Categories: Dordogne, French Châteaux
[00:00:16] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 438, quatre cent trente-huit.
[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.
Today on the podcast
[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Adrienne Abiodun and Natalie Michelle, who visited France to learn more about Josephine Baker and the places connected to her life. They’ll take us through their journey from Paris to the Dordogne and talk about the various locations they explored along the way.
[00:00:58] Annie Sargent: They’ll also share insights into the history they uncovered and some very helpful travel advice for those interested in retracing Josephine Baker’s footsteps. So let’s dive in and find out more about this fascinating adventure.
[00:01:14] 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.
[00:01:27] Annie Sargent: And you can browse all of that at my boutique JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.
Magazine Part of the Podcast
[00:01:33] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, after the interview, I’ll discuss 10 things you need to do when preparing a trip to France.
Looking for Josephine Baker
[00:01:52] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, Natalie and Adrienne and welcome to Join us in France.
[00:01:57] Adrienne and Nathalie: Bonjour Annie. Thank you. Merci.
[00:02:00] Annie Sargent: How nice to talk to you, we want to talk all about your recent trip to France on the footsteps of Josephine Baker. You also went to Paris. You had a wonderful time.
When Did They Visit and Why Together?
[00:02:10] Annie Sargent: So tell us when you went and why you decided to go together?
[00:02:14] Adrienne and Nathalie: Okay. Yeah. So we went in May, the purpose of the trip was just celebrate my 40th birthday. I had mentioned wanting to do something and Natalie talks about going to France, which I had always wanted to do, but mostly just to learn about Josephine Baker. I had always admired Josephine Baker.
[00:02:33] Adrienne and Nathalie: So, that was mostly the purpose of the trip, my 40th birthday, to travel together as friends for a fourth time and to learn about Josephine Baker.
[00:02:42] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. You guys have traveled together before. Yeah.
[00:02:45] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:02:46] Annie Sargent: And you don’t kill each other?
[00:02:48] Adrienne and Nathalie: No, no, we don’t kill each other. But just like any relationship, when you travel, you know, you have your ups and your downs and you just manage through them. I think it’s inevitable with a relationship. You can travel with your children, your loved one, your husband, your grandmother. It’s just a normal relationship when you travel.
[00:03:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So let’s talk about what you particularly enjoyed and perhaps you can start, Adrienne and we’ll get to you after that, Natalie.
[00:03:16] Adrienne and Nathalie: Sure. So, as I had mentioned, I always wanted to visit France, mostly because of Josephine Baker, but outside of that, I’m pretty ignorant to a lot of French history.
[00:03:27] Adrienne and Nathalie: I mean, I probably know all of the very popular things like the Mona Lisa, you know, things like that. But outside of that, regionally, I didn’t know very much and I’d always heard things culturally that kind of intimidated me about the language and the people.
Started in Paris
[00:03:43] Adrienne and Nathalie: But overall, going into Paris and oh, and that Paris was loud and hurry up and get out of Paris and go somewhere else. But actually, that’s where we started.
[00:03:52] Adrienne and Nathalie: And I actually really loved Paris a lot. I could see myself going back there again. There’s a lot to do. I love all the art. I love just walking around the city and the architecture. And the river is just, it’s so pretty. And again, there was just so much that you could choose from, it was a little bit overwhelming, and I think we discussed some of that in our trip planning when you did our trip itinerary report.
[00:04:15] Adrienne and Nathalie: So, Paris was just beautiful. I could go back to the museums all day. I could spend all day in the museums.
[00:04:22] Annie Sargent: What do you think Natalie?
[00:04:24] Adrienne and Nathalie: I agree with Adrienne. I think the time of year that we traveled was also a great time to see Paris. France is an easy country to travel. And coming off of the pandemic, we really wanted something that was easy, beautiful… and the landscape at that time in spring, just seeing all the flowers blossom next to the architecture.
[00:04:44] Adrienne and Nathalie: And for me, what’s captivating about Paris is you have this old architecture with these modern like staircases built in and modern pieces blended in. So it’s just visually very pleasing and you can’t, I mean, the food is great, the museums are great, there’s art, there’s fashion. It’s just a wonderful way to celebrate someone’s birthday.
[00:05:05] Adrienne and Nathalie: So I really encouraged her like, let’s go to France.
Château Des Milandes
[00:05:09] Annie Sargent: That’s wonderful. So did you do something special on your birthday, the evening of your birthday or the day of your birthday?
[00:05:16] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah. We spent the first three, four days in Paris. And then we went into Dordogne, the South of France. And on my actual birthday, I did have the opportunity to visit the Château of Josephine Baker, Château Des Milandes. Yes. Yes. I did that on my birthday and I could not have asked for a better experience.
[00:05:39] Adrienne and Nathalie: It was just a dream come true, I cannot put it into words.
[00:05:43] Annie Sargent: That’s great. That’s great. So how did you make your way to the Dordogne, from Paris? Did you take the train,Natalie?
Rent an electric car
[00:05:51] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes, we took the train. It was a relatively fast trip. It was a speed train, so it only took us two hours. And then we rented a car, an electric car, which you said was very brave of us. Because I own electric car here in the States, it is a slightly different than doing it in France, but we did navigate it.
[00:06:09] Adrienne and Nathalie: My only advice would be to make sure wherever you’re staying has an electric charger, because we did find it on our drive that some of the electric chargers weren’t working properly. So that would be my advice, is just to make sure whatever hotel you book or wherever you’re staying, you have somewhere to plug in.
[00:06:28] Adrienne and Nathalie: Once we found that, everything was just easy.
[00:06:32] Annie Sargent: What car rental company did you use?
[00:06:34] Adrienne and Nathalie: Sixt, yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:06:36] Annie Sargent: And they gave you what kind of electric car?
[00:06:39] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think it was a Fiat. Was it a Fiat? Do you remember? Yeah, it was a Fiat
[00:06:44] Annie Sargent: Oh, it was the E 500. The electric 500, the tiny thing?
[00:06:47] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:06:48] Annie Sargent: Oh, how cute! That’s a cute little car, I love it! That’s a cute little car. But that Fiat can not go from Bordeaux all the way to the Dordogne without charging, right?
[00:07:01] Adrienne and Nathalie: You’re pushing it. You can. You can, but it’s better just in case, to charge it right in between. Because we made it, we weren’t comfortable doing it on the way there, so we tried to stop to charge. But on the way back, we went all the way I believe. Is that correct, Adrienne? That sounds right. I don’t think we stopped to charge on our way back.
[00:07:20] Annie Sargent: Oh wow. Good little car. Good little car. People ask me when they’re visiting if they should rent an electric car and I always say kind of no. But I am all for electric cars, but…
[00:07:30] Annie Sargent: So did they give you a charge card or something that you could use to initiate your charges?
[00:07:36] Adrienne and Nathalie: I believe they did give us a card, but it didn’t work. Correct, Natalie? Yeah, it wasn’t working. They didn’t really have, I would say that’s the part that fell through. It should have worked easy and smoothly, but it just, I think on the back end, they didn’t have the system set up correctly.
[00:07:52] Annie Sargent: Ah, yeah. Yeah. Because I wonder, yeah. Are they ready? I mean, it’s already hard enough for people who buy an electric car to get all the types of, because in France we have so many chargers that you’re going to run into. And a lot of them require something completely different. You need an app or you need an RFID card.
[00:08:14] Annie Sargent: And usually, there’s a phone number you can call to initiate the charge, but they’ll usually tell you, okay, you have to download this app and you have to set up your account and you have to put in your credit card and you have to get all this verification, blah, blah.
[00:08:28] Annie Sargent: And then I can launch the charge. And I’m like, well, that’s going to take like 15 minutes just before you even start charging.
[00:08:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. So overall, you were happy with your experience with the electric car so long as you have a place to charge at night?
[00:08:43] Adrienne and Nathalie: Correct. Yes. Yes. And I did all the driving, which was fine. I had volunteered to do that because I prefer to drive long distance. It helps me kind of get familiar and stay awake because Natalie will tell you, I can, I will fall asleep, I’ll fall asleep on any mode of transportation if I’m a passenger and I’m not, and I’m not driving.
[00:09:02] Adrienne and Nathalie: But the drive was really smooth. I did listen to the podcast episodes because I was apprehensive a little bit about the signs and you know, understanding what all of them mean, speed limits and things like that. And I will say that the podcast that you had, I think there were two of them on driving in France that were really helpful for me.
[00:09:21] Adrienne and Nathalie: And then I had never driven an electric car prior to coming on this trip, so that was an experience for me too. But I mean, you get the hang of it pretty fast. It was just, yeah, I think like the charging hiccups with the electric vehicle and you know, obviously you kind of knew a little something more than we did knowing the distance that we had to go and what the charging situations are like.
[00:09:41] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think that would be the biggest recommendation or just something we want people to be aware of, like if they were wanting to do that.
[00:09:49] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I mean, we have good infrastructure for electric car charging in France. I mean, I was just in Tennessee where it was, I don’t know where anybody charges, honestly. I went looking for chargers and I opened my app, like I opened a better route planner and I was like there’s two chargers in Nashville.
[00:10:07] Annie Sargent: Are you kidding me? Like, there’s two chargers in the village next to mine. It’s a village.
[00:10:13] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:10:14] Annie Sargent: It’s incredible. But you still have to mess with, you know, is it going to be a fast charge or is it going to be a slow kind of charge? But if you’re staying overnight, it doesn’t matter. Like your car’s going to be sitting there all night, it’ll charge.
[00:10:26] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:10:27] Annie Sargent: Yes. Fantastic. Okay. Enough about the electric car, but thank you for engaging me on that because I want to go back to the Dordogne, with my electric car and I’m like, where am I going to charge? Like, I can’t…
[00:10:39] Adrienne and Nathalie: Hotel Madeline? Yes.
[00:10:43] Annie Sargent: Very good. That’s, I am, I’m very glad to hear that. Okay.
How was Château Des Milandes?
[00:10:48] Annie Sargent: How did you like the Château Des Milandes for example? I know it was your birthday, so probably you were in a, hopefully you were in a good mood, was it all you had hoped?
[00:10:59] Adrienne and Nathalie: It really, it really was.Just being on the property, which is very well taken care of on the exterior and interior. You know, they don’t let you take photos on the inside, but all of the rooms were just, I really felt like I could feel Josephine Baker, you know, and her spirit there in France and how she felt about France and how people felt about her.
[00:11:21] Adrienne and Nathalie: And even the, oh my gosh, the docents, right. They were amazing to talk to during our time there. And the added information that they gave us outside of the brochure and was just, it was just everything. It was a really beautiful castle, an attraction to visit. Even if you don’t know anything about Josephine Baker, I think anybody could appreciate it.
[00:11:41] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s beautiful. Did you see the bird show?
[00:11:43] Adrienne and Nathalie: No, I didn’t. I think we saw them setting up for it, but I think we bypassed on the bird show.
[00:11:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Very good.
[00:11:50] Annie Sargent: What else did you do in the Dordogne?
[00:11:52] Adrienne and Nathalie: Well, let’s see. Natalie, we went to a couple, oh, I think we kind of like really bypassed on one of the castles and then there was another one, and the name escapes me that we did go and visit very briefly. Do you recall the name of that one, Natalie? No. Well, for me the castles weren’t as big.
The Docents Enjoyed the Impression of Josephine
[00:12:11] Adrienne and Nathalie: The big thing was definitely seeing Josephine Baker’s. And just to add to that trip of when we went to her Des Milandes castle, I think one of the beautiful things that we saw is we forget that the people that are working there, the docents are enthralled with Josephine so when Adrienne started talking with one of them, I had mentioned that she did a full photo shoot as Josephine Baker. And just to see the docent’s eyes light up when she saw it, she was taken away and she felt like she was actually speaking to Josephine.
[00:12:45] Annie Sargent: Oh wow.
[00:12:46] Adrienne and Nathalie: A moment that was overwhelming and it was so beautiful.
Le Gouffre de Padirac
[00:12:50] Adrienne and Nathalie: But for me, I think in that Dordogne area, the biggest things were the castle, and personally was Gouffre de Padirac.
[00:13:00] Adrienne and Nathalie: Oh, Le Gouffre de Padirac. Yeah.
[00:13:03] Adrienne and Nathalie: It’s like traveling to another world. It’s like, what? 170 million years ago it started when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth and you go down into this giant hole in the earth and you feel like you’re in the movie like Avatar or Lord of the Rings. And it’s just breathtaking and it’s good for children and adults.
[00:13:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so that one is not quite, I mean, that one is what I consider to be a different part of the Dordogne because it, you know, it’s a bit of a drive, it’s like an hour and a half drive between Sarlat and Padirac , but it’s totally worth it. I mean, it’s such a beautiful place and I’ve been going since I was a kid.
[00:13:41] Annie Sargent: So to me, it also brings memories of going with my parents when I was little and always being like, oh my God, what is this? You know? it’s fun. The boat ride is fun too, right? The little boat ride down there is excellent. That’s great. That’s great.
Lunch at the Château
[00:13:59] Annie Sargent: One thing that’s interesting, I see in your notes Adrienne, that you liked the food at the Château, so you got your lunch at the Château?
[00:14:08] Annie Sargent: I saw it, I saw they were serving stuff, but I never tried it. You thought it was particularly good, huh? And by Château, I mean the one, Des Milandes, the Josephine Baker Château.
[00:14:17] Adrienne and Nathalie: Correct, correct. I, you know, I know salad is probably not something that comes to mind as a phenomenal dish, but I mean, this salad had the duck breast and the goose turin, is that how you, what you call it? I mean, the paté.
[00:14:31] Adrienne and Nathalie: It was just so delicious. It was her first time having it too, right?
[00:14:36] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah, it was my first time. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’ve had like, what was it? It was duck breast and the texture was kind of like a pork belly, I guess, a little bit. But it was so, yeah, it was just a phenomenal salad.
Not Big Fans of Foie Gras
[00:14:48] Adrienne and Nathalie: I mean, and while we were there, you know, obviously this was foie gras country, like this is what this region was known for the duck and the walnuts and the strawberries
[00:14:56] Adrienne and Nathalie: The salad had the walnut, it had all of those things, you know, butit was a stand out for me, because I did, on any normal circumstance here in the United States, I probably would not have had liver. I am not a fan of any type of liver whatsoever. But I told myself I was going to France, I’m going to try this, you know?
[00:15:14] Adrienne and Nathalie: And I, you know, I heard all the talk about how rich it was and the foie gras, and we had that on maybe two occasions at two different restaurants and mm-hmm. I can’t say that I was blown away. It wasn’t scary anymore, you know. If I went back to France and someone offered it and it was like, oh, you have to try this, so, you know, it’s the best of the best. I would try it again, you know, but I wouldn’t say I was blown away by the taste of it.
[00:15:38] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:39] Adrienne and Nathalie: So it was not my typical, I like spicy food, for example, you know? So not my typical thing, but it wasn’t terrible.
[00:15:47] Annie Sargent: My husband loves foie gras, and I was raised on it, and yet I’m like, eh, I can take it or I’ll leave it. Like it’s fine. So I’ll have some, like at Christmas time or whatever. It’s a special occasion, but he orders it, if it’s on the menu, you can be pretty sure he’s going to have it, but not me.
[00:16:04] Annie Sargent: No, No. I just, I usually just don’t do that. But some people love this stuff and yeah, we don’t all have to enjoy, you know, it’s good for the ducks that some of us don’t love it as much.
[00:16:16] Adrienne and Nathalie: Right, right.
[00:16:17] Adrienne and Nathalie: I was going to say there was another dish that, and it was the night we said Natalie won the dish for the night. But we were trying to actually get away just for a second from French food. And then we went to this, like, what was it? A pizza? Italian restaurant or something?
[00:16:30] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes, on the plaza in Surlat. Andyou ended up getting this, the waiter said you recommended this one dish, but he said he was very French in that the dish was, you know, the part of the animal from the throat, you know, and he was, and he acted like, I don’t know if you’ll like it, but you ended up ordering it and it was delicious too.
[00:16:48] Adrienne and Nathalie: That was a very delicious dish as well. I cannot remember.
[00:16:51] Annie Sargent: The stuffed cou de canard? The duck neck, but it’s stuffed?
[00:16:56] Adrienne and Nathalie: Oh no, I think, I believe it was cow.
[00:16:59] Annie Sargent: Huh?
[00:17:00] Adrienne and Nathalie: Because it was at the Italian restaurant. It was like the cheek and neck of the cow. So, but I’m partially Spanish, so we eat everything.
[00:17:09] Adrienne and Nathalie: So it was like, hand it over, let’s try it. And it was divine. Yeah, it was good. That was really good.
[00:17:17] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Yeah. So how did you like SarlatNatalie? Was it as good as you had hoped?
[00:17:24] Adrienne and Nathalie: You know, I didn’t have as much expectations, I know Adrienne did a lot of research, so I kind of went into it open. And it was, it’s beautiful to walk around that little city center. The moment we arrived the morning, it was rains and there was double rainbows and it was lush. And then you have the old, you know, pebble or the roads that are the old rock through it, it’s so, it was very, very beautiful.
[00:17:48] Adrienne and Nathalie: But I think my favorite time was driving through just around that city area with the landscape and we drove through field of like poppies that were blooming, and then just the foliage was everywhere. And then watching all these…
[00:18:02] Adrienne and Nathalie: There, I didn’t know it was such a big bicyclist country where people just go on bicycle tours and so you get to see them go through the valleys and so that was just pretty to watch and a good idea for maybe later.
[00:18:17] Annie Sargent: You can totally do, like you can rent a bike, you set yourself up in Sarlat, you rent a bike, and then you do day excursions around the area and just come back and then loop around and come back for the night. And then on a different night you, you go in a different loop. It’s really very doable and very fun, you know, if you enjoy biking, it’s really good.
[00:18:36] Annie Sargent: It looks like you had a, kind of a bit of, of a snag with your accommodations in Sarlat. Do you want to tell us about that?
[00:18:42] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think we, for our accommodations in Sarlat, we kind of a ventured out and we were looking at different sites that looked good to stay and Adrienne set everything up and it should have ran without a hitch. But unfortunately when we arrived we started getting text messages with the wrong address, which was, should have been the first warning sign.
[00:19:04] Adrienne and Nathalie: And like very American phrases, it was very shady. So we kind of had this like, and you know, in your stomach when you have that feeling like something’s wrong here. And when we showed up, Adrienne had everything printed, ready to go to verify that we were at the wrong address. And even though we used Google Translate and we were communicating back and forth, it still wasn’t going well.
[00:19:28] Adrienne and Nathalie: So they acted like they put us at the wrong property. The house that they converted to an Airbnb didn’t have any locks on our doors, and that’s a big warning sign for me.
[00:19:40] Adrienne and Nathalie:
[00:19:40] Adrienne and Nathalie: And we had no air conditioning, so I was like, Adrienne, let’s get out of here. Yeah,
[00:19:46] Annie Sargent: Yeah,
[00:19:47] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah. I mean, the property owners own like multiple properties in the area and we want it to be in the city center and they confirmed that, but then when we arrived or like, like on that day of as we were heading there and they’re confirming and hey, we’re excited to welcome you, but it was the property address outside of the city center. So, you know, and having driven, and you know, played around with the electric cars for a while,
[00:20:14] Adrienne and Nathalie: mm-hmm. Once we got there, our car, at that point, our car did need a serious charge and we have this language barrier and they’re, you know, trying to get us settled in at this property. We’re tired, but then and I would’ve probably laid my hat down and been like, okay, I’m just too tired. I’ll deal with this the next day.
[00:20:31] Adrienne and Nathalie: But Natalie, no, let’s see what we can find. Yeah. And it worked out and it turned out to be a much better decision, you know, that was the night before my birthday. But then on, you know, once we got into the new hotel, The Madeline we were much better off. Like it was a better, a much better decision.
[00:20:50] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so what was the name of the bad hotel?
[00:20:52] Adrienne and Nathalie: Oh, I don’t want to share that. I think, you know, so many people are getting into the Airbnb business and not everybody understands how hospitality runs. And so I think, you know, they’re really, I think even though they own multiple businesses, I think they’re really still learning that industry.
[00:21:12] Annie Sargent: Yeah, but you got to tell us because we don’t want to go there, right?
[00:21:16] Adrienne and Nathalie: I might not say it right, but I mean, and I found them through a recommendation of another travel like podcast or a blog of vlogs, vloggers, I guess that’s what they call them. Their site. And so, you know, I thought, oh, okay, this looks great. But it was a Les Bories in the city.
[00:21:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Okay. Okay.
[00:21:37] Annie Sargent: Okay. This is not something I had recommended, right?
[00:21:41] Adrienne and Nathalie: No. No. No, I mean, and I think we were, I was mostly disappointed in just even after, I mean, when we left, we left in the middle of the night, like almost what, 10:30, 11 o’clock at night. And we’re like, we’re out of here. We’re going to go check out. You know, I sent a text letting them know, Hey, you know, this wasn’t a good fit for us. And they never, they just never wrote back, they never, the communication before, like even, yeah, it was very bad. And Okay. They own shop in the downtown area? Yeah. Yeah. They own a shop in the city center and I stick out like a sore thumb, I’m African-American and there’s just not a lot of, there weren’t a lot of African-American tourists there, or a tourist that looks like myself.
[00:22:18] Adrienne and Nathalie: So I, we walk by them and I knew I could see their face and they just didn’t acknowledge or say, Hey, sorry, that didn’t work out. It was really weird. It was really weird.
Hotel Plaza Madelein in Sarlat
[00:22:28] Adrienne and Nathalie: Glad, glad we found something better.
[00:22:30] Annie Sargent: So then you went to the Hotel Plaza Madeleine in Sarlat where I have stayed, but I didn’t know they had an electric charger, but, well, it was years ago so maybe they didn’t.
[00:22:39] Adrienne and Nathalie: They have a little garage
[00:22:41] Adrienne and Nathalie: They have a garage so you can park and a charger, I think two chargers there. So they’re, they’re so easy.
[00:22:48] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Well, that’s where I’m going then. Fantastic. But I’ve stayed there before and it was good. You know, it’s a good place. I’m glad it worked out.
[00:22:59] Annie Sargent: Alright, well, okay, so, more, do we have more to say about the Dordogne or shall we move on to Paris?
[00:23:06] Adrienne and Nathalie: Well, I will say, in addition toJosephine Baker Château, I really loved the garden. What was the mayo? Marqueyssac.
[00:23:15] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:23:16] Annie Sargent: The suspended garden.
[00:23:17] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes. We love the gardens. And then there was also the tropical, the water garden, the Jardin D’eau.
[00:23:25] Annie Sargent: Oh, I don’t know that one.
[00:23:28] Adrienne and Nathalie: That was a standout to me. It had a lot of lilies and just different plants that I’m sure they’re not native to the area, but the landscaping of that with the bridge and then the boardwalk over the water with the lily pads and all the frogs and fountains, like, it was really beautiful.
[00:23:47] Annie Sargent: Can you tell why Josephine Baker liked this place so much?
[00:23:51] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah, I mean it’s beautiful, like the country it’s a beautiful escape from the city, the hills I mean, just it’s lush, the green area I think she liked that to get outside of Paris.
[00:24:03] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think she also loved growing. You know, she had this such a beautiful landscape that she grew things. She really put on her boots and her gardening gear.
[00:24:12] Adrienne and Nathalie: Mm-hmm. And went out and did gardening and then used that for the party she would throw and invite people and the city in. So it’s, the community is very different there too, opposed to Paris.
[00:24:23] Annie Sargent: It’s a great place to raise kids and she had a lot of kids to raise.
[00:24:27] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes, yes, she did. I mean, one of the things we learned from the docents was that she would host these like amusement park style like parties on her property, rich or poor, or you know, like low income, you know, that anybody could come.
[00:24:43] Adrienne and Nathalie: She wanted this to be welcoming for anybody. And the docents said this was like, she was like one of the first people to do something like this, not just in the region, but I think she said in all of France, these large carnival kind of style parties and amusement things.
[00:24:56] Adrienne and Nathalie: So, I mean, and her heart was so big, you know, with the children and everything. We all know her story. She ended, you know, not as wealthy as she had been, but without a doubt, she was just an amazing person, like pretty through and through.
[00:25:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it’s fantastic to see the place and you see all her family photos inside of her Château, and you see the kids and you see the different husbands that she had and the, you know, and the costumes that she wore and you know, it’s just a fun place to visit. I really can’t recommend it high enough.
[00:25:30] Annie Sargent: And I, I think you really understand well. Well, for me, I could tell right away why you, you would want this because if you were a wealthy entertainer and you wanted to have a lot of kids and take care of them and have a good place for them to grow up in. Well, this Chateau was a, yeah, that was good. If you can afford it, it’s fantastic. Yeah.
A few days in Paris
[00:25:53] Annie Sargent: Alright, let’s spend a few minutes talking about Paris and what particularly stands out to you both about Paris.
[00:26:01] Adrienne and Nathalie: You want to go first, Natalie? Well one, one of my must lists because I’ve been to Paris before, was with Adrienne, was I said, I can go anywhere because it’s your first visit to Paris.
[00:26:11] Adrienne and Nathalie: But Museum d’Orsay is one of my favorite because there’s something about visiting museum in an old train station, what that looks like and having to see the Art Nouveau is one of my favorites, so that’s my favorite museum in the city, I think. Even opposed to the Louvre, which I know that’s a big one for people to see, but it’s charming in its own way.
[00:26:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. And now when you say Art Nouveau you mean the museum itself, the building has lots of…
[00:26:42] Adrienne and Nathalie: No, they have a section of furniture.
[00:26:44] Annie Sargent: Oh, that they do. That’s true. That’s true. I forgot about that. Yes.
[00:26:48] Annie Sargent: Yes. They have the beautiful Art Nouveau furniture. That’s right. Forgot.
[00:26:52] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes,
[00:26:53] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Very nice. So it was your first time in the Orsay, Adrianne. What did you think?
[00:26:59] Adrienne and Nathalie: Unfortunately,I love the artwork inside of it. I love that it’s the train station and everything, but it was just that main through fair. Like when you go through the in enter and then there’s all the sculptures like there. And I can’t, I mean, it wasn’t very busy, like, or as busy, I guess, as it could have been in a normal non-pandemic time, so I’m sure there weren’t as many people that could have been there, but that part was a little underwhelming to me. Like when you go in, it just felt cluttered and like, just really weird. I don’t know how to just put it into words, but the galleries off sides, you know, on the sides of each of that and then upstairs,I loved all that. I
[00:27:37] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:27:37] Adrienne and Nathalie: It was just that main entrance. Yes, yes.
[00:27:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah.
[00:27:42] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah. I mean, otherwise it was lovely. The clock and the it was wonderful.
Favorite Things in Paris
[00:27:47] Annie Sargent: So what was your favorite thing in Paris, because it was your first time, so did you have a favorite?
[00:27:52] Adrienne and Nathalie: Oh my gosh. I really, it’s just, I don’t know, just being in the city. I don’t live in a major city here in the US. But just being in a city, walking around, seeing that architecture, visiting the museums. I love the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery. We popped in there and saw some of the artwork on display there.
[00:28:11] Annie Sargent: Tell us more. I don’t know about this. I don’t know anything about Mariane Ibrahim.
[00:28:15] Adrienne and Nathalie: I believe she has galleries in Chicago and in Paris. I’m not sure if she has them anywhere else, but she spotlights mostlyartists of color African, African-American. I could be wrong if there may be others, but it’s a really small gallery, it’s nothing really huge. But it was recommended by a friend that we pop in there and we did that.
[00:28:35] Adrienne and Nathalie: So it wasn’t a huge part of our trip, but the artwork there, you know, that stood out. And it was a beautiful building. The little landmark for where Josephine Baker performed, we, you know, passed through her old neighborhood, which was really a cute neighborhood, like in the Montparnasse.
[00:28:53] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes, Montparnasse.
[00:28:54] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes, yes.
[00:28:55] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes. Yes. That neighborhood, that area, you know, dining at the La Coupole.
[00:29:00] Annie Sargent: La Coupole, yeah, that’s good, right?
[00:29:02] Adrienne and Nathalie: La Coupole. Thank you. And then also like the marker, you know, just like walking in all of those little parts and seeing the theaters where she performed. I really loved it. I loved the garden outside of the, what was the, I think it’s outside of the Louvre that we sat in and we had the macaroons. That one was really pretty.
Little Africa Village fashion tour
[00:29:22] Adrienne and Nathalie: Well, our tour that we did that was phenomenal in black market? Yeah. The little Africa of Paris their tour, it was the fashion tour. So they gave us the tour of the communities that are where, a lot of, I guess, African immigrants into Paris have made their home, and we learned about the different fabric that you could find at the different markets and how they fashion them and where they come from, like what if it’s from Cameroon or Benin or Togo? Well, different parts of West Africa, but particularly like French West Africancountries from a West Africa west French connection. So, that was fun.
[00:30:00] Adrienne and Nathalie: That was a lot of fun.
[00:30:01] Adrienne and Nathalie: We did a little shopping there.
[00:30:03] Annie Sargent: So this was an organized tour that you took?
[00:30:06] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes. Yes.
[00:30:07] Annie Sargent: And so the name of the tour company, is it Little Africa Village, is the name of the company?
[00:30:12] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:30:13] Annie Sargent: Ah, very good. I hadn’t heard of them. That’s great. And they give you a tour of a whole neighborhood or something?
[00:30:20] Adrienne and Nathalie: They, yes, she went over the fashion. She basically went over the different cloths and as you’re touring the different vendors that sell these cloth and the different types, she will give you a little history about the buildings as well, and what it was like to grow up in that time and what they were facing.
[00:30:37] Adrienne and Nathalie: And from a fashion perspective, it was nice to see that they are taking all these, forgive me if I say this incorrectly, because this was all new for me, they take these older fabrics and they are modernizing them into modern wear, which is to see that blend was really beautiful.
[00:30:53] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Hmm. Fun.
[00:30:54] Adrienne and Nathalie: Or I guess, I guess you could say to make them a traditional fabric, but make it more contemporary. Yeah. Yeah. Yes.
[00:31:01] Annie Sargent: Very nice. Very nice. So, do you remember the part of Paris that you were touring with this person? Was this a French person or an American person?
[00:31:10] Adrienne and Nathalie: Oh, she’s like a worldly person. Yes. I can’t, I know she, she’s lived so many places, butI don’t know what she considers herself, if she’s French or American.
[00:31:19] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. And so what neighborhood did you meet in?
[00:31:22] Annie Sargent: Oh, I cannot remember the number,the district. But it was a distance from the city center, right? It was not city center of Paris.
[00:31:30] Adrienne and Nathalie: Hmm, no.
[00:31:32] Annie Sargent: Oh, interesting. Oh, I’ll look it up. I’ll look it up. If I can find it, I’ll put it on the website, because I’ll probably put a link to her services since you enjoyed it. That’s great.
[00:31:41] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think, yeah. No, it definitely. 6th Rue?
[00:31:43] Annie Sargent: Okay,
[00:31:44] Adrienne and Nathalie: Might be the 6th Rue.
[00:31:45] Adrienne and Nathalie: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:46] Annie Sargent: That’s the Latin Quarter perhaps.
[00:31:48] Adrienne and Nathalie: It wasn’t Latin Quarter then. I don’t, no, I don’t think it was a Latin quarter. I’d have to look it up myself again. It escapes me right now. But I do recommend, I do recommend, if you’re interested, the tours, they have the fashion one and they also have the food tour, which we did not do.
[00:32:02] Adrienne and Nathalie: So, and then that one, you go to a restaurant and you visit the different market stalls where they’re selling fruits and vegetables. I think anything you would find there. But then also like things that they probably import that are typical to what they normally eat in West Africa.
Breakfast at the Four Seasons
[00:32:17] Annie Sargent: So Natalie, it sounds like you enjoyed having the breakfast at the Four Seasons. I want to hear about that.
[00:32:24] Adrienne and Nathalie: Well, you know, Four Seasons in Paris is like that typical movie scene. You walk into it and it’s breathtaking. It’s got all these flower arrangements, everybody’s dressed up to perfection. I mean, I even had to look at my shirt. I was like, is this a shirt that one of my kids has stained? And when you walk in everybody’s so nice, it smells great. And we just went, we’re rushed into the breakfast room and it was vaulted ceilings, manicured gardens, and ordered a lovely breakfast. And the best was Adrienne. She won the dish award for that breakfast. It was this avocado toast that looked like a beautiful caterpillar on top of this bread.
[00:33:06] Annie Sargent: Oh wow. And they served that for breakfast?
[00:33:10] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yes.
[00:33:12] Annie Sargent: huh?
[00:33:13] Adrienne and Nathalie: It really was delicious and it was beautiful and I, again, I wasn’t really thinking I’d come to France and have avocado or avocado toast.
[00:33:20] Annie Sargent: Sure. Yeah.
[00:33:22] Adrienne and Nathalie: But I’ll take it, you know, so it was, it was delicious and yeah, the Four Seasons was wonderful.
[00:33:28] Annie Sargent: Huh. But you weren’t staying at the Four Seasons were you?
[00:33:31] Adrienne and Nathalie: Nope, just went for breakfast.
[00:33:33] Annie Sargent: Huh? So, did you reserve that in advance or you just showed up?
[00:33:37] Adrienne and Nathalie: I think we showed up. Showed up, yeah. For breakfast, we just showed up.
[00:33:41] Annie Sargent: You know, this is a really good thing to know about. I mean, most of these beautiful hotels, like, you know, the super expensive hotels, you can usually have breakfast there if you want to see them, you know, go for breakfast and it might cost you, what, 35 to 50 bucks, but you’ll have a lovely time.
[00:34:01] Adrienne and Nathalie: Yeah, it’s nice to have like a good chef there and when you want to just take a moment to enjoy company in a beautiful environment, I think it’s well worth the break on your feet while you’re traveling.
[00:34:11] Annie Sargent: And it’s also very typical for French companies that want to wine and dine someone to have a breakfast meeting at one of these fancy hotels, because they know it’s fairly quiet and you can just have a leisurely breakfast. And you know, nobody’s drinking, so that’s good. I mean, for a business meeting it’s best.
[00:34:32] Annie Sargent: And so, yeah, I’ve seen lots of companies do that, you know, just invite people to join them at a fancy hotel for breakfast. So yeah. Fantastic. Fantastic.
Hotel San Regis
[00:34:43] Adrienne and Nathalie: And I mean, I don’t know if we want to talk about it, but I mean we stayed at a pretty lovely hotel in Paris. There were moments where I think there were, it was a little underwhelming. But for the most part, it was a nice hotel. I love the view from the balcony of the Eiffel Tower, the view around the city and the street.
[00:35:02] Adrienne and Nathalie: And it was quiet, but it was really close to the Champs-Élysées, and the theater where Josephine Baker was. So we stayed at a very nice quaint family own mansion. Right. Natalie? It was family owned mansion or something. It was a family owned, yeah, it was like an old townhouse that they converted, or I guess they would consider it a townhouse back then it was, it’s several floors.
[00:35:24] Adrienne and Nathalie: So, little mansion that they converted into a hotel and it’s been in the family for generations. And it was lovely, but it did have those little staircases and tiny elevators. But that’s to be expected with the old world. But we could see the Eiffel Tower straight off the balcony, and so it was nice to watch it at night with all the glittering and different light shows that it does.
[00:35:46] Annie Sargent: Interesting. And what was the name of that hotel in Paris?
[00:35:49] Adrienne and Nathalie: Hotel San Regis.
[00:35:52] Annie Sargent: That was the hotel San Regis. Because I always recommend the restaurant San Regis, but this was a hotel.
Things They Would Do Differently
[00:35:58] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay, well we have to wrap it up, but there are a couple of things that you notedNatalie, that things you would do differently. Do you want to tell us about that a little bit?
[00:36:09] Adrienne and Nathalie: I would plan, since I’m a foodie and Adrienne’s not as much of a foodie, I would’ve planned the meals a little bit more, just to lead to different experiences while we’re there. So I probably would’ve done that.
[00:36:22] Adrienne and Nathalie: And maybe because we had extra time, booked a little culinary course in Sarlat.
[00:36:28] Annie Sargent: Oh, I don’t know if those are readily available in Sarlat. Probably, there’s got to be something, especially in high season because May is high season for Sarlat. So probably they would have something. Oh, that’s a good idea. So very good idea.
Planning More Travels?
[00:36:44] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Excellent. So are you two planning more adventures or are you done traveling for now?
[00:36:49] Adrienne and Nathalie: For now, a little adventurous, but I think Adrienne already asked me like, okay, well what do you want to do for your birthday? So I said 2024 probably, either doing New Zealand or Iceland.
[00:37:00] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Fantastic. Wonderful. Well, Natalie and Adrienne, thank you so much for talking to me about your wonderful trip and the electric car, and the good hotels and the bad hotels and the whole of it. It was fantastic. So thank you very much.
[00:37:15] Adrienne and Nathalie: Thank you, Annie. Thank you so much, merci. Au revoir.
Thank you Patrons
[00:37:28] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my Patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so, you can see them at Patreon.com/joinus.
[00:37:45] Annie Sargent: Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for many years, you are wonderful.
[00:37:51] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons: Susan Luscombe, Teresa Perdue, Wes Krites, Heather Leutwyler, Jeremy Baird and Maria Trenzado. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible. And new patrons, I thank you for hearing me out last week. Yes, I would like a raise and also I want to thank Steven Struck for increasing his pledge. Thank you so much.
Patreon app on your phone
[00:38:22] Annie Sargent: 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 video and audio rewards.
[00:38:34] Annie Sargent: My thanks also to Greg Whitten for sending in a one-time donation using the green button on any page on Join Us in France that says “Tip your guide”.
Preparing a trip to France?
[00:38:45] 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, there’s lots of information there.
Hire Annie to be your Itinerary Consultant
[00:38:59] 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 chat for about an hour, and then I send you a usually very long document with the plan we discussed.
[00:39:20] Annie Sargent: Now, remember that my time is always booked up several weeks in advance and I’m going to take some time off this summer as well, so 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.
Itinerary Service Review from Richard Miller
[00:39:36] Annie Sargent: And I want to play a short review of this itinerary service from Richard Miller, who is coming to France soon.
Richard Miller about the Itinerary Review service
[00:39:43] Richard Miller: Bonjour Annie. This is Richard, Kathy and Pocket.
[00:39:47] Richard Miller: Thanks so much for the itinerary review phone call. Even with all the other planning we did, we found the phone call to be extremely informative and helpful. And we were blown away with 157 page summary that we received based on our phone call. I also downloaded your audio tours.
[00:40:06] Richard Miller: I’ll send you a trip report when we get back. Salut.
[00:40:09] Annie Sargent: He mentions his wife and Pocket. Who is Pocket? Well, it’s a little dog. When I saw that they wanted my help bringing a dog to France, I got ready to argue with them that this was a terrible idea and I had lots of things, you know, listed. But then I realized quickly that there’s a good reason for that.
[00:40:31] Annie Sargent: They do not know when they’ll go back to the US. They have an open ticket situation, being retired you know they can do this. Also, Pocket is small enough to fly in the cabin and has lots of experience flying in the cabin with his mom and dad. So those are good reasons, I think, and Pocket is going to be fine.
[00:40:51] Annie Sargent: Thank you Richard, for sharing your experience and if we’ve done an itinerary call together, you and me, and you found it helpful, please record a voice memo and send it to me annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com. I will play it on the podcast.
[00:41:08] Annie Sargent: But of course, if you can’t talk to me because I’m booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tours on the VoiceMap app. I have seven tours of Paris, they are designed to show you around all these different iconic neighborhoods of Paris, Eiffel Tower, which you can get in French or English, the Ile de la Cité, Le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain des Prés and the Latin Quarter.
[00:41:33] Annie Sargent: And if all you do is walk one of my tours in the morning when you’re in Paris and then go into some of the places that I take you to on the tour, you will have a fantastic time in Paris. I can guarantee it.
[00:41:46] Annie Sargent: You can get my tours either directly from the VoiceMap app where it’s immediate, or you can buy tour codes on JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique where you get a listener discount.
The 10 things that you need to do when you’re preparing a trip to France
[00:42:00] Annie Sargent: All right, let’s talk about The 10 things that you need to do when you’re preparing a trip to France.
1. Set a budget
[00:42:08] Annie Sargent: 1. Set a budget. Determine how much money you can allocate for your trip, taking into account expenses such as flights, accommodations, food, transportation and activities. And I have to say that hotel costs have gone up a lot recently. There are hotels that I could count on getting for, you know, 180 – 200 – 220 Euros per night.
[00:42:35] Annie Sargent: Well, there’s 350 and up now. The same hotels, it hasn’t changed, it’s just gone up a lot. And lots of people are telling me, wow, I can’t believe how expensive Paris has gotten, and that’s because we are coming up on the travel season.
2. Choose Your Travel Period
[00:42:51] Annie Sargent: 2. Which is number two in my list. Choose your travel period.
[00:42:56] Annie Sargent: Consider the time of year you want to visit France. Take into account factors such as weather, tourism season and local events or festivals. This summer is going to be extremely busy in Paris. April is already very, very busy in Paris.
[00:43:12] Annie Sargent: That’s why hotel prices are going up and I think a lot of these hotels are making up for the fact that they were shut down and on minimal help from the government during the pandemic. And so it feels like a breath of fresh air that the hotels are full and they can charge more. But I think some of them are, you know, perhaps overdoing a little bit.
[00:43:37] Annie Sargent: And of course, it always helps if you know you’re going to be in a specific area to Google and see what’s happening in that area at that time of year that you’re coming. Because a lot of festivals and activities repeat year after year, and I know I had talked about doing a web portal to do all of that.
[00:44:00] Annie Sargent: You know what? It’s too complicated, there are too many factors. I give up. I can’t do it. But all of these tourist offices in all of these towns and villages, they have a list and they keep it up to date. The thing is, they don’t announce things more than a couple of months early. So just keep an eye on things and decide, for instance, on the podcast we talked about some festivals, Avignon, for instance. Well, that’s in July, right? So if you want to see it, come in July.
3. Research Destinations
[00:44:31] Annie Sargent: 3. Research destinations. Familiarize yourself with various regions, cities and attractions in France to decide which place you want to visit and prioritize during your trip. And obviously, if you’re listening to this podcast, you know all about this because you listen to different people do trip reports and you know you’re getting it straight from the horse’s mouth. This is not the tourism bureau, feeding you whatever they want to feed you. This is people who’ve done it and come talk about it.
[00:45:01] Annie Sargent: And so it’s great that you are listening, keep listening, take notes on the places that sound really appealing to you.
4. Check Visa Requirements
[00:45:08] Annie Sargent: 4. Check visa requirements. To come to France, typically, most of you will not need a visa, but a few people will. And so make sure of that and you need to learn about the new ETIAS requirement to enter the EU, that’s E-T-I-A-S. It’s a new requirement to enter Europe. It has come to play in January, 2022.
[00:45:35] Annie Sargent: I’m not hearing very much about it, so I don’t know if they’re really enforcing it, but learn about it because you might need to fill out a piece of paper. It’s nothing much, it’s probably a matter of filling a form, paying a small fee, and there you go. You’re good to go for most people.
5. Plan Your Itinerary
[00:45:54] Annie Sargent: 5. Plan your itinerary. Outline a rough plan for your trip, including the destinations you want to visit, the duration of your stay in each location and the order in which you want to visit them. The order is really, really important.
[00:46:11] Annie Sargent: Now, what most people do when they plan an itinerary is that they start reading a lot of blog posts, maybe they read travel magazines, maybe books, they listen to podcasts obviously, and they put a lot of stuff on their list. Unfortunately, you know, that list is all over the place.
[00:46:31] Annie Sargent: And seeing that I do itinerary services with people, I can see that there is a great tendency to be all over the place. And that is the worst thing you can do because all of these people who tell me they want to have a list that’s never ending of things they want to see, also usually tell me that they want to take it easy and be a flâneur.
[00:46:55] Annie Sargent: Well, you can have it both way. If you want to be a flâneur, you need to know exactly where you’re going, you need to be with a tour perhaps, or you need to use my VoiceMap tours, or doesn’t have to be my VoiceMap tours, other people’s VoiceMap tours as well, because those keep you gathered in an area where you see all the best of that area. And it saves you so much time rather than just trying to organize this stuff that’s…
[00:47:23] Annie Sargent: It’s really complicated for people to understand and I do it to the point where depending on where you are staying in Paris, I will also say, look, from this place, the best way to get to wherever you’re going today is going to be take bus number 53 or whatever. And because I know this stuff, it doesn’t take me long to tell you, but it can take you a while to figure it out.
[00:47:49] Annie Sargent: So plan as much as you can and get some help if you need to. And the less time you have, the more help you need planning, really.
6. Book YourFlights
[00:47:58] Annie Sargent: 6. Book your flights. Uh, flights are complicated because you need to book them quite a bit in advance, but uh, you know, how do you figure out what the right price is? And I’m not sure I’m very good at guessing that. I just know that flights have gotten very expensive, a lot more expensive, obviously since the end of the pandemic. Right after the pandemic, it was easy to find great deals, I’m not seeing so many of them anymore.
[00:48:28] Annie Sargent: So, book your flights in advance and that’s probably the first thing you need to, is your flights. Because once you have your dates, everything else can fall into place.
7. Secure Accommodations
[00:48:39] Annie Sargent: 7. Secure accommodations. Research and reserve accommodations in the cities that you plan to visit, considering factors such as location, budget and amenities.
[00:48:50] Annie Sargent: More and more people are reporting problems with Airbnb in Paris. I’m not a great fan of Airbnb, especially in a city like Paris that has so many tourists, that these apartments could be full between April and October. And the problem is people who live locally can’t afford to compete with visitors who are only staying for say, a week.
[00:49:19] Annie Sargent: So if the owner of the Airbnb gets it into their mind that they can rent this place for 350 a night, well, they don’t really want to rent it somebody for a thousand a month during the off time. And so the city is putting in rules so that locals also have a chance at renting these places, but it’s really difficult.
[00:49:42] Annie Sargent: So I’m hearing people report that their Airbnb was canceled at the last minute. And this is especially true in Paris. So have a plan B as well, okay? Because you need to be cautious. It’s hard to find a place at the last minute in Paris unless you’re willing topay top dollar. Obviously, if you’re willing to pay top dollar, this is not a problem. You’ll find something.
8. Familiarize Yourself with Local Transportation
[00:50:05] Annie Sargent: 8. Familiarize yourself with local transportation. Research the transportation options. Within France, you have trains, we’ve done whole episodes about trains. The buses, we’ve done that too episodes about buses. Car rentals, we’ve done episodes about driving in France. And determine the best way to get around during your trip.
[00:50:25] Annie Sargent: Be realistic. There are places in France that you cannot visit without a car. Now, I’m not saying that there’s absolutely zero public transportation going to that place, but there is so little public transportation that it’s going to take you 10 days to do something that you wanted to do in two days.
[00:50:43] Annie Sargent: Okay, so just be realistic. If it’s a tiny place, obviously there isn’t a train going to it. I mean, you know, that just makes sense, doesn’t it? Think it through before you decide how you’re going to make your way around the country.
9. Learn Basic French Phrases
[00:51:00] Annie Sargent: 9. Learn basic French phrases. Equip yourself with a few essential French phrases to help you navigate and communicate more easily with locals during your trip.
[00:51:13] Annie Sargent: Now, this is vital if you are going to very small villages in France, places that do not get a ton of tourists all the time. But if you’re going to Paris or other major cities that have, you know, world-class museums and lots of visitors from all over the world, obviously these places hire people who can speak English.
[00:51:38] Annie Sargent: But if you are going to somebody’s private museum that they set up because they have a passion for whatever it happens to be, then don’t expect that person to speak fluent English, it’s pretty obvious.
[00:51:50] Annie Sargent: Now you don’t need a lot of French, really. In French, you can get away with Merci, obviously for Thank you. But the most important word in the French language is, can you say it before I say it? Do you know what I’m going to say? It’s Bonjour.
[00:52:09] Annie Sargent: You don’t have to say it like that you can, you can say it very shyly Bonjour. You can say, you know… you can say it any way you want, but you have to say it, and you have to say that first before you say Excuse me, I need a help. No, first you say Bonjour. It’s amazing how French people are just convinced that’s a sign of whether you are a good human being or not.
[00:52:40] Annie Sargent: If you do not start with Bonjour, you are good for nothing. So just learn to say Bonjour and then when you’re done Merci. And I see people, you know, arguing, whether you know what time you start saying Bonsoir. It doesn’t matter. It really does not matter at all. What matters is that you say Bonjour. And if you feel like saying Bonsoir after a certain time in the day, why not? Have at it. It doesn’t matter. But do say Bonjour at least.
10. Purchase Travel Insurance
[00:53:14] Annie Sargent: 10. Purchase travel insurance. This is getting more and more important for a lot of people. Now there are lots of them. I have a list somewhere, I can’t remember. I think Allied Insurance was the one that most people recommended. This is not an affiliate recommendation.
[00:53:35] Annie Sargent: I’ve just asked people which one they use and that’s the one that seems to be, you know, la plus plébicitée.
[00:53:44] Annie Sargent: Oh my goodness. I cannot speak English anymore. Things pop into my head in French so easily and in English I have to slow down and think. It’s time for me to go back to the US or I’m going to lose my English, it’s terrible. Don’t feel so bad if it’s happening to your French. You know, if you don’t speak it every day, it’s ah, it’s hard.
Help your friends
[00:54:04] Annie Sargent: I would love for you to help your friends plan their visits to France. Send them the trailer of the podcast. It’s JoinUsinFrance.com/trailer. It’s short, it’s sweet and they need to hear it and decide if this is something that will help them and I think it will.
[00:54:23] Annie Sargent: And a big thank you to podcast editor Cristi Cotovan who produces the transcript so you can see in which episode we talked about that one place that you’re interested in.
[00:54:34] Annie Sargent: The search works quite well on the website and it will really save you a lot of time.
Next week on the podcast
[00:54:41] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, Elyse Rivin and I unravel the enigmatic story of Olympe de Gouges, a trailblazer in the fight for women’s rights in the 18th century France.
[00:54:55] Annie Sargent: We uncovered the secrets behind her groundbreaking work and the events that led to her ultimate terrible fate.
[00:55:04] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to Annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com.
[00:55:09] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir.
[00:55:18] 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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