed it as well, and trying to think, yeah, just pretty much kind of an overall view of town.

Boat ride to see the European Parliament

[00:20:06] Marion and Brenda: Then we went on the boat ride to see the European Parliament and we got a little bit more the history of the town as well there. So those are kind of some of the standouts.

[00:20:16] Annie Sargent: How long of a boat ride is it to get to the Parliament?

[00:20:20] Marion and Brenda: It was a, was it about an hour, Brenda? I want to say 45 minutes, an hour? Somewhere in that area.

[00:20:25] Annie Sargent: And did you go inside the Parliament or you just.

[00:20:28] Marion and Brenda: No, we stayed outside. We just were on the boat and the guide was just telling us about the different places and I guess the city center sits on a, there’s the, the river Ill, I think that’s the river Ill that surrounds the city center. So a lot of talk was about that, but we did not go inside.

[00:20:43] Marion and Brenda: It was just more of a highlight while we’re on spots on the river. And then the European Parliament was the last thing before we came back.

Petite France

[00:20:50] Annie Sargent: Uhhuh. Cool. Cool. Did you go to Petite France as well?

[00:20:55] Marion and Brenda: Yes, we did. And I’m trying to remember, I think we went to Petite France on, because I know we walked through there with another tour guide. We did two tour guides, the wine food, and we did another one with the local. I think we did that on the third day. But we did go to The Little Petite France and saw how historical their place is and it’s definitely, definitely a main attraction. Was a lot of people there at the time we were walking through.

[00:21:19] Annie Sargent: Oh, you’re going to have to give me the names of those tours that, how did you find the tours? Did you just go to the tourist office or something? How did you find them?

[00:21:28] Marion and Brenda: I went to Viatour before we left, so I was just trying to plan tours and both of those tours came up and so they happened. Happened to turn out very well.Both tour guides were, both were locals, very nice. They spoke English as well, I would recommend those guides as But yeah, I went to Viatour and found both of those.

[00:21:44] Annie Sargent: So I had recommended a few other things that are not as famous, like, you know, a walk through Strasbourg. Did you do any of that? Did you go to the historic wine cellar, for example?

[00:22:00] Marion and Brenda: No, we did not. I’m just trying to think of the things, because I have to say, your itinerary was very extensive. It was, yeah. I really appreciate that. I was like, wow, this is a lot. But we did not get, we did not get a chance to go to the historic wine cellar. Like I said, we just, most of our time was just lounging around, in the city center, going in and out of buildings and stuff like that and stuff like that. But I did, unfortunately, we did not get a chance to go to the historic wine cellar.

[00:22:26] Annie Sargent: Wow, you guys had an actual vacation. You took it easy.

[00:22:30] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, we did. I needed it. I hadn’t traveled since the pandemic and like I mentioned at the start of the podcast, my last trip was to Germany, so I was like I just needed days to get away and just kind of lounge around. And so that’s kind of what the trip was about. Obviously, we wanted to be specific things, but it was more about just getting some R&R in more than anything.

[00:22:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Take it easy. What did you think, Brenda? Was it relaxing enough?

[00:22:53] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, I think we kept busy because we did a lot of walking too in the town. So I think we even, you know, with both tours, it was both walking, so it, you know, and we start off close to the hotel and we walked all the way through the area where there’s all those Christmas stores.

[00:23:12] Marion and Brenda: So that’s across the way. We stopped at several little places, because you know, we did a cheese tasting and we did do a tasting of wine at a local little bar area.

Bus tour Strasbourg to Colmar

[00:23:26] Marion and Brenda: We also did a tour bus. It left from Strasbourg and we end up in Colmar, there you go.

[00:23:34] Annie Sargent: What did you think?

[00:23:35] Marion and Brenda: Oh, it was beautiful. I mean, then you go further into looking and that does, to me that kind of, you know, set the tone really for the trip too. That bus tour was nice because we landed in several little areas in that area of Colmar. We got to see the wine country because all those grapes are growing there.

[00:23:56] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:57] Marion and Brenda: What were the other cities? I can’t remember the other little places we went to Marion? I would have to spell ’em for her but I think one is, it’s R I Q U E W I H R. And then we went to the Chateau Hol, the Coonsburg, the, the Castle there.

[00:24:13] Marion and Brenda: Yeah. And there was a couple other little cities that we went between Strasbourg and Colmar.

[00:24:17] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, I forgot that was on our last day. We did the tour bus from Strasbourg to Colmar.

[00:24:22] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so the name of that town, it’s a very famous town, is Riquewihr. It’s really, really famous and really popular. And so was it very similar to Colmar? Just smaller?

[00:24:36] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, just smaller. Just smaller. Yeah. Yeah. Very much smaller. And in a fun fact, or I don’t know if this is a fun fact, but I think it was Kaysersberg. Anthony Bourdain unfortunately, supposedly passed away because we had a gentleman on the tour bus with us. He’s like, this was his, he wanted to see where the hotel that he unfortunately left us at, and I guess it was in Kaysersberg, if I’m pronouncing that correctly. And so we were like, wow. I mean, I know that’s kind of morbid, but I was just like, okay. That town is as well on the way down to Colmar. But it was a nice trip through the outstate wine country. And they very nice, very natural.

[00:25:10] Annie Sargent: So this is a tour, a bus tour that you hired through Viatour, or was it the tourist office?

[00:25:17] Marion and Brenda: We did visit the tourists office our first day, but we had, I had already, I’m kind of the planner, so I had already planned these tours out, and so Brenda’s just like, okay, I’ll go along with you, but I did all those through through Viatour.

The time in Paris

[00:25:28] Annie Sargent: Very good, very good. Excellent. Okay, so shall we talk about your time in Paris a little bit as well? What did you think? Was it your first time in Paris for either one of you?

[00:25:39] Marion and Brenda: It was my second time and it was Brenda’s first time.

[00:25:42] Annie Sargent: Oh, then I want to hear from Brenda. What did you think Brenda?

[00:25:45] Marion and Brenda: I’ve lived in LA and so I, you know, LA’s big and lots of cultures, this is like 10 times of that. So I could tell already the busyness from when we stepped off the train. You know, of course, we get off our train and then we’re trying to get a taxi. And it’s hard because they’re speaking of course French, and then we’re trying to keep up with, you know, how we’re trying to get our taxi.

[00:26:11] Marion and Brenda: And then I didn’t realize how close we were to our hotel from the train ride, the station. And it was so close, and I think that was, that’s kind of what one of the taxis drives explained to us is like, you know, not a lot of people wanted to take us because it was going to be a far drive for them, you know?

[00:26:28] Marion and Brenda: We kind of hit that little glitch, but once we got in again, we had this, this hotel was a whole little different story now, so it’s more modernized. So you see the differences in the hotels for sure, it’s modern. It’s, you know, of course that this one had just one room and the restroom. Still small quarters, but still the same service. They didn’t have a nice spread breakfast like the hotel in Strasbourg, but we went out and we adventured into the bakeries and that is one of the most beautiful things I love. It’s like, even with both towns, I’d say the bakeries are the highlights, because almost every corner there’s the bakery, you know, we sat there and we had our nice little, you know, morning snack and then we ventured out and oh gosh.

[00:27:17] Marion and Brenda: Going into where the Louvre is and everything in that part of the side of Paris where all the shopping is at. That’s when you see the hub of everybody there visiting and wow. It’s huge. Lots of people. Lots of people. I mean it, yes. And so many different languages. One of the nicest part is funny because, many of the taxi people that we ended up with, they like speaking Spanish and so they’re speaking multiple languages to you. And I think, you know, they kind of see, okay, let’s say we could speak Spanish to her and sure enough, you know, we did. We did a little bit of back and forth of little Spanish too.

[00:27:59] Marion and Brenda: Andof course I had to take out my Google for a little bit of French, but I mean, the people are amazing, even though it’s huge. It’s a huge town, it’s fast paced. You can definitely see the differences in the two towns, but so much to do in Paris. I told Marion, I think I left off wanting more of Paris.

[00:28:19] Annie Sargent: Hmm. I hear you. There’s always more to do in Paris. So, so much. And yes, Paris, there’s a lot of, I mean, if you speak Spanish, it’s good to try your Spanish and see if they’ll speak Spanish better than English. Perhaps they will. Who knows?

[00:28:35] Marion and Brenda: Yes, yes.

[00:28:38] Annie Sargent: Why not?

[00:28:39] Marion and Brenda: That surprised me there. You know, it did. It surprised me.

[00:28:42] Annie Sargent: This was funny because my parents spoke no English, just French and some Spanish, and when they visited us in America, they would automatically assume that anybody who was a little bit brown was Spanish and so they would just speak Spanish to them. And I’m like, mom, you can’t do that. You don’t know what language they speak just because of the, you know, the pigmentation of their skin.

[00:29:09] Annie Sargent: That’s ridiculous.

[00:29:11] Annie Sargent: Anyway.

[00:29:12] Annie Sargent: But she was, she was a cute little old French lady, so they didn’t take offence.

[00:29:16] Marion and Brenda: Yep.

[00:29:16] Annie Sargent: I hope. Anyway,

[00:29:19] Marion and Brenda: Yes, yes.

[00:29:20] Annie Sargent: And she spoke zero English. So you know, it was like, well, I’ll try one I know.

[00:29:25] Marion and Brenda: Yeah,

[00:29:26] Annie Sargent: And since almost nobody speaks French in America, you might as well try Spanish. You know?

[00:29:31] Marion and Brenda: Yes, that’s true.

[00:29:33] Annie Sargent: So do you have any recommendations, like general recommendations for people who want to visit France and want to organize a trip to France?

[00:29:42] Annie Sargent: What are some things that worked out really well for you?

[00:29:45] Marion and Brenda: Before we do that, Annie, I want to really give a…, you gave us a recommendation for a restaurant in the 10th arrondissement, andI’m always mispronouncing that, but we went to, and I’ll have to spell it for you, but it’s a u p apostrophe T I T C U R I E U X curry. You think that’s how you pronounce it?

[00:30:03] Annie Sargent: Oh my goodness. That went too fast.

[00:30:05] Annie Sargent: Au P’tit Curieux? The little curious person.

[00:30:08] Marion and Brenda: Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s an interesting name for the restaurant. It was in the 10th. It was in the 10th as well. It was about 15 minute walk from our hotel, and I’ll say this, and Brenda will probably echo this. I’ve had better tasting food. The food was tasting good, but just the experience from Celine, the hotel owner, and the first night we went when we got there that Saturday.

[00:30:29] Marion and Brenda: His 14 old son was working with them as well. And just seeing them interact and how he treated every customer that came in. And then we, we stayed there basically four hours. And I don’t, we as Americans don’t have four hour dinners. We just want to eat and go.

[00:30:42] Annie Sargent: Yes,

[00:30:42] Marion and Brenda: He really, and he spoke English and he just made us feel so welcome.

[00:30:46] Marion and Brenda: So we came back the night before we left, that Monday night before we left to come back to the States and we stayed another three and a half hours, even though we had a early flight in the morning. It was just, just the hospitality and the warmth. Obviously, the food was great and I just, that’s the kind of experience you usually want when you go to a restaurant where, you know, you treat every customer like, there’s a one-on-one person.

[00:31:08] Marion and Brenda: Obviously, there’s a busy people full of restaurant, but it just, I have to say, anybody goes to Paris and they stay in the 10th or they, wherever they stay, please go visit that restaurant. Really was a great, great experience.

[00:31:20] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Au P’tit Curieux, going to have to look it up and you say, I recommended this one?

[00:31:25] Annie Sargent: It’s possible.

[00:31:26] Marion and Brenda: On your itinerary. Yes. You recommended it.

[00:31:28] Annie Sargent: I am glad that worked out. Yes, because I’m always researching restaurants. I don’t think I’ve eaten at that one myself, but you know, if you read enough French reviews of a restaurant, you’re like, yeah, this one is probably a good one.

[00:31:43] Marion and Brenda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It was fantastic. At first we thought it was just the one floor, but I forgot you have to go, he had seating down below as well. But like I said, we just had a very nice atmosphere and it just very relaxed. And like I said, he didn’t want us to leave and he gave us wine bottles to take back here to Texas and it was just a, like I said, it was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life.

[00:32:04] Marion and Brenda: So it was really, really good.

[00:32:05] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. And did you need to reserve for that one? Because I think it’s pretty popular.

[00:32:11] Marion and Brenda: Yes, we did. I did reservations and then Brenda did reservations the night we thought we were going to, we’re not going to be able to get in because, you know, it was filled, but they emailed us back and said, we had a spot for you. So we were able to go both times while we were there. We did have reservations for both times.

[00:32:26] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. Okay. So all these recommendations that they’re making, there will be links in the show notes so you can easily find them because, you know people listening might want to repeat the experience, which is a good idea.

[00:32:40] Annie Sargent: Okay, so let’s get back to general advice for people traveling to France, perhaps Strasbourg and Paris, but anywhere in France really.

[00:32:49] Marion and Brenda: Well, I, for me, I’m glad taking Brenda this her first time going and seeing the contrast between Strasbourg and Paris. Obviously, paris is the biggest city in France and everything kind of revolves around there. But her seeing Strasbourg, because France has a lot of medium sized cities. From Rennes to the West. Not, and I mean all these different cities, you know, I know Marseille and Nice are pretty big cities, but it was just nice to see the contrast between the two cities. And like she had mentioned when she was talking about how busy Paris was, and it was, like I said, for me it was my second time there and I got a better feel of Paris this time than the first time I was there.

[00:33:27] Marion and Brenda: But I just think for me, it’s making sure you have enough lag time for us in the States coming to Europe. At least have an extra day, that way you can recover for sleep and then have the advice of if you get there in the afternoon, don’t fall asleep. Try to make it to the evening and then to do your normal pair.

[00:33:44] Marion and Brenda: So for me, the main thing is make, just having an extra day to have for jet lag and stuff like that.

[00:33:50] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And you know what? Lots of people that I talked to, they want to go to Strasbourg, but they just want to spend one day. And you guys spent four and felt like it was plenty busy, right? Like you didn’t feel like you were running out of stuff to do.

[00:34:06] Marion and Brenda: No, and I, the only thing I would want to go and explore more of the town outside. So if we go back again, and hopefully we will, we will definitely explore more. But I did, I, like I said, I was there Annie to rest and relax, so it wasn’t, even though I’m a planner, I just wanted to rest and relax so it wasn’t like I had to see X, Y, and Z. It was like, I just wanted to see this town and what I’ve heard about it, and I got a very good impression, even though I know it’s a touristy area, that part of the city, but I got a good impression of the town and the blending of the culture.

[00:34:37] Marion and Brenda: And then coming to Paris and seeing how busy and how different was, for me, that was a good contrast.

[00:34:42] Marion and Brenda: So I would say for me as a traveler, if you’re going to do, let’s do one or two cities so you can see this difference between the two cities.

[00:34:48] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. Well, how about you, Brenda? Is that something that you agree with?

[00:34:53] Marion and Brenda: I do, I do. What other recommendations I had and, I think you might have already touched it on your, when you gave Marion some recommendations is I definitely would tell people to wear tenies , have your tennis shoes ready, because there is a lot of walking that you do.

[00:35:10] Marion and Brenda: And then it all of a sudden it would rain, so I guess be ready for a little bit of rain if that were to happen. I took one sweatshirt and because the weather actually in September, it’s still, you know, it’s still decent weather, but it did get started to get cooler in the evenings. So, I would recommend maybe, you know, a sweater or two.

[00:35:33] Annie Sargent: Yeah, or a jacket of some sort.

[00:35:36] Marion and Brenda: Yes, definitely. So, those recommendations, and like Marion said, you make time for the transition from your plane to the train if you’re going to be going on train. I think give yourself enough time. And it’s okay, you know, even if you have like the two hour wait because you know, you can grab a little snack or something, you’re tired already or you take a little nap or whatever.

[00:35:57] Marion and Brenda: But yeah, I think those are some good recommendations and…

[00:36:01] Annie Sargent: Definitely. And you know, you never know how long it’s going to take to get through customs at the airport. CDG, sometimes it goes in 10 minutes and sometimes it’s a whole hour. There’s no telling, like there’s no rhyme or reason to this. It just depends on how much staff they have that day, if they ran into any snags or whatever.

[00:36:23] Annie Sargent: So you do need to plan two hours, I think is actually tight to transfer. I think if you would have two and a half, three hours, it would be better. Obviously most days, two hours is plenty, but you can never tell for sure. Like, it’s crazy.

[00:36:38] Annie Sargent: Anyway, so Brenda and Marion thank you so much for coming on the podcast to tell us about your adventures.

[00:36:46] Annie Sargent: I’m really delighted that you took the time, really, you didn’t try to go too many places in your week. So wonderful, I hope you have many more wonderful trips to France.

[00:36:58] Marion and Brenda: Yes. More to come for sure. I loved it. Thank you for having us on the podcast, Annie. Merci Beaucoup. Au revoir.


Thank you, patrons

[00:37:17] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that, and you can see them at Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for many years, you are wonderful.

New patrons

[00:37:34] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons, Hope, Sheryl Stewart, Alison Schwarzwalder, David Young, and Howard Hack. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible. Patrons, I would like to encourage you to install the Patreon app on your phone. It’ll help you enjoy your rewards while on the go, including audio and video rewards.

[00:37:59] Annie Sargent: This week I published a short French pronunciation practice of Line 4 of the Paris Metro, and will soon release a new video where I update my patrons on what’s happening in my life while taking a short scenic drive. The trees are in bloom, early spring is a splendid time to be in France. And thank you patrons for your support. I would so love to get to 500 patrons, but I can only get there with your help. And Elyse also needs your support. Go to E L Y S A R T for her and /joinus for me.

My hedgehog odyssey

[00:38:38] Annie Sargent: And next week I will publish my first hedgehog video since, oh, I can’t, I can’t remember when the last one was, but it’s been at least a year.

[00:38:48] Annie Sargent: There are wild hedgehogs in my village and in a lot of France, and they go from garden to garden looking for food and drink. When hedgehogs wake up at the end of the winter, it’s really important to help them by giving them fresh water and cat food. They do great on cat food, because the cute little rats are endangered.

[00:39:12] Annie Sargent: So for the last few years I’ve done just that in the spring, but every year it gets more elaborate, right? This year I found little wooden houses where I can hide the food. I mean, if I don’t hide the food, the cat food, my dog and cat will eat it before the hedgehogs come out at night. So the food is in the boxes. It’s really adorable seeing them get in and out of the boxes and then take a long drink.

[00:39:37] Annie Sargent: Tonight, I put out no-salt shelled pumpkin seeds around the gravel path. The dog and the cat are not going to eat the pumpkin seeds. So if the hedgehogs like it, we should see them. We should see them eating the pumpkin seeds. That’s going to be cute. I think you’ll like it patrons.

Preparing a trip to France?

[00:39:56] Annie Sargent: If you’re gearing up for a journey to France and immersing yourself in as many episodes as possible to prepare, keep doing that, you are doing it right. This podcast is an excellent resource to help you get ready for your adventures in France.

[00:40:10] Annie Sargent: You can also take advantage of my expertise as your personal itinerary consultant. To get started, simply follow these steps.

[00:40:18] Annie Sargent: Number one, purchase the service at

[00:40:23] Annie Sargent: Number two, complete a questionnaire to share your travel ideas and preferences.

[00:40:28] Annie Sargent:

[00:40:28] Annie Sargent: Number three, schedule a phone appointment during which we’ll discuss your specific plans for about an hour.

[00:40:35] Annie Sargent: And number four, after our conversation, I’ll send you a comprehensive document outlining the itinerary that we discussed. Unfortunately, my schedule tends to be really, really booked up several weeks in advance, so to find my next available date, visit the only page where you can buy this service, at the Join Us in France Boutique. You’d better secure your spot because I can’t cram anymore in.

VoiceMap App Tours

[00:41:03] Annie Sargent: And if my schedule is fully booked and you’re unable to consult with me directly, fear not. You can still take me along for your Parisian adventure with my GPS self-guided tour available on the VoiceMap app, I’ve created seven immersive tours each showing off a distinct, iconic neighborhood of Paris.

[00:41:23] Annie Sargent: You can choose from Eiffel Tower, which is available in English or French, Île de la Cité, Le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain des Prés or the Latin Quarter. With my guided tours, you won’t need to fight with Google Maps, just follow the sound of my voice and look around.

[00:41:41] Annie Sargent: You can access my tours directly from the VoiceMap app, but if you purchase the tour codes from, you will receive a special listener discount.

Are Paris Museums Free for American Kids or Not?

[00:41:52] Annie Sargent: All right, are Paris museums free for American kids or not? Is it true that children under 18 don’t have to pay to visit museums in Paris? Yes, it is true that all children under 18 can visit many museums in Paris for free. The French government has made it a priority to encourage young people to engage with culture and art.

[00:42:20] Annie Sargent: Now, the reason why this got confusing is that I thought this only applied to Europeans, but it turns out that this is not true. Any child under 18 can get in for free in most Paris Museums. Some of these museums in Paris, the smaller ones are private museums and there’s no telling what they’re going to do.

[00:42:43] Annie Sargent: But for the big ones, the ones I called today are the Louvre, the Pompidou, Orsay, all of those. What you need to do is, when you buy tickets online, you just select the number of adults, select the number of kids, and you’ll see that they don’t charge anything for the kids, but they still want you to get a ticket for the kids. And if you show up in person, same thing.

[00:43:08] Annie Sargent: But I really don’t suggest you show up in person without your tickets in advance, because those big museums, ugh, you could be there a while. It’s way better to buy from the app. Even if you’re standing in front of the museum, try to buy it from the app, it’s better, it’s easier.

This week in French news

[00:43:25] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, the protests have died down.

[00:43:29] Annie Sargent: The French Constitutional Council is going to render their decision soon on whether or not the retirement age was passed following the Constitution or not. Do you know where the French Constitutional Council meets? Well, they meet in the beautiful area of the Palais-Royal.

[00:43:47] Annie Sargent: Some of the building around the Colonne de Buren. You know, those columns that are striped, white and black that people like to climb on? Right around there, there’s several offices of majorFrench institutions, including the French Constitutional Council.

[00:44:04] Annie Sargent: Anyway, if they decide that this law is not constitutional, then the law gets tossed out and that will calm the protestors, for a while anyway. But they can also decide that the law is totally constitutional, and now it’s the law of the land, in which case, expect more protests.

[00:44:25] Annie Sargent: But honestly, the protests have really died down a lot, and I think people are never going to be okay with working longer. But they can’t go on protesting forever and ever and ever, so I think it’s dying down. And even for the people who have visited France in the last few weeks, while there’s been protests and problems with garbage pickup and train strikes and so forth, they’ve done fine.

[00:44:52] Annie Sargent: They’ve done fine. You know, so don’t let the strikes worry you too much. They will come and they will. But Paris is still a beautiful place to visit. Although I must admit, I’m glad I wasn’t there during the garbage strike because, eh, no, I’m not okay with that, I guess.

Books Annie’s been listening to

[00:45:10] Annie Sargent: It’s been a long time since I’ve told you about the books I’ve been listening to on Audible.

[00:45:15] Annie Sargent: So let me just tell you, for the book club that Elyse and I belong to, we read this book called, L’Anomalie, or The Anomaly by Hervé le Tellier. So this is a French author who got the Goncourt prize for this book. And usually, Goncourt prizes just, I don’t like the books that they pick, but this one, I thought it was excellent. It’s kind of a fantasy book and it’s written extremely well. It’s very, very well executed. I really recommend it. Then after that, I read a funny, well, no, it’s not funny, but it was really interesting. It’s called Over Her Dead Body, and that one is by Susan Walter. And I thought this one, the plot was amazing. I was just, you know, I like little murder mysteries kind of books. But this one was really, really excellent.

[00:46:09] Annie Sargent: And then I listened to one called, Hear Lie the Dead. And I really enjoyed this one because it is set in Scotland and the reader uses various Scottish accents. It was just adorable. You know, I really wish I had the talent to write good novels like that, that are set in France that have such strong French characters.

[00:46:32] Annie Sargent: But just fun little mysteries, you know, nothing too gruesome or whatever. Anyway, that was a great one.

[00:46:37] Annie Sargent: And then I finally finished Le Ventre de Paris. So this is a novel by Émile Zola. Wonderful authorfrom the 1800. And it’s all about the les halles de Paris. So it’s all about the food market and it’s not a cheerful book. And it’s constantly describing food it never stops. And it’s kind of a long book. The reader, I think it takes 12 or 13 hours. So after a while I was like, okay, get it over with. I know that they’re piles and piles of food. I get it. Then I listened again to Wool by Hugh Howey. Now, this one I have listened to a few times, but the TV series is going to be out soon on Apple TV+. So I wanted to listen to it again because it’s been a few years since I listened to it. And I’m still trying to finish Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I am eight hours and 21 minutes from the end, and I will finish it if it kills me. I had read it when I was much younger. Oh, such a long book.

TV shows Annie’s watching

[00:47:49] Annie Sargent: As far as TV shows are concerned, my husband and I just barely started watching Smigadoon. It’s an Apple TV show about breaking into songs and it’s wonderfully executed. They’re so, so, so good. It’s very entertaining. And of course, I always have a Star Trek series of one sort or another going on.

[00:48:11] Annie Sargent: I’m on Discovery season two, I think episode 12 is the one I’m going to be watching when I’m done talking to you tonight. So I always have one of those going on. It’s just a, a really easy, wind down kind of thing for me at night.

Preparing the bootcamp

[00:48:27] Annie Sargent: I’ve had some struggles with preparing for the bootcamp because of the buses that we’re going to use. I think I finally have it sorted out. Oh, you know, this bootcamp is a lot of work. It’s so much work. I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again. So the folks who are coming, I hope we have a wonderful, wonderful time. But, oh, I didn’t realize how many details you have to take care of. You know, there’s going to be 40 people depending on me to have all my ducks in a row every day for seven days?

[00:48:57] Annie Sargent: And yeah, that’s a lot of preparations to make, but I’m enjoying it. It’s just, it’s a lot of work. And I am very lucky that I get to meet my listeners like that in person. And the other thing that I think is fantastic is that I get to talk to my listeners every day, pretty much when I do itinerary reviews.

[00:49:19] Annie Sargent: And I get to know what you want and what you like, and that’s why I can, you know, give better purpose to the show. Like, try to have the interviewees answer questions that I know you have because you tell me every day you have those questions. And I think that makes what I do much more interesting.

Listener feedback

[00:49:40] Annie Sargent: And speaking of getting feedback from my listeners, I want to play something for you. The last few shows I have been asking you to send in voice feedback. And this is something I’ve tried at different times of the podcast and it really was difficult. For a while, I had a phone number that I kept.

[00:50:01] Annie Sargent: It was a VoIP phone that I had for years, but it was costing like 30 bucks a month and hardly anybody ever called it. So eventually, I just said, you know, I’ll give up, I’ll give up on this one. Because now it’s really easy to do voice memos, right? You can just open a voice memo on your phone and talk and then email that file to me.

[00:50:23] Annie Sargent: And so I’m going to play one just now from Dawn Coppock and thank you so much for doing that. So if you would like to send in some feedback about either the podcast or my audio tours or my itinerary service or anything really, that has to do with France, I would love to hear it Send me a voice memo to And if you tell me that I can play it on the show, then I will. Thank you so much. Here’s Dawn.

[00:50:57] Dawn Coppock: Hi, this is Dawn. My husband Kyle and I leave in the morning for a trip to Paris and Normandy. We did an itinerary consult with Annie a few weeks ago, and we have her beautiful itinerary, which is just pages of great information about each place that we’re going, and it also includes suggestions for places to eat and exactly things that fit our interests. It takes into account when things are closed and how much to squeeze into one day. I’m making dinner reservations for our trip right now using an online app and Annie’s recommendations. The consult was well worth it in just feeling more confident and better prepared, and I’m sure when we get back we’ll have even more good stuff to report.

[00:51:53] Dawn Coppock: Highly recommend.

Show notes and transcript

[00:51:54] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on , the numeral. A big thank you to podcast editor Cristian Cotovan who produces the transcript so you can find in which episode we talked about that one thing that you were interested in.

Next week on the podcast

[00:52:13] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode with Elyse about Haussmann, Baron Haussmann and the amazing way that he transformed Paris. I think you’re going to really enjoy this, and it’s going to help you better understand what you see when you walk through the beautiful streets of Paris. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.


[00:52:41] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2023 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license.

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Category: Alsace and Lorraine