Transcript for Episode 444: D-Day Anniversary Visit to Normandy

Categories: French History, Normandy & Brittany

Discussed in this Episode

  • La Roche-Guyon
  • Giverny
  • Abbaye de Jumièges
  • Merville Battery
  • Marmottan Museum
  • Wine Museum near the Eiffel Tower
  • Marquis de Lafayette grave at the Picpus cemetery

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 444 – quatre cent quarante-quatre.

[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

[00:00:37] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Phil Roberson about visiting Normandy during a D-Day anniversary celebration.

[00:00:45] Annie Sargent: Whether you are a history buff, a Francophile, or simply a traveler seeking profound experiences, this episode will leave you with a deeper understanding of World War II events that shaped our world.

[00:00:59] Annie Sargent: So sit back, relax, and let’s set off on this commemorative journey together to honor the past and embrace the resilience of the human spirit.

[00:01:09] Annie Sargent: Here we go, en route to Normandy with Phil Robertson, who’s been to Normandy many, many times.

Podcast’s Magazine

[00:01:16] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, today I’ll give you a brief report on the bootcamp, which just ended and was great fun. But my conversation with Phil ran long, so you’ll hear all about the bootcamp in episode 445 next week. Then you’ll also hear about many bootcamp participants.


[00:01:35] Annie Sargent: I went Font-de-Gaume last Sunday, thanks to Jim who had two tickets he couldn’t use them, he mentioned that on the Facebook group for the podcast. And I said, Ooh, I’d love to go.

[00:01:47] Annie Sargent: I’ll send out a newsletter about that because it’s not so easy to get tickets to Font-de-Gaume unless you understand how they operate. And now having talked to the lady who does all the website stuff, I think I do. I’ll send out a newsletter that lays it all out.


[00:02:01] Annie Sargent: And if you don’t already, get the newsletter, go to

[00:02:07] Annie Sargent: If you barely just signed up for it and haven’t received anything yet, don’t worry. It’s just that I don’t send out so many. I’m permanently trying to get better about that, but there’s just one of me.

Podcast supporters

[00:02:18] 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.

[00:02:30] Annie Sargent: And you can purchase any of those things at my boutique

[00:02:36] Annie Sargent: And if you just want to read details about the tours and read the reviews, go to, and that will take you to the VoiceMap page where you can read all of the reviews.

[00:02:51] Annie Sargent: But of course, you only get the discount if you buy from my boutique. So you know, I know it’s a little complicated, but that’s how it’s set up.

[00:03:00] Annie Sargent: I would like to play some feedback on the Itinerary Consult from Anne Spitler. Thank you so much, Anne. And if you did an itinerary with me, please record a voice memo with your thoughts and email it to me at annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com and I will play it on the podcast. And thank you very much.

Feedback from Anne Spitler

[00:03:22] Anne : Bonjour Annie. This is Anne from Northern California. Thank you so much for the itinerary that you created for me. I am quite excited about my solo trip, my first trip to France.Thank you so much for all of the attention and detail that you provide in these itineraries. And even though I might not be able to enjoy all of the sites or all of the things that you mentioned, I just enjoy reading it, and then of course, mentally planning my next several trips. So thank you so much. Merci. And I look forward to keeping up with your podcast.


Phil, Mr. Normandy

[00:04:11] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Phil, and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:04:15] Phil Roberson: Bonjour Annie. Glad to be back.

[00:04:16] Annie Sargent: Oh, lovely to have you back. You know, I think of you as Mr. Normandy, because you’ve visited Normandy nine times, you said?

[00:04:25] Phil Roberson: I believe so, yeah.

[00:04:26] Annie Sargent: Including seven times during the anniversary celebrations. And I’ve been very lucky to have you on the podcast three times already to talk about your experiences. That was episodes 116 and 176. They were trip reports. Plus episode 201, where you related all the things that you’ve learned about Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy, because you’re an amateur historian, so that was a really interesting episode as well. And I recommend all three for folks who are looking into a visit of Normandy.

Visiting D-Day sites when anniversary celebrations are underway

[00:04:56] Annie Sargent: Today, the first topic we’re going to tackle is visiting D-Day sites when anniversary celebrations are underway. Then we’ll also talk about driving a car out of Paris to go to Normandy, which is something a lot of people worry about.

[00:05:10] Annie Sargent: We’ll mention some of the wonderful towns where you stop along the way between Paris and Normandy, and if there’s time, we’ll talk about some other stuff; taking the train back to Paris and some of the American monuments in Paris that don’t get mentioned often enough.

Normandy gets VERY busy around June 6 every year

[00:05:26] Annie Sargent: So, now it really gets busy in Normandy around June 6 every year, doesn’t it, Phil?

[00:05:34] Phil Roberson: Yes, it does I mean it just gets so many more people arriving, including you know, some veterans although fewer and fewer every year, dignitaries, etc. And I will say it’s always busy around the anniversary of D-Day but particularly anniversaries ending in a year zero or five. So that I was there for the 70th and the 75th anniversary and I plan on being back for the 80th. But that really tends to bring out a lot more people, a lot more events and as I mentioned, even dignitaries and closed roads off and things like that when heads of state visit.

[00:06:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And you know, I don’t know if people realize, but Normandy is a very rural area.

[00:06:14] Annie Sargent: It’s a very large area geographically. And so sometimes it feels like there’s a lot of empty between these towns.

[00:06:24] Annie Sargent: And obviously there aren’t, I mean, like in Paris, you have hotels every other block, perhaps more. But in Normandy, it’s not like that. The facilities for visitors are limited and that’s why it gets really, really booked up. Tell us about that a little bit.

Booking a hotel in Normandy when visiting during a D-Day celebration

[00:06:40] Annie Sargent: How far ahead do you have to book your hotel, for instance?

[00:06:43] Phil Roberson: Well as far as you can once you know you’re going. The problem is a lot of places don’t want to take a reservation more than a year out. And then they quickly book up once they open up their reservations.

[00:06:56] Phil Roberson: But as you mentioned, there are very few places. There are very few hotels. There’s some bed-and-breakfasts, some gites you can rent, but a lot of the people that go there regularly book those places up ahead of time. And I’ll tell you that I’ve already got my reservation for 2024, and I honestly wouldn’t tell you the location if I hadn’t already had it confirmed. Because when I called her last fall, she said, We’re not booking until the beginning of 2024. But I can tell you I’ve already had more people express interest than we have space for. So at the beginning of this year, I just reached out one more time even though I was a year early, and a month later she said yeah, okay, I’m going to confirm you just go ahead and you know, you can count on it.

[00:07:39] Phil Roberson: But I’ve had other problems. I rented a B&B that I thought was confirmed and owner told me it was confirmed, one year, and then it changed hands. They sold it and the new owner was not honoring either the rates or even the reservations. So I got in touch with the old owner and pleaded my case and he arranged for me to stay in a bedroom in his mother’s place in the nearby town.

[00:08:00] Annie Sargent: Goodness.

[00:08:02] Phil Roberson: Which wasn’t quite the historical town, but it was very nice of him and her.

[00:08:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:08:07] Phil Roberson: That’s the sort of difficulty you can run into.

Bigger cities closer to the historical sites

[00:08:09] Annie Sargent: Right. I guess one way to get around this, is to drive yourself to a bigger city and just get up early and try and make your way to the sites, but then there’s the problem that the roads might be closed.

[00:08:25] Phil Roberson: Well, sometimes. That really has only happened to me a couple times and that was on June 6 itself, and usually due to heads of state and security, etc. But one thing to keep in mind, you know when people talk about D-Day and the Normandy battle in a broader context is it’s a huge area. So there’s a lot of space, a lot of different places to go to pay tribute to that anniversary. And it’s not like everyone just, you know sits on the shore of Omaha Beach. There are events, there are celebrations, there are commemorations all over. The beaches themselves are about 60 miles apart as the crow flies and there’s not a direct road between the two, or between the five. So you have to go inland to get from place to place and just driving between places all of a sudden you’ll see a monument in some obscure location on the side of the road and you know, if you see it, jump out and take a look and you’ll learn something.

[00:09:21] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:09:22] Phil Roberson: It’s not like you’re really limited to one town center or anything like that. And there are a lot of different towns that’s possible to stay in that make it easy to reach a lot of areas.

[00:09:31] Annie Sargent: Because the big cities are Rouen, but it’s a little far from the D-Day sites.

[00:09:38] Phil Roberson: That’s quite far. Yes.

Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg

[00:09:39] Annie Sargent: Then you have Caen.

[00:09:40] Phil Roberson: Which is probably the biggest, right near the beaches and even that’s not right on the beaches.

[00:09:47] Phil Roberson: But it’s the biggest city. I personally don’t find it appealing because it was mostly destroyed and it’s very industrial now. But that is certainly the biggest place and if all the other locations were locked out that would be a place to look.

[00:10:01] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:10:01] Annie Sargent: Then you have Le Havre, but that’s also not so close.

[00:10:06] Phil Roberson: Yep, that’s quite a ways.

[00:10:07] Annie Sargent: And then you have Cherbourg, but that’s the wrong end as well. You have Bayeux, of course, which is a, you know, mid-sized city. Right.


[00:10:15] Phil Roberson: And Bayeux is probably the most desirable place for people to stay. And it does have a few hotels and a few B&Bs which is more than most of the littler towns have. But it’s very central and it’s particularly central to both American and British beaches. It’s sizable enough that there are a lot of places to eat, a few places to stay and has some other sites right within the town itself.

[00:10:39] Phil Roberson: In addition to their wonderful D-day museum, there’s also the Bayeux Tapestry and a British burial ground that’s probably the largest in the area.

[00:10:49] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:10:50] Annie Sargent: So expect when you go at that time of year, which I did just once, but you can expect to see a lot of classic Jeeps, a lot of people dressed up in various uniforms and fatigues and things like that.

[00:11:07] Annie Sargent: Tell us about what you see around, describe the setting.

[00:11:10] Phil Roberson: Yeah.

What to expect to see everywhere

[00:11:10] Phil Roberson: You will see a lot of vehicles. You know, my understanding is that when World War II ended this huge buildup by the allies of men and equipment wasn’t felt like it was needed and rather than shipping all these trucks and Jeeps back to the US, they basically left them there. So things that might be very hard to find in the US seem, at least during a D-day anniversary, seem commonplace. And you may pull out on a road and see a Jeep coming and not realize that there’s 15 behind it and they’re doing a little parade from beach to beach or something like that.

[00:11:45] Phil Roberson: And so the people that restore these, some of them are reenactors to varying degrees so that’s a big part of their commemoration, is celebrating with their friends with similar vehicles. And there’s even a couple places in Sainte-Mere-Eglise and near Omaha Beach where they have encampments for the whole week. And all these people’s reenactors and vehicles will basically set up camp there. And the camps are open for anyone to walk into and they have historic-style tents and all sorts of equipment that you wouldn’t even think of, like a spotlight that’s carried on a trailer behind a truck that they used to search for enemy aircraft, camp kitchens, all sorts of really interesting things. And you’ll see that in a few towns.

[00:12:30] Phil Roberson: And you know, just in traffic, there’ll be a willie’s Jeep from World War II that somebody restored.

[00:12:36] Phil Roberson: When I went this past year, my host, there was a couple that hosted this B&B. He had a Jeep, a restored Jeep in his back garage, that he proudly showed me on the first day. And then a gentleman from somewhere in Brittany an older gentleman came up to stay there and he brought his Jeep and he actually took me out for a ride in it. It was pouring rain, it was open top. Took me out in a ride and brought me to this place where this encampment where there were not only other Jeeps but tanks and all sorts of vehicles. And you’ll see people wearing, you know accurate World War II uniforms. You also will see somebody, you know, wearing just like a camo scarf, you know around his neck in a very French way but, you know peeing against the tree or whatever. So it’s not all perfectly, you know accurate regiments of people.

[00:13:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And there’s also a lot of motorcycles with sidecars, airplanes.


[00:13:33] Annie Sargent: You can tell us about the airplanes right?

[00:13:35] Phil Roberson: There are a lot of airplanes during the anniversary. And a lot of them are current military aircraft because along with the reenactors you have current US, French and even German military that show up for the anniversary. And there’s a huge parachute jump on the Saturday nearest to June 6th, it’s gigantic. So all these planes are in town for this and it’s some sort of a training regiment for the military so they use this to bring in all sorts of you know, military personnel that inhabit the towns.

[00:14:07] Phil Roberson: But while they’re there, these huge troop transport planes just seem to be buzzing towns randomly just for fun. And you’ll also see, I forget the name of the French acrobatic military. Yes. Yes, you’ll see them occasionally. I’ve seen them just practicing offshore and trailing smoke. And then you know, you may be on Omaha Beach and a bunch of huge transport helicopters come overhead just because they’re there and they’re in practice and training.

D-Day invasion celebrated as the start of liberation

[00:14:37] Annie Sargent: It’s quite the atmosphere. It’s really very fun. I can see why you keep going back. Because it’s… I mean, you know, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

[00:14:46] Annie Sargent: It seems like, French people in this part of the world have been able to, you know some terrible things happened, but they’re turning it into lemonade, I suppose, I guess.

[00:14:56] Phil Roberson: Yeah, they celebrate the Liberation and I think I mentioned this to you before that, you know, in the US and I believe the UK we refer to it as a D-Day invasion. But the local Normans don’t see it that way at all. They’re like, We weren’t invaded we were liberated, you know, the invasion came from Nazi Germany years before. So they really celebrate it because that was the start of their freedom as a country and certainly of that area.

[00:15:20] Phil Roberson: Yeah, it was awful battle and there’s awful atrocities and there’s a lot of French that died by the Allied hands because when we go in to liberate a city, the first thing we do is shell it with artillery, and there’s a lot of civilian casualties. But they recognize that but overall, they’re looking at the outcome that started with D-Day.

How do you prepare for a trip to Normandy

[00:15:40] Annie Sargent: So let’s talk for a second about how do you prepare for a trip like this? Imagine that somebody is listening to you, and green with envy, they want to do the same thing you did. They want to go. How would you go about, if this was your friend who was trying to do this, what would you say other than, come with me, I’ll show you all the ropes?

[00:15:58] Phil Roberson: Yeah

[00:15:59] Phil Roberson: Well, I think the first thing you need to do is to learn as much history as you can. And I sometimes get into debates with people, not debates, but a lot of people will go there and say I just want to have a tour, I just want to have somebody show me everything.

[00:16:12] Phil Roberson: And that’s fine, I’m not the type of person that gravitates towards tours. But that’s good but you’re going to learn so much more with a tour or without a tour if you already know the basics of what happened. So I’d say the first thing to do is, get an overview of it. Whether that’s a book or a couple movies or something like that. You will know what happened and look at a map.

[00:16:31] Phil Roberson: I think too many times people that haven’t been there don’t know just think of Omaha Beach or the American Cemetery. And those are must-sees in my opinion, but there’s so much more so look at all the towns that you mentioned and you know, the five beaches from Utah Beach to Gold Beach, and understand where people came ashore, where people parachuted in, and where the overall battles were. And that will give you an idea when you’re going from town to town, you know what happened if you’re going from you know, Utah Beach to Sainte-Mere-Eglise, you’ll realize that that’s the area that they had those two groups had to connect in this area or it wouldn’t be a successful battle from the Allies’ perspective.

[00:17:11] Annie Sargent: And it also explains why there are so many monuments everywhere. Because it was everywhere, really.

[00:17:18] Phil Roberson: It really was. And the other thing too is when we talk about the Battle of Normandy, it’s more than just D-Day. That was really considered, Operation Overlord was the mission to take Normandy back, and it really included everything from D-Day up until the recapture of Paris in September.

[00:17:35] Phil Roberson: So you know, if you really want to dig deeper than just D-Day, which I advise people do it, you know, they got off the beaches relatively quick and then there was all sorts of things that happened inland.

[00:17:46] Phil Roberson: And they’d have to set up temporary airfields and all sorts of towns to the south of the beaches that it left to liberate one at a time. So understand the big picture of that. And I think listening to one of your earlier podcasts would do a good job of that in a tower podcast, but you know, invest in a decent book, and I could make several recommendations. Or you know, a good overview movie. Not just something like Band of Brothers because that’s just one unit in one area. But you know, get the big picture of the battle.

[00:18:17] Phil Roberson: And then the next thing I’d say, once you have a big picture and you know in general where you want to stay, secure a reservation as soon as possible. Don’t wait. Don’t put off, don’t go, I’ll look at it next month or whatever.

[00:18:29] Phil Roberson: Keep trying, you may have to call places if they’re smaller and their online reservation system may not be open. But if you speak to them, they may be able to secure you a room or a hotel or something like that. So I would say, do that before the airfare, because the airfare there’s tons of flights going to France all the time, and you can find it.

[00:18:48] Annie Sargent: You can’t emphasize that enough. Just call these places and don’t look for the perfect little place that has the perfect feel, whatever.

[00:18:56] Annie Sargent: Just call the places and offer, and they speak English, a lot of these hotel places and B&Bs and whatever, and offer to just to pay the rooms in full today.

[00:19:08] Annie Sargent: Like, you know, I’m coming. Becausethey have to manage so many reservations, cancellations, people who want their money back, blah, blah, blah.

[00:19:17] Annie Sargent: People want to add a room. It gets really complicated. So just say, look, I’m going to give you the money today, but save me a room between this date and this date.

[00:19:27] Annie Sargent: Now, you’re paid in full right away.

[00:19:28] Phil Roberson: Yeah they’re worried that they’ll hold the room with no payment on the prime week of the year and then you don’t show up or you cancel a week beforehand so you have to look at it a little bit from their perspective. And I’ve, even when I have a reservation I every few months I just send an email go, just confirming, you know not so much for Paris or for places en route, but for anywhere in Normandy. Because like I said, I did have a place that I thought was secured and fell apart and that was very stressful at the time.

[00:19:57] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And French people work a lot on having had a personal relationship with people. It’s kind of, it’s aggravating because if they don’t know you, the first thing is going to be, “Oh no, we’re full. No, we can’t.” But then you have to negotiate.

[00:20:11] Annie Sargent: You say, you know, I’m coming and I’m really interested in this, that you have to talk, you have to tell them about you and so that they get a feeling that you’re a real person and you mean this, and you’re not going to be a flake because they get a lot of flakes.

[00:20:25] Phil Roberson: And think yourself what can I say to make this person comfortable? And I think you had mentioned or somebody in previous podcast episodes had mentioned that their first inclination is to say no.

[00:20:34] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Oh yeah.

[00:20:35] Phil Roberson: But you can’t just say okay, they said no it’s over. That’s just when you’ve started your negotiation.

[00:20:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah, this is where you start talking. Just expect that they’re going to say no, and then think about the things that you can, you know, the arguments you can make to get to yes, you have to be a negotiator.

[00:20:51] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And that helps in a lot of situations in France. Don’t take no for an answer. Otherwise, game over.

[00:20:59] Phil Roberson: Yeah,

Local events, tourist office

[00:20:59] Annie Sargent: All right. What’s the situation like for restaurants and how about figuring out where the celebrations are? Do you just go to the tourist office and ask them? What do you do?

[00:21:12] Phil Roberson: I usually go in the west of the D-Day Beach area, was Utah Beach and inland from there is Sainte-Mere-Eglise. And I tend to go there for a couple reasons. One is, it was the center of the US Airborne operations. But because of that, that’s where the US military basically hangs out for the week. You know the current US military hangs out for the week. So that really is the center of a lot of those activities. And they have a wonderful tourist office.

[00:21:37] Phil Roberson: I think that Sainte-Mere-Eglise shares with Cotentin which is another town inland from there. And they list a lot of the events. Here again, you get to the point where they probably don’t have all the events listed for this year, much less next year. I’m sure they don’t have anything listed for next year. But they will show up and I would just keep checking back and put those events in your calendar. There’s a lot of little events at memorials, you know, for this particular unit or that particular unit.

[00:22:06] Phil Roberson: I went to a wonderful one when I first arrived at my B&B last year. I was fortunate, because the couple that hosts my B&B, he’s a detective in Caen and she works in the town hall in Sainte-Mere-Eglise. So they knew all the events that were happening and I of course had a lot in my calendar. But he took me to this one eventthat it was dedicating a new monument to a priest that actually jumped in, father Matronowsky and he jumped in with the 82nd Airborne and he was the first chaplain who died on D-Day, or the only chaplain that died on D-Day itself. So they set up a monument for him and that sort of thing is usually attended by local French organizations, local French officials or politicians and US military.

[00:22:51] Phil Roberson: So there was a US military color guard there and very often speeches are made in both French and English. Both the US and French national anthems are played. Which is always a little embarrassing to me, because the Americans just don’t sing along. They just don’t do it. So they usually start with American national anthem. You get a few low voices, and it’s very quiet. And then the French national anthem comes on the whole French town starts singing along full-throated.

[00:23:17] Annie Sargent: Well, the French national anthem is easier to sing than the Star Spangled Banner.

[00:23:22] Phil Roberson: I think you’re right but I think it’s also a cultural, cultural thing.

[00:23:25] Phil Roberson: Yeah.

[00:23:25] Annie Sargent: It might be. Yeah, it is. It is.

[00:23:26] Annie Sargent: I mean, I join in. Yeah, I do.

[00:23:29] Phil Roberson: I think if you ask the average American citizen when they hear the national anthem do they sing along, the answer would be no and the answer would be the opposite with your average French citizen.

[00:23:38] Phil Roberson: But, at any rate so they’ll have all sorts of things like that going on at these ceremonies. And I was fortunate when my host brought me to this ceremony. It was hosted by an organization, looking for the name of it, it was something like Association US Normandy Memoir et Gratitude. So, you know memory and gratitude.

[00:23:58] Phil Roberson: And afterwards they had a little gathering in a local hall. It was you know, the French equivalent of a US Knights at Columbus Hall or something like that. And they had some speeches, and this was all French people and I really felt honored to be in there. Because this was just the local French people and they had a little toast with cider that they served in these champagne flutes. And it was very touching to see their gratitude and to participate in their local ceremony as opposed to just the big roadside thing with the US military there.

[00:24:31] Phil Roberson: But that’s the type of thing, you have to you know, look for and if you see an opportunity just jump on it you know, or even just follow a crowd that’s going towards a particular monument.

[00:24:40] Phil Roberson: But in more direct answer your question yeah, they will eventually publish a very detailed list of events starting in late May and going all the way to mid-late June.

[00:24:50] Phil Roberson: And you know, put them in your calendar, put them in a map and go. And even if it’s something you’re not that familiar with, I find them very moving.

[00:24:58] Phil Roberson: I will add that there doesn’t seem to be as many activities around Omaha Beach as there are Sainte-Mere-Eglise, which is a little strange in my mind. But again, I think it’s just because that’s where the US, current US military tends to congregate.

[00:25:12] Phil Roberson: But I know there are events over on the east end by Pegasus Bridge, by the British.

The annual ceremony at the US American Normandy Cemetery

[00:25:18] Annie Sargent: And of course, there’s the annual ceremony at the US American Normandy Cemetery on June 6th itself. And that is a invitation-only event, but it hasn’t been hard for me to get an invitation. You simply go on to the US battle monuments website and submit an application.

[00:25:38] Phil Roberson: When I was there for the 75th anniversary, and keep in mind that they had President Macron and President Trump there, while I was in Normandy I got an email from them saying you know, you’ve been invited to join this thing. So I went out and you know, you for those or at least on the anniversary, the big anniversaries, you can’t park anywhere close, you have to park in a remote town and they bus you in. But this last year when I went, there were no heads of state there, there was very long security lines, but you could pull right into the parking lot at that cemetery.

[00:26:10] Phil Roberson: They have speeches, they have some veterans, they have flybys etc.

[00:26:15] Annie Sargent: So on June 6th, you could perhaps plan to do one or two things, but you can’t zoom around to all these different places, right?

[00:26:24] Phil Roberson: Well, and again, it depends whether it’s a five or ten year anniversary as well.

[00:26:29] Phil Roberson: Last year, I drove right to the Normandy Cemetery and then I could drive and see other things afterwards. But the two times I went on the 70th and 75th, the main highway was closed and a lot of the roads right near the beaches were closed. If you were a local citizen, you could get a parking permit ahead of time, or a driving permit ahead of time, but you couldn’t just as a tourist take your rental car down. And I remember one year the queen of, am I getting this right, Queen of Denmark? I’m embarrassed I don’t even know if they have a queen.

[00:26:58] Annie Sargent: I think they do. Yeah.

[00:26:59] Phil Roberson: She was there for a ceremony, so Utah Beach was closed for that day just while she was there.

[00:27:05] Phil Roberson: But those, those again tend to be the five and ten year anniversaries and they do publish it. You just don’t want to be caught unaware. When I left the 75th anniversary at the Normandy American Cemetery, even though I had to be bussed back to a town several towns away, I still couldn’t take the highway home to my B&B. I had to take back roads, which I fortunately know but…

[00:27:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah, you have to be patient. There’s going to be a lot of people and there’s going to be security everywhere. So you got to be patient and, you know, roll with it kind of a deal.

[00:27:34] Annie Sargent: I think another good website for information is Normandie Tourisme. So if you do, they have a very good site in English and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. And of course they don’t publicize stuff lots and lots of time ahead.

[00:27:56] Annie Sargent: Okay. Cause they have so many events going on that they just do a month, a month and a half ahead.

[00:27:59] Phil Roberson: Yeah, because they may not know. It’s not just that they don’t publish it, they don’t really know yet.

[00:28:03] Phil Roberson: The Association of Normandy and Gratitude they don’t have their calendar ready yet, so the Tourism Board doesn’t, but if you know, you’re going to be there from like June 2nd to June 8th or something like that, just start filling in place on your calendar as these events come up.

Walking tours of the paratrooper landing areas

[00:28:18] Phil Roberson: I will tell you another thing that I’ve done that they publish at the tourism office which I thought was wonderful, is they do these walking tours of the paratrooper landing areas. And usually, they break into groups, so they’ll have a French language tour and an English language tour. And I had a hard time getting, those seem to sell out right away.

[00:28:38] Phil Roberson: But it was very interesting to walk in these little Normandy villages where people landed and fought their way out at night and hear stories of that. So if you can walk a few miles, I highly recommend that.

[00:28:51] Annie Sargent: Yeah, or a bike or a scooter or…

[00:28:55] Phil Roberson: But again, if you know the history or some basic history and you’ve got a car, even when there’s things closed off or there’s a big crowd somewhere, there’s always somewhere to go. There’s always some site, some little cemetery or some little battle area where no one else will be or you’ll be one of only a few people there.

[00:29:12] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:29:13] Annie Sargent: And they do have at least the mayor and probably some local veterans or local military people who are going to attend these ceremonies. In our tiny village in the South of France, we always have people who show up for these ceremonies.

[00:29:29] Annie Sargent: Sometimes there’s a band, sometimes it’s a military band, sometimes there’s more than one military band. People come out to these things and you don’t have to have an invitation to the biggest event there, you can enjoy it over the whole area.

[00:29:42] Phil Roberson: I remember one of the first ceremonies I went to in a monument on one of my earliest anniversary trips, so it was really touching because there were several different military units there and military bands and there was a German band, German military band, and they played the US Star-Spangled Banner, which I thought was pretty touching.

[00:29:59] Phil Roberson: But I think I found out because I just talked to either somebody in the tourist office or someone on the street, they said, Oh you need to go see this XYZ event.

[00:30:07] Annie Sargent: Yes. German soldiers and military is invited all the time. There is no animosity at this point.

[00:30:13] Annie Sargent: It’s pointless to… you know, we’re not enemies. We’re friends and we are allies and friends, and this is behind us and we want to keep it that way.

[00:30:21] Annie Sargent: All right. Wonderful.

Finding a restaurant

[00:30:23] Annie Sargent: I assume restaurants are really, really full as well, but you can always grab a sandwich, right, somewhere? I mean, you’re not going to starve.

[00:30:29] Phil Roberson: You’re not going to starve but if you want to sit down and have a meal in some of the smaller towns, there may only be a couple options. And if you just wait till you’re hungry at 7:30 at night, you may be out of luck.

[00:30:41] Phil Roberson: So I actually try to make reservations. One of my favorite places in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, I emailed a couple of years ago when I was planning on going saying I wanted to make a reservation. And then my trip was canceled due to the pandemic. So I emailed them again. They said oh, yeah, we remember you. Sure we can have you in Thursday night or whatever. It was just nice for me.

[00:31:01] Phil Roberson: I like having the peace of mind if I’m not going to have to go looking for a meal. But there certainly are places and you know, worst case, there’s boulangeries that sell little sandwiches and things like that

[00:31:11] Phil Roberson: I tend to do lunches, like picnic lunches. I have my little cutting board, napkin, knife and I go buy baguette and some fruit and cheese and that’s my go-to lunch and even if it’s just sitting on Omaha Beach watching planes fly overhead, that’s fine by me.

[00:31:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. It’s not bad at all. That’s good.

Driving in Normandy from Paris

[00:31:28] Annie Sargent: All right. Let’s talk about driving in Normandy and also starting in Paris. Because you started your trip in Paris and made your way to Normandy.

[00:31:38] Annie Sargent: What is that like? Where did you pick up your rental car? Tell us the whole process.

[00:31:43] Phil Roberson: I’ve driven from Paris a couple times. Once or twice I picked up my car upon landing at CDG and drove right from the airport. And the problem with that, well, there’s a couple problems with that. One you’re apt to be extremely jet-lagged and you know some would say it’s almost criminal to even jump in a car and try to do that.

[00:32:02] Phil Roberson: But the other is, when I arrive at least from the east coast of the US, my flight arrives at maybe 6 or 7 in the morning and by the time you get through luggage and immigration and rental car, you’re right smack dab in the middle of rush hour. So even though you’re not driving right into downtown Paris per se, the periphery roads are completely blocked up and once you get out of the periphery roads, it really opens up and it’s good highways you know, smooth sailing. So that’s one option.

[00:32:32] Phil Roberson: What I’ve done many times, I go to Paris spend a day or two and then take a train to Normandy and pick up a car there. But this time I decided to pick up a car in Paris and I picked a Hertz office that was in the northwest corner of Paris, so it wasn’t that far from the outskirts. And I drove to Normandy. And I will say that it was right about rush hour and the one instruction I asked was like, tell me what road gets me directly to the periphery, because then I’m on highway my GPS kicks in, I’ll be fine.

[00:33:01] Phil Roberson: And he gave me the wrong road. So I just had to do like a cloverleaf or to circle back in the right direction. But again, once you get out of those outer ring roads around Paris, it’s really good highways. I’ve never found them crowded. And I like it because I can stop and see sites en route.

[00:33:17] Phil Roberson: So I basically followed the Seine River downstream and stopped at a couple things I’d always wanted to see, and it just gave me the flexibility. Whereas if I had taken a train, I was going to spend that night in Rouen. If I’d taken a train directly to Rouen, that would have been easy but I wouldn’t have been able to see the other things on the way.

[00:33:35] Annie Sargent: Right. Right.

[00:33:36] Annie Sargent: Just one more detail about the rental, the Hertz place. This was not at a train station or airport. This was within a city.

[00:33:43] Phil Roberson: It was in the city Port Maillot and it was up in the north. I’m trying to look at a map, but it’s up in the northwest corner, just beyond the Arc de Triomphe, but before the periphery. Before the big highway.

[00:33:59] Annie Sargent: So you got there on public transportation and just picked up a car.

[00:34:01] Phil Roberson: Yeah, I took a bus. I’m sure I took a bus there from my hotel.

[00:34:05] Phil Roberson: And again, I was pretty quickly out of the rush hour, out of the highways. And fortunately, most cars now have Apple CarPlay so you just plug in your phone and if you have an Apple phone and it’s just like using it at home, you don’t even have to change you may have to change the language but I think if it’s your phone, your phone determines what language it gives it to you.

[00:34:24] Phil Roberson: And I like that because I’ll put in these locations in my calendar or in my Google Maps and I’ll save them. So now I can just call it up and drive. I will say one time, it was a little humorous, and maybe this happens other places in the world, but I was navigating to the next location and it brings me down to a river where there’s a ferry. It basically says, you know cross the river. So I drove on the ferry and crossed over.

[00:34:48] Annie Sargent: Wow.

[00:34:49] Phil Roberson: I just never had that happen here before.

[00:34:50] Annie Sargent: Interesting. Yeah. Interesting.

[00:34:53] Annie Sargent: All right.

[00:34:54] Annie Sargent: So the towns where you stopped, the first one was Giverny.

[00:34:57] Phil Roberson: Actually before that I stopped at La Roche-Guyon

[00:35:01] Annie Sargent: La Roche-Guyonuillon. Yes.

[00:35:03] Annie Sargent: La Roche-Guyon.

[00:35:04] Phil Roberson: Which is an old castle and I highly recommend that because, I was of course first made aware of it because that was the headquarters for German field marshal Rommel when he was in charge of all the Atlantic wall defenses. So that’s how I heard about it, but that they really minimize that part of its history. It’s a very old medieval chateau way up, there’s a lower chateau and then there’s a castle keep, way up on the hill. And it gives you wonderful views of the Seine. I was there on a beautiful blue sky day. It’s quite a bit of walking and stairs to get to the top, but it’s an unbeatable view and I just found it very interesting, they’ve got little museum exhibits throughout. And that was a must-see for me and one reason that I knew I’d have to rent a car because I don’t think you could take public transportation there. I doubt you could

[00:35:50] Annie Sargent: Probably not.

[00:35:51] Phil Roberson: So I did go to Giverny, but I did not actually go to Monet’s Gardens. And a couple reasons. One is, I didn’t know exactly when I’d get there. I only knew I wanted to see some sites and route and end up in Rouen so I didn’t have pre-planned tickets. And when I started walking up there the town itself and the path and road leading to the gardens is beautiful.

[00:36:13] Phil Roberson: And then there was a big line and I just didn’t, I’m not into big lines or crowds.

[00:36:18] Phil Roberson: If I could be there alone, I’m sure I’d love it, but it may not be the best place for Phil on your average day there.

[00:36:24] Annie Sargent: Lots of people. Yes.

[00:36:25] Phil Roberson: Yeah, so I just had lunch in town and I headed out and then went to Rouen after that. And when I drove and this is a little unusual thing driving, my hotel was right in the old part of Rouen. And to get there you had to actually drive through a pedestrian-only area. So I found myself in this pedestrian zone with a car thinking I’m doing something wrong here. But they’d given me specific directions and the entrance to their underground parking was in that pedestrian area so I drove there. There were no barriers and when I left the next morning I did have to put in a code to lower a barrier to get out.

[00:37:04] Phil Roberson: But then you really don’t need a car in that city itself. It was it just sat underground for the one night I was there.

[00:37:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah. This happens a lot in city centers in France. I would say most French city centers have, kind of bollards that come out of the ground to let residents through, but not anybody.

[00:37:22] Phil Roberson: And delivery vehicles and things like that.

[00:37:25] Annie Sargent: Exactly. Delivery people, taxis can lower the bollards usually, very often Uber cannot.

[00:37:31] Annie Sargent: So if you’re coming in and you know your hotel is right in the city center, it’s better to take a taxi than an Uber because the Uber is going to just drop you at the line, city center line.

[00:37:42] Phil Roberson: And if you are driving I highly recommend getting very specific directions from your hotel, how to get there and what parking is or isn’t available. They may not have their own parking, but they may know the best lot or best place on the street to park your car at least. It’s much better than just showing up going, okay, Google Maps tells me I’m near my hotel, but now I don’t know what to do.

[00:38:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. Usually the hotels that are in those situations, if you tell them you’re driving to them, they will give you directions of how to do this. You just need to pay attention to the emails that they exchange.

Abbaye de Jumièges

[00:38:14] Annie Sargent: And you also went to the Abbey de Jumièges and I don’t know about this, I would like to hear about that.

[00:38:19] Phil Roberson: Oh, yeah, that was fascinating it’s this huge ruin of a, I don’t know how you’d actually describe it. It was a medieval castle. I think it was built in honor of William the Conqueror. It’s a ruin right now, but you can tell it was gigantic. I think it was built in his honor and he used it as his base of operations after he had invaded or conquered England and came back to Normandy. It’s this toppled-over ruin that’s several stories tall with all manicured grass around it. And it’s just phenomenal just to walk in something that’s that old. And, you know, in the US we just don’t have things that old or unless you get into, you know native American cliff dwellings. And it’s similar to that in some ways you know, you build things out of stone and they’ll still be there a thousand years from now.

[00:39:06] Phil Roberson: But again, beautiful day and beautiful just walking around the ruins and I had lunch right across the street at a little cafe in town. So if you’re on the road and you’re going down the Seine I highly recommend stopping in there.

Merville Battery

[00:39:17] Annie Sargent: Cool. And then you stopped at the Merville Battery. This is a place where I have not been either.

[00:39:23] Annie Sargent: I know about it, but I haven’t been. So tell us about that a little bit.

[00:39:27] Phil Roberson: Yeah, this was a German gun installation that the British Airborne had a particularly heroic attack assault on. I mean it seemed impossible, when you look at how well fortified this was with barbed wire and minefields, machine gun nests and these guys jumping out of planes just have to you know, have a plan to how do you take it?

[00:39:47] Phil Roberson: But they did, you know at high cost but they did eventually take it, and it was one of the early successes on the night of D-Day. So June 5th, June 6th, and it was by the British. They had a couple very impressive feats of heroism, one was that and one was the Pegasus Bridge, which is not that far away.

[00:40:07] Phil Roberson: Which was a bridge they had to capture to keep the Germans from bringing reinforcements in and they basically literally crash-landed their gliders at the base of the bridge and stormed out and took the bridge before the Germans could respond.

[00:40:22] Phil Roberson: So, you know it’s, I have a feeling if you grow up in England you hear more about that than you hear about, you know the US Airborne. And likewise in the US, but I think it’s interesting to see all aspects of the battle and that really defined the eastern edge of the D-Day assault.

[00:40:37] Annie Sargent: Right. Yes. Yes. The Americans were more to the west. But, I mean, all things considered, it’s a hundred kilometers between the two more or less?

[00:40:45] Phil Roberson: Yeah, that’s about right. That’s about right. I mean, there were five beaches and the western to Utah and Omaha were the American ones and so they had the airborne landing to the west of that to safeguard the flank. And then the third one was British, the fourth was mostly Canadian and the fifth was British. So the British landed to the east of that to guard their flank and the whole idea is…

[00:41:10] Annie Sargent: Those beaches are called…

[00:41:12] Phil Roberson: West to East is Utah, Omaha, Sword, Juno and Gold. Either it’s Gold, Juno and Sword but those are the five. And originally there were four, but at the last minute they decided four wasn’t enough so they added Utah Beach which delayed everything and made it more complicated.

[00:41:31] Phil Roberson: They had to gamble between coming up with the perfect plan and the perfect conditions and perfect weather. And gamble that, or weigh that against the risk that the longer they waited, the more there would be some sort of security leak and the Germans would know exactly what they’re doing and at that point it’s much easier to defend against an attack.

[00:41:48] Phil Roberson: And it was actually field marshal Rommel, the German guy, who coined the phrase The Longest Day. Because he was determined that the battle will be won on the beaches and if the allies can get ashore, they wouldn’t be able to stop them long term.

[00:42:03] Phil Roberson: They could certainly inflict damage and make it difficult, but he felt that on whatever the day of the attack is, that will be the longest day.

[00:42:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah, we got to get it done that day.

[00:42:11] Phil Roberson: And he was right, he was right.

The Marmottan museum

[00:42:13] Annie Sargent: Okay. So we don’t have a lot of time left, but I want to, you mentioned that your favorite thing that you did on this trip, and of course you’ve had so many trips to France, you’ve seen a lot of stuff, but on this trip you really liked the Marmottan museum and I’d like to hear why.

[00:42:28] Phil Roberson: Well, I like and maybe it’s my aversion to crowds, but in general I like small museums. You simply can’t go to the Louvre and see everything in the Louvre in even a couple days.

[00:42:38] Phil Roberson: It’s impressive and I love it, but the Marmotton is, it’s a museum with the biggest collection of Monet paintings number one of anywhere in the world.

[00:42:47] Phil Roberson: I believe it was established through Monet’s nephew or something like that who had this collection or inherited this collection and created or donated the museum, I think to the city. But it’s not just more Monet. There’s a lot of other impressionism there. There’s Manet. There’s a Morisot Renoir. Great impressionist museum that I actually prefer to larger museums like the D’Orsay. It’s a little more obscure as far as where it is, getting there. It’s way over by the 16th Arrondissement. It’s not where most tourists stay. It’s kind of a quiet genteel parisian neighborhood. But it’s totally worth the effort particularly if you’re a fan of Monet or impressionism and particularly, if you’re then planning on going to Giverny or even the Orangery museum. If that’s the sort of thing you gravitate towards, this museum is wonderful.

[00:43:38] Phil Roberson: And it’s small enough that you can go there in a couple hours see most of the collection, have the rest of your day.

The wine museum, near the Eiffel Tower

[00:43:43] Annie Sargent: And then you liked the wine museum near the Eiffel Tower. That’s interesting.

[00:43:48] Phil Roberson: Well, it’s funny because I first learned about this from you, you did a podcast with a friend of yours who ended up there. And I had it on my Maps, I thought okay, that’s a possibility, but I knew I would leave the Marmottan and go through the Passy area I wanted to go to the cemetery, the Passy cemetery. So I was walking down the road, saw this interesting staircase that led between buildings, walked down and realized the wine museum is right there. So I’m here. I didn’t even try to get here, but I’m here. And it’s not the place you would normally stumble upon.

[00:44:18] Phil Roberson: So I thought this is, this must be a sign. I’m going to go into it and I didn’t eat there, but I did visit the museum and I think that includes a glass of wine afterwards in the wine caves.

[00:44:29] Phil Roberson: And I just had lunch so it was nice to sit in this old wine cave and have a glass of wine.

[00:44:33] Annie Sargent: We did this episode a long time ago with my friend Brenda. But I haven’t been myself yet, and I’ve spent a lot of time around the Eiffel Tower, but always doing other things. There’s so much to do around the Eiffel tower, it’s crazy.

[00:44:45] Phil Roberson: There is, and again if you like small museums, this is perfect. It’s you know, it’s small, it’s focused, it’s not going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or something like that.

[00:44:52] Annie Sargent: No, no, no. These are the smaller ones. Okay.

The Marquis de Lafayette

[00:44:55] Annie Sargent: And the last thing I want you to mention is The Marquis de Lafayette, his grave at the Picpus cemetery, it’s further, it’s not the same area, but it’s around Paris.

[00:45:04] Annie Sargent: That’s a small little private museum, isn’t it?

[00:45:06] Phil Roberson: I had one little theme this of this trip, which was just not the main reason for the trip, but I wanted to visit all these monuments to Americans in Paris. And there are many. And so I saw George Washington, and Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin and all that. But the Marquis de Lafayette is really an honorary American. I mean he came over during our Revolutionary War as a 19 year old kid and funded himself and joined the battle. And he was a huge admirer of George Washington. In fact, he named his son George Washington Lafayette. He’s buried in the Picpus Cemetery, which is a little hard to get to and it’s not always open. I think it’s only open like two to five or something.

[00:45:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I think I said earlier, I said it’s a private museum, it’s not a museum. It’s a private cemetery.

[00:45:54] Phil Roberson: Yeah, it’s a private cemetery.

[00:45:55] Annie Sargent: It’s not a city of Paris cemetery, it’s a privately owned cemetery.

[00:45:59] Phil Roberson: Yeah, and they have a little chapel there. And they also unfortunately at this chapel, at this cemetery, they have the mass graves of a lot of the people executed during the, so I call it delicately, The Troubles in Paris during the Revolution. So a lot of, I mean there were just so many people killed, including many of Lafayette’s family members who they suspect are probably buried there as well. Now he was able to skillfully negotiate his way out of losing his head and died and was buried there.

[00:46:29] Phil Roberson: And if you go there, there’s an American flag over his grave. And the legend has it that it was… I forget the American military officer from World War I who came back and visited his grave and said “Lafayette, we are here.” Or we’ve returned or something like that, so there’s a large grave with an American flag over it. I just wanted to pay my respects. Lafayette and the French basically bailed out the US Button our Revolutionary War and that that’s sometimes forgotten in this country, but…

[00:46:57] Annie Sargent: Well, and the biggest problem with doing that, is that it weakened the French King so much, Louis XVI, that he was then weak in front of the revolutionaries.

[00:47:09] Phil Roberson: Yeah, he probably wouldn’t have supported colonists being subservient to their monarch if he thought they’d be successful. And some theorize it, he just wanted to weaken the British he didn’t want us to actually succeed because that could set a precedent for their colonists.

[00:47:21] Annie Sargent: Yeah. That’s totally possible, but it put him in a very weak position and it didn’t help him when the Revolution started, but that’s another program altogether.

[00:47:29] Phil Roberson: Absolutely. But that kind of wrapped up, that was the end of my trip and it was nice to pay a little homage to him and see a part of Paris I have never seen. That was great.

[00:47:39] Annie Sargent: It’s lovely to hear about France from your perspective because you’ve come so many times and you really have a really nice bird’s eye view on these things, which a lot of visitors who just come for the first time don’t have. So I hope everybody’s taking good notes from your experiences.

[00:47:56] Phil Roberson: I think the advantage of coming a lot of times is you don’t have to check off all these big things on your list, like The Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe and stuff. You’ve seen them and maybe you can go back but there’s all these other things that, you know, whatever interests you, the smaller museums or the grave of Lafayette, whatever it is, there’s so much more to see, that if it’s not your one and only trip to Paris, it really opens up your opportunities.

[00:48:20] Annie Sargent: Well, and that’s what the podcast is all about, is helping people who are coming for the first time, have a really good experience and learn a lot, but also if they want to stick around, there’s a lot of depth to this as well.

[00:48:34] Annie Sargent: There are so many things you can do in Paris and I’m always amused when people like, oh, but isn’t that too many days in Paris? Am I going to run out of stuff to do? I’m like, you have no idea.

[00:48:50] Phil Roberson: And the problem with the success of your podcast is you point out all these things, so then of course, you do a very good job of pointing out other things to do which is great. And definitely encourages people to take a longer vacation than they were planning.

[00:49:03] Annie Sargent: I do what I can. Thank you very much, Phil. It’s been lovely talking to you and I’m sure you’ll be back to talk about some other experiences one of these days.

[00:49:12] Annie Sargent: Merci beaucoup.

[00:49:13] Phil Roberson: Merci Annie. Au revoir.


Thank you Patrons!

[00:49:22] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for giving back and supporting this show. Welcome to New patron supporters: Angela Forwood, Ellen Cull, Terra Crampton, Laura Poffenberger, Jen Hanniman, Lee Mayer, Jim Kucharczyk, Gina Logan, and Donna Deaver.

[00:49:43] Annie Sargent: I would love for you to become a patron because it’s mutually beneficial. By doing that you get access to exclusive content and your patronage makes it possible for me to consistently deliver engaging and insightful French-focused content. You too can keep this podcast alive and thriving.

Back from Bootcamp

[00:50:07] Annie Sargent: A little bit of feedback on the France Bootcamp. Well, it went better than I had hoped. The participants were fantastic. It was a delight to meet all of them and I’m sure we’ll stay in touch because they were so cool. And by the end of the week, I knew all their names. It took me all week. I’m so bad with names, but I do like people and I could immediately recognize all their faces and I could tell in a crowd if this one was with me or not.

[00:50:38] Annie Sargent: So anyway, we had a great time. There were no mishaps. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got robbed. There were a couple of people who unfortunately came down with Covid while the bootcamp was on. Headaches, nausea, feeling unwell, but nothing too bad. Overall, it was really, really good.

[00:50:57] Annie Sargent: I learned some lessons, and you’ll hear about those next week. I will do this again, but I’m not ready to announce details yet, but several people have already emailed me saying they’re interested. So if you are interested, the only way to let me know, please don’t tell me on Facebook or whatever, because there are so many people, I can’t keep track of them.

[00:51:22] Annie Sargent: So the only way to let me know that you’re interested is to email me annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com or if that doesn’t go through try That’s the one that works all the time, and I will put you on the list.

[00:51:38] Annie Sargent: Earlier I played some feedback from Anne who did an itinerary consult with me.

Two ways to get my tours

[00:51:44] Annie Sargent: If you’re interested in purchasing this service for your own trip, visit Read the description carefully and it will tell you everything you need to know. But since you’re still with me at the end of this episode, let me explain this: there are two ways to get my VoiceMap tours, either through the VoiceMap app or through my website, the

[00:52:07] Annie Sargent: There are pros and cons of both. The pros of going through the VoiceMap app is that you can read all the reviews, you see the path the tour takes, you read the tips that I shared, you get the download immediately because it’s an in-app purchase. It’s immediate.

[00:52:24] Annie Sargent: If you buy for my website, you get a big discount and the more tours you buy at once, the more you save.

[00:52:31] Annie Sargent: But you don’t necessarily see the reviews. I don’t post the reviews on my website. So if you want to get the discount and read the reviews, this is what you do.

[00:52:42] Annie Sargent: First, you go to and that will redirect you to the VoiceMap page. Well, that’s my own VoiceMap page with all the info, the reviews, the map, all of that.

[00:52:56] Annie Sargent: And then you go back to and you go to the tours page and you buy from my boutique because that’s where you get the discount.

[00:53:09] Annie Sargent: All right. I better get out of here. I made some spectacular mistakes the last few days. I mean, thankfully it’s just a podcast, nobody dies if I make a mistake.

[00:53:18] Annie Sargent: But you know what happens is the stress of the bootcamp, lack of sleep, it all adds up and yeah, there were some interesting things.

[00:53:28] Annie Sargent: But life is getting back to normal. I’ll get an early night tonight and there’s a storm going through the Toulouse area and there’s nothing better for sleep as far as I’m concerned, as rumbling thunder.

[00:53:42] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much podcast editor Cristian Cotovan. Thank you so much for listening. Join me again next week so you can hear our special episode about the first France Bootcamp, and so we can look around France together. Au revoir.


[00:53:58] 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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Categories: French History, Normandy & Brittany