[00:00:00] 439 Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 446 – quatre cent quarante-six.
[00:00:22] 439 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
[00:00:36] 439 Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Mark Adams about an enchanting trip he took from Perpignan, at the border between Spain and France, all the way to Marseille.
[00:00:47] 439 Annie Sargent: Mark’s trip actually starts in Barcelona, and it turns out a lot of you fly into Barcelona instead of Paris, and then you start exploring from the south, which is a really fun thing to do.
The magazine part of the podcast
[00:00:58] 439 Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, after the interview today, I’ll comment on something listeners discussed on the Join Us in France Facebook group. The wonderful Jenny Wenham, one of the group’s moderators, asked what’s the best thing you’ve learned from the podcast to help you plan your trip to France?
[00:01:17] 439 Annie Sargent: And I thought the responses were enlightening.
[00:01:20] 439 Annie Sargent: This podcast is made possible through the support of listeners who purchase my tours and services such as the Itinerary Consultation Service and GPS-enabled self-guided tours of Paris available on the VoiceMap app. Take a look at my boutique JoinUsinFrance.com/boutique.
[00:01:40] 439 Annie Sargent: And if you just want to read details about the tours and read reviews, go to JoinUsinFrance.com/Annietours.
Mark Adams trip report: from Perpignan to Marseille
[00:01:57] 439 Annie Sargent: Bonjour Mark Adams and welcome to Join Us in France.
[00:02:01] 439 Mark Adams: Bonjour Annie.
[00:02:02] 439 Annie Sargent: How nice to talk to you about your trip to France. You started your trip in Barcelona, and then you explored the South of France. I want to hear all about it. When was this trip?
[00:02:15] 439 Mark Adams: So it was mid-October. We arrived in Barcelona on the 10th. Spent about a day and a half there. And then headed north to France or East of France and ended up there on the 12th through the 18th of October.
[00:02:30] 439 Annie Sargent: Did that seem like a good amount of time for the trip you had in mind?
[00:02:33] 439 Mark Adams: To be honest, this is our third trip to Europe, our second trip to France, and we would’ve preferred to go for a couple weeks, but we have a teenage son and he was back home with his grandmother and in school. We felt bad about leaving him longer than 10 days, so I personally would’ve preferred a couple of more days.
[00:02:53] 439 Mark Adams: But it was fine.
[00:02:54] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah, so it was you and your wife on this trip.
[00:02:57] 439 Mark Adams: Yep. My wife, April and I.
[00:02:59] 439 Annie Sargent: Very good. Very good. Alright, so obviously this is October, 2022, we’re talking about because people listen to these episodes over months, and so I want to make clear that that’s what we’re talking about.
What inspired your trip? And why Southern France?
[00:03:11] 439 Annie Sargent: Okay. So let’s talk about this trip. What inspired it and why did you want to concentrate on Southern France?
[00:03:18] 439 Mark Adams: There was a couple reasons and a lot of things kind of came together, as a lot of your listeners have probably been going through, there was a little bit of pent up energy from post Covid.
[00:03:28] 439 Annie Sargent: You can say that again, yes!
[00:03:30] 439 Mark Adams: I think there’s a phrase revenge chapel that’s come out.
[00:03:34] 439 Mark Adams: That was part of it. I just celebrated my 50th birthday the other day, so it was a little bit of a early birthday present for my wife as well. And then we had been to France once before about nine years ago. And we followed the Tour de France around for a few weeks mostly, but at that time we were around the French Riviera. And we ended up finishing our tripin Paris, where the Tour de France finishes every year, on the Champs-Élysées.
[00:04:01] 439 Mark Adams: But since then, we’ve just been completely in love with France and we’ve got a little bit of aplan. It’s a loose plan, a lot of things need to fall in place, but ultimately we want to retire to France, at least part-time.
Contemplating retiring in France
[00:04:14] 439 Mark Adams: And we had Montpellier on our radar as one of the cities that were, at least on paper appealing to us, and one of the large reasons for that is because neither of us speak fluent French. So we felt like we would probably need to be in a city where, you know, a decent amount of English was spoken.
[00:04:33] 439 Mark Adams: And Paris isn’t really on our radar in terms of retirement simply because of the cost of living and you know, as you’ve mentioned on a lot of podcasts. But the pace of life in France is not what it is in the rest of France. And we enjoy rural France more than Paris.
[00:04:50] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah, Paris is a faster city than most other cities in France. The rest of us like to take it slow.
Start in Barcelona
[00:04:57] 439 Annie Sargent: So you started out in Barcelona. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that briefly?
Starting the trip in Barcelona
[00:05:01] 439 Mark Adams: Sure, yeah. We did, I think what a lot of folks do when they’re in Barcelona. We actually stayed in La Sagrada Familia area.
[00:05:10] 439 Mark Adams: We got in a late flight. I think we got in around 10:00 PM so we didn’t do anything there technically our first day in Europe. But then the next morning we had booked a small group tour of La Sagrada Familia.
[00:05:23] 439 Mark Adams: So we did that. We walked around the area where we were staying quite a bit, made a day of that. And then on our second day was about a half day there. And we went to, and now the name of it it’s escaping me, the it’s a Park Guell.
[00:05:37] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes, Guell Well. Yes.
[00:05:40] 439 Mark Adams: Which was interesting.
[00:05:41] 439 Mark Adams: It’s not necessarily our type of art, or things like that. But a beautiful hike, you know, beautiful property. And the last thing I’ll say about, what we did flying into Barcelona was, I try to be efficient with my travel and get the most out of our experience. So usually we try to cover a lot of ground.
[00:05:59] 439 Mark Adams: Sometimes I regret that. But flying into Barcelona, because Barcelona relatively speaking is so close to the area of a France that we wanted to visit, we felt that adding a day and a half and visiting Barcelona would allow us to check another country off our bucket list along the way to France.
[00:06:16] 439 Annie Sargent: And also sometimes you find a good flight at a good price, and it just makes sense to fly to Barcelona instead of Paris. So why not? Why not?
[00:06:24] 439 Mark Adams: Exactly. Yeah.
Flight to Barcelona
[00:06:26] 439 Annie Sargent: You live in Utah, so Salt Lake City to Barcelona. Is that a direct flight?
[00:06:31] 439 Mark Adams: There may be a direct option. We got a great fair on going Salt Lake City through Amsterdam Schiphol to Barcelona. One thing for your listeners to be aware of, you know, depending on how things transpire, but there were a lot of travel issues at Schiphol Airport over the summer.
[00:06:49] 439 Mark Adams: I checked the website yesterday, it seems like things have gotten better, but they’re still pretty rough. They were asking folks to be in the Schiphol Airport four hours before their flight.
[00:06:59] 439 Mark Adams: We had a long layover, but we couldn’t, I think we had a six or eight hour layover.
[00:07:04] 439 Mark Adams: And we couldn’t leave the airport, which I really wanted to do. So I would just, anybody that’s traveling through Schiphol, they might just want to check things before they leave and not risk leaving the airport, because they’ve had some pretty serious staffing issues there.
Favorite things Mark Adam did and recommends
[00:07:18] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah. Okay. Very good to know. So on this trip, you went from Barcelona through Perpignan and then all the way around the coast, and you ended up in Marseille. So instead of talking about your trip chronologically, I’m going to ask you to tell me about the things that you liked best.
[00:07:36] 439 Annie Sargent: What are the things that stick out in your mind that you did, that you really enjoyed or that you recommend other people do as well?
[00:07:43] 439 Mark Adams: The absolute number one thing, and you’ve said this many times on your podcast, it’s those days that were unplanned that generally stick with myself and other travelers as well. And our absolute number one best experience was visiting a town called Aigues-Mortes, and you can help me with my pronunciation.
[00:08:03] 439 Mark Adams: I think I’m pronouncing it right, but… it’s
[00:08:04] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes, it’s Aigues-Mortes. Yes. And it’s in the Camargue area, so it’s not very far from Montpellier.
[00:08:11] 439 Mark Adams: Correct. And that’s actually how we ended up there. Again, it was one of these typical, you know, didn’t have any plans for this whatsoever. My wife made friends through a chat group of folks that were going through the same experience, that perhaps we want to someday in retiring to France, and they had just finally settled into Montpellier.
[00:08:32] 439 Mark Adams: And so while we were in Montpellier, we had planned on spending some time with them. And the first day that we were in Montpellier, I believe they had a conflict we couldn’t meet with them. And they said, Hey, in Aigues-Mortes, which isn’t too far away, there’s this crazy festival and I wasn’t on the phone, my wife was on the phone. And they were having trouble explaining it and they said, well, it’s something, we think it’s something like a bull fight, but everybody loves it. You should go down and check it out.
[00:08:59] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah, so I was in Aigues-Mortes. I think that we left Aigues-Mortes the day before the festival started. I was sad, but I had to go home, so do tell us about this festival. It’s called Fête Votive.
[00:09:16] 439 Mark Adams: Yes. And you know, it was a bit ironic because, you know, my wife and I aren’t the biggest fans of bull fighting, as what most folks picture it in Spain. I’m familiar enough to know that in France that usually these type of events, the animal’s not slaughtered.
[00:09:33] 439 Mark Adams: I’ll try to do my best to explain it, but Aigues-Mortes is a traditional walled city and for whatever reason, the tradition, in the walled city also is right on the edge of some marshland. It’s a very beautiful area. There’s pink salt flats, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
[00:09:49] 439 Mark Adams: But the festival entails several times throughout the weekend letting these bulls run through the streets of the city, almost like Pamplona running of the bulls. And then these very skilled cowboys on horsebackround up the bulls and then get them into a penjust outside the walls of the city.
[00:10:09] 439 Mark Adams: And it’s very much for tradition’s sake. So the streets are blocked off and, you know, there’s no chance of the bulls reallyescaping or anything like that. There is still some danger to it because there are some folks, similar to in Spain that actually go inside of the barriers…
[00:10:25] 439 Annie Sargent: Oh yeah.
[00:10:26] 439 Mark Adams: Risk getting in front of the bull. But it was a wonderful experience.
[00:10:29] 439 Mark Adams: You know, I have to say that not too many people in that area spoke any English at all. So you know, the normal challenges of an American visiting France with, you know, buying a beverage and things like that, but we managed okay.
[00:10:43] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. So Aigues-Mortes is a beautiful town. Lots of French people really enjoy going, especially around the festivals, and this is definitely one of them that people enjoy. And I was sad that I missed it because everybody dresses up and you have these events and you have a lot of beautiful ambiance, I guess is what it is.
[00:11:04] 439 Mark Adams: It was amazing, yeah. A lot of folks were dressed in, you know, in character, cowboy and cowgirl type outfits. And then just lots of partying in the streets. And then we didn’t even need to speak any French because there would be these little parties and neighborhoods and pubs.
[00:11:20] 439 Mark Adams: And then as it got closer to the various times when the bulls were running, you would see everybody make their way down to where the event was to start.
[00:11:28] 439 Annie Sargent: So you just follow the crowd. Yeah.
[00:11:30] 439 Mark Adams: Right, exactly.
[00:11:31] 439 Annie Sargent: All right. And your second favorite thing was a bike ride. Tell us about that.
[00:11:37] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, so, you know, I mentioned the Tour de France earlier and I’m pretty big cyclist. Here in the US I do a lot of road riding and that’s what drew me to France in the first place was watching the Tour de France on TV in America. So we rode our bikes fromMontpellier to Sete and back mostly.
[00:11:58] 439 Mark Adams: We rented what are known as gravel bikes. For those that aren’t familiar gravel bikes, probably halfway between a traditional mountain bike and a traditional road bike.
[00:12:06] 439 Mark Adams: And I did an okay job of planning. You mentioned on one of your other podcasts with some folks that wereriding in the Carcassonne area I believe that Google Maps isn’t the greatest for cycling and I would agree.
[00:12:18] 439 Mark Adams: I didn’t heed, I didn’t heed your advice, and was trying to navigate with Google Maps, whichcaused several wrong turns. But we traveled, and I don’t know if there’s a specific name for it or name of it, but if you look at a map of the coast of France between Montpellier, about Montpellier Airport, roughly that’s where the bike shop was, and the airport, you’ll see a long peninsula where there’s you know, what we would call in the US and intercoastal waterway. So you’re out on, kind of out on a spit, separated from the mainland, and that was allI think it was an old maybe tow path for the, when they would pull the boats along, similar to what you see on the side of canals in France.
[00:13:04] 439 Mark Adams: But anyway, it wasa dirt road. It wasn’t too rough, so anybody that would want to do something like that, it was really enjoyable. There’s a lot of flamingos in the water there. And there’s, I believe it’s oyster fishing that’s going on, I think they grow the oysters in the nets there, and then they harvest them.
[00:13:22] 439 Annie Sargent: So did you go through Palavas-les-Flots?
[00:13:24] 439 Mark Adams: I am not sure.
[00:13:27] 439 Annie Sargent: Because it looks like that’s the way that would give you the most time right near the water. Because there’s two ways to do this. You either go through Mireval where you’re not that far from the water, but you probably don’t see it, or you go down to Montpellier Lattes, and then Palavas-les-Flots, and then you’re in that narrow piece of land and then you get through Frontignan and then Sete.
[00:13:55] 439 Mark Adams: Yep. Now I’m looking at the map and I do see that. Yes. So that’s exactly how we went.
[00:14:01] 439 Mark Adams: And like I said, it was perhaps part of the year, it wasn’t the most touristy part of the year in October. We literally saw maybe two or three other cyclists on the path, and you know, we saw some fishermen, but very, very quiet.
[00:14:15] 439 Mark Adams: Obviously very flat because it’s right along the ocean. So, by some folks standard, I can’t remember, I think we, round trip, I think we did 50 miles that day. Which for some might seem like a lot, but.
[00:14:26] 439 Annie Sargent: So it’s 38.5 kilometers one way. So Google estimates that on a bike that’s a two hour ride and if you’re going to do it both ways, so that’s what, 80 kilometers? So yeah, 50 miles or so. Yeah, that’s about right.
[00:14:43] 439 Annie Sargent: I think that’s doable with the electric bike, because I’m, no, I’m lazy.
[00:14:48] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah. My wife had an electric bike and she really enjoyed it. I will say I’m more of a traditionalist, but electric bikes are great, especially when you’re on vacation. If you run into hills and get tired or, you know, perhaps you stop for a meal. We actually had an incident where we were worried about the bike shop closing and needed to get back.
[00:15:06] 439 Mark Adams: And so we actually hopped the train for part of it. But, I really think electric bikes are the way to go for the average tourist, like I said. If you run into any problems or whatever, you can get back a lot quicker.
[00:15:17] 439 Annie Sargent: Yep. Yep. Yeah, my husband’s like you. He has a gravel bike and he wants to keep it normal bike. And I’m like, we could do more if you had an electric bike. Anyway. One of these days we’ll solve that one, but not today. Alright, that sounds like a lovely day to ride like that.
[00:15:36] 439 Annie Sargent: And hopefully you had some good weather and it was pleasant.
Looking into retire in Sète
[00:15:39] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, it was great. You know, I mentioned that part of this trip was this grand plan to possibly retire to Montpellier. Butwe loved Sete and I saw some pictures on the internet of Sete and wanted to visit it. But we got to Sete and I absolutely loved it.
[00:15:55] 439 Annie Sargent: It’s fantastic. It’s a beautiful town. I mean, honestly, I don’t understand why people don’t gravitate towards Sete more. But it’s probably because it’s so French, it’s not super touristy. I mean, it is touristy but not all year round. When they have the jousts, I don’t know what part of the year that is, but they do jousting on boats.
[00:16:18] 439 Annie Sargent: My goodness. It’s just so much fun. It’s a great place.
[00:16:21] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, I looked at the jousting. I believe it’s sometime over the summer. I believe it might be two separate events, yeah.
A cruise ship port
[00:16:27] 439 Mark Adams: But I wondered maybe one thing that, maybe you can speak to Annie is, we were, you know, blessed with great weather and we were taking a little bit of risk in mid-October.
[00:16:36] 439 Mark Adams: You know, the weather could go either way, but that is a major cruise ship port. And we did wonder, because we start, I mentioned our plan for retiring and we started to immediately change our plan and say, well maybe Sete, because I love the ocean, you you know, maybe Sete would maybe be on our radar.
[00:16:53] 439 Mark Adams:
[00:16:53] 439 Mark Adams: But then we wondered, you know, in mid-summer, is the city overrun when the cruise ships do arrive in port?
[00:16:59] 439 Annie Sargent: I’m sure it is. I’m sure it is. There’s no way around that, but that’s the time when locals just go somewhere else. You just, ah, well, I’ll enjoy it. I’ll enjoy the whole shoulder season and all of that, and then when all the tourists are here, I’ll just go somewhere else, you know? And that’s a fine way to retire if you ask me.
[00:17:21] 439 Mark Adams: But no, I couldn’t say more great things about it. It reminded meof, oh, now I’m blanking the canal city in Italy. Venice. Yeah, It reminded me a lot of Venice because it has a couple ofcanals that go up inland. And there’s various bridges crossing and I just thought it was absolutely beautiful and a lot of quaint little bars and restaurants around and I just fell in love with it.
[00:17:44] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, and there’s a real kind of tradition and culture of people having little boats. And on Sundays they just all go out on their little tiny motorboats. I mean, these are, they don’t have yachts or anything, right? They just have little small motorboats and they go enjoy the sea, and they tool around in their little boats.
[00:18:03] 439 Mark Adams: Oh, I just I just love it. All right.
[00:18:05] 439 Mark Adams: Let’s talk about your third favorite place, Carcassonne.
[00:18:10] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, so Carcassonne, I believe that was, part of your recommendation as well. I have to give a plug for your itinerary packages. You helped us with our trip and your help was just amazing, so I would encourage the listeners to definitely consider that if they’re planning a trip, especially to some of these smaller cities like we visited, because your wealth of knowledge is absolutely incredible.
[00:18:34] 439 Annie Sargent: Well, thank you.
[00:18:35] 439 Mark Adams: We loved Carcassonne. So Carcassonne is relatively famous. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with it. I believe it’s maybe the most well preserved walled city at least in that region of France.
[00:18:48] 439 Mark Adams: And probably the largest I would say,
[00:18:50] 439 Annie Sargent: You saw two of them, so you went to Aigues-Mortes, which is also a walled city, but Carcassonne is quite different from Aigues-Mortes, right?
[00:18:57] 439 Mark Adams: Yes, yes. Quite different. I would say the biggest difference and the easiest way to explain it is, Aigues-Mortes, there were a lot of people that were still living inside of the walled city from as far as I could tell. You know, it seemed like there was still a lot of small apartments, at least above pubs and restaurants and things like that.
[00:19:13] 439 Mark Adams: In Carcassonne, and you’ve done several podcasts on Carcassonne, as you’ve explained in the past, completely different experience. There’s two hotels within the city of Carcassonne. It’s up on a pretty steep hill, which can pose challenges. Those hotels are very luxurious and there’s, you know, only so many rooms.
[00:19:34] 439 Mark Adams: So, most people will end up doing what we did, which is staying outside of the walled city. But it’s just majestic. It’s up on a hill, you can see it from miles away on all sides.
[00:19:45] 439 Annie Sargent: How long did you spend in Carcassonne?
[00:19:47] 439 Mark Adams: We spent about two and a half days in Carcassonne. A good day and a half with going in and out of the walled city and doing various things there.
Canal tour on Canal du Midi
[00:19:59] 439 Mark Adams: And then towards, I think what they call the new city of Carcassonne, we went down there and spent some time and did a canal tour on the Canal du Midi.
[00:20:07] 439 Mark Adams: Oh, that’s fun. So was this a tour on a boat or were you riding?
[00:20:13] 439 Mark Adams: It was a tour on a boat. Yeah. So it was right where the canal comes down into what I believe they call the new town of the new city there. There are, and again this was late in the tourist season, so I think there was only one company running their tours. The rest had shut down for the winter, but we were lucky enough we didn’t have to have reservations.
[00:20:33] 439 Mark Adams: We just walked up and asked when the next English speaking canal tour was leaving, and it was leaving in about an hour. We bought tickets there on the spot and joined that tour.
[00:20:43] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s great. And how long of a tour was this?
[00:20:46] 439 Mark Adams: It probably took about two, two and a half hours round trip. It went through two locks, and then they turned around. There were different packages available for folks, I believe there’s ones that go in both directions from where it started and they go through more locks. They wanted to give us the experience of going through the locks, which for anybody that hasn’t done that, it’s quite fascinating. I’m an engineer by trade, so for me especially, it was fascinating to, you know, especially that these things were hundreds of years ago they were doing this, before modern pumps and things existed.
[00:21:20] 439 Mark Adams: But I think if somebody’s there during the normal travel season and they can find all this information online, there’s a lot of different packages to pick from depending on how long you want to be on the canal.
VRBO in Carcassonne
[00:21:29] 439 Annie Sargent: Very cool. Very cool. So then your next thing is your VRBO in Carcassonne, but you didn’t name it What? What was it called?
[00:21:37] 439 Mark Adams: I’ll have to find it and you can put it in the show notes. We just found it on vrbo.com.
[00:21:44] 439 Mark Adams: But I have to say, I usually when we travel, we’ll splurge on like one night at a fancy hotel, one or two nights, and we almost splurged and stayed inside of the walled city, but even off season, I believe off season prices in October for, I’m forgetting the name of the hotel inside of the walled city, but it was well over $200 a night.
[00:22:08] 439 Mark Adams: And so we just shopped around for it in the, and then I went on VRBO and I found a beautiful place. It was a two bedroom home,standalone home. It was literally, they literally had the castle wall in their backyard and they had a private garden. And as you know, Annie, they light the castle up every night. It’s just absolutely gorgeous. I think we got that place for under a hundred dollars a night because it was, you know, slightly off season.
[00:22:35] 439 Mark Adams: So it was, it was a three-story VRBO and it had all the amenities, washer and dryer on the lower levels, had two bedrooms. It was more than what we needed, full kitchen. But the thing that was most impressive about it is it had a terraced backyard that basically went right up to the walking pass next to the wall of the city.
[00:22:55] 439 Mark Adams: And there was a little terrace up there where we sat in the morning and had coffee. It was just, I honestly could not believe for the price that we paid and for the location, what we were able to get. It was just amazing.
[00:23:07] 439 Annie Sargent: Do send me the link to that because I’m sure lots of people will want to check it out.
[00:23:12] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, it was great. And I’ll definitely send a link. I definitely want to give those folks proper shout out. The owners did a great job with the place and they actually owned several homes right there in the same area. So they have several VRBOs. I will say the only, and this is just typical up for the area, there was no, what we call in the US off-street parking.
[00:23:30] 439 Mark Adams: So we had to find street parking. But at that time of year it wasn’t an issue.
[00:23:35] 439 Mark Adams: The furthest that we had a park was like a block away from our place. One thing I did want to mention though, I would still do it all over again but you know, the geography of how the city’s laid out, and then where we were staying. We were staying probably a couple hundred feet below the entrance of the city. So great view that the city’s like, literally felt like it was hanging over our VRBO, but with that meant that to get up to the city, you can’t drive into the walled city.
[00:24:05] 439 Mark Adams: There’s a couple options. There’s some very steep stairways from the side that we were staying on, or there’s some switchback path. We tried each one to see, you know, which was better or worse. From the other side, you can approach at a much higher elevation where the tour buses drop off on the other side of the city.
[00:24:23] 439 Mark Adams: And there may be accommodations over there on that side. Because I will say, you know, we had good weather, a little bit rainy one morning, which made the path a little bit slippery. But it’s a hike, and for folks that maybe have any physical disabilities, you know, we saw some older folks trying to go up the stairs and they were stopping and taking breaks and asking us how much further it was and things.
[00:24:44] 439 Mark Adams: So, you do need to plan out your day a little bit. It is a walled city after all and not built with the modern amenities.
[00:24:52] 439 Annie Sargent: Yep. Wonderful. Then you went to Collioure, and you liked it.
[00:24:57] 439 Mark Adams: Yes, Collioure was amazing. Again I honestly don’t know how some of these places escape, you know, the average tourist or they don’t make a bigger deal about them in you know, the various travel books and things. I think the French are trying to keep some of these things all to themselves, but Collioure was absolutely gorgeous.
[00:25:17] 439 Mark Adams: You can do a better job of explaining it than I can, but I believe it’s a fort up there on the point, which we toured. I was most impressed with the beaches. The beaches are a little bit pebbly. They’re not beautiful sandy beaches, which I don’t have a problem with. But again, it just seemed like another hidden gem again during the main travel season, I’m guessing the beaches are pretty busy and the parking looks like it, is probably packed because we saw all kinds of signs about how long you can leave your cars in various spots.
[00:25:43] 439 Mark Adams: And seems like they had littlefields for parking tucked in everywhere where they could find, but we absolutely loved it.
[00:25:50] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah, this is something that people need to understand. The time of year really matters in France, because a lot of these gorgeous little places are very small. Collioure is a very small, beautiful little town, medieval town with a fort. It is right at the border with Spain, and the Spaniards always wanted to invade us for one reason or another, and so we had to make sure the border was safe, and so they had soldiers there on hand, just in case the Spaniards invaded.
[00:26:27] 439 Annie Sargent: But because these are small, tight little places, depending on the time of year when you go, it can be very, very pleasant or just a nightmare because it’s people everywhere. You can’t move, all the restaurants are full. If you try to rent a bike, they laugh at you because all the bikes are gone.
[00:26:49] 439 Annie Sargent: All of that.
[00:26:50] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s why when I do itineraries with people, they often tell me, okay, I would like to go here and here and here and here, but I tell them, you know, this is the wrong time of year to be going to that place because it’s either going to be too busy or dead. There are times of the year where like, I just came back from Alsace.
[00:27:11] 439 Annie Sargent: It’s a wonderful, beautiful place, but in January it is dead. Everybody shuts down because they’ve had all this high tourist season all through December and they just close up shop and go somewhere else, you know? And so you have to know that your timing is really important.
[00:27:31] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, it’s a great point, Annie.
[00:27:32] 439 Mark Adams: And the other thing that I will add, that occurred to me, when we were in Nîmes, which maybe we’ll get a moment later to talk about Nîmes, another one of our stops. But I couldn’t help but think that, oh, how gorgeous would some of these places be in the spring when everything was in bloom?
[00:27:48] 439 Mark Adams: We went to a garden in Nîmes and then, you know, even here around Cullioure, so I think everybody has to decide on what their top reasons for traveling are. And if they want to see the vineyards, the vineyards were all harvested, had already been harvested as well while we were there.
[00:28:04] 439 Mark Adams: So, while we missed and avoided, you know, we’ve avoided a lot of traffic and we didn’t need to get reservations at restaurants and things like that, but the downside is, you know, perhaps we didn’t see…
[00:28:16] 439 Annie Sargent: You missed some stuff.
[00:28:18] 439 Annie Sargent: It’s always like that, you know, it’s always like that.
[00:28:20] 439 Annie Sargent: Alright, so to get through the list, we have to hurry up. Next thing you mentioned is Lastours, which is a place I’m sure most people have not heard of, but I have.
[00:28:31] 439 Mark Adams: Yes. Again, I think this wason our work that we did together on our itinerary and some things that we literally would’ve driven by if not for your advice.
[00:28:40] 439 Mark Adams: But Lastours was incredible. I believe it’s the ruins of three separate castles in a mountainous valley. My comment that I made to my friends on Facebook was something to the extent of, you know, just your average French village, everything that you need, a five star hotel, a three Michelin-starred restaurant, three castles, and a gold mine.
[00:29:03] 439 Annie Sargent: Excellent.
[00:29:04] 439 Mark Adams: Everything that the averageFrench citizenshould have in their life.
[00:29:09] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes.
[00:29:09] 439 Mark Adams: Again, our timing was perfect. We didn’t stay there, it was just a day trip, but you can hike to the ruins of these three castles and I don’t think we saw more than six people all day.
[00:29:21] 439 Mark Adams: I was at the top of one of these towers overlooking the whole valley and I was completely by myself for 15, 20 minutes just taking it in. One of the perks of off season travel is, you know, some of these things like these ruins and things that you’ve got very narrow spiral staircases going up and down and we kept having visions of the long lines to get up to these view spots and things like that.
[00:29:43] 439 Mark Adams: So we were able to avoid all that. We really, we had almost the town all to ourselves. There was maybe, you know, three or four cars in the town when we were there.
[00:29:52] 439 Annie Sargent: Yeah, that’s great. It’s one of my favorites and it is not one that gets super, super busy, because there’s a hike involved and so people don’t, you know, the throngs of people don’t go, but it is one of the easier hikes that you can do as far as hikes to these old cathar castles are concerned.
[00:30:12] 439 Annie Sargent: So it’s a good one.
[00:30:14] 439 Annie Sargent: All right, let’s move on to Montpellier because you wanted to explore Montpellier. Tell us about it.
[00:30:19] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah. So as I mentioned earlier, we have this somewhat grand plan of perhaps retiring to France one day in Montpellier because it’s a very worldly city. I think it’s a big university town. And there’s, you know, we’ve researched train routes. If we do retire to France we want to be someplace where we can easily, you know, get on the major train lines and get all around Europe.
[00:30:42] 439 Mark Adams: So, that was appealing to us. So on paper, there’s a lot of great things about Montpellier and perhaps someday we still end up, up there. But it wasn’tperhaps as nice and glamorous as I would’ve thought. It’s still great. I would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life in Montpellier.
[00:31:00] 439 Mark Adams: You are talking about a larger city in that area of France, so the prices on things, do start to go up. It’s a much more jam-packed city. It doesn’t sleep in the off season like some of the other places that we’ve discussed. Like I said, there’s a university there, there’s a thriving economy there, so they don’t really seem to have what you would consider an off-season.
[00:31:21] 439 Annie Sargent: Correct. Yes. It’s busy all the time. It’s a big city and it doesn’t shut down ever. Like it’s not a touristy town that has these ebbs and flows of heavy action and dead. No, it’s a city, so you can expect to have some lively action all the time.
[00:31:44] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, we did really enjoy it. The accommodations that we had were not the greatest, and that was un unfortunate. But again, I think it’s just the fact of being in a big city. So based on the pricing of accommodations there, we probably went for, you know, maybe a lesser accommodation.
[00:32:00] 439 Mark Adams: We stayed in, I think it’s a Best Western right near the train station. And the rooms were really small and not the greatest, you know, I think it was basically right above like a McDonald’s. So, not the greatest accommodations, not the typical places that we like to stay when we travel, but it worked out fine.
Plaza de Comedie and Esplanade Charles de Gaulle
[00:32:17] 439 Mark Adams: But, Plaza de Comedie is amazing, it’s a great place to visit. And then the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle is beautiful. It’s a very walkable city, relatively flat. We also visited a market there. We actually,I mentioned we have, my wife had made some friends and, so we got kind of the back alley tour of Montpellier one day, and they took us to this great market that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own.
[00:32:41] 439 Mark Adams: So overall, we had a great experience, but again, it’s more, more of thelarger city feel than the other places we visited.
[00:32:48] 439 Annie Sargent: Very good to know. Yeah. Not every place is for everybody.
[00:32:51] 439 Annie Sargent: Alright, let’s talk a little bit about Nîmes and your experience there.
[00:32:56] 439 Mark Adams: Yeah, so Nîmes was amazing. My funny little interest in Nîmes is, I discovered one point years ago that the history of denim, it all comes from Nîmes and that’s where the original…
[00:33:09] 439 Annie Sargent: De Nîmes, yes… La toile de Nîmes.
[00:33:13] 439 Mark Adams: The original blue dye or cotton fabric was dyed blue there.
[00:33:16] 439 Mark Adams: And that’s where all started.
[00:33:17] 439 Mark Adams: I kind of envisioned Nîmes playing that up more. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, museum of blue jeans or something.
[00:33:24] 439 Mark Adams: But anyway, it was, again, we loved Nîmes, we had a great time there. We spent one night there, we stayed outside of Nîmes in a very nice hotel in the countryside. The name of it is Pre Galoffre, and I hope that I’m pronouncing that correctly.
[00:33:43] 439 Annie Sargent: Pre Galoffre perhaps. I’m not sure.
[00:33:46] 439 Mark Adams: Great hotel, but just a quick comment on that for anybody that chooses to stay there. It’s a little bit outside of the city, which is what we wanted because the city of Nîmes is pretty tight and pretty hard to get around in a car and especially if you can’t read the street signs and things.
[00:34:01] 439 Mark Adams: So we stayed, and it’s only five or 10 minutes outside of town, but there are two hotels side by side, so the Pre Galoffre and the Lamas Galoffre. And it looks like at one time that those two hotels were one and the same,it kind of looks like the property was split down the middle. We were staying in the Pre Galoffre to the left.
[00:34:22] 439 Mark Adams: The Lamas Galoffre to the right seemed slightly more luxurious, had a bigger restaurant,larger property, larger pool. Their pool was still open in October. But I just wanted to warn travelers that because they were associated previously, when you read some of the reviews of the hotel and you’re looking at the hotel online, you may be looking at the larger hotel, but then you may be booking the smaller hotel.
[00:34:50] 439 Mark Adams: So just a little bit of a watch out there. We thought we were and it was fine, but you know, we thought for the pricethat we were getting the larger hotel, and then we found we were in the smaller hotel. But, it was all fine. It was a great experience.
[00:35:02] 439 Mark Adams: Again, the hotel was, you know, it was about the end of the season.
[00:35:05] 439 Mark Adams: So, you know, we had great attention by the staff. It was just a great experience.
[00:35:10] 439 Annie Sargent: That was good.
[00:35:11] 439 Annie Sargent: All right, one last thing about Marseille. What did you think of Marseille? Obviously a big city, so not the same asthe rest of the things that we discussed.
[00:35:22] 439 Mark Adams: Right. Yeah. We actually love Marseille. So Marseille is the only city that we repeated from our first trip to France nine years ago. We absolutely love it. Yes, it’s a big city. We didn’t have a car either time that we’re in Marseille, so I can’t speak to driving around Marseille. I’m guessing in the summertime driving around the old port can be a challenge.
[00:35:42] 439 Mark Adams: But we find the Marseille airport easy to get in and out of compared to obviously like Charles de Gaulle or something. So, Marseille is wonderful, but again, and I’m sure this is common in a lot of European cities, it’s kind of an old town in a new town.
[00:35:56] 439 Mark Adams: So down by the water you have what they call, The Old Fort. And I believe there’s a fort there as well. And it’s somewhat traditional French Riviera down by the water. It’s gorgeous. There’s beautiful sailboats coming and going and we sat and had dinner on a pier, great fresh seafood that they’re known for.
[00:36:12] 439 Mark Adams: We stayed right next toOrange Velodrome,which is I believe, the Marseille football team’s home stadium.
[00:36:21] 439 Mark Adams: We were probably about,we took an Uber to dinner and it was probably only 10 minutes. And there’s also a train stationright next to the stadium. So we stayed in an area that was very easy to get in and out of.
[00:36:34] 439 Mark Adams: We heard horror stories of how hot it can be in the summer there. But when we were there, it was just absolutely beautiful.
[00:36:39] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s good. Yeah. You do not want to stay near the Marseille main train station. I can’t remember the name of it. Don’t stay there. But, the smaller train, because it’s a big enough city that it has more than one train station. So the smaller ones are okay. Yeah. All right, Mark, it has been a delight talking to you about your wonderful trip, through the south, well southwest and going southeast, I guess.
[00:37:04] 439 Annie Sargent: It’s always wonderful to talk to somebody who has fresh eyes on these places, you know. For you it’s all new and for me, I’ve been through these places a few times already, so it’s fantastic to see it from your perspective. Thank you so much.
[00:37:20] 439 Mark Adams: Oh, thank you, Annie. And again, I can’t say enough about all the helpthat you provided to us with the itinerary. I was just over the moon. I think my wife and I were expecting to get a two or three page printout. It was an absolute delight. The whole process, you know, working with you was an absolute delight.
[00:37:35] 439 Mark Adams: And we’ve been huge fans of the podcast,I can’t say that we’re, we’re through all 400+ episodes, but…,
[00:37:42] 439 Annie Sargent: Oh, really? Just kidding. Just kidding.
[00:37:45] 439 Mark Adams: But it’s been great and it’s been a pleasure to talk to you, Annie.
[00:37:49] 439 Annie Sargent: Thank you so much and hopefully you’ll come back and visit more of our fair country and there’s lots of places that I think you would enjoy.
[00:37:58] 439 Mark Adams: Absolutely.
[00:37:59] 439 Annie Sargent: Merci.
[00:38:00] 439 Mark Adams: Au revoir.
Thank you Patrons!
[00:38:08] 439 Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so. You can see them at Patreon.com/joinus. Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for a long, long time now. You are wonderful! And a shout out this week to new patrons: Joe O’Reilly, Deb and Jeff Wilson. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.
[00:38:39] 439 Annie Sargent: Patrons, again, I would like to encourage you to install the Patreon app on your phone. It’ll help you enjoy the rewards while on the go, including audio and video rewards. And I’m fully intending on adding more video rewards and more interactive kind of rewards. I’m working on that with Patreon.
[00:38:59] 439 Annie Sargent: New rewards will be announced soon, and if you have the Patreon app, you’ll get notified instantly.
Best things listeners have learned from the podcastRelying on public transportation
[00:39:06] 439 Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, let’s talk about the best things you’ve learned from the podcast to help you plan your trip to France, and thank you Jenny for asking that question.
[00:39:18] 439 Annie Sargent: So the first response was from somebody called Rowe, she said, early this year when I was planning our trip to Lyon and Tours this past April, relying on trains and public transportation, I listened to the episode that gave a guide to using the trains. It was very helpful, and despite the strikes and all, I felt very prepared and informed, and our trip went very well.
[00:39:42] 439 Annie Sargent: So that’s wonderful, Rowe. So this episode is called, All About the French Train System. It’s episode 428, and I think it is an excellent reference because we go into some of the details that throw people off. And I spend time with my itinerary consult people explaining some of these things that they might run into.
[00:40:07] 439 Annie Sargent: But you know what, if you just listen to that episode and read the show notes, you can do this by yourself, as Rowe explained.
Take a taxi from CDG to Paris
[00:40:15] 439 Annie Sargent: Bob said: take a taxi from CDG to Paris. Now, this is a perennial question. It comes back just about every day and just about every day people respond whatever their favorite way is.
[00:40:32] 439 Annie Sargent: Honestly, it doesn’t change anything for me whether you want a limo, somebody holding your name up or whether you want to take the RER and go cheap. It is just that there’s some things that you need to understand about these possibilities. The taxi is really simple and really straightforward, so long as you go to the official taxi line and you understand that these are taxi drivers, they will try to… how should I put this, not declare all their income. And so what you need to do is when you first meet the taxi driver, just say, I do not have cash, do you take credit cards? That’s it. If the guy is going to be difficult about this, move on to the next taxi in line.
[00:41:21] 439 Annie Sargent: And my guess is the person’s not going to be difficult because the taxi line manager is right there and they are supposed to take credit cards. So this is just an act they put on.
[00:41:32] 439 Annie Sargent: Oh, I don’t take cards, my card reader doesn’t work. Don’t believe them. Just assume the guy is trying to evade taxes and just say, I don’t have any cash. The end. There’s nothing to discuss. Okay?
[00:41:44] 439 Annie Sargent: This is what Alan said, he says, my only caveat to taking a taxi is that the traffic was bad and it took twice as long as the RER, and that’s indeed a possibility. If you are in a hurry, sometimes the RER is better way to go, unless you get your stuff stolen, then it’s not any faster. So, you know, it’s not always such a simple answer. And Alan mentions that the taxi driver wanted cash payment. Yeah, just tell them I don’t have cash. The end. Do you want to get paid or not?
The driving in France episode
[00:42:19] 439 Annie Sargent: Kathy says, the Driving in France episode I am sure saved us from getting speeding tickets. And also just to drive that much more safely, because we had a better understanding of the signs, et cetera. So that was episode 16. This was a very old episode that gets listened to a lot because my husband actually did all the prep for this. He went through all the signs. This is so long ago, he had just taken the French driver’s license not that long before that.
[00:42:51] 439 Annie Sargent: And so he still remembered, it was all fresh in his head. And he just laid out the rules and the difficulties that you’re likely to encounter as somebody who is used to driving in North America.
[00:43:04] 439 Annie Sargent: We’ve talked about driving in France in many other episodes, but that one, episode 16, is quite interesting.
Finding information about different areas of France
[00:43:11] 439 Annie Sargent: Kathy also says, I also really appreciate the different episodes on different areas of France. If we’re traveling there, I find the relevant episodes and listen again. Yes, this is a good idea. And also looking at the show notes really help. And to find those episodes we talked about a specific place, you can’t remember all the places we’ve talked about, clearly nobody can, because it’s been too many. Just go to the website, use the search box and search, you know, I want to learn about Châteauneuf-du-Pape for instance. Just enter that and see what happens. And you’ll be surprised, we mentioned these places in a lot of different episodes.
No speeding in France
[00:43:51] 439 Annie Sargent: And Kathy responds to somebody else, to Mary Pat and says: unfortunately, even after listening to that episode, I got caught up in following the pace of traffic, people do speed, and was hit with tons of tickets when I got home. Oops. I am sticking to the slow lane this summer. Yes. Do not follow the pace of traffic.
[00:44:15] 439 Annie Sargent: There are automatic radars everywhere, and perhaps you’re following people who don’t know that these radars are there and perhaps they’re also driving there for the first time and they are getting caught as well. And those radars, they don’t mind, they can take 10 people, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. You know, they shoot pretty fast.
[00:44:36] 439 Annie Sargent: So yes, do not speed at all in France, not even 2 over the speed limit, you will get a ticket.
[00:44:45] 439 Annie Sargent: Dolores says restaurant etiquette and driving is what she has learned the most.
Confidence to travel
[00:44:52] 439 Annie Sargent: Amy says, for me, I think listening helps give me confidence to travel. The information is so practical and useful. I think most other sites and Instagram posts only show the best places to take pictures, restaurants, skip the line, Eiffel Tower, et cetera. Yes. That’s how it works. In the travel space, people, first of all, most of them work on commission, so they only recommend things that they can get a commission from. I don’t. I have never taken as much as a free meal in exchange for giving a good word about a place.
[00:45:31] 439 Annie Sargent: And I don’t think making lists of the best is helpful at all because it really depends on you. It depends on who you are, what you like, and if you listen to enough episodes, you catch on to, oh, this is what speaks to me. You know, what speaks to you, right?
[00:45:50] 439 Annie Sargent: So this is the time when you just jot down the episode number, more or less what time code we were at, and you look at the show notes to get more information about this. Because the best is only the best for whoever is speaking.
[00:46:06] 439 Annie Sargent: And yeah, don’t base your trip on other people’s best.
Episodes about the Bordeaux area
[00:46:10] 439 Annie Sargent: Anita says, we will be in Bordeaux on a home exchange for two weeks this summer. And I loved listening to all of your episodes about that area. All the wine episodes, Eleanor of Aquitaine, et cetera. I have been combing through the Lost in Bordeaux website.
[00:46:27] 439 Annie Sargent: She was a guest on the podcast, and so feel free to share her posts on the group. This is something that I need to remind you of. I allow people who come on the podcast to share whatever they want, their own websites, other blog posts that they’ve enjoyed, whatever. I do not want everybody who is in the group to share whatever latest read they enjoyed, because that’s way too many things. And so, and I don’t have time to check any of the credentials of the people you’re sharing from. But once they’ve been on the podcast, we have a relationship, I know they’re not full of…. Mm. And so I trust them.
[00:47:12] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s, that’s how I roll.
Be polite, say Bonjour!
[00:47:14] 439 Annie Sargent: Anne says, Be gracious, say Bonjour, Merci, et cetera. And somebody else, Eliza says, I’ve never had an issue there. That is very true. Just use your polite words. Michelle says, far too many, but she likes Èze, driving Paris and Annie is a gift. Well, thank you very much, Michelle.
[00:47:38] 439 Annie Sargent: But I’m not the only one. Elyse it’s pretty good too. And so are all the people who come on the podcast.
[00:47:45] 439 Annie Sargent: Denise says there is no one best thing. There are a lot, a whole lot of small things that make a big difference. That is actually a profound thing to notice because there is, you know, we cannot reveal the truth of all trips to France.
[00:48:03] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s not how it works, but we can say a lot of things that speak to you, And you know, add up in your mind into something that makes a difference and helps you have a better trip. Casey says, Bonjour, language etiquette and customs.
Do not over plan
[00:48:20] 439 Annie Sargent: Very, very important. Jessica says, I have learned not to over plan.
[00:48:27] 439 Annie Sargent: This is a big one. It’s difficult for most people. I talk people out of over planning all the time. Just about every day I have this conversation with people. Because we are of two minds. You know, people say on the one hand they say, oh, I really want to be a flâneur and discover serendipity, blah, blah, blah.
[00:48:46] 439 Annie Sargent: But then they also want the list of all the best croissants and the best wine and the best art. And they want to see the best fashion houses. And they have three days. So this is not how it works. Do not over plan. I do think people need to have a plan, especially a plan that keeps them in the same area of Paris.
[00:49:10] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s the secret. Do not zoom all over the place. Go to one area and stick to it all day already. And if you take my VoiceMap tours, you’ll do that and it will be a very good experience, I swear.
[00:49:27] 439 Annie Sargent: Betty says, sit at a cafe and observe the city and it’s people. That’s always a good thing to do, no matter what country you’re in. If you can do that, that’s excellent.
Phil’s list of alternates to the big sites
[00:49:37] 439 Annie Sargent: Phil says, I don’t know about the best, but it’s a lot of little things that have added to my trips, especially about the things that you won’t find on everyone’s top 10 lists. Number one, the covered markets. I was fascinated by these, so I put them on my own list of alternates to the big sites.
[00:49:59] 439 Annie Sargent: It’s good to have some alternates, you know, because if you’re just, you know, your foot just hurt or you have a big blister, you don’t want to be standing in the Louvre all day. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll think of other things that you could do that day instead. The covered markets are great and have come in handy on rainy days. Yes.
[00:50:18] 439 Annie Sargent: Number two, the wine museum. Again, not a huge attraction. You will hear about other places, but I finally went last year and it was superb. Very good.
[00:50:27] 439 Annie Sargent: Number three, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Annie once did a podcast about the Cannes Film Festival, and in it they played a short clip from, I will wait for you from this movie operetta.
[00:50:42] 439 Annie Sargent: Hmm. Not sure I know which one that is. Is that it? I don’t know. I remembered hearing it from my youth and looked up the movie. I watched it on my plane back to the United States after leaving Normandy via the Cherbourg train station featured in the movie. Yes, you hear about classic movies, especially when Elyse is on. She knows a lot of classic movies.
[00:51:06] 439 Annie Sargent: And number four, history. Elyse adds so much historical content to various sites mentioned, that it gives more meaning when you visit. Yes, I heartily agree, Phil.
[00:51:21] 439 Annie Sargent: Emily says, Honestly, listening to the podcast made me feel so much more at ease with my planning and especially when it came to cultural norms and navigation.
[00:51:31] 439 Annie Sargent: That’s really good. I want you to feel like you can come to France and you can have a great time and feel comfortable that you are not doing anything horrible.
[00:51:42] 439 Annie Sargent: Cindy says, How to use the train system. Yes, indeed.
[00:51:45] 439 Annie Sargent: Angela says, How to mind my manners and understand French culture for acceptance and admiration.
[00:51:52] 439 Annie Sargent: Well, oh, I don’t, perhaps we don’t need admiration, but you know, saying Bonjour goes a long way.
[00:51:59] 439 Annie Sargent: Ria says, Need to add Christmas markets in the itinerary next time. Yes. Christmas markets, well, if you come in the right at the right time of year, they’re kind of hard to miss.
[00:52:12] 439 Annie Sargent: Cammi says, To say Bonjour to most everyone first before saying anything else, and about driving the speed limit and what the signs mean. Yes. Yes.
[00:52:24] 439 Annie Sargent: Valerie says, How to handle the taxis, metro, boats. I loved the 2CV Tour and the Marais. Very good.
Recommendations on traveling with kids in France and G7 taxi app
[00:52:34] 439 Annie Sargent: Kelly says, recommendations on traveling with kids in France and Paris using G7 taxis, speaking, trying French, and always saying “Hello” first.
[00:52:46] 439 Annie Sargent: So the G7 taxis, what is she talking about? This is an app that you can install on your phone from where you can actually order a taxi to come pick you up. There’s no point doing that to pick you up from the airport into the city because there are G7 taxis lining up to take you. But it might be good for you to order a taxi for the time when you need to leave for the airport because that way you know for surethat there’s going to be a taxi waiting for you.
[00:53:21] 439 Annie Sargent: And the service, I think they charge five euros or something to reserve a taxi for the exact time you need it. But I think it’s, you know, if you’re a worrier, a worrywart, it’s well worth it.
[00:53:34] 439 Annie Sargent: Elena says, Annie’s audio tours for Paris and the simple practice of using the greeting, Bonjour. Yes.
[00:53:43] 439 Annie Sargent: Peggy says, Confidence. She has gained confidence from the podcast. That’s wonderful to hear.
[00:53:49] 439 Annie Sargent: Tia says, say Bonjour before you say anything else, that’s a great tip. Angelie says: train travel tips and apps. Yes, definitely.
[00:53:59] 439 Annie Sargent: Bridget says, I’m visiting Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Carcassonne and Versaille. I like to listen to podcast episodes to learn interesting things about each city. Merci.
[00:54:10] 439 Annie Sargent: And Laura says, How to navigate the trains and hearing that you don’t have to be super picky where you eat. If a place is busy with a lot of locals, it’s probably good.
[00:54:21] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes, that is true. And you know what, it’s the same with boulangerie or pastry shops or whatever. If they are lousy, they are out of business. So you’d have to be pretty unlucky to show up at a lousy bakery that just opened yesterday, and people are trying because they’re curious. For the most part, if it’s there in business with the prices that they pay for real estate in Paris to rent a space or to rent a restaurant, if they’re no good, they’re out of business. So you don’t have to really think about it too much.
[00:54:58] 439 Annie Sargent: Mark says: Café gourmand. He orders it at every cafe. That’s fun.
Navigo Easy card
[00:55:05] 439 Annie Sargent: Elizabeth says: definitely learning about the VoiceMap tours. They were such a great way to experience a part of the city. Also, transportation things, mostly just having confidence in hearing from others. But taking the taxi from the airport, I love public transportation, but it was a great way to start the trip, not to speed and getting the Navigo Easy card.
[00:55:31] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes, Navigo Easy is one that a lot of people still haven’t tried because it’s fairly new, you know, as these things go, they still think that they need to get the full Navigo Pass with a photo and all that. And you really don’t. If you do what I recommend, which is you go to one specific part of Paris and you stay there all day, you’ll need two tickets perhaps in a day. You’ll need one ticket to get there and one ticket to get back. The rest of the time you’ll walk around. You do not need unlimited transportation in Paris if you do it right.
[00:56:05] 439 Annie Sargent: You just need two tickets a day. And in that case, Navigo Easy is perfect, no photo required, and it replaces the paper tickets that you might have bought years ago. Those don’t exist anymore, they don’t sell them anymore. If you still have some, you can still use them, but you can’t buy them anymore.
[00:56:24] 439 Annie Sargent: What you buy instead is you buy a Navigo Easy card, I think it’s 1.50 Euro to buy the card, and then you add some of these T-tickets to the Navigo Easy card, and it’s very, very easy to do. And it’ll take you almost anywhere you need to go in Paris. I mean, if you’re going to Disneyland or Versaille, you need a different ticket.
[00:56:48] 439 Annie Sargent: But if it’s just to tool around to visit Paris, the Navigo Easy is all you need.
[00:56:53] 439 Annie Sargent: And the last one is Pamela. She says, the VoiceMap tours, which I used with my granddaughter last summer were incredible. I listened to them all two or three times at home before doing in person in Paris, and I thought I had been to Paris multiple times.
[00:57:09] 439 Annie Sargent: They included so many discoveries like the Coliseum. The Coliseum is not in Paris. Probably means the Pantheon. Currently, I’m searching the episodes for information on the Dordogne, Basque region, Toulouse, Carcassonne, because I have put together a trip this week for late August, September. Welcome, any suggestion… 17 days. Bordeaux Carcassonne Toulouse. Question marks. Thanks. This group is wonderful.
[00:57:40] 439 Annie Sargent: Yes, the Facebook group is wonderful. The wonderful people who moderate the group make it so, so much better. I’m really, very, very glad to have their help, it makes it so much easier for me. So there you have it. That’s what people have learned from the podcast.
Almost 4 millions listens
[00:57:57] 439 Annie Sargent: And I have to brag just a tiny little bit. In my head, I thought that the podcast was pushing 3 million listens since the first episode, which is almost 10 years ago now. We’re just a few months shy of 10 years. And I thought, you know, in my head it was like, ah, we’re almost 3 million listens.
[00:58:18] 439 Annie Sargent: And I looked the other day and we’re really close to 4 million listens, which is, you know, for a little podcast put together by a country bumpkin like me who is just stubborn and won’t quit, it’s quite extraordinary. So thank you all for listening to the podcast. Thank you for recommending it to other people who are preparing their own trips to France.
[00:58:40] 439 Annie Sargent: There is a trailer, so if you just want to kind of put a bug someone’s ear that they might want to listen to this to plan their trip to France, just go to JoinUsinFrance.com/trailer and send them that link. It’s very short, it’s like a minute long, and I think it does a good job telling people that why, why they should listen.
[00:59:01] 439 Annie Sargent: There you go. There you go.
[00:59:03] 439 Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on JoinUsinFrance.com/446.
[00:59:12] 439 Annie Sargent: A big thank you to podcast editor, Cristian and Anne Cotovan. I learned that it’s a family business. She’s been helping him with the podcast, so thank you, Anne. They produced the transcript so you can find in which episodes we talked about, that place that you’re interested in.
[00:59:29] 439 Annie Sargent: And next week on the podcast, an episode with Elyse about The Lumière Brothers and their contribution to cinema. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir.
[00:59:44] 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.