Transcript for Episode 450: From Bordeaux to Marseille via Andorra

Categories: Occitanie, Off the Beaten Track in France

Discussed in this Episode

  • Saint-Emilion
  • Bayonne
  • Luz-Saint-Sauveur
  • Andorra
  • Rillettes
  • Cannelés
  • Fresh eggs
  • Bages
  • Abbaye de Fontfroide
  • Narbonne
  • Electric boat rentals in Narbonne
  • Air Transat and Level Airline.


[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France Episode 450 – quatre cent cinquante.

[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

[00:00:36] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Bernadette and Steven Fernandes about a trip that started in Bordeaux and ended up in Marseille.

[00:00:43] Annie Sargent: Bernadette and Steven have Great tips about how to organize a trip along the Pyrenees. Should you move to a different hotel every night or should you stay put for several day trips? That changes a lot of things, as you’ll see.

The magazine part of the podcast

[00:00:59] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, I’ll talk about tipping and how it’s changing rapidly in France.

[00:01:06] Annie Sargent: I posted something about this on the Facebook group and got lots of reactions. Some I want to agree with, others I want to disagree with.

Podcast supporters

[00:01:16] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my itinerary consult service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app.

[00:01:28] Annie Sargent: And you can browse all of that at my boutique And after the interview, I’ll tell you about how I’ve been trying to work out a way to offer faster turnaround service for itinerary reviews.

[00:01:43] Annie Sargent: The full itinerary service I’ve been offering is really popular and is booked up several weeks in advance, which means that I constantly get emails from people who say, Could you possibly fit me in faster? And the reality is it’s hard to do because the full service takes so much of my time, but I think I came up with a good solution that will make it work better for everyone.


From Bordeaux to Marseille

[00:02:18] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Bernadette and Stephen and welcome to Join Us in France!

[00:02:22] Bernadette Fernandes: Bonjour Annie.

[00:02:25] Annie Sargent: Lovely to talk to you today. We want to talk about your trip. You had a fantastic trip. You landed in Bordeaux and you made your way all the way across the Southwest to Marseille. So I want to hear all about it.

The stages of the trip

[00:02:39] Annie Sargent: What were the stages of this trip, Stephen?

[00:02:42] Bernadette Fernandes: We flew from Montreal to Bordeaux. Well, we spent the first part of it in Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion specifically. We had two nights there, and then we made our way to the Atlantic Ocean, and we stayed a night in Bayonne and then continued towards the Pyrenees and then we went east from there.

[00:03:06] Annie Sargent: So across the Pyrenees, you can’t actually drive across the Pyrenees, you had to go through like Bayonne and then Pau, and then Lourdes, and then back up. Then back up towards Toulouse, right?

[00:03:18] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, we spent two nights in the Pyrenees in two different towns. We were in Luz-Saint-Sauveur one night, and then the following night we were in one of the thermal towns.

[00:03:28] Annie Sargent: Ax-les-Bains yeah, yeah.

[00:03:30] Bernadette Fernandes: So that’s kind of how, what I meant about kind of going through the Pyrenees. Then we went to Narbonne for four nights and we did a bunch of day trips through the Narbonne area.

[00:03:39] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Okay. What was it like picking up every night and going to a different place? Was that something, did that work out? How old are you? You are in your early sixties, right?

[00:03:51] Bernadette Fernandes: Yes.

Moving out too soon in each place?

[00:03:51] Annie Sargent: So how was that like just picking up and moving the next day?

[00:03:55] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, we do that a lot. And actually staying in one place for a couple of nights is something new, but that we become more accustomed to. So, I think two nights is the minimum that we’d like to do, and that worked the best. I think by moving around in the Pyrenees, the two nights, that was a little too much. So I don’t know that we could do that again.

[00:04:14] Bernadette Fernandes: I would’ve picked one town in the Pyrenees and stayed there for two nights. What do you think Bernadette? Oh, I agree with you. It seemed like we were getting to our accommodations in the late afternoon, and then not really having a chance to explore the city, and then getting up early the next morning to head out for the next day.

[00:04:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I think that’s a problem and it can be easily avoided by not being so ambitious as far as how much ground you’re going to cover. Instead of going all the way through the Pyrenees, just do from, I don’t know, Bordeaux to Pau or something.Or Aix or Ax-les-Thermes or something.

[00:04:53] Annie Sargent: Because if you try to go like you did all the way to Marseille, then you’re going to pick up and leave the next day quite a few times, right?

[00:05:03] Bernadette Fernandes: Right. Yeah.

If they could do it again…

[00:05:04] Bernadette Fernandes: So if we had a to do again, I would’ve probably split the trip into three parts and just had three different accommodations. That might have worked better.

[00:05:12] Annie Sargent: I see. And you would’ve picked which towns for that?

[00:05:16] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah. Well, starting with Saint-Émilion, we both really enjoyed the town, probably more so than the wine. I really wanted to like it, but it wasn’t like, it wasn’t exceptional for me.

[00:05:27] Bernadette Fernandes: And what I did learn is that the Saint-Émilion wines typically are more merlot based or have more merlot in them than the cabernet.

[00:05:36] Bernadette Fernandes: And maybe that’s what the deal is, I don’t know. I wasn’t blown away by the wines.

[00:05:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah. What did you think, Bernadette?

[00:05:43] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, well, I agree with Stephen on that, but I enjoyed the wines in the Pyrenees in the different towns that we stayed at, Bayonne and Luz-Saint-Sauveur, and you just ordered a glass of wine and it was lovely. And I don’t know what the wine region is down there, but I really enjoyed the wine there.

[00:06:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So it depends. But they have, oh, I can’t remember the name of that. It might come back to me, but there’s a sweet white and another one that’s not so sweet around Pau area that are popular. Ah, it’s not coming back. Anyway.

[00:06:16] Annie Sargent: Do you normally drink red or white?

[00:06:18] Bernadette Fernandes: I drink red and Bernadette typically drinks white.

[00:06:21] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:06:22] Bernadette Fernandes: Four euros a glass, it was crazy.

[00:06:26] Annie Sargent: How much do you pay at home?

[00:06:28] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, $12. It’s been expensive. Yeah, yeah.

[00:06:31] Annie Sargent: For a glass?

[00:06:32] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah.

[00:06:34] Annie Sargent: Yeah. No, not not French prices.

[00:06:36] Annie Sargent: Between five and six is normal for a glass.

The Monolithic Church tour

[00:06:38] Bernadette Fernandes: That’s reasonable. But the good thing about St. Emilion, the history of the town, it was just a great experience. The Monolithic Church tour, I’m not a big tour guy, but I thought the tour was exceptional.

[00:06:50] Bernadette Fernandes: Being down in the inside of that church was just amazing.

[00:06:53] Annie Sargent: Right, and you need to take a tour to go inside of the church, otherwise you don’t get in.

[00:06:58] Bernadette Fernandes: Correct. Correct.

[00:06:59] Annie Sargent: How did you book that tour?

[00:07:01] Bernadette Fernandes: We booked it through the tourist center at the top of the hill. Bernadette, do you want to just give a comment on your experience with the Tourist Center?

[00:07:08] Bernadette Fernandes: It was very strange because on our previous trips, the tourist centers were always so excited to see you.

[00:07:15] Bernadette Fernandes: And I walked into Tourist Center and I said: Bonjour! And the three people behind the desk just like looked at me. Nobody even said Bonjour back. I was like really surprised.

[00:07:25] Annie Sargent: Wow.

[00:07:25] Bernadette Fernandes: I know, maybe it had been a long week because it was school vacation week.

[00:07:30] Annie Sargent: Oh, perhaps. Maybe a long week, maybe they were just in a bad mood, maybe they had just gotten bad news. Who knows?

[00:07:36] Bernadette Fernandes: I don’t know. But one other thing that we found out from a guest at the place that we stayed at was that you can ask for the key to go up to the bell tower, at the tourist office. And I would definitely do that. It’s a really tiny, narrow staircase. And it takes you all the way up to the top of the bell tower, which had beautiful views.

[00:07:59] Annie Sargent: Nice. Oh yeah. I didn’t realize that, but you do have to go ask for the key.

[00:08:03] Bernadette Fernandes: Correct. And it’s like 1 Euro or 2, right Bernadette? I can’t remember. It wasn’t, it was well worth whatever we paid.

[00:08:10] Annie Sargent: Oh, very good.

[00:08:10] Annie Sargent: But both of those tours, both of those tours were put through the tourist center.

[00:08:14] Annie Sargent: Hang on. I can only, I only remember one. You did the underground church, and what was the other tour?

[00:08:20] Bernadette Fernandes: To get up to the top of the bell tower.

[00:08:22] Annie Sargent: Oh, I see. Okay. Okay.

[00:08:24] Bernadette Fernandes: So, both of that had to be coordinated through the tourist centre.

[00:08:27] Bernadette Fernandes: I see, I see. Okay. So you could either do it through a tour or go ask for the key and do it yourself. Is that what you mean?

[00:08:36] Bernadette Fernandes: That’s right.

[00:08:36] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. All right. So, Saint-Émilion, yeah,

[00:08:40] Annie Sargent: Saint-Émilion is an interesting little town. It’s beautiful, but it’s quite small and I think people who go, did you ride any bikes by any chance?

[00:08:48] Bernadette Fernandes: We did not, not on that, nope. Nope.

[00:08:51] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay.

[00:08:52] Bernadette Fernandes: We did a lot of walking through the city. I thought it was, I thought it was a good size for me, because you could get from one end to the other and really see it. We had a picnic at Le Côté de Mer, I think it’s pronounced the top of the hill.

[00:09:04] Bernadette Fernandes: There’s a courtyard and there was a place you could get you know, a baguette and there was a snack bar there and picnic tables. It was really nice. That was a surprise, we didn’t really know it existed. We stumbled across that.

When was the trip?

[00:09:17] Annie Sargent: Oh, I forgot to ask you, what time of year was this trip?

[00:09:19] Bernadette Fernandes: This was in November, the first week of November.

[00:09:22] Annie Sargent: So did you have good, did you have good weather?

[00:09:25] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, the weather was nice. The strange thing is it was so dark early in the morning. When we arrived to pick up the car in Bordeaux, it was 8:30 in the morning and it was still dark out, that was really late for the sun to rise.

[00:09:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it gets dark in a big hurry in southern France, you know? But then the days get very long in the summer season as well, so we get both extremes. We get very short days in the winter and very long days in the summer.

[00:09:52] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, we just weren’t expecting that. Didn’t really even think about it. But that was something that just, kind of, it made the day much shorter. When we were there in May, it was, you know, you had more time to be outside and do things.

Some of their favorite things

[00:10:03] Annie Sargent: So why don’t we talk about some of your favorite things that happened on this trip, because you listed them for me and so in this part of the conversation, we’re going to be all over the place, right? We’re not trying to do this chronologically. Just your most interesting stuff.

[00:10:18] Annie Sargent: Why don’t we start with you, Bernadette?

[00:10:20] Bernadette Fernandes: We have to mention the dinner that we had in Saint-Émilion. I know that’s all we’ve been talking about, but our host at our chateau had made reservations for us at Chez Pascal. And we walk in and it was this tiny, like 10 tables. Everybody showed up at the same time. And she was competently taking care of all the tables she put us.

[00:10:42] Bernadette Fernandes: I’m like, oh no, it’s really hot in here. But she put us right near the window and I was like, oh this is so awesome, I had a nice breeze. And she just made us feel very welcome. She allowed us to try our French even though she was so busy. And she made a big thing of, we ordered a bottle of wine that wasn’t from Saint-Émilion and she goes, You know, that’s not from Saint-Émilion. And we said, oh yeah, we know, it’s from Côtes du Rhône.

[00:11:12] Bernadette Fernandes: And then she proceeded to turn the label towards the wall, put a pot of flowers in front of the bottle. Oh, it was just hysterical.

[00:11:21] Bernadette Fernandes: She was very funny.

[00:11:23] Annie Sargent: She was hurt that you didn’t pick her town. That’s fair enough.


[00:11:30] Bernadette Fernandes: And then moving on to the next part of our trip to Bayonne, that was a nice surprise. We had listened to one of the podcasts that you and Elyse had done and thought that would be a good stopover on the way to the Pyrenees. And it was really nice. We sat by the river and had a glass of wine, or two.

[00:11:47] Bernadette Fernandes: And they were really, really good glasses of wine, and the scenery was just beautiful.


[00:11:51] Bernadette Fernandes: And moving on the next day to Lourdes, that was another, we didn’t have high expectations, but I thought it was just very well done as a shrine and just as a place you could walk and just, just think and just, it was really nice.

[00:12:04] Bernadette Fernandes: Lourdes was something that we debated about going to, and really happy we did.

[00:12:10] Annie Sargent: Well, yeah. I mean, it was on your way, so you might as well stop there. I mean, you went, but not as pilgrims, you weren’t looking for the religious experience, you just wanted to see it right?

[00:12:20] Bernadette Fernandes: We wanted to see it. We went to, there was a Mass going on, so we sat to the Mass, and then we went through the grotto as well. You know, watching the pilgrims and just, it was a very, very nice experience.

[00:12:31] Annie Sargent: What did you think, Bernadette?

[00:12:33] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, I agree. I thought it would be like very touristy and not religious or special at all.

[00:12:40] Bernadette Fernandes: It would, and it was just beautiful. It wasn’t even a nice day, I don’t believe, I think it was cloudy. But it was just a beautiful place to walk around and the church was beautiful and I’m glad we stopped.

Andorra Surprise

[00:12:52] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. But then on your list, the number two was Andorra Surprise, and now you’re talking about Lourdes. So what is this Andorra Surprise? I want to know.

[00:13:02] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, Andorra is, is not very far from Ax-les-Thermes?

[00:13:08] Annie Sargent: Ax-les-Thermes, yeah.

[00:13:11] Bernadette Fernandes: It’s like 45 minutes and we’re like, Hey, we’re never going to get a chance to go to Andorra, I mean, we’re this close, it’s a little tiny country. It’s not even part of France or Spain. It’s in the middle of the Pyrenees. And we said, oh, look at all the hairpin turns.

[00:13:26] Bernadette Fernandes: But it was a, we took the drive up there, we had our passports ready because we knew it wasn’t part of the EU. And we got there, we’ve been in these little tiny medieval towns and we get there and it was like all these huge hotels and ski areas and it was just, it was like not, it was not what we were expecting.

[00:13:47] Annie Sargent: Andorra is interesting because it does have a tiny little medieval part to it, but it’s very, very small. And it’s been built up as this place where people can buy stuff tax free. And so you have Spaniards and French people going there to buy stuff tax free, and that’s, and people go skiing as well.

[00:14:08] Annie Sargent: They are trying to develop more of the ski activity than the commercial activity, but it’s definitely very commercial.

[00:14:16] Bernadette Fernandes: And that’s where the surprise is.

[00:14:18] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You weren’t expecting that. Yeah, I get it. Yeah. I’ve been going there my whole life, so it didn’t occur to me, but you’re right, it is surprising.

[00:14:29] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah. I mean, you’re in all these little towns through the Pyrenees and you see nothing like, you know, the downtown area that you enter in Andorra is just, it was a little culture shock after being in these little towns.


[00:14:40] Annie Sargent: So earlier you mentioned your picnic in Saint-Émilion at Les Cordeliers, and I had read that carefully enough. But you say you discovered rillette. Okay, you’ve got to tell us about this because people might not know what it is.

[00:14:54] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, we didn’t know what to get for lunch and we saw the baguettes there, so we picked up one of those and they had all these little jars of rillette and these spreads that you put on bread. And there was one with shrimp and I think chorizo, and we had one with the scallop up and all the different seafood put together in a spreadable form.

[00:15:14] Bernadette Fernandes: So we just took one up and sat down and it was delicious. We got the shrimp one, I believe.

[00:15:19] Annie Sargent: You liked it, huh?

[00:15:20] Bernadette Fernandes: I loved it. And the bottle of wine that we got too was great. Do you want to add anything?

Discovering Canneles

[00:15:25] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh yeah, you forgot to talk about the bakery that we discovered, the little, is it canneles?

[00:15:32] Annie Sargent: Les Canneles. Yes.

[00:15:36] Bernadette Fernandes: Those were, yeah, we walked into a bakery and someone in front of me was ordering a couple and I’d never seen them before.

[00:15:42] Bernadette Fernandes: So we had just gotten into town and I asked for, you know, if we could have a couple, and walked outside and gave one to Bernadette and we looked at each other like, wow, these are delicious.

[00:15:52] Annie Sargent: They are really good. They’re way better, in my opinion, they taste a lot better than macarons, but because they don’t look as good as macarons, they don’t sell as much. But they are so tasty.

[00:16:05] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, yes, I would.

[00:16:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah, you know, if I have a choice between canneles and macaron, I will take the canneles every day of the week. It’s so much better. But that’s the specialty of Bordeaux, the Bordeaux area.

[00:16:19] Bernadette Fernandes: Okay. Yes. And we tried to get them in Montreal and it’s just not the same.

[00:16:24] Annie Sargent: Ah, sorry!

[00:16:25] Bernadette Fernandes: No, no.

[00:16:27] Annie Sargent: You’re going to have to come back.

[00:16:28] Bernadette Fernandes: I got all excited, I said Steve, we can have it right here in Montreal. And like, oh no, not the same. So we have to go back to Saint-Émilion just to, or Bordeaux to get another one.

[00:16:38] Annie Sargent: You know, I think Costco sells them. And if you buy them at Costco, it’s going to come in a box of 16 or whatever crazy sizes Costco sells. But you can just keep them, you know, covered and then you just take one and you put it in a microwave for 10 or 15 seconds and they come right back to life and they are delicious.

[00:16:58] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, thanks for the tip.

[00:16:59] Annie Sargent: There you go.

[00:17:00] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, there you go.

Fresh eggs from the chicken coop

[00:17:04] Annie Sargent: All right, let’s go down your list. Oh, number five was fresh eggs. What’s so special about those fresh eggs? I want to know.

[00:17:12] Bernadette Fernandes: So in the middle of the week, so in Narbonne, we ended up staying at, it was like a guest house that was part of an old wine chateau. And they converted part of it into probably 10 different apartments with a little courtyard. So we stayed there and in the morning, we had stayed there before, and I had remembered that you could go get eggs from the reception area. They opened from like 8 to 10 and they have milk and eggs, just some supplies.

[00:17:38] Bernadette Fernandes: So I went in to get eggs because we had no time to shop the night before arrival, and the woman looked around and she said, oh, we have no eggs here, there, just look, come with me. So we took a walk and we went across the street into the, the chicken coop. And I was like, well, I hope she’s not going to make me go in there with her.

[00:17:57] Bernadette Fernandes: But there. And she walked, she opened the lock, walked in there, and she got half dozen of fresh eggs.

[00:18:05] Annie Sargent: There you go, straight from the chicken coop.

[00:18:11] Bernadette Fernandes: The look on Steve’s face when he came back was priceless. He goes, look at it, they still have stuff all over them. We had to wash them, I guess you don’t have to, I don’t know. It was pretty funny.

[00:18:24] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. That’s very funny. Yeah. I mean, yeah. You know, well, if they ran out, they went and got them at the source. That’s what you do.

[00:18:33] Annie Sargent: Yeah. That’s the way to go. That’s great. So see, that’s the joy, yes, that’s the joy of traveling through the little towns of France. And I get the feeling that you guys are not like super scheduled.

[00:18:44] Annie Sargent: So you, you know, you’ll just take a side trip into the chicken coop if you need like, it’s fine.

[00:18:54] Bernadette Fernandes: I think it’s the way you discover a lot of things doing it that way. So, I mean, you can strike out too, but most of the time we find some really fun things by just kind of just, you know, stumbling onto something.


[00:19:05] Annie Sargent: That’s great. That’s great. Then you went to Mirepoix.

[00:19:09] Bernadette Fernandes: Yes. Based on the podcast that you and Elyse did, it just enchanted us and so we actually listened to the podcast while we were driving to Mirepoix. We listened to it and we just loved that town. It’s a cute little bested town. And Elyse had mentioned a 300 year old tree, and we wanted to find it, but the tourist office was closed, so we didn’t know.

[00:19:32] Bernadette Fernandes: We looked. We looked for tall trees, but we couldn’t find it. But it was just a beautiful little town.

[00:19:38] Annie Sargent: Yeah. If you had stopped somebody in the street and said, where’s the old tree? They might have looked at you like, what?

[00:19:44] Annie Sargent: It’s a very small little town. It’s very adorable. It’s one of the really cutest little towns in the Southwest. But there’s not much there, right? I mean, I like to go and just stay for lunch or something, and then move on to something else.

[00:19:57] Bernadette Fernandes: That’s exactly what we did. We stopped there right around lunchtime and we sat down at one of the restaurants in the square.

[00:20:03] Bernadette Fernandes: And we had a nice conversation with a local family. It was a mother and father and their daughter and their Bernie’s mountain dog, and we used to have a Bernie’s mountain dog.

[00:20:11] Bernadette Fernandes: We engaged in a little bit of conversation, which was fun. They were very nice.

[00:20:14] Annie Sargent: And you speak French, right Stephen?

[00:20:17] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, I can get by, I could start a conversation. Yeah. So that made it nice so I could actually start a conversation in French.

[00:20:23] Annie Sargent: And then…That’s great.

[00:20:24] Bernadette Fernandes: …figure it out from there.

Saint Pierre la Mer

[00:20:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And then you went all the way to the coast to Saint Pierre la Mer, so that’s like on the marsh between the land and the Mediterranean. Tell us about that.

[00:20:36] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, it’s a lovely spot, right on the beach and we always seem, this is our second time to this town. And we just love it, it’s got a cutefarmer’s market every day, and so we bought some supplies for our apartment. And then we had a nice luncheon. It was so windy. Oh my goodness.

[00:20:55] Bernadette Fernandes: The tables and everything was blowing around, but it’s a beautiful little town on the beach and nice cafes. Even in November we sat outside at a cafe. Yeah.

[00:21:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. So Saint Pierre la Mer, you can go between Saint Pierre la Mer and another town just a little further north called Bages. And you’re on this tiny little road where two cars, I mean, two cars can pass by each other, but they have to squeeze to the side, you know, they have to cooperate, as is often the case on old French roads like that.

Abbaye de Fontfroide

[00:21:29] Annie Sargent: But it’s beautiful because you are right on the coast. It’s also a beautiful bike ride. And this is not far at all from Abbaye de Fontfroide. Did you make it there or no?

[00:21:40] Bernadette Fernandes: Yes.

[00:21:42] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. Yes, because it’s, I mean, it’s like a few kilometers away.

[00:21:45] Bernadette Fernandes: Abbaye de Fontfroide, that was a great, great spot. You can walk the grounds, which I thought was awesome. You could, there was a trail that went to like up a hill and then around the property, which gave you a really good view of the Abbaye. And just the whole walking through the tour, it was, that’s something we missed the first time we were there and we made sure we took advantage of it this trip.

[00:22:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And oh, I, now I see. It was number 19 on your list. Sorry. But there’s also a really nice wine shop at the entrance of the Abbaye de Fontfroide, and they sell a Muscat, a dry Muscat wine that I love. I do, for some reason, I love these dry, muscat type grapes. They just, it’s a beautiful white wine.

[00:22:30] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, we’ll have to try it, because we didn’t.

[00:22:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah, they sell a bottle for about 10 euros. It’s their mid-range, and they have a red that’s called Deo Gratias. It’s very cute. And I think the white is also called Deo Gratias. Anyway, the red is more expensive, it’s more like 20, and it’s okay, it’s a bit overpriced for the quality of the wine.

[00:22:51] Annie Sargent: But the Muscat is, you know, it’s hard to find. I had had some in Alsace, but I, I didn’t know. I mean, it just so happens that, because the Abbey has a big wine operation, they make their own wine. That’s one of the ones that they make. Yeah. Anyway, that’s a lovely area.

[00:23:08] Annie Sargent: So Saint Pierre la Mer, Bages and Abbaye de Fontfroide. An excellent recommendation, I second that heartily.

[00:23:19] Bernadette Fernandes: I can’t wait to go back.


[00:23:21] Bernadette Fernandes: The apartment that we stayed in was pretty central to all of these places, Saint Pierre la Mer, and to the Abbaye, and to Narbonne. So that was another day trip that we took into Narbonne. And I think Narbonne is a great city to just walk around, explore the cathedral. The couple days we were there we were able to hit the market that was right by the canal.

[00:23:43] Bernadette Fernandes: Which is a great market. And there’s The Halles of Narbonne as well, where I think, I believe those are open every day, where you can get fresh food, bakery items, everything.

[00:23:53] Annie Sargent:


[00:23:53] Annie Sargent: So it’s interesting because you know, you went all the way to Marseille, but so far you’ve mostly talked about the Southwest part of your trip. Was there nothing in the Marseille area that you liked?

[00:24:06] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, we took a train the last day from Narbonne to Marseille.

[00:24:10] Bernadette Fernandes: So we had like a day and a half in Marseille.

[00:24:13] Bernadette Fernandes: Why don’t you talk a little bit about Marseille, Bernadette?

[00:24:16] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, it’s funny, we’re like, oh, we don’t want to go to Marseille, but we have to fly back from Marseille because they don’t fly back from Bordeaux.

[00:24:23] Bernadette Fernandes: And then we listened to your podcast about how beautiful the port was. Because I was like, let’s just stay at the airport, we’ll just stay at an airport hotel, we’re like, okay.

[00:24:34] Bernadette Fernandes: No, No. Don’t do that.

[00:24:35] Bernadette Fernandes: So, I say, okay, the Old Port sounds really nice, so I’m going to find a hotel with a port view and treat ourselves on the last night of our trip.

[00:24:47] Bernadette Fernandes: And it was beautiful. We had a beautiful view of the old port. I’m like, oh, I wish we had more time here. It’s just, it was well done, the tourist area, the history in Marseille. It didn’t feel like France to me because it was so eclectic, so many different cultures all mixed into, to one place.

[00:25:07] Bernadette Fernandes: It was very exciting to explore.

[00:25:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So Marseille gets a bad rap, in part because of the TV show, but also because of French people. Because it’s so multicultural that any French person who’s not so happy with multicultural, will give a, you know, which, you know, human nature, that’s how people are. And so they will say, ah, it’s crap, don’t go, whatever.

[00:25:34] Annie Sargent: Honestly, it is not my favorite city in France, obviously, but it is a fine place to go. There are some nice places in Marseille. They have a marvelous museum. The museum is really good. Now they have the replica of

The Cosquer underground painted caves.

[00:25:49] Annie Sargent: The Cosquer underground painted caves.

[00:25:53] Annie Sargent: So this opened recently, like last year or something so it’s just like Lascaux, you know, in the Dordogne, but this is a cave that’s underneath today, the cave is underwater.

[00:26:07] Annie Sargent: So you, you get the guy who discovered it, his name is Cosquer, and he went in through the water. But long ago, obviously the entrance was from the land, and that entrance is, I mean, they know where it is now, but it was covered for the longest time. Anyway, it’s a beautiful painted cave and it’s really interesting and the replica is in Marseille, so that’s another thing.

[00:26:32] Annie Sargent: And of course if you like literature, you know, Le Comte de Monte Cristo is, Chateau d’If is right there. You can take a boat tour on the Calanques, along the Calanques. Anyway, Marseille is a, is a great place for, you know, a couple, perhaps two, three days perhaps. I’m not sure I would spend more time, but…

[00:26:52] Bernadette Fernandes: We didn’t have enough time there, but I’m glad we went because we would like to go back. We talked about that.

[00:26:57] Annie Sargent: And you are hardly the only ones who think, you know, Marseille, you have to avoid, you know, cannot go to Marseille. I’m going to somehow get killed.

[00:27:06] Bernadette Fernandes: Or it’s like not a nice city. It was very clean. It was well taken care of. And we met some nice people and it was…

[00:27:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, that part of the city is very nice. If you want to see the nasty part of Paris, I know where to send you as well, it’s not hard. The reason why nobody talks about Paris that way is because tourists don’t go there. Well, you don’t have to go there in Marseille either, do you?

[00:27:34] Bernadette Fernandes: No.

[00:27:35] Bernadette Fernandes: The walk from the train station down to the Old Port was, I thought that was terrific. You walk down and you got to, just, get through the narrow streets and then there’d be like a market there and just, you know, all kinds of different foods that I’ve never even heard of before.

[00:27:51] Bernadette Fernandes: So that was just really enlightening and it was nice. And then you get to the Old Port and it’s just a beautiful site and you can walk all around as well.

Food shopping at Intermarche

[00:27:58] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So, I got to ask you, there’s something on your list that’s very strange. You mentioned food shopping at Intermarche. Alright. Bernadette, what’s up with that? What is up with that?

[00:28:10] Bernadette Fernandes: I don’t know, there’s just so many different foods and we just, it was so exciting. One day we actually went to the market twice because it was like so much fun to see all the different types of food. and then we started noticing different brands of Coquilles St. Jacques and we’re like, oh, we love this.

[00:28:27] Bernadette Fernandes: Let’s try this brand, let’s try this brand. And then I’m like, walking through, I’m like, oh, I need a sundress. They have a sundress right over there. I’ll get a sundress because it’s a little warmer than I thought it was, and I need a sundress. And it was just like, it was so much fun. We just loved, loved going to the supermarket.

[00:28:45] Annie Sargent: But you like Intermarche in particular, that one hit the spot?

[00:28:49] Bernadette Fernandes: Yes. Because we went there so often, we were familiar where everything was, so it was easy to shop.

[00:28:55] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, so it’s funny because people get their favorites. So you know, people who go to Paris all the time, they talk about Monoprix, they really like Monoprix in Paris, which is a very nice store. And same, it has some clothes and some shoes and food and a little bit of everything. It’s a, you know, it’s a grocery store, it’s like the Super Targets, I guess. Right? Is that how you would compare it for American stores?

[00:29:20] Bernadette Fernandes: Yes. Similarly, yep.

[00:29:22] Bernadette Fernandes: But we could spend a good half hour to an hour in there. In getting an apartment that has a kitchen and having an outdoor barbecue, we would, you know, go there to get our dinner supplies and, yeah, they had everything you need.

[00:29:35] Bernadette Fernandes: Except the eggs. It took me a long time to find the eggs because they weren’t in the dairy case with the cheese.

[00:29:43] Annie Sargent: You are looking for chicken coop. That’s where they start, you know.

The speeding tickets

[00:29:49] Bernadette Fernandes: Oh, you know what we need to mention too is the speeding tickets.

[00:29:53] Annie Sargent: Oh dear.

[00:29:55] Bernadette Fernandes: Two of them.

[00:29:56] Annie Sargent: Two of them, do tell.

[00:29:58] Bernadette Fernandes: Okay, we’re going from Saint-Émilion down to Bayonne and look, it’s Roquefort, it’s halfway there. We can stop and get some blue cheese. So we’re in these back towns and stuff, and then when we got to Roquefort, we realized this was not the right Roquefort.

[00:30:16] Bernadette Fernandes: No, there’s no blue cheese anywhere.

[00:30:18] Bernadette Fernandes: So, we got so confused. I think the tickets were near that Rotary and we’re like… they were… okay. And we got two tickets at the same spot within five minutes of each other for four kilometers, four kilometers over the speed limit. And I kept on saying, Steve, Steve, Annie says they give out a lot of speeding tickets in France, but it, I don’t know where that spot was, but they got us.

[00:30:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah, sorry about that, yeah, they will get you. If you go any over the speed limit, they’ll get you.

[00:30:46] Annie Sargent: And you have to be careful with the Roquefort as well because there’s a lot of towns called Roquefort in France. There’s probably a dozen in all over France. So you, because Roquefort means ‘the strong rock’ right?

[00:30:58] Annie Sargent: Roquefort, the strong rock. Right. So yeah, there’s more than one strong rock. So the one that you want is it’s much further east. It’s by Millau.

[00:31:12] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, it was not, we weren’t even near there.

[00:31:14] Bernadette Fernandes: So, we’re like, okay, what are we going to do now? Okay, let’s just stop at this rest area and have our picnic lunch because we like to carry a cooler with us and have a picnic lunch. And we’re sitting there at this picnic table and this guy pulls up, and next thing you know, he’s taking a horse out of a trailer to take him for a little walk.

[00:31:33] Bernadette Fernandes: Like you would take a dog out for a walk in a rest area, he had a huge horse. And he hung a bale of hay from a tree and the horse was, I’m like, I’ve never seen anything like this before. It was really pretty funny.

[00:31:50] Annie Sargent: Well, it was probably the horse’s lunch break.

[00:31:53] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, he needed to stretch his legs, he must’ve been in that trailer for who knows how long, but it was such a wonderful like little part of our day.

[00:32:03] Annie Sargent: See the joys of countryside France. You see all sorts of things.

[00:32:10] Bernadette Fernandes: And there’s always plenty of places to pull off on the side of the road to have a picnic with, you know, picnic tables and some green space, which I found great. I really appreciated that.

[00:32:19] Annie Sargent: Yes. So sometimes I wish these picnic tables were more, like they were better indicated, like you would find them easier on the map. But really, if you just open your eyes, as soon as there’s a little side road that, a pullover kind of type road off to the side of a minor, national or departamental so, these will be the minor roads in France, there usually is a picnic table somewhere.

[00:32:46] Bernadette Fernandes: In that particular day, we were taking the back road from Bayonne to, well to Roquefort, not where there’s cheese. No, no highways that day. So we, I actually saw quite a few rest areas that had picnic tables.

[00:33:01] Annie Sargent: Yeah, there’s a bunch of them. And so yeah, it’s a lovely thing to do is to buy a lunch. And of course, in this sort of areas, sometimes it’s hard to find a restaurant that’s open when you are hungry, whereas, you know, you can always have, if you have a, a picnic lunch, you can eat your own thing when you’re hungry.

[00:33:20] Annie Sargent: You don’t have to wait for French food time.

[00:33:23] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, we didn’t want to have, we didn’t want to have like a structured like, oh, we have to go to this restaurant at this time, we just wanted to let the day happen. And having a picnic lunch always allows us to like let life happen while we’re driving around.

Canal du Midi

[00:33:39] Annie Sargent: So, one last thing I want to ask you about, you mentioned the little towns along the Canal du Midi. This is something that we’ve talked about on and off, but not that much. Tell us a little more about that.

[00:33:48] Bernadette Fernandes: Well, actually we haven’t spoken about Carcassonne because it wasn’t on our list of favorite things to do. So we weren’t as enamored with Carcassonne as we were with Lourdes. It must have been school vacation week and, we were just like, let’s get out of Carcassonne. So we were driving back to Narbonne along the Canal du Midi, and we just kept on popping into all these little towns and checking out the Canal. And it was, it was really beautiful. We want to try to bike the Canal du Midi but some spots are not as well taken care of.

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

[00:34:21] Bernadette Fernandes: They’re beautiful little towns and the Canal is quite fascinating.

[00:34:25] Annie Sargent: Another very nice thing to do in Narbonne, since you stayed in Narbonne and I know you’re going back, Narbonne has these little electric boat rentals. And they’re very small little boats, you know, they’re not massive things, but it’s fun. You can get your little electric boat on the canal for an hour, one way the other, another hour back, and it’s very pleasant.

[00:34:47] Annie Sargent: Now, I know people want to, you know, some people want to do a whole cruise and spend a week and whatever, but that’s a different thing altogether.

[00:34:54] Annie Sargent: You know, just enjoy it for a couple of hours and then you take the boat back and let them take care of it. That’s my idea of a fun boat ride, is when I don’t have to take care of the boat.

[00:35:06] Bernadette Fernandes: I agree.

[00:35:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah, boats are a lot of work. You got to know what you’re doing, so, yeah.

[00:35:12] Bernadette Fernandes: But the history of the Canal du Midi is fascinating, and it’s just amazing that it’s still in use today.

Level airline and Air Transat

[00:35:18] Annie Sargent: Okay, last thing is, you have flown Level airline and Air Transat, so I’d like to hear your feedback about those airlines. What are they like and are you happy with them?

[00:35:29] Bernadette Fernandes: So, Air Transat flies from Montreal. On a previous trip we flew from Montreal to Bordeaux and then back from Marseille, but Level flies from Boston directly to Barcelona. And they have our number because they email us all the time, Hey, we got a really good deal. And that’s why we keep on going back to France because like, how can we not go back to France? This is so inexpensive to fly from Boston to Barcelona. And then it’s easy to get on the train and just go up. That’s a major line that goes right up from Barcelona up to Narbonne.

[00:36:02] Bernadette Fernandes: We’ve done Narbonne, we’ve gone to Nîmes, it stops all the way along the Mediterranean up there, so it’s quite easy.

[00:36:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So you don’t end up going to Paris very much, do you? You come to France, but not Paris.

[00:36:14] Bernadette Fernandes: Right. We’re not big city people. It’s kind of crazy.

[00:36:19] Annie Sargent: It’s great.

[00:36:20] Bernadette Fernandes: We did go to Paris like 15 years ago, I think, when our daughter was in high school and she went on a trip to Paris with her high school class. And we’re like: Hey, wait a minute, you can’t do that, we have to do it, too. So we went later on that same year to go back to Paris.

[00:36:36] Bernadette Fernandes: But it was beautiful, but we liked the little towns. And Narbonne is like the medium-sized city that’s perfect for us. It’s easy enough to get around without getting intimidated. But Level actually had more comfortable seats than Air Transat.

[00:36:52] Bernadette Fernandes: So that was a big thing when you’re trying to sleep on the plane.

[00:36:55] Annie Sargent: And they’re both kind of budget airlines, right?

[00:36:58] Bernadette Fernandes: Mm-hmm.

[00:36:59] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:37:00] Bernadette Fernandes: I think the experience was good with both airlines, having a direct flight I think is great. I thought landing in Bordeaux, like leaving from Montreal and doing a direct to Bordeaux was a little more convenient than going to Barcelona. But if you could take advantage of a night or two in Barcelona on your trip, Level is definitely the way to go.

[00:37:18] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:37:18] Bernadette Fernandes: So, depends what you want.

Renting and driving a car in France

[00:37:20] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And you found driving and renting a car in France fairly easy, right?

[00:37:26] Bernadette Fernandes: Yeah, it was very easy. We found a place, an Enterprise right in Narbonne, which was very convenient for dropping the car off, and then just walking over the train station for, you know, the next stage of our trip. When I returned the car, the gentleman kept referring to me as “partner”.

[00:37:41] Bernadette Fernandes: Hey ‘partner’, and ‘partner’, I’m like ‘Where are you from?’ Oh, I’m from Florida. I’m just right now. And I guess his father was French and…

[00:37:52] Annie Sargent: Oh,

[00:37:53] Bernadette Fernandes: Nope, nobody calls you ‘partner’ in France.

[00:37:55] Annie Sargent: No. Yeah, that was a strange Frenchman ‘partner’. No, I’m not your partner. I mean…

[00:38:05] Bernadette Fernandes: We meet the nicest people. You know, if you try to speak French, they just really appreciate it. And just say Bonjour, it’s like all the tips that you give us, it’s the people we meet are just fantastic, they really are.

[00:38:19] Annie Sargent: That’s great.

[00:38:19] Bernadette Fernandes: That’s why we’ll be back.

[00:38:21] Annie Sargent: That’s great.

[00:38:22] Annie Sargent: Well, Stephen and Bernadette, you have been a delight to talk to, I’m not surprised that you find friendly people in France because you are friendly yourselves, and so that’s how it works. If you’re friendly and smiley and giggly, they will giggle right with you because why wouldn’t they?

[00:38:37] Annie Sargent: So anyway, thank you so very much for coming on the podcast. I hope this will inspire more people to leave Paris behind for a bit and go see the rest of the country. We have nice things.

[00:38:49] Bernadette Fernandes: It’s beautiful.

[00:38:50] Annie Sargent: We have very nice things. All right. Merci Beaucoup.

[00:38:54] Bernadette Fernandes: Au revoir!

[00:38:55] Annie Sargent: Au revoir!


Thank you Patrons

[00:39:03] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that, and you can see them at Thank you all for supporting the show, some of you have been doing it for so long, you are amazing.

[00:39:20] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons, Megan Honert and Charles Mayer. Thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:39:30] Annie Sargent: And again, patrons, I would like to encourage you to install the Patreon App on your phone, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy your rewards, and there are many more of those coming along very soon. Okay.

Itinerary Service – NEW Bonjour Service

[00:39:41] Annie Sargent: Let’s talk about the itinerary service for a minute. The way it’s worked out so far was that customers picked how many days they wanted me to help them plan, they filled up a form and we talked about it on the phone for about an hour, and then I produced a custom document for each one of these customers, and that’s what takes a long time.

[00:40:02] Annie Sargent: For the longer itineraries, you know, sometimes I spend 20 hours of solid work, it’s really hard to sustain that level of customization. So while I will continue to offer the full service itineraries, which I’m now renaming VIP service to the people who want that, I will now add another option that I call the Bonjour service.

[00:40:26] Annie Sargent: For this level of service, we talk for an hour and I answer all of your questions, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find a slot fairly quickly for that. The thing is, I answer all your questions, we talk for an hour, but then I don’t send you a document. Now, I will send you some links or perhaps a document I’ve already written while we talk, perhaps you’ll want some hotel and restaurant recommendations and I can send those via email. But I won’t produce a custom document for your trip.

[00:40:58] Annie Sargent: I’m testing this right now, more on how things are going to progress in future episodes, but you’ll see all of that at the boutique, so, and you’ll be able to see up-to-date information.

[00:41:13] Annie Sargent: And of course you can still take me along on your Parisian adventure with my GPS self-guided tours available on the VoiceMap app. And you know what? If that’s all you need, then get that, you’ll have a grand time.

Tipping is changing in France

[00:41:26] Annie Sargent: Alright, let’s talk about how tipping in France and how it is changing.

[00:41:32] Annie Sargent: Here’s what I wrote on Facebook. In L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, this week, I paid by credit card and the machine asked me if I wanted to leave a tip, and I did because I was very happy with the service. I gave 5 Euros for a 90 Euro tab. The owner said it would go to the waitress and she wouldn’t have to pay tax on it, and that it was just like leaving coins on the table. But since most people don’t have coins anymore, it’s best to add the option on the card.

[00:42:05] Annie Sargent: Now, this is not everywhere yet, but I think it’ll spread fast because restaurants have a hard time recruiting enough staff, especially in touristy places where rents are so high for seasonal workers. You don’t have to leave 20%, it’s just an extra thank you for a job well done. The staff still gets their normal living wage salary. And I approve of this development, and then I shared a few photos, to catch your attention.

[00:42:38] Annie Sargent: Now, here’s what different people said about this. Michelle says, I’ve been traveling to the South for the past three weeks and leaving 10% ish. Mostly because I don’t speak French and everyone is so kind and patient. I feel like if you’re American, they know you’re going to be tipping too.

[00:42:59] Annie Sargent: And yes, that’s true and I really appreciate people who realize that. If you don’t speak perfect French, then obviously you’re going to slow down the waiters.

[00:43:09] Annie Sargent: It’s just how it is. And so if you appreciate their patience, yes, a tip is very, very much appreciated.

[00:43:16] Annie Sargent: Then Elyse says, she approves wholeheartedly, the idea of giving a correct wage doesn’t mean a tip is welcome and it’s really outdated. I mean, some people think that leaving a tip equals being offensive, and that is never true.

[00:43:35] Annie Sargent: It has never been true in France. It might be true in some other countries, but not in France. And you know, if you got good service, give people a tip. And this is true, especially of restaurants and tour guides. Yes, tour guides like tips as well.

[00:43:52] Annie Sargent: Timothy says we were only briefly in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, looking forward to visit the canals are still charming. Yes. Yes. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is wonderful.

[00:44:04] Annie Sargent: Now, Jenny, who’s one of the moderators, says, coming from a country where tipping is definitely not the norm, she’s Australian, I’m a little sad about this. Not that I necessarily mind giving a little extra when service is exceptional, but it seems to be becoming an expectation, which makes me feel uncomfortable.

[00:44:24] Annie Sargent: Okay, so it’s not an expectation. It is something that people want to do, some people want to do and they just want to make it possible because I cannot tell you how many times I meant to leave a tip, but I don’t have any cash, or I only have a big bill or something. I’m not giving 50 Euros, okay, I just want to give 5 perhaps. So, it is not an expectation, it is something that is appreciated, but not expected.

[00:44:52] Annie Sargent: Tomi says, In general, we don’t tip in Finland, in France they haven’t done that for years, maybe decades. No, that’s not true. I mean, we always had people who said ‘Absolutely no tip’, but at the same time, you had people who always left the tip. So it just depends on who you talk to. And this person Tomi, thinks it’s a step back.

[00:45:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah, no, it’s not a step back, it’s a reality of life. It’s expensive to live in Paris. It’s impossible to live in Biarritz or Provence for a cheap wage. And if they cannot recruit enough workers locally, they have to bring people in. Where are they going to live? Like, you know, they need to have a decent wage so they can stay in those areas.

[00:45:39] Annie Sargent: Gregorio, who’s also a moderator, says: I have spoken at length with more than one restaurant owner in France and the taxes and labor code obligations put on them are truly overwhelming. Yeah. But that’s France, anyway. I am amazed that they are able to keep anybody working for them.

[00:45:57] Annie Sargent: It’s not to pay the servers, which is issue, it’s the burdens of the owners. Okay. He’s a, you know, like, no government type of person. Okay. Whatever. That is never going to happen in France, Gregorio, I’m sorry to say. We have plenty of government in France, and we actually like our government for the most part.

[00:46:13] Annie Sargent: So, you know. Yeah. But he does support tipping, which is great. But he says: don’t forget the owners. Well, no, I’m not so worried about the owners. A few people say, Thank you for this info, tipping has been a big discussion in travel groups, and it’s very true.

[00:46:29] Annie Sargent: Bev, also a moderator, says she’s happy to hear this. I always felt it was important to thank the servers who work so hard and she says, our local favorites are struggling every day with staffing, and costs. And she knows it’s the same in France. Yes, it is.

[00:46:46] Annie Sargent: And somebody says, do they really not have to pay taxes on those tips? Jennifer asked this and yes, I believe that’s correct. They don’t have to pay taxes on those tips.

[00:46:58] Annie Sargent: David says, I hope American-style tipping culture does not start to spread. I love that other countries do things differently. It’s so much more fair for everyone when employees are just paid a decent hourly rate by their employer for their time.

[00:47:15] Annie Sargent: Yes, absolutely, David. I don’t think there’s any way French employers are going to get away with the awful things that American employers have been able to do to wait staff, which is hardly pay them at all. That’s not happening, okay? Just because they get a tip doesn’t mean that they will have less salary.

[00:47:37] Annie Sargent: We have big government in France, it protects people, and we like it that way.

[00:47:41] Annie Sargent: And then several people asked me about the food photos that I posted.

[00:47:45] Annie Sargent: Patty says, and this is why servers prefer cash tips instead of documented on credit cards. Yeah, perhaps. Yes, if you have cash, leave cash, but if you don’t have cash, it’s better to leave a tip on the credit card than leave no tip at all, which is what happened with a lot of people.

[00:48:04] Annie Sargent: Ryan says, No, don’t let it happen. It’s gotten so bad in the States, 20% is now the minimum, and you get asked for a tip everywhere now. Take out, food, coffee, bakery, food trucks, it’s out of control. Okay, that’s not what we’re talking about. Okay? We are not talking about America here. This is France, it’s very different. It’s not going to get to the point where people ask for tips everywhere, you know?

[00:48:27] Annie Sargent: No. And even if they do, you can always say, no. It’s fine. You can say no.

[00:48:32] Annie Sargent: PJ says, I would not believe that a tip on a credit card would go to the server. Doesn’t believe. Doesn’t trust. Well, perhaps there’s a point here.

[00:48:41] Annie Sargent: And then Uri says, the same practice has occurred in Australia, too. The tip option is now on credit card where you can select percentage or dollar value. Like it or not, cash is on the way out. It’s just a matter of time.

[00:48:55] Annie Sargent: Perhaps. Perhaps that’s what’s happening. Cash is on the way out.

[00:48:58] Annie Sargent: At any rate, I just wanted you to know that in France these days, it is getting more and more common for restaurants to ask you. Well, it’s not even the restaurant, some places it’s actually the servers saying this, would you like to leave a tip?

[00:49:15] Annie Sargent: That has not ever happened to me. What I’m talking about here is, it’s the machine, it’s the credit card machine that asked me if I would like to add a tip. And I think that will happen more and more.

[00:49:27] Annie Sargent: Now, as for waiters asking directly for a tip, I would frown on that a little bit more because I think they would not do that to a table full of French people.

[00:49:40] Annie Sargent: They would know, they’d know it’s not going to go anywhere. So in that instance where it’s the waiter asking for a tip, I probably would resist that. But if it’s on the credit card, if it’s the credit card saying, do you wanna add a tip? Yes, please, I would like to. It’s actually a good thing. I think.

[00:49:59] Annie Sargent: Alright. My thanks to podcast editors Anne and Christian Cotovan, they do the transcripts. This is a great resource. Go to JoinUsinFrance.Com, search through the transcripts. You will find unbelievable number of conversations.

Next week on the podcast

[00:50:15] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast an episode with Elyse Rivin about what is wonderful about life in France.

[00:50:22] Annie Sargent: And a pox on the naysayers, we love it here and we will tell you why.

[00:50:28] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. And next week I’m back to my microphone. I do apologize for forgetting my microphone.

[00:50:39] Annie Sargent: Oh geez. Terrible person. Au revoir!


[00:50:43] 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: Occitanie, Off the Beaten Track in France