Transcript for Episode 458: Adventures at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Normandy & Brittany

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent:

[00:00:16] This is Join Us in France episode 458, quatre cent cinquante-huit.

[00:00:23] Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France. Everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy and news related to travel to France.

Today on the podcast

[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Christopher Tipper about attending the 24 hours of Le Mans.

[00:00:45] And Christopher and I recorded this episode in two parts, the planning phase and the execution phase. Did things go the way he expected? You’ll hear both of these phases today. The recording went a bit long because it was split in half and all that, so there will be no travel tips after the interview today.

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[00:01:25] Annie Sargent: This week, I released a language practice Patreon reward with Line 7 of the Paris Metro. Repeating all of those proper names is great practice for those of you learning French.

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Next week on the podcast

[00:02:47] Annie Sargent: And since uh, there won’t be any remarks after the episode, let me tell you right now that next week the episode is going to be one with Elyse about Jean Moulin, the wonderful hero of the Resistance.​

Annie and Christopher planning the Le Mans trip

[00:03:10] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Christopher, and welcome to Join us in France!

[00:03:13] Christopher Tipper: Bonjour Annie!

[00:03:15] Annie Sargent: How are you?

[00:03:16] Christopher Tipper: I’m sorry, I’m so happy to talk to you finally.

[00:03:19] Annie Sargent: Well, lovely to have you on the podcast. I can, I can tell you’ve been listening to the episodes. We had a pre-chat uh, five a few minutes ago. You’re, You’re a big fan I’m, I’m very, it makes me very happy to have people who listen. You know, just having people listen is a miracle.

[00:03:35] Christopher Tipper: Oh, I, I know I told you we, we like it when we watch our YouTube views go up. But like, you know, Annie, you’re a wonderful human being. You’ve helped so many of us uh, for so many years. So, thank Merci Annie.

[00:03:45] Annie Sargent: Merci a vous! Okay, so today, we are going to do something we haven’t done on the podcast before. We are doing a pre-trip planning kind of thing. Like, okay, you are going to be going to Le Mans in France.

[00:04:00] Now, I just want to say Le Mans is right in between, if you draw a line between Paris and Nantes, Le Mans is, is kind of in the middle. And it’s a lovely place. I mean, honestly, it’s a kind of a sleepy town, i. Call it the, I think of it as the Canada of France, you know? Uh,

[00:04:18] Christopher Tipper: Okay.

[00:04:20] Annie Sargent: Really, I mean, they have, they have this one event, they have the 24 Hours of Le Mans, right? uh, But otherwise it’s a bit of a sleepy, I mean, 140 inhabitants to… more or less.

[00:04:30] Christopher Tipper: 140000

[00:04:31] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. Sorry. Yes, obviously.

[00:04:33] Christopher Tipper: It’s not that tiny of a village. And,

[00:04:36] Annie Sargent: And like their, their heyday was uh, the 1975, they had the most inhabitants. Then it went down a little bit. Now it’s gone up a little bit more.

[00:04:45] So it’s, you know, it’s one of those towns that is, they’re struggling to find their stride, you know, um, to find their, to get famous. There you go. They’re not getting famous yet.

[00:04:57] I don’t know. It, it’s, Well, it, it is the most, possibly the most famous road race in the world.

[00:05:01] That is true and that’s why you are going.

[00:05:05] Christopher Tipper: Oh. Yes. Mais oui, Madame!

[00:05:07] Annie Sargent: Alors! Alors! Let’s Tell me about the things that you are planning to do, the research you’ve done and where you are hoping to go.

[00:05:15] Christopher Tipper: Well, it’s this. Okay. Um. Because I know you’re, I, I know I’m a little bit more of a car person than you. All right. Um, A lot.

[00:05:25] Annie Sargent: I’m not a car person at all. If it’s not electric, I don’t want to know about it.

[00:05:29] Christopher Tipper: I, yeah, I do love your, I do love your stories about the electric car and I love the other podcast where somebody had a charger in the hotel.

[00:05:34] But anyways, so… um, So for me, I have, um, I have been wanting to go since I think 1972. All right. There’s a Steve McQueen. You know who Steve McQueen is, even if you don’t like cars, I’m presuming, right? Yes. Okay. There was a, there is a Steve McQueen movie called Le Mans that my father took me to in the theaters, which was ’71 or ’72.

[00:05:56] All right. Um, And so I have been wanting to go to see uh, The 24 hours of Le Mans for, as you can tell, a very long time. Uh, My kids are tired of being made to watch the movie. All right? Um, the, what I, What I wanted to do, uh, we, we’ve been trying to figure out how, when I’m going to be able to go see the race because it’s a massive deal.

[00:06:16] You’re saying that there’s only 140 some odd thousand people as full-time inhabitants of Le Mans. For that race weekend, there’s like 300,000 plus. And, and the, And those are new people who don’t live in Le Mans. Okay. So the, the, the, The city quadruples in size for 72 hours or something like that. All right?

[00:06:34] And I’ve been wanting to go for a very long time. We, We had planned in 2019 that things were going to finally work out for me to go in 2020. Uh, we had, um, we had, uh, a little, I don’t know if it was a house or a room. I can, We had something rented already uh, on Airbnb or VRB, whatever, using Airbnb generically.

[00:06:50] Okay. And we had, We had the pass, and Katherine was going to come with me for, because we were going to spend a week before and a week after, and my wife was going to come with me, but I wasn’t asking her to go to the race because she wouldn’t want to go. All right. So we had that all planned, had the tickets planned.

[00:07:05] Um, And then something happened in 2020 and I can’t remember why we didn’t go to France. Something, Something got in the way.

[00:07:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I’m familiar. Yeah.

[00:07:12] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. You know, and the, the, the, You know, the before times. So obviously, we ended up not going, and then were we going to go in 2021. I don’t know, I was thinking about going in 2022. And then my daughter was finally able to, she graduated in December of ’19, but they were going to walk, you know, have all the graduation ceremonies in May of 2020.

[00:07:34] Okay. And that got canceled the course. So, when my daughter told me, Hey, we’re finally having a walking ceremony. McGill is going to have the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022. I’ll walk the second weekend in June.

[00:07:50] Annie Sargent: Wow. Great school, by the way.

[00:07:52] Christopher Tipper: I, well, yeah, thank you. But I’m not, so that means… Thank you. So that means I’m obviously not going to Le Mans in 2022.

[00:08:00] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm.

[00:08:00] Mm-hmm. So now you’re coming in 2023.

[00:08:03] Christopher Tipper: Now we’re coming in 2023, which turns out to be, and absolutely for those of us who care about the car racing, it, it’s an absolutely massive deal. The race started in 2020, 1923. The very first event was in 1923, okay? It, it has, It hasn’t raced every year. There was, There was, I think a year in the ’30s.

[00:08:20] I got the, I got the decade right. I think it was a year in the 30s where a strike stopped it. Seems very French, okay. Uh, And then the little contra top with the gentleman from Austria, uh, caused a stop in the 30s and the 40s.

[00:08:31] Okay. Um, and we’re, uh, God hopefully never gets mad at me for, they use the word gentlemen.

[00:08:35] Um, It’s ironic. Um, they, you know, so it’s, it’s been back on the book since it’s a major deal, and, but I started looking for my tickets late. Um, So I did manage to get a package to go. We are going to, so we’ve, we’ve got, um, some, you know, we’ve got uh, an apartment or a hotel or something like that set up.

[00:08:49] We are going to be, well, uh, my wife is going to be at your language school in Toulouse beforehand.

[00:08:55] She’s coming to the bootcamp. Yep. Looking forward to that.

[00:08:58] so we’re going to be meeting in Paris for, I’m going to fly in, we’re going to meet in Paris for a couple of days beforehand, and then we’re taking the train. The funny thing about the train to Le Mans, because Le Mans is on the west and is west of Paris, so I booked a hotel uh, on the west side of Paris.

[00:09:15] Okay. Um, Kind of toward Pere Lachaise and all that other stuff is over on the left, right? On the west side, right? Okay. And then I booked my train tickets, and the train goes from a train station on the east side of Paris. I can’t remember the name of the.. Montparnasse.

[00:09:29] Annie Sargent: Oh, well, kinda.

[00:09:32] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. Well, but it’s not, you know, so that ain’t, so we’re, we’re, we’re trading, we’re training to Le Mans, uh, and then we’re going to be there for a week.

[00:09:37] Annie Sargent: If she’s coming to Toulouse, she’s also coming from Montparnasse.

[00:09:41] Christopher Tipper: Yes. Yes. And she’s going to be, Yeah, she’s going to be training in there. Uh, so some time, You know, some quick overview, some time in Le Mans and then back to Paris and, and then, then back to home. That’s the briefing. So I, um, so

[00:09:49] Annie Sargent: so

[00:09:49] you’ve, So, so far you have booked your airline tickets, you have your hotels, you have your tickets to the race.

[00:09:57] Christopher Tipper: Oui. Mais oui Madame.

[00:09:58] Annie Sargent: Yes. And are you

[00:09:59] just, I and yeah. Yeah. And coming to, to your wife is coming to Toulouse. But does, Do you have anything else that you’re going to do besides the race in Le Mans?

[00:10:06] Christopher Tipper: Well, so in la okay, so that’s the thing that it’s, it’s not just a race. There are multiple things. The, the, the, the. I kind of think this has got to be like a springtime flower that’s had a little bit of right. Le Mans just absolutely bursts into life that week. It’s not just the race. There’s a lot of activities in town, people are starting to filter in.

[00:10:26] Annie Sargent: When does it start this year?

[00:10:28] Christopher Tipper: Well, things, things kick off on Tuesday.

[00:10:30] Annie Sargent: This Tuesday?

[00:10:31] Christopher Tipper: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The Tuesday be, no, no, the Tuesday. Okay. It’s, oh, when is the race? The race is second, uh, the second Saturday and Sunday in June. So it’s -like the 9th and 10th or something like that. Okay.

[00:10:40] Whatever that Saturday and Sunday is, uh, the, with around the 9th or 10th. Okay? You don’t have to worry about being in Le Mans and just doing the race because there’s things for the race, start off on Tuesday, there’s a, there’s a driver’s parade or something with the drivers on Tuesday and then on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday there’s practice and qualifying. And because it’s a 24 hour race, they race in the daylight and they race at night. Okay? So they have practice and qualifying uh, in the, you know, in the day and and, at night. And they’re also going to be having um, there’s a number of bands. There’s a number of things that are going to be happening in Le Mans.

[00:11:16] Okay? So basically what we are looking forward to doing in the, in the is, is Le Mans a town or ville, it’s a city, isn’t it? Isn’t it? According to, it’s technically a city, right? What we are looking forward to doing in the city of Le Mans is kind of just chilling, if I’m not go, I hope that sounds okay, if, if, if I’m not going to go watching and doing some of the race things.

[00:11:35] There are a couple of things that um, I’m going to ask Katherine to go to, like the, you know, some of the driver stuff. There are bands at night um, that we get to listen to. All right. Um, There’s, uh, I don’t know if you use Reddit or not, but there’s a subreddit group for Le Mans that’s having a meetup on uh, Friday for lunch somewhere um, at, at a cafe.

[00:11:51] That’s that. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of people from all over the world.

[00:11:54] Annie Sargent: Nice.


[00:11:55] Christopher Tipper: You know, so it’s basically just trying to be, well, we’re going to have to do a little bit of work. Um, Basically just trying to be a relaxed local.

[00:12:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah,

[00:12:05] Christopher Tipper: you know, I, I know there’s, there’s there. We ge generally eat very well when we’re in France, uh, you know, um, to our, to our health detriment, all right? And so not doing a lot of stuff there, but the, when we’re in Paris before, you know, uh, Katherine’s going to want to go to Giverny. Well, I, I want to go to Giverny as well. We’ve, uh, I don’t know that we’re going to do, because we’re going to be in Paris before and after, and I’ll tell you about the after in a second here.

[00:12:27] You know, we’re looking forward to we, we’d like to do Père Lachaise. Everybody else does it. Um, What’s the, um, is, is, is there anything to see at Longchamp? Isn’t that the racetrack?

[00:12:35] Annie Sargent: It is a racetrack, it’s a horse racetrack. The stuff There are probably visits you can arrange, probably I’ve, I’ve never checked into that.

[00:12:42] Christopher Tipper: And there’s somebody I know that I’ve only spoken to for the first time that does some kind of walking tour that in Paris.

[00:12:48] I don’t know, we’re we, we we’re looking for … Annie, can you help suggest some good walking tours of Paris?

[00:12:52] I would recommend the VoiceMap tours!

[00:12:55] Oh, there we go. Yeah, well, we’ll probably do those. And um, we’re looking because of some, oh. Um, there’s a movie we’ve seen um, John Wick 4, I don’t know if you like those kinds of movies, but part of the, part of the end of the movie, not too much of a spoiler, but part of the end of the movie involves the stairs up to Sacré-Cœur.

[00:13:13] Annie Sargent: Ah, yes, yes.

[00:13:15] Christopher Tipper: I have never wanted to actually climb all those steps to Sacré-Cœur. I now do, okay?

[00:13:21] Annie Sargent: There you go, motivation!

[00:13:23] Christopher Tipper: , but, but the, We’ve been to Paris before, there’s, you know, we, we, I don’t know that we’re going to go on and go to the Louvre, but she definitely wants to go to, like I say, I’ve said, Giverny, she’ll probably want to go a couple of times.

[00:13:31] Uh, I do, Unfortunately, the very first time we went to Paris, there’s one of the art museums near the Louvre is, it’s not the Orangerie, it’s where are the water lilies in the, in the, in the lower floor. Orangerie.

[00:13:47] Is it Orangerie?

[00:13:47] Okay.

[00:13:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:13:49] Christopher Tipper: Oh yes. No, the Orangerie, the first time I went to the Orangerie, I didn’t quite appreciate what I was seeing.

[00:13:55] Annie Sargent: Aha. You got to try it again.

[00:13:57] Christopher Tipper: I was frankly a little bored. Okay. But then we went to Giverny and a later trip and like, oh my gosh, I want to go back to that. Um,

[00:14:03] Annie Sargent: Well, honestly, it’s the kind of art that you, the more you know about it, the more you appreciate it.

[00:14:08] Christopher Tipper: Absolutely.

[00:14:10] Annie Sargent: If you know zero, you’re like, huh, what is this?

[00:14:13] Christopher Tipper: Because I, I think, but I don’t remember, you, and you and Elyse did a podcast about it, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I, if, if you aired it before we went to Giverny or after, but when we went to Giverny, it was in, it was in November. It was kind of gray. Okay. You know, it wasn’t, so we’re hoping to go in June, and this is another thing about her, we’re not sure what to expect in Paris in June. We’ve never been when it’s warm.

[00:14:38] Annie Sargent: Ah!

[00:14:39] Christopher Tipper: We’ve, We’ve been in March, November, and December.

[00:14:42] Annie Sargent: It should be, it should be warm, but hopefully not a heat wave, let’s, let’s hope for no heat wave. That would be nice.

[00:14:48] Christopher Tipper: Basically, what and, And then afterwards, so we are staying in a hotel in, before we go to Le Mans, and then after um, Le Mans, we’re taking the train back, you know, and, but we’ve not rented a ho, we’ve not rented an apartment.

[00:14:58] We’ve rented a room 50 meters from Notre Dame, across the street. Okay. And from Google Street View, um, of, of the address, like, I think we’ve had an ice cream or a coffee there. Okay. We’ve walked by that building multiple times in the past.

[00:15:15] Annie Sargent: Huh. Now one word of warning, this play, this area has a lot of sirens, so you might get, yes, bummed by the sirens. Because the, the, um, the police, the, a major police station is right across from Notre Dame.

[00:15:30] Christopher Tipper: Maybe that’s why it was so affordable.

[00:15:32] Annie Sargent: Uh, It could be.

[00:15:34] So, expect sirens.

[00:15:36] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. But to be, I know, but it’s, Maybe it’s a little bit of a cliché, but to be in that part of town you know, right in the middle of things…

[00:15:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And, And you’re not moving in, you’re just in there for a few days, it’s, it’ll be fine.

[00:15:45] Uh, We’re only going to be there for three or four nights, it’ll be, it’ll be all right.

[00:15:48]It’s, it’s it, To be part of it is what’s going to be very important. So,

[00:15:51] Oh, the other thing I wanted to talk about that was a little bit of a disappointment is, You are, you had a, a lovely guest on talking about Roland Garros. Okay. And, and the, And the tennis match.

[00:16:01] And what was said on the podcast turned out not to be true. The general admission tickets were available on March 15th, and when I went and checked Central Midwest North America time in the morning, um, the few days we were in Paris, all of those side tickets were gone.

[00:16:18] Okay. Oh, no, no. All all of this, All the tickets for people over 25 or 26 were gone.

[00:16:23] Oh, so they save tickets for younger people.

[00:16:26] Christopher Tipper: Yes.

[00:16:28] Annie Sargent: Hmm. If that’s not ageism, and then I don’t know what is.

[00:16:31] Christopher Tipper: I don’t know what is, so we were hoping to go and, because we’ve just started playing tennis again, we were hoping to go to see Roland Garros, that was the only, that was going to be the only planned thing.

[00:16:40] Annie Sargent: Hmm.

[00:16:41] Did you go back and check again because they might release more tickets later? It’s worth checking again.

[00:16:47] Christopher Tipper: That’s what I do. Yeah. I, uh, That’s going to be later this month.

[00:16:51] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:16:52] Christopher Tipper: So we’ll go, we’ll go and do that. There’s supposed to be an exchange. Um, The other thing we, The other thing we want to do is take a tour of Palais Garnier. Um, We’ve not been inside it, yet. We stayed in that hotel, obviously not to go see.

[00:17:05] Do they do balet there? Um, Because know, and I know it’s an opera house, but you know, not to see anything but to just do the tour.

[00:17:11] Yeah. Is it,

[00:17:11] no, it’s mostly opera. It’s

[00:17:11] Annie Sargent: No, No,

[00:17:11] Garnier is mostly ballet now.

[00:17:13] It’s, yes, it’s the home of the Ballet Company. Opera, they do have some operas at the Garnier anymore, but most of the operas are at Opéra Bastille, uh, which is a much bigger stage, but a much newer stage.

[00:17:27] Christopher Tipper: And the exterior of the building isn’t as good looking, is it?

[00:17:31] Annie Sargent: No, it’s not. It’s different. It’s different. We like it. It’s different. But

[00:17:37] Christopher Tipper: so,

[00:17:37] Annie Sargent: yeah.

[00:17:37] Christopher Tipper: Anyway, so we’ve got a lot, but we purposely don’t have anything specifically. Um, we purposely don’t have anything specifically planned for our days in Paris before Le Mans. We’re basically going to just want to see what’s the weather going to be like and what is going to strike our fancy that day.

[00:17:52] Annie Sargent: And then honestly, you, if you use my walking tours, you don’t have to plan anything. You can just decide that morning. Well, I’d like to go on a walking tour to the Latin Quarter, and if the line isn’t too long, I’ll go, I’ll pop into the Cluny Museum. If it’s a ma, it’s a mad house, obviously you won’t, but you know, it’s not that complicated, really.

[00:18:11] You can just play it by ear. And same with the Pantheon. You’re going to go by the Pantheon, or you could decide to spend more of your, more of your time in the Luxembourg Garden. You know, it just,

[00:18:18] Christopher Tipper: Right. So those, those are two things. Yeah. We’ve not, now we’ve been to Rodin, what? I can’t remember, do any of your walking tours go by the Rodin Museum?

[00:18:26] Annie Sargent: Not yet.

[00:18:27] Christopher Tipper: Okay. Because we went years ago when it was being reconstruct, uh, under some kind of renovation. So you can only see part of it. I’d like to go and do that.

[00:18:34] And then the, the Pantheon, forgive me, I get some of the buildings confused. The Pantheon is where the famous people are buried and it’s almost all men and only two or three women, right? Yeah. We haven’t been to that yet.

[00:18:47] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:18:47] Christopher Tipper: Yes. we, we do want to go to that as well.

[00:18:49] Annie Sargent: It’s very grand.

[00:18:50] Christopher Tipper: To, I if, If it’s raining, we’ll do a lot of inside stuff, if it’s sunny out we’ll probably just be walking from cafe to cafe.

[00:18:56] Annie Sargent: That works. That really works. I mean, that’s, that’s an excellent way to see Paris. Now there are, I go, you know, there are a lot of, a lot of people who say this, just walk around. I think, yes, just walk around is good. But if you walk around with a walking tour, it’s better because the walking tour will take you to all the cool places, uh uh, rather than the streets that are boring.

[00:19:16] I mean, I walk all of the streets when I do my walking tours. I walk all of the streets in the neighborhood and a lot of these streets are just, there’s nothing there. Like, it’s a street, you know? So, so it, it does help if you, if you have a little help from a walking tour.

[00:19:32] Okay. Well, it sounds sounds to me like you’re, you’re ready for your trip.

[00:19:34] I mean, you’re, you’re not going to rent a car anywhere, right?

Tickets for the Metro

[00:19:37] Christopher Tipper: No, no, no, no. There is one thing, we are ready with, with one exception.

[00:19:41] Okay. All right. And that is, since we’ve changed, since, excuse me, since we’ve been to um, France and Paris last, they’ve changed how they do the paper tickets for the Metro. Okay. Because we used to buy the “carnets”, the book of 10 paper ones.

[00:19:53] All right. And now it’s all online, right. So we’re going to have to, we’re going to have to figure that out. That’s going to be something new for us.

[00:19:59] Annie Sargent: I’ll tell you, it’s very easy. You go to a booth, you bring the tickets that you still have, because I think they will exchange them, if you still have any. So you go to a booth, you talk to a human, you say, I want a Navigo Easy. It’s a little blue card that has a chip on it, and it costs a 1.50 Euro or something like that.

[00:20:21] You get one each. There’s no picture, no name, no address, no nothing. It’s just a little blue card and you load it up with T tickets, which are exactly the same as the paper tickets you are used to. So they work the same, but now they’re on a little card. Now, if you have a Android phone, you can use your phone to buy the tickets on there.

[00:20:46] They’re working on the Apple version, but it’s not working yet.

[00:20:51] So I just have the Navigo Easy card, and it’s easy as can be.

[00:20:56] Christopher Tipper: You know, now that you say this Annie, I’m thinking I’ve heard these exact same words in the exact same order in a podcast that you had a couple of months ago.

[00:21:04] Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and I know, I know to do Bonjour, so don’t worry. I’m, I’m good at Bonjour. Okay.

[00:21:11] Annie Sargent: Alright, so now we’re going to stop this conversation. You will have your trip and we’ll talk again after your trip to see if things went as swimmingly as you had hoped, because there is a problem with being, uh, with going someplace that you have been looking forward to so much for so long.

[00:21:30] I mean, Le Mans is your happy place, clearly.

[00:21:33] And when it is you, it’s possible that you’ll be disappointed. But I trust you won’t be. I, You know? Why not? Why not? Like, why not?

[00:21:42] Christopher Tipper: We’ll make it work.

[00:21:43] Annie Sargent: It’s, it’s a beautiful.

[00:21:43] Christopher Tipper: something’s going to happen. Yeah.

Other things to consider in Le Mans

[00:21:43] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s a, so there are a few other things that you should consider in, uh, well, in Le Mans. They have this, the old town is called Cité Plantagenêt. Uh, It’s beautiful.

[00:21:53] It has a beautiful cathedral. It’s a beautiful gothic cathedral. There’s a Musee de Tesse, the Fine Arts Museum. Painting, European painting, sculptures, decorative arts, uh, Middle Ages to the present day. So it’s a, you know, a wide museum.

[00:22:08] Musee Vert, this is something to do with flowers and, you know, fauna, flora, things like that.

[00:22:15] Jardin des Plantes is also uh, a beautiful public garden.

[00:22:19] You have L’Arche de la Nature, this is a big park where French families love, love to bring their young kids, especially. You can do hiking, cycling, horseback riding, uh, you know, there’s exhibits, uh, things like that.

[00:22:32] There’s an Enceinte Gallo-Romaine so that’s, uh, that’s around the, the medieval town, the old city.

[00:22:38] There’s a house called Maison du Pilier Rouge. It’s a medieval house. That’s beautiful. I don’t remember what it looks like. I’m going to have to look it up.

[00:22:47] And Papéa Parc which is a park, amusement rides, games, water things. Uh, I I don’t know if you’ll go to that, but if it’s super hot, why not? And not very far, you have the Abbaye de l’Épau) it’s a Cistercian Abbaye. Um, So, you know, And I, I’m pretty sure that uh, Henry II was born in Le Mans, so King of England, born in Le Mans.

[00:23:11] Christopher Tipper: Oh!

[00:23:11] Annie Sargent: Just bringing it all together. Beautiful place. I think you’ll have fun. It’s unfortunate that it’s a car race, because I really, I mean, no, no.

[00:23:23] Christopher Tipper: And I can’t wait.

[00:23:25] Annie Sargent: That’s good. I’m so happy there are people like you who long to go to these things.

[00:23:29] I have lots of people in my family who love these things. I just like, no!

[00:23:34] Christopher Tipper: No, no!

[00:23:36] Annie Sargent: But that’s

[00:23:36] Christopher Tipper: you can, you, You can watch the 24 minutes of Le Mans and that it would be good for you, right?

[00:23:39] Annie Sargent: 24 minutes would be good enough for me.

[00:23:41] the, now, the the same, The same driver right? drives the 24 hours, right?

[00:23:45] Christopher Tipper: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Three. They now have teams of three. Uh, I can’t remember. There’s a maximum number of hours they can drive and a minimum number of hours they can drive. But yeah, no, it’s, it’s, no, no. it’s hyper professional. Very organized. Um, that it’s, it, I mean, there have been, There have been a couple of cases where people have raced for like 23 hours and somebody’s been in the car, you know, maybe two half hours since.

[00:24:06] But no, those, those, those days are gone.

[00:24:07] They’re going way too fast, way too dangerous. Um, and, And also, you know, you want, you want more, more, more drivers, more public publicity, et cetera. So, yeah.

[00:24:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And I should say that that racetrack is also used for bicycle races.

[00:24:18] Christopher Tipper: Oh, and there is a, yeah, and there is a little small, there’s a small, because the track itself, and, and I’ve been there in 2014 when we did a family trip, three quarters of the track is public roads. I have driven my Hertz rental vehicle at 50 kilometers an hour down a road where they normally do 300 plus kilometers an hour.

[00:24:38] Okay. Um, and um, You know, so we’ve been there, but there there’s a little track uh, that has more frequent races. That’s obviously not public roads. And then they do have, now there are two races there a year. Now they have a classic race where it’s, it’s older vintage cars. And that’s more like just a, I think that’s just a weekend though.

[00:24:54] And that’s, I think that’s after when I’m going to.

[00:24:58] Annie Sargent: Okay. One last question. Have you ever driven on the Autobahn?

[00:25:02] Christopher Tipper: Mais, Oui Madame. Mais oui.

[00:25:03] Annie Sargent: As, How fast did you go?

[00:25:05] Christopher Tipper: um, only.

[00:25:05] A little 210 maybe.

[00:25:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I, so I drove the Autobahn, but not with my electric car, with a, with a gas car that I had rented. Uh, and it, I can’t remember what it was, but it wasn’t a fancy car or anything. I think I went to 190 or 200 and I, it, it just scared the bejesus out of me. So I do not understand how people can ride that fast.

[00:25:24] Christopher Tipper: I also have a competition racing license too, so, but, um, no, I don’t know, 2, 220 on the line. The problem with that is like when we went in ’07 with the kids, we had a de little, little uh, uh, a C-class Diesel Mercedes, and I think at about a um, 200 kilometers an hour, I think you could see the Diesel fuel gauge move.

[00:25:41] Okay. It’s just, sorry. I’m like, we’re, we’re, we’re going to slow down to 170. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient.

[00:25:47] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright. Thank you very much Christopher. End of the first part of our conversation. We would back after your trip to Le Mans. Merci. À bientôt.

[00:25:57] Christopher Tipper: Merci. Au revoir.

Second part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Interview: Trip of a Lifetime!

[00:26:01] Annie Sargent: Hello, Christopher. Welcome back.

[00:26:13] Christopher Tipper: Bonjour Annie. I’m so happy to be back.

[00:26:15] Annie Sargent: Lovely to see you again. Well, of course for the people listening, it’s uh, five seconds. Have

[00:26:19] Christopher Tipper: For us it’s a few weeks.

[00:26:20] Annie Sargent: That’s right. So this is the second part of our conversation. The first part was your expectations going into this trip, uh, where um, you were going to attend the 24 hours of Le Mans and you had wonderful uh, planning. Did it all go exactly as planned? I would like to know.

[00:26:39] Christopher Tipper: No!

[00:26:39] Annie Sargent: Oh, shocker.

[00:26:43] Christopher Tipper: Who knew, right? Um, But it was, it did not disappoint. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Uh, It was a race of a lifetime. Uh, I, um, To see the Ferrari win for the first time since they’ve been back and I think everybody kept saying 50 years. Uh, To be there with 324,999 of my closest friends. You know, it was. it was an amazing event. Uh, I’ve learned some things about what to do different when I visit France and what to do different the next time I visit uh, the 24 hours of Le Mans.

[00:27:13] And we are definitely not going next year. I’ve been listening to your reports. About what, i, I can’t imagine what Paris is going to be like next July, July of 2024 with the Olympics, okay? Um, uh, In general, we learned that we like France a lot more when it’s cold. Um, France when it’s warm is… no, I mean, it’s just, it’s not bad, um, it’s just,

[00:27:33] Annie Sargent: very

[00:27:33] Christopher Tipper: happy. I’m happier wearing a sweater and coat when I’m sitting outside in my, my cafeteria. And, you know, it’s just, um, You know, I don’t know.

[00:27:37] It was, It was a wonderful event. I took a lot of pictures and trust me, I’ve shared maybe 1/10th of 1% with you. I still haven’t gone through all my little video clips. Um, Katherine had a great time. In, Katherine stayed in the Old Town of Le Mans. Okay. Now, the problem when you look for Le Mans on YouTube, the vast majority of what you find is clips on the race.

[00:27:57] Well, it’s been around for a hundred years, OK? But there’s the Plantagenet so what you need to look for, I think, is the Plantagenet Le Mans, okay? And if I’m correct, I think the Plantagenets are before Henry VIII. But anyways, so it’s got a great old cathedral, it’s got a wonderful, lovely old town. Um, we’re only in,

[00:28:15] In the notes, we’re only going to point out three places we ate that are worth telling anybody else about. And one of those was lunch in Le Mans. Um, And the town really embraces it and they seem to be very happy to have all these hundreds of thousands of people show up.

[00:28:30] Annie Sargent: Right. So yeah, this is a great point. La Ville Plantagenet is the old city center of Le Mans, and it is beautiful. It’s not super large, but it’s beautiful. So definitely…

[00:28:44] Christopher Tipper: Very walkable and very hilly.

[00:28:46] Annie Sargent: Ah, see that’s good to know.

[00:28:48] Christopher Tipper: Hillier than I expected. Yes.

[00:28:50] Annie Sargent: Aha. So, you, So you do need to, if you want to have the nightlife and the, you know, the, the restaurants and whatever, you go to the city center, right?

[00:28:59] Christopher Tipper: Well see that. Oh, that’s it. Because we, the, the apartment was next to Place de la République. Silly me, I thought there’s one Place de la République in France. There’s I don’t know how many of them, as there’s a, and how many Notre Dames are there in France, but okay. So the, the, so the, the, the opportunity for cafes, and restaurants, and bistros, and breweries, and everything else is all centered around there.

[00:29:21] And you’ve got a great selection of different things. There are, There is a lot of good food uh, and alcohol choice um, in Le Mans.

The 24 Hour race

[00:29:29] Annie Sargent: Very good. Okay, so tell us about the race. What did you learn about the race and what are some tips that you want to share with people who are considering doing this?

Tips for 24 Hours of Le Mans Visitors

[00:29:37] Christopher Tipper: Um, get, if, if any, If anybody wants to go to Le Mans, go! It is an absolutely fabulous event. Uh, If you’re not on Reddit, join Reddit and look for the Le Mans subreddit, okay? It absolutely made the experience way more, uh, Um, it was a lot better experience because I had a much better idea as to what to happen. And it’s like all the things, plan early and like I said, even if you don’t like social media, get on that subreddit.

[00:30:02] Okay. Because it lets you know where to go buy the cheap folding chairs before the race so you don’t have to bring them from the States. Okay. Um, No, seriously, it’s a fantastic help. Okay.

[00:30:11] And so plan early and I know people have to go on a budget, but get the most expensive ticket you can get. Get the, get into the, Get into whatever VIP area that you can get because it’s an eight and a half mile track.

[00:30:24] Okay. It’s absolutely massive. I. All And you are going, you’re going to be there a whole time. You’re going to want the better bathrooms. You’re going to want the less expensive food. Okay. And, and, And accept beforehand that you are not going to know what’s going on before the race, because it’s so big and it’s 24 hours, but that you’re still going to have a good time, that you’re going to meet a lot of people.

[00:30:43] Um, And that you need, you need to, I don’t want to be ableist. Uh, I don’t, I don’t know that I saw many people in wheelchairs or walking around on crutches, but because of how massive it is, you need to have a certain fitness. I was absolutely exhausted at the end.

[00:30:57] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:30:58] Christopher Tipper: Like, Seriously practice walking, uh, make sure you’re well hydrated beforehand.

[00:31:02] I mean, all those, it’s, it’s almost like you’re going on a 24 hour hike to actually watch the race. Okay?

Radio FM

[00:31:08] Christopher Tipper: And, uh, oh, one of the things uh, we learned about is that European FM frequencies and American FM frequencies are not the same. Europe has more. So an American FM, an f an American digital FM radio won’t work in Europe.

[00:31:22] It’s not just a Le Mans thing, it’s, So, so everybody from America, we were, we were trying to find that, um, the Lidl or wherever, um, uh, Carrefour, the inexpensive digital radios so we could listen to their, to what’s going on in the race, during the race.

[00:31:34] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s how you did it. Okay.

[00:31:36] Christopher Tipper: Okay.

Photo equipment

[00:31:36] Christopher Tipper: One of the best things for me was, um, if you’re, if you’re going to bring camera equipment, don’t bring it to the race.

[00:31:43] Bring your heavy lenses and all that other stuff to practice and qualifying. It’s the same cars, it’s the same track. It’s day or night. They’re trying just as hard as they are during the race. Okay? Don’t carry the heavy stuff during the race because it’s, um, it’s a long race. Okay. I was little worried about how do I keep my stuff safe when I take a nap at night.

[00:32:00] I’ve not heard about anybody having anything taken. Okay? Now, I don’t know if this was a magic occurrence, but it’s 99% car geeks. We’re all there for the same thing, and I’ve not heard about much theft. So that’s, you know, especially with camera equipment and stuff like that.

[00:32:16] Annie Sargent: That’s good to know. Yeah. Did you bring a lo long lens?

[00:32:19] Christopher Tipper: I brought a that, yeah, I brought, I bought a used 400 millimeter telephoto lens for this and then found out um, that the camera body I had didn’t support it, so I had to buy used camera body.

[00:32:28] Annie Sargent: Oh dear. Because you have, perhaps you have a mirrorless camera.

[00:32:34] Christopher Tipper: No DSLR. It didn’t auto-focus properly, so, but then, going and checking the data on my images, I don’t think I shotted anything over 300 and I have, and I have a smaller lighter 300 millimeter telephoto lens. The lenses aren’t as good, but um, I. you don’t really need a really long lens. I took a lot of photos with um, the short lens. And make sure you know how to use auto focus before you go and make sure you know how to turn on fast. Well, no, no, no, no. Because there’s

[00:33:01] Annie Sargent: auto-focus…

[00:33:01] Obvious, mean the things are moving. There’s the bullied them there.

[00:33:01] Christopher Tipper: That’s why we wait. Yeah. And then also make sure you have your camera set to um, fast continuous.

[00:33:06] Because that’s how I got some of those images, that’s how I got one of those shots I gave you because I was not taking a picture of that. I was taking a picture of the French Air Force flying by and got an absolutely amazing shot.

[00:33:18] Annie Sargent: There you go, spray and pray.

[00:33:22] Christopher Tipper: And don’t expect to have a clear, unobstructed view of the cars.

[00:33:27] There’s a lot of chain link, there’s a lot of fence there, for, for your, you know, on purpose. And if you do go and you still have the energy, participate in the mad dash to the finish line. Okay. There’s some pictures in there of that. So after the race, they let everybody walk everywhere when all the cars are off the circuit and everything else.

[00:33:47] But they have this massive post, 24 hour, uh, you know, the victors because there was five classes, four or five. Sorry, four classes for this year’s race. So there’s four winners and you have first, second, and third for each class, and they each get their own podium ceremony. All right? And I don’t know what the count was, but it felt like I. 75,000 of the people who watched the race were in the pits then watching the, the ceremony. I, I think you only need to do that once, do that once. Um,

[00:34:15] But the one thing that I would say is perhaps a little overrated, is doing the driver’s parade beforehand. Um, Because that’s on the, I think it was on the Friday uh, before the, um, uh, before the race.

[00:34:27] That’s just three and a half hours of standing out in the sun trying to get really cheap trinkets. Okay. They go by so quick and you can’t see them. Um, Probably a better thing is to, if you’re planning on going, try to be in town for when they have scrutineering. And what that means is that I. all the race cars are at Place de la République, going through scrutineering, you can see everything.

[00:34:48] You can sometimes see the drivers, okay? There are things to do before the race, scrutineering and the autograph session that I wish I had done, that I didn’t do because I did the driver’s parade instead, and I won’t do the driver’s parade ever again.

[00:35:01] Annie Sargent: Okay, so, so that’s, that’s, great tip. That’s a wonderful tip. Yeah. Yeah, because I mean, like if you tell me there’s a driver’s parade, I’ll want to go to that.

Racing Peeps All Around

[00:35:08] Christopher Tipper: And it, well, I, I mean, I saw, I saw a a, a Fassbender. There’s the actor Fassbender races a 911. I saw race car drivers I’ve heard about and seen on TV for years, but I. There’s you, you can’t get close enough. There’s always somebody in front of you. And, And they go by so quick and it’s just, and, and there’s a, um, with however many cars there are, it takes a long time for that, you know?

[00:35:29] Because everybody that’s racing in the, in, in the races, in the driver’s parade and they’re sitting on top of all these convertibles. And it, like I said, it just takes a long time and um, you know, when you look at, when you look at the movies of uh, Le Mans from the 50s and everybody’s wearing uh, three piece suits and ties and fedoras, um, man, it’s a heck of a lot hotter now than it was back then.

[00:35:50] I don’t know what those people were doing.

[00:35:52] Annie Sargent: So do people show up with like uh, team paraphernalia?

[00:35:56] Christopher Tipper: Oh, yes. I mean, you, every, everything is being worn or not worn. Um, it’s, It’s a very big, there’s me um, in the sunproof trousers and sunproof long sleeve shirt and bandana and big floppy hat. And then there’s kids walk, I mean, not kids, very young people walking around in cutoffs and and sleeveless t-shirts all the time.

[00:36:14] But then there’s an awful lot of team, excuse me, the team kit. Peugeot, Glichen House, Ferrari, um, Corvette, Porsche, all those guys. Uh, uh, and, But there’s an also, also a lot of Formula One stuff. Uh, A lot of Formula One fans like myself end up showing up at these things, just being a race fan. So, yeah, you can, it’s very easy.

[00:36:30] Uh, You don’t see a lot of, you don’t see a lot of people wearing a Porsche hat and a Ferrari shirt. Um, it, It’s a lot of very, You have a lot of very distinct, um, uh, a lot of very distinct alliances and people, people love their brands. Whether, you know, And Ferrari is, everybody loves Ferrari, it seems like.

[00:36:43] Um, But Ford, and Ford and Cadillac had a big presence there. And, you know, ev everybody’s, there’s a lot of t-shirts going around. You, You know who you’re rooting for.

[00:36:49] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and who were you rooting for?

[00:36:52] Christopher Tipper: Ferrari.

[00:36:53] Annie Sargent: And you won.

[00:36:54] Christopher Tipper: Yeah, well that was a very lucky thing. And um, it’s, uh, I picked a bad year to be a Ferrari Formula One fan.

[00:36:59] It’s not going well for them this year, I was really, normally, I’m a Porsche guy. Um, I did want a Porsche to win the GT. Okay, so here I am with the mixed alliances. All right. I did want a 911 to win the uh, GT class. Those, you know, they, they look like street cars, but they’re not streetcar, Annie. Okay?

[00:37:17] Um, And I did want the Ferrari um, prototypes to win. And I, It was actually because the driver of this car used to race in Formula One. I was hoping for 51 to win. So, um, but I, I got very lucky. No, I didn’t make any betts on it. Um, Just, Just showing up for the ticket. That’s why one of those pictures I sent you, why it says 24 hours, you know, a, a winner 25 hours from now or something like that is, that’s when the car is clean.

[00:37:39] Um, And that was the picture I got from the grid walk before the race, which is an extra cost thing, okay? But it was me and 5,000 of my closest friends surrounding all these cars. Oh yeah. There’s a more people than I expected.

[00:37:50] Annie Sargent: There’s an advantage to being tall.

[00:37:52] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. Yes. Little bit or a little pushy. I don’t know. You know.

[00:37:56] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. Or pushy.

[00:37:57] Christopher Tipper: Yeah.

[00:37:57] I want my picture.

[00:37:59] Well, no, you got to, you got to be polite. I mean, everybody’s there looking for the same thing.

[00:38:04] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. So, So you had a great time. You’re happy you went, you want to do again?

[00:38:09] Christopher Tipper: Absolutely.

[00:38:10] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. You know, that’s, That’s really cool.

General Tips about France

[00:38:12] Annie Sargent: Alright, so what did you learn about France in general? Any tips about, you know, not just Le Mans this time, just anywhere.

[00:38:21] Christopher Tipper: I got you. Um, We did, um, if you’re, if you’re going when it’s warm um, Annie, why are room fans illegal in your country? I.

[00:38:29] If they’re not, people act like them. Okay. Both the, Both the places we stayed at, no room fans, um, no, uh, no circulation whatsoever. And there’s no, the, And like even when we have central heating, if you’re not turning the air conditioning on, you can still get some air to move.

[00:38:42] Okay. We have made sure that where we’re staying uh, next month when we go back, the woman says, yeah, we’ve got lots of fans. We’re covered there. All right. Make sure you have, make sure the room has wifi. I didn’t check that so well, okay? Um, We did have some situations where, this is in general, and this was in Paris.

[00:39:02] And I, I, like I said at the beginning of this, I have listened to every podcast, okay? Um, But there was very, there was some situations where saying Bonjour was really not expected by anybody. Nobody was saying Bonjour in some of these small stores. It was really weird. Because I know you said on a podcast couple months ago, you say Bonjour to the store.

[00:39:20] Nobody was. It

[00:39:21] Nobody was. It was a little bizarre. Yeah. Well, you know. Um, and I,

[00:39:25] Okay, this is going to sound really weird, but being, being a boomer and, and having done things the old way, um, I was pleasantly, and I am serious about the surprise, how like, peop Sorry about that. Ellan do not disturb. Um, so, um, pe, the cooks and all that, were using their bare hands when they’re making the food.

[00:39:38] Okay. It’s like the old days. You don’t do that in the States anymore! Everybody’s got all the outside. No, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Okay.

[00:39:44] Annie Sargent: Yeah. But that’s how it is. Yeah.

[00:39:46] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. The French are super comfortable and very happy sitting millimeters from complete strangers if it means they get an outside aperitif at a cafe. Okay.

[00:39:55] I couldn’t. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how happy everybody is being packed into these little places. Okay. They’re outside, they’re elbow to elbow with complete strangers.

[00:40:06] Annie Sargent: Well, their apartments are probably even smaller, so that’s why.

[00:40:10] Christopher Tipper: That, that, That could be, um, and we can talk about this real quickly. Um, I found out there’s a massive difference between restaurant French and emergency room French.

[00:40:19] Annie Sargent: Ooh, okay. We want to know about this.

Emergency Room day trip

[00:40:22] Christopher Tipper: Okay, so, we ended up not going to Versailles because my wife had, who was on, who was on another podcast of yours was on your, your, your bootcamp.

[00:40:30] Um, And she had, uh, we tried to follow the um, online things that you guys had shared and that no bueno. That did not work. Okay. And through the help from a pharmacy, go to a pharmacy, if you, if, if you can walk, go to a pharmacy.

[00:40:46] Uh, And we found out Urgence, uh, D’urgence in France that looks like ambulances only, that’s where the pedestrians walk in. Okay. Uh, It turned out in the end to be something very minor. Um, the, uh, We were in and out of the emergency room uh, within a day. I mean, I know people have waited longer in the States for, for for worse things.

[00:41:03] Okay.

[00:41:03] Annie Sargent: A day. That was a full day though?

[00:41:05] Christopher Tipper: We got there at 10 and she was done by 4. So, I don’t know. And, then being an American, we had a very hard time leaving because we were looking for the cashier.

[00:41:16] We couldn’t find the cashier. The security guide is just ihr us on up because we didn’t have to pay. And then the prescription drugs, they gave us five boxes of things.

[00:41:25] It was 17 Euros. I mean, you’re not supposed to be happy with having a medical event, but we had a medical event in in Paris that turned out pretty good and pretty inexpensive and was a, uh, uh, a positive thing and a fun story.

[00:41:37] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So yes, you don’t, they normally don’t direct you to, uh, they don’t take your credit card when you walk in…

[00:41:45] Christopher Tipper: No. Even though it says, even though it says so on the written thing.

[00:41:49] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:41:50] Christopher Tipper: Yes. But they don’t.

[00:41:51] Annie Sargent: They don’t, because French people do not believe in charging foreigners for medical care like it should be. It’s a God-given right. You should be taken care of.

[00:42:01] That’s how it is. Yes. That’s

Bikes commuting to work in Paris

[00:42:02] Christopher Tipper: A couple more things. Because this is the first time we’ve been to France when it was warm. All right. And um, I was thinking it’s like, it’s almost Amsterdam. The bikes commuting to work in Paris on a Friday morning. Oh my goodness, there were so many of them. It was wonderfully insane. But in the morning it all seemed to be like an order, and they were all going in the same direction.

[00:42:21] But later on in the day, it was a little more like, Lord of the Flies meets Death Race 2000. I’m really, really amazed I didn’t witness any contact, okay? Um, We still haven’t been able to get kicked out of a, a cafe. I have. And what I mean by that is, um, I’m too impatient. I, I was trying to test this year to see if you can truly stay at a Parisian sidewalk ca cafe and have, and get kicked out. No, I’m leaving before they’re kicking me out.

The security patrols

[00:42:45] Christopher Tipper: I’m hoping this is okay to say, um, We’ve always u we’ve always noticed, because it’s so different than what we get at home, we’ve always noticed the security patrols, okay. especially at the airports and the train stations. And we’ve always thought of them as sharks.

[00:43:01] Okay. And I mean, groups of three great whites. I mean, these guys are serious, right? And just, they’re just going along three of Right. Um, There were hardly any of them, but they were in groups of six or seven now. So I don’t know if this is something they’re changing in preparation for next year’s uh, Olympics, but the security presence was very different this year than it has been in the past.

[00:43:25] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Yeah.

[00:43:26] Christopher Tipper: Um, and, And then um, how do you, okay, I got on the, how do you say rillettes? Is that right? Rillettes?

[00:43:31] Yeah. Oh, it’s not bad. I thought the way people were talking about it, I thought it was going to be absolutely horrid. We actually purposefully ordered it once. They’re like, oh, this is warm salty spam.

[00:43:41] Annie Sargent: That’s a good description of it.

[00:43:43] Christopher Tipper: Is that hard? And oh my goodness, it’s filling.

[00:43:47] Annie Sargent: Oh, very. Yeah, very.

[00:43:49] Christopher Tipper: And, And now my mom being German, we used to have a goose either at Thanksgiving or Christmas. And so I’ve done a lot of stuff with toast and goose fat and salt, okay. There’s a salty goose fat quality to it okay? that might gross some people out.

[00:44:03] But for somebody like me, like, ooh, this is tasty.

[00:44:05] Annie Sargent: You enjoyed it.

[00:44:06] Christopher Tipper: Very good.

[00:44:08] Annie Sargent: It’s half and half. Some people love those things. I can’t take, I can’t take them. So it just depends. Yeah.

[00:44:12] Christopher Tipper: Um, But in terms of, so just what we learned for recommendations from, um, from food is, go to the really small places. I mean, go to our only places that we want to talk about um, were very, very small, maybe 20 people, 25 people type restaurants. And it was, uh, it was nuts. Uh, I mean, in a really good way.

[00:44:36] The food was, The food was wonderful. Um, and there’s, There was one place .In, um, one place in Le Mans and then two very small places, Les Deux Colombes um, which is on the Île de Cité, and then Sur Mer, which is, nah, I don’t know, I got a link in there somewhere.

[00:44:50] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Well, oh yes Rue de Lancry.

[00:44:54] Christopher Tipper: Yeah, I think that’s right. So, okay.

[00:44:56] Annie Sargent: Well, it’s going to be in your guest notes. I’m going to publish your guest notes where people will see the details of all the places you went to.

[00:45:02] Christopher Tipper: Those, those were very good. So I don’t, in, in terms of, I don’t know. I think that’s, that’s the…

[00:45:07] Annie Sargent: That’s the gist of it?

[00:45:08] But it’s really weird. Okay, so again, you guys have had podcasts and I think this, I don’t know how many words are written on social media about what you’re supposed to wear in Paris. That’s gone.

[00:45:20] Yeah.

[00:45:22] Christopher Tipper: Holy crap.

[00:45:23] Okay. It’s like, I’m like, am I in Chicago? Uh, you know, Or Chicago suburb without people there, there’s no dress code anymore. It was really, it was, that was the culture. Going to Paris and seeing everybody dressed up was never the culture shock. Going to Paris and see everybody dressed the way we do at home. That was the culture shock.

[00:45:43] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. So I guess you still dress up if you’re going to a business meeting or something, but just to go to work or to walk around, you don’t really need to. To

[00:45:53] Christopher Tipper: When we were at the rooftop thing at Printemps. Is that how you say it?

[00:45:57] Annie Sargent: Where at Rooftop

[00:45:57] Christopher Tipper: There’s a, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a, There’s a department store uh, in Paris. Okay. I’m going to be American for a second. Print amps. Okay. So isn’t

[00:45:57] Annie Sargent: it proto?

[00:45:57] Christopher Tipper: Printemps. Le Printemps. Okay. Has a rooftop bar. And um, at the risk of being called a boomer, let’s, there was a business function going on at the table next to us, and I was just very surprised at what they weren’t wearing. I’m going to leave it at that. Okay? And they’d come straight from the office.

[00:46:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah?!

[00:46:15] Christopher Tipper: Because we could hear them talking. Okay?

Super easy to pay French speeding tickets online

[00:46:17] Christopher Tipper: Oh, the other thing, and at some point I may have to send you a scan of this because I can’t figure it out. Turns out it’s super, super easy for Americans in the United States to pay French speeding tickets online.

[00:46:29] Annie Sargent: Ah, this is, this is a good discovery.

[00:46:31] Christopher Tipper: It’s a, it really is. Um, uh, The ticket’s all in French and you do have to do a little Google translate, but once you get to the right point and find out the numbers that they’re looking for, it’s super quick and easy and I, I paid attention to you. Okay. I’m setting, so on the auto route, when it was 130, I was doing 130.

[00:46:46] When I’m in town and it said 50, I was doing 50 or 30. Okay. I was trying to the cruise control help me because I was not trying to play games with a camera. But at some point when we were returning the car, uh, I did 50 se i I was seven over and they were going to give me two over. I think I was 57 and a 50.

[00:47:04] We’re talking kilometers people not, not miles per hour.

[00:47:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah.

[00:47:07] Christopher Tipper: Um, So that was 90 something Euros.

[00:47:10] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Normal. Yeah. Well, as a taxpayer in France, I thank you. You are You are helping, maintain our roads. It’s great.

[00:47:17] Christopher Tipper: You’re very welcome, Annie. Um,

Credit Cards

[00:47:19] Christopher Tipper: Oh, talk about credit cards. So, but I can’t figure out where it happened. They gave me, I can’t, from the, I got three pieces of paper from them and I can’t figure out where it happened.

[00:47:28] I know it happened in Paris, but I can’t figure out the street or location it happened on. Okay.

[00:47:34] Well,

[00:47:34] As an American, we don’t have fancy European credit cards. We had zero trouble paying at uh, the toll booths. Love your system. Love your tollway system. We had almost no trouble paying for fuel. With our little Fiat 500, we hardly had to fill up. But we did have we’re, this was on one of our off days, we’re out in the countryside, okay, where it’s very rural France. Okay. And I went to use the credit card that had been working and it said, I need a pin. We don’t have pins.

[00:48:00] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:48:01] Christopher Tipper: And I’m like, hang on a second. I used my debit. I then pulled out my debit card, which needs a pin.

[00:48:05] It took it.

[00:48:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s it. So debit cards usually work better and contactless almost always works.

[00:48:14] Christopher Tipper: I was using contactless, it wanted a pin.

[00:48:16] Annie Sargent: But a debit card, yes.

[00:48:18] Christopher Tipper: A debit card works. So don’t,

[00:48:19] Annie Sargent: don’t, sweat

[00:48:19] Don’t sweat it, just bring a debit card.

[00:48:21] Christopher Tipper: A family member once went to Europe with one American Express card and nothing else. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Bring a debit card, bring a MasterCard or Visa and bring an American Express card. I mean, bring multiple cards.

[00:48:35] So, and I don’t know, um, the, uh, I’m trying to think of what else we got, um, on the notes here. But, um, yeah, we, we’ve, you know, I, I kind of gave you a list of what we did, where we

[00:48:35] Yeah. No, it’s excellent.


Shakespear and Company

[00:48:35] Christopher Tipper: Best suggestion I can give anybody to have an enjoyable stay in Paris. We got to Shakespeare and Company just before they opened at 10 o’clock on Monday.

[00:48:47] Um, We have too many books on our nightstand already, so we bought more books and then we walked to Jardin du Luxembourg and read in the shade for a couple of hours.

[00:48:58] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:49:00] Christopher Tipper: It’s an amazing, amazing way to do it. And, And so again, because I, I do too much on Reddit. There’s all these people posting their itineraries on, on Reddit.

[00:49:09] Like, am I doing too much? Well, yeah. If you have an itinerary on Excel, it’s probably too much.

[00:49:15] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:49:16] Christopher Tipper:And, and,

Charles de Gaulle

[00:49:16] Christopher Tipper: And people are landing at Charles de Gaulle and they think they’re going to be in their hotel…

[00:49:20] Annie Sargent: Five seconds later.

[00:49:22] Christopher Tipper: Yeah. Three 30 minutes later. I When I flew in I was so happy, I was Sky Priority for Delta. I had the really short line.

[00:49:28] But if you’re coming when it’s warm, be super patient at CDG. Okay. Um, Because I was in the short line, but even that wasn’t working. You’ve guys have got some very automated facial recognition uh, things to let us through passport control. The servers were obviously completely overwhelmed there, the, the, the staff there was having to constantly reset, reset things.

[00:49:49] Everybody was doing the best they could, to be a and, and, and, you know, it was really, and it’s really warm in that hall. Okay. Just understand that if you’re coming when it’s warm, everybody else is coming when it’s warm, and you’ve got to plan a lot of time getting out of CDG uh, and getting into town.

[00:50:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it depends on the day. Some, Sometimes you get lucky, but I’ve, I’ve gotten very unlucky entering the US as well. So it just depends, you know, it just don’t, but just don’t count on being in the city in any less than two hours is minimum, three hours is a better guess, most of the time.

[00:50:20] Christopher Tipper: But the cab ride, I couldn’t believe how quick the cab ride um, was from CDG, although there was a long line to get in the cab and he takes the cabbie lane and then, like you’ve said elsewhere, I gave him a 2 Euro tip and it, he acted like it saved his life. Okay. So they’re very,

[00:50:33] Annie Sargent: know That’s nice when somebody treats you well, right? I mean…

[00:50:36] Christopher Tipper: Yes, it, well, you know, okay, well that was enough, you know? Because in the States I’d had to probably give them 15 bucks, you know, for the same response.

[00:50:44] Very happy for that. Um,

Do not look for the best croissant

[00:50:45] Christopher Tipper: Don’t worry, you know, the same old thing, you’ve heard it before. I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to support you.

[00:50:49] Do not look for the best croissant.

[00:50:51] Do not look for the best baguette. Um, What we are now noticing though, which we’ve never seen before, is all the signs, well, not, there’s not a lot of them, but we’ve noticed multiple um, bakery shops that said where they came in the annual baguette competition. I think we walked by one that had won. that had won once.

[00:51:08] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes, yes, they’ll let you know. Yes.

[00:51:11] Christopher Tipper: Oh yeah. We’d walk by somebody that had won a croissant competition, so we went in, it was all right.

[00:51:15] Annie Sargent: They’re fine. It’s fine, it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong. I mean, it’s marketing, it’s, it’s fine. They, they need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd. Because there’s bakeries everywhere. Like, you know, how do you pick one? And I say, you pick one when you’re hungry. Go in, get something.

[00:51:29] Christopher Tipper: Absolutely. The, the, the, the, The best bakery uh, in Paris is the one that has an empty table outside for you to sit down and eat.

[00:51:35] Annie Sargent: That is the perfect way to end this conversation, my friend. Thank you so, so much. You and, uh, and Katherine are wonderful people, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you a little bit. Well, I got to know Katherine at the bootcamp more than you. you than

[00:51:49] Christopher Tipper: I know, I am very jealous. She’s met you in person before me.

[00:51:54] Annie Sargent: We’ll meet someday in person, no question about that. Alright, Merci Beaucoup, Merci Beaucoup and uh, happy planning for your 2025 Le Mans excursion.

[00:52:06] Christopher Tipper: And I don’t, And if you have somebody, i, you know, I don’t want to put all my contact information out there, but if you have somebody um, who wants to have a little bit, you know, feel if they get in touch. With you, um, you

[00:52:16] Annie Sargent: I’ll forward them to you. Yeah,

[00:52:18] Christopher Tipper: I’ll, I’ll, to help. I will be very, very happy to help.

[00:52:20] The help won’t stop.

[00:52:22] Annie Sargent: Unless they don’t like Ferrari.

[00:52:24] Christopher Tipper: Oh no, that’s okay. They can like port. No, no, no. They have to like auto race. No, no, no, no.

[00:52:28] Annie Sargent: You’re open-minded.

[00:52:29] Christopher Tipper: Oh gosh, yes. Auto racing is auto racing and that’s what’s important.

[00:52:33] Annie Sargent: Merci Beaucoup, Christopher!

[00:52:34] Christopher Tipper: Au Revoir!

[00:52:35] Annie Sargent: Au Revoir!



[00:52:42] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2023 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license.


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Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Normandy & Brittany