Transcript for Episode 476: Eating Vegan in the Land of Baguettes and Brie

Categories: French Food & Wine, Paris



[00:00:15] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 476, quatre cent soixante seize.

[00:00:22] 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 Dvora Citron.

[00:00:40] Paris is a city celebrated for its cheeses, pastries, rich culinary history, so what happens when you’re vegan or when you’re trying to eat mostly plants? The plant-based diet is very popular and for a good reason. So will you be hungry the whole time you’re in Paris? Will you feel deprived? Well, not if you follow in Dvora’s footsteps.

[00:01:03] Paris has come a long way, and she shares vegan friendly cafes, boulangerie, and restaurants that made her time in Paris wonderful. Because yes, the classic French dining experience can be wonderfully vegan.

Podcast supporters

[00:01:19] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my Itinerary Consult Service, my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app, or take a day trip with me around the Southwest in my lovely electric car. I love that thing!

[00:01:36] You can browse all of that at my boutique:

Bootcamp 2024

[00:01:41] Annie Sargent: Several of you reserved your spot for the 2024 Bootcamp since last week’s episode, and we’re having our first Zoom get together today as a matter of fact. But there’s a few spots left and we’d love to have you join us in France for real.

[00:01:57] The 2024 bootcamp will take place between May 11th and May 19th, 2024, obviously. French class in the morning and fantastic visits with me and Elyse around Toulouse. We’ll have a good time, we’ll do apéro together, we’ll do dinner, we’ll hang out, we’ll visit some outstanding locations around the Southwest.

[00:02:19] It’s fun and it’s France with Annie and Elyse, what else do you want?

[00:02:24] To find out details, go to, where you can read details and reserve your spot.

The Magazine Segment: France has a new Prime Minister

[00:02:33] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, after the interview today, I’ll discuss our new prime minister.

[00:02:38] He’s young, handsome, openly gay, and knows how to talk to French people in ways that make sense. His opponents say he’s the clone of Emmanuel Macron, and you know, you could do worse as far as I’m concerned.

Interview with Dvora Citron

[00:03:01] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, Dvora Citron, and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:03:05] Dvora Citron: Bonjour, Annie.

[00:03:06] Annie Sargent: Lovely to talk to you about your kind of a whirlwind trip to France, wasn’t it? You did a lot.

[00:03:12] Dvora Citron: Yes, we did a lot in eight days.

[00:03:15] Annie Sargent: In eight days. Okay. I want to hear all about it. When did your trip take place? Who was with you, and where did you go more or less?

[00:03:24] Dvora Citron: So, our trip took place at the end of May, beginning of June in 2023, and it was me and my husband. We planned the trip because we wanted to take a vacation together, and we were able to use points for hotel and miles for airfare. So that worked out really well for us.

[00:03:47] Annie Sargent: Yes, of course.

[00:03:49] Dvora Citron: And then, I do a lot of really detailed planning, so I have a Word document that I create where I put all my information about our travel on it and lots of links.

[00:04:01] So I basically have like this one page itinerary with a ton of different things on it. We had gone to Paris four years before, so we got some of the first time things out of the way. So we were really looking forward to kind of a deeper dive into Monet and art. I’ve been an avid listener of your podcast for five years. I even am still listening to it and I’m not sure when I’m going to go back to France again, because I find it so entertaining and informative. So, I always listen to the podcast and I write down notes. We bought all of your VoiceMap tours, and as you know, we did an itinerary consult with you also.

[00:04:47] So that really helped for planning the trip and prioritizing what we wanted to do. We had eight days and one of the things on the top of my list was to go to Giverny. I did a lot of research on the best day to go, and we decided to go on Wednesday. That helped break up the week.

[00:05:05] We had not been to Versailles, but I decided I wanted to save Versailles for another trip, because I just wanted to enjoy being in Paris, there’s just so much to enjoy, that I only wanted one day out of Paris.

[00:05:20] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah. Well, you still did a lot, so…

[00:05:24] Dvora Citron: Yes, we did a lot.

[00:05:25] Annie Sargent: But at least you were well organized, which makes it possible to do a lot. Because if you want to do a lot, but you have no idea what you’re doing, that’s a lot harder.

[00:05:36] Dvora Citron: So the way I organized our days was basically, with looking at your VoiceMap tours, what I did was on the VoiceMap tour app, you know, you can print out the route of your tours. And so I actually printed each of those out so I could take a look at them.

[00:05:53] And we designated a VoiceMap tour on each of our three days. We decided we’d design a half a day around it so that we would have the other half a day kind of free. So if there was something on the route that we wanted tickets for or we definitely wanted to go see, we tried to time it so that would work out.

[00:06:16] Annie Sargent: Right. That can be tricky.

[00:06:18] Dvora Citron: It was sometimes tricky, but sometimes it worked really well. Do you want me to go through my days and let you know how each day went?

[00:06:26] Annie Sargent: Sure, if we have time, that’s not a problem.

Day by Day, Vélib’ Bike

[00:06:28] Dvora Citron: One of the things we enjoyed most about this time in Paris, which I also did a lot of research on was using the Vélib bike.

[00:06:38] Annie Sargent: Ah, yes.

[00:06:38] What was that like? Was it easy to set up? Did you have any difficulties checking the bikes out and back in?

[00:06:45] Dvora Citron: It was challenging at the beginning. I do a lot of research, I read a lot of posts on it, we watched YouTubes. It was really on the first thing for us to do when we got in. We flew from San Francisco, and we got into Paris really early in the morning. We were staying at the West End Vendome in the 1st Arrondissement.

[00:07:04] And so the nice thing about staying in the hotel, for us, is that we could check our bags, because we knew our room wasn’t going to be ready, and there are some Vélib’ stations really close to there.

[00:07:17] We went over there, we couldn’t figure out how to do it, and I had called up on my phone. I had also gotten an orange eSIM card in my phone with a French phone number because I read that that would make it easier.

[00:07:33] Annie Sargent: Uh huh. Okay.

[00:07:34] Dvora Citron: And that worked really well when we first arrived and I switched my phone on and that was all set up, so that was good. But we couldn’t figure out the bikes at the first station, so then we walked to another station and we still couldn’t figure it out.

[00:07:49] So I had a destination for us, which was this bakery VG Patisserie and Jay and Joy Vegan Cheese. So we started off there, you know, I had my phone working and we could see from the maps where to go. And then finally, we got to another Vélib’ station and there was a local there and we got it to work.

[00:08:12] Annie Sargent: Right. So this guy helped you. Perhaps you weren’t doing the steps exactly like, because it’s a bit finicky, really.

[00:08:20] Dvora Citron: It’s hard and we didn’t have, we weren’t able to use the app at the beginning. We were working on the station first. So, but anyways, it worked, we got a three day pass.

[00:08:33] Two bikes each, I would say we really enjoyed them, it’s tricky, and you have to be patient. The bikes are heavy, so when you take them out, you have to really pull them out. You can read this on all this information, you sign up, you pay, have this code that you have to use all the time.

[00:08:51] And then you have a pass. So you really have to have things all set up and ready and you have to go quickly. And then you have to be really, really careful that you’re taking a bike that’s functional.

[00:09:04] Annie Sargent: Exactly. So you should do that first, actually, is see if there’s a bike there that you think you can use. Otherwise, there’s no point.

[00:09:12] Dvora Citron: Right. And then, you know, that you have the choice between the standard bike and then the electric bike. So at the beginning we were like, oh, we’ll just use the standard bike, it’s cheaper, but then one time there was only electric bikes, so we used the electric bikes, and it was like, oh, this is great.

[00:09:26] Annie Sargent: They’re not bad, huh?

[00:09:28] Dvora Citron: No, so we decided we’d use the electric bikes when we could, especially because some of our routes were uphill. Now I couldn’t quite figure out if you could decide when to use the electric part of it, or if it just did it on its own.

[00:09:43] Annie Sargent: I did this a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure that there’s a plus minus somewhere on the screen and you can just increase how much help you get or turn it almost off. I’m not sure if it turned it all the way off.

[00:09:55] Dvora Citron: I mean, what it would have been really nice if there was some kind of place or thing where they would demonstrate, here’s how you use the Vélib’ bikes in person. That would have been great.

[00:10:07] Annie Sargent: Perhaps there is, I’ll look and see if I can find a YouTube that’s done by the City of Paris. Because then perhaps it’s more like step one, step two, step three, rather than somebody who’s trying to be all cute and, Oh, I’m embarrassed, you know, it’s different.

[00:10:23] Dvora Citron: The other thing is, the app is really, really great. When you use it, you can see where the stations are… the closest to you.

[00:10:31] Annie Sargent: If there are bikes.

[00:10:32] Dvora Citron: Yes, if there are bikes, you can also see where there are slots because you need a slot for when you want to stop and park your bike. And we did have a little bit of trouble on one day finding a slot for both of our bikes.

[00:10:46] So that was a little bit challenging, but then I read afterwards that there’s an alternative where you can actually park your bike without a slot and lock it, and indicate that, but we didn’t do that.

[00:10:57] Annie Sargent: I’m not sure if I would trust that because if it’s not returned properly, they’re going to keep charging you for the time using it.

[00:11:04] Dvora Citron: Right.

[00:11:05] With the smartphones, we have an iPhone, you can easily see where you’re going. It’s a little bit challenging, as you can imagine, not the safest thing to be looking at your phone while you’re riding your bike in a city that’s a foreign city to you.

[00:11:20] I went, at the beginning, put my AirPods in and then quickly decided, no, they’re probably going to fall out. So it is helpful for me to be able to hear the directions. They do have this little thing where you can put your cell phone on, but it’s not, I couldn’t get mine in. And so we had to stop a lot and look at the map.

[00:11:44] So that wasn’t so hard for my husband to do because he’s tall and he could just stop his bike.

[00:11:48] But I’m really short. And so I always had to wait till we got to a curb so I could put my foot down. And the bikes are kind of cumbersome for me, but I still loved them. We really had fun using them. We found that we could go to a lot more places because we could get there quicker than walking. And there was quite a bit of traffic, so we probably got places more quickly at certain times than if we would have taken a cab or an Uber.

[00:12:18] Annie Sargent: Oh, yeah.

[00:12:18] Dvora Citron: We just enjoyed it. We went on, riding in certain destinations we’d go into, like, even on the first day, we rode into this residential area that we would have never gone into. And it was really pretty. It kind of reminded us of certain neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Léon Monet exhibit at the Luxembourg Museum

[00:12:33] Dvora Citron: So it was really nice. So anyways, on that first day, I had also bought tickets to see the Léon Monet exhibit at the Luxembourg Museum, in the afternoon.

[00:12:44] And that was at 2:30 and I was figuring, okay, everybody says don’t take a nap on your first day. So, we won’t take a nap if we’re got tickets to see this exhibit. And I chose that time because they had an English guided tour once a week and that was the time they had it.

[00:13:02] Annie Sargent: Oh, that nice. Yes.

[00:13:04] Dvora Citron: So that was really nice because we didn’t know anything about Léon Monet before that.

[00:13:09] And we really love Monet. It was kind of like a, one of the themes of our trip. So we really enjoyed that tour.

[00:13:16] Annie Sargent: Very nice. And that was in the Luxembourg garden.

[00:13:18] Dvora Citron: Yes, in the Luxembourg Museum in the Gardens. So we had some really nice bike rides that day, that very first day. We enjoyed that exhibit, and then as soon as it was done, we got a text from our hotel that our room was ready.

[00:13:33] Then we decided to take a ride back because we were anxious to get settled, which we did.

[00:13:39] Annie Sargent: And at that point, it’s downhill.

[00:13:41] Dvora Citron: Well, we did take a cab.

[00:13:43] Annie Sargent: Because you’re going back towards the river, so you’re going downhill, right?

[00:13:47] Dvora Citron: So we didn’t ride that one.

Juveniles Restaurant

[00:13:49] Dvora Citron: So the first restaurant we went to, was that night, it was called Juveniles. We really enjoyed it. I had been hearing a lot about it from people we know and I had read great reviews on it. And it was one of the only restaurants that we actually had to call to make a reservation.

[00:14:07] And so I decided that I’d make a reservation for us the first night and the last night of our trip because I was worried that what if we get too tired the first night and we don’t go? I really want to make sure we go to this restaurant.

Making reservations to make sure they’d try vegan restaurants they had read about

[00:14:19] Dvora Citron: But we made it there the first night. It was a nice walk from our hotel, and I mentioned before I’m vegan, and so one of the themes of our trip was eating plant-based, and that was really important to me. My husband is very, very, supportive. He’s not plant-based exclusively, but eats plant-based a lot with me. So I would say that one of the best experiences about this trip to Paris was that I contacted a lot of restaurants in advance, and the restaurants that the chefs that responded to me, that they’d be happy to cook a vegan meal.

[00:14:59] I had my best, best, meals there, and they weren’t even exclusively plant-based restaurants, and Juveniles was one of those.

[00:15:08] Annie Sargent: Well, that’s really good because there are a lot of chefs in France that want to try things, but you know, they get stuck in doing their menu all the time, and so to them it’s an exciting challenge to make something really nice that’s vegan.

[00:15:21] Dvora Citron: Yes, and also it was a good time of year because of the produce available.

[00:15:26] Annie Sargent: Mm-Hmm.

[00:15:26] Dvora Citron: So that was a great meal. I’d highly recommend that.

[00:15:29] And I’ll, spoiler alert, we did end up going back on our last night to Juveniles, because we enjoyed it very much. So we decided we’d go back there again.

Second Day, Le Marais Tour

[00:15:39] Dvora Citron: So the next day we,and again, the information that I had, including the information that you gave us, and I looked things up to make sure that places were open on the days we were planning to go there, like museums and things like that. Because, of course, there’s some days museums are closed, or restaurants, or certain things like that. So the next day we plan to do your VoiceMap tour in the Marais.

[00:16:06] And so our routine was, at the West End Vendome, we didn’t have any perks for eating breakfast there and it’s kind of an expensive restaurant. I like to have coffee right away in the morning and they don’t have coffee makers in the room there, but they have an espresso machine in the lobby.

[00:16:27] And so, I would run down there when we were getting dressed and get my espresso.

[00:16:31] So that was good. At least I got a,I got a little head start.

[00:16:35] Annie Sargent: I’m the same way. I got to, I can’t wait very long. Like, I need it now.

[00:16:41] Dvora Citron: I’ll say that, to be said for staying in a place, either if you’re in an apartment where you’re getting your own food, or there’s a place where they provide you breakfast, that’s got to be a good convenience and a time saver. So, I’ll tell you that one of my favorite places that we found this trip was called Land and Monkeys, Monkey’s Bakery.

[00:17:02] Annie Sargent: Mm hmm.

[00:17:03] I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it.

[00:17:04] I have not.

[00:17:06] Dvora Citron: They have three different locations. One was on the Marais, or on the way there. And they, it’s a completely vegan bakery and cafe. And I just thought it was out of this world, like, I’m really glad they don’t have one near me where I live, because I just would not be able to resist it.

[00:17:26] Annie Sargent: Do they serve classic French breakfast things, but vegan?

[00:17:31] Dvora Citron: Classic. Classic French patisserie,and just, there’s so much there that I wished I could have tried, but you can only eat so much at a time, and we would always go there in the morning, and so, and then we were off somewhere else, so it wasn’t like I could bring a whole bunch back with me.

[00:17:48] Annie Sargent: Tell me the name again.

[00:17:49] Dvora Citron: Land and Monkeys.

[00:17:50] Annie Sargent: Land and Monkeys. That is a bizarre name

[00:17:54] Dvora Citron: We went there, or at least I went there, almost every single morning to get stuff, and I really enjoyed it. On the second to last day, I realized the pain au chocolat I was getting, they actually had an almond and chocolate one, and it was like, oh my gosh, I could have been getting that the whole time.

[00:18:14] I got a few of those. It was really, really good. And my husband, my husband really enjoyed it also. And they have sandwiches there. There were sometimes we got sandwiches that we took with us so we could eat them along the route.

[00:18:30] So we took that the La Marais, VoiceMap tour.

[00:18:33] We started that. That was really fun. I think the tours are great. We loved the flexibility of them. And we love the ability to stop. I think there were some surprises, and they weren’t surprises about the way the tour was, they were just, like I thought we’d enjoy certain things, certain stops, but you know, it turns out, some of the museums along the way, we thought we’d stop at.

[00:19:00] Like, we went into Le Carnavalet, and someone had just raved about it, but it just wasn’t doing it for us, so we just left and kept going.

[00:19:11] That day we took a stop for lunch at L’As du Fallafel.

[00:19:15] Annie Sargent: Ah, L’As du Fallafel, yes, I love that place. Best falafel.

[00:19:19] Dvora Citron: Their eggplant dish there, I couldn’t wait. I was waiting four years to get that eggplant dish. So good. Can’t believe it.

[00:19:29] So, we finished that tour after lunch, and then we went back to the room. My husband was kind of tired. So I went over to the Madeline church and saw a free concert.

[00:19:39] Annie Sargent: Nice!

[00:19:40] Dvora Citron: That was really close to us.

[00:19:41] And then I went shopping in that area, you know, in the 1st Arrondissement, there’s some really nice shopping. It’s a little high end for me, but I was planning to get a Longchamp, how do you say it, Longchamp, purse as one of my souvenirs, so I started doing some investigating.

Le Christine Restaurant

[00:19:59] Dvora Citron: That night we ate dinner at a restaurant called La Christine, that was recommended to us by my brother and sister in law, and it was phenomenal. We really had…

[00:20:09] Annie Sargent: Christine or Pristine?

[00:20:11] Dvora Citron: La Christine, mm hmm.

[00:20:14] Annie Sargent: I’m sure you put it in your document.

[00:20:16] I did. Le Christine, Le Christine, okay.

[00:20:19] Dvora Citron: They had recommended we stop at Café Laurent for drinks and jazz before, but it was closed.

[00:20:25] So, I, you know, I went on my map and Ijust put wine in the map, and we ended up going to this Caviste beforehand, because we were in the area like an hour before our reservation. And we had such a nice little wine experience there before, we really, I would recommend that place, it’s small, but it’s pretty cool, it’s called Augustine.

[00:20:50] Annie Sargent: Okay. Yeah, and you really, I mean, you can go into any café in Paris and ask for some wine, you know, normal.

[00:20:58] Dvora Citron: I had some really good wine there, we returned to get a bottle of it later in the week.

Louis Vuitton Foundation, Warhol and Basquiat exhibit

[00:21:02] Dvora Citron: So the next day, we did not do one of the tours. We had tickets for the Louis Vuitton Foundation to see the exhibit with Warhol and Basquiat Basquiat?

[00:21:15] Annie Sargent: Ooh, nice, how was that?

[00:21:17] Dvora Citron: It was out of this world.

[00:21:19] Annie Sargent: Yeah!

[00:21:20] Dvora Citron: Yes, I didn’t know anything. Well, even though they’re both American artists, I didn’t know anything about Basquiat.

[00:21:26] It was one of the best exhibits I’ve ever seen. The way it was designed. And that building, of course, is just incredible. I mean, it’s worth going to see the building itself.

[00:21:37] We rode our bikes there. That was a little bit of a traffic, but it was there. Very pretty. I mean, riding bikes in the city ischallenging, it feels a little dangerous sometimes in the traffic, but I still felt Paris was really bike friendly and that the city set up so many bike lanes that they really invite you to do that, so.And we also thought that cars were really accommodating with our bike riding. We didn’t feel like we were fighting with cars, so that was nice.

[00:22:11] Annie Sargent: That’s good, yeah, that’s really good.

42 Degrees Restaurant

[00:22:13] Dvora Citron: That night we went into, I think it was the 9th Arrondissement to a restaurant called 42 Degrees. It’s a raw, like, well they only cook the food to 42 degrees. So it’s kind of a raw food restaurant. It’s vegan. It was a small place and I think the owner does almost everything there. But he was super, super nice, the owner and chef.

[00:22:37] And the food was really great. It was very artistic. We enjoyed the company of the people sitting next to us. So that was interesting. I would probably go back there again. And if someone asked me about it, I would say, sure, that’s worth a try.

[00:22:53] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so it sounds like it’s a little bit different.

[00:22:55] Dvora Citron: It is a little bit different, but I thought it was very good.

The VoiceMap tour of the Latin Quarter

[00:22:58] Dvora Citron: So I definitely recommend it. So the next day we started off with the VoiceMap tour of the Latin Quarter.

[00:23:08] And, gosh, I think that was the day that we had the tickets for the Pantheon.

[00:23:14] Annie Sargent: Yes, probably.

[00:23:16] Dvora Citron: And that was incredible, because I had read that you could get tickets to go to the top.

[00:23:22] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:23:23] Dvora Citron: Is it called the Coupole, is that what it is?

[00:23:25] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:23:25] La Coupole, yes.

[00:23:27] And so we had 10 am, I think that was the day we had the 10 am tickets. And so we timed it, the tour, very well when we started, so we ended up at the part of the tour near the Pantheon, being there just around the time we had the entry tickets, it was 10 am. And it was a little bit hazy that day, but the views are phenomenal. I mean, you get like a 360 degree view.

[00:23:52] Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s well worth doing if you have the time. Yeah.

[00:23:55] Dvora Citron: And I would say, we wished that we had more time because we probably would’ve spent more time inside, and doing the inside tour. But we went through and saw some of the main people’s tombs. That’s what they are? Yeah.

[00:24:11] We also stopped in the mosque. I really wanted to stop in the mosque, and we did a little tour through the mosque and that was great. And we stopped at the tea place and had some tea there, mint tea.

[00:24:23] Annie Sargent: Nice. I like that place.

[00:24:25] Dvora Citron: There’s so many things on each of the VoiceMap tours that you just don’t have time for everything, so you have to pick and choose. And it’s a good idea to have, you know, know in advance, okay, let’s plan to stop here and there. I had really hoped we were going to go into Jardin des Plantes.

[00:24:43] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:24:44] Dvora Citron: Is that how you say it?

[00:24:45] Annie Sargent: Jardin des Plantes.

[00:24:46] Yes. Yes.

[00:24:47] Dvora Citron: We just didn’t have time. And I’m sure that’s, that could be a whole, I know there’s so many museums there. You could probably spend several days there, but we didn’t even go inside.

[00:24:56] Annie Sargent: Right. No, and especially that VoiceMap tour of mine, it brings you to so many treasures that really, it’s hard to pick, like, which one am I going to, because you have the Cluny Museum, you have the Pantheon, you have the Luxembourg Garden, you have the Jardin des Plantes, you know, that’s a lot of, you could spend a day on each of those.

[00:25:18] Dvora Citron: Absolutely. And I think in retrospect, I would do it like that instead of a half a day, because when you look at your tours, you see they’re between two, two and a half hours if you go straight through. But I really think that you could, I really think you could just use one tour per day.

[00:25:38] Annie Sargent: Exactly. That’s exactly what I tell people to do. Just do one per day and stop wherever you’re interested and then spend the rest of the day sitting around enjoying the, you know, the neighborhood and you’re not going to miss anything because I’m going to take you to all the big, nice, most beautiful places and you’ll have a fantastic day.

Opera Garnier after 5pm tour guide

[00:25:59] Dvora Citron: We didn’t go into the Cluny Museum, even though I had it written down, or Jardin des Plantes. We did have tickets for the 5pm tour at Opera Garnier, so we wanted to get back in time to, we always like to freshen up before the evening and just have at least like an hour to just rest in our room. So we went to the Opera Garnier, not far from where we were staying either, 5pm tour, so that’s the tour that is after it closes to the public tours. So there’s no one else in there.

[00:26:34] I didn’t write down the amount right here, but wasn’t super expensive, but it wasn’t cheap. I think the self tour that you can do is much less expensive.

[00:26:43] It was a gorgeous, gorgeous building to see, and my favorite part was the Chagall ceiling.

[00:26:50] The tour itself it’s like the tour guide, was pretty cheesy, and he spent a lot of time kind of entertaining with myths of the museum, and to be quite honest with you, it wasn’t our favorite experience. We loved seeing the building, but we probably would have liked the south tour better. But some people might enjoy that.

[00:27:13] Annie Sargent: Yeah. You probably didn’t want to hear about all these conjunctions, like all these stories that people say about the opera house and more about the art and more about the architecture and things like that.

[00:27:25] Dvora Citron: Yes. Yes. Like I would have liked if he could have talked more about the Chagall painting on top.

[00:27:31] Then we had a book over to, like past Saint Germain. We had reservations at a restaurant called Kitchen Terre. And it was terrific. We loved it. We had a pasta dinner there. I had a vegan dinner there.

[00:27:47] I think it was mostly vegetarian vegan. I don’t think it was exclusively, I can’t quite remember, but I do remember that I had the best chocolate dessert there of the whole trip.

[00:27:59] Annie Sargent: Fantastic.

[00:28:00] That’s a great recommendation.

[00:28:03] Dvora Citron: I highly recommend that restaurant too. We found ourselves, as I’m sure a lot of people do, we would walk home from dinner every night, walk back to our hotel, like at least, it seemed like at least three miles, I think that’s around five, six kilometers. And you know, we don’t normally go out at night at home, let alone go for really long walks, so, we did quite a bit of walking, and bicycling, so we were able to enjoy these treats.

[00:28:31] Annie Sargent: But Paris is wonderful. I mean, you can walk in Paris, central Paris anyway. There are places in Paris where I would not want to walk, but those places are not very nice.

[00:28:40] Dvora Citron: And I paid attention, I paid attention to those areas too.

Giverny Tour

[00:28:44] Dvora Citron: So the next day was our Giverny tour, and I’ll give you a few highlights of it because I could probably spend a whole hour talking about that. But I thought that it was worth really being organized about the tour and, or the day.

[00:28:59] And I looked in advance to find out when the first reservation was we could get in for the Giverny Gardens itself, and it was 9:30. So I got those tickets, and then I worked backwards to see, okay, what time do we have to get there, what time do we have to leave, and so, we could get the tickets for Giverny for Monet’s Gardens way in advance. But the train tickets, and I know there, there’s like, oh, you can just get them when you get to the station, but I didn’t have a lot of comfort level with that.

[00:29:30] I like to get things set up in advance. But you can only get them a few weeks in advance because they don’t put the schedule out for the train set that far in advance.

[00:29:40] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:29:40] Dvora Citron: I had the apps for the train so I was able to get the tickets on the app and that was really easy. And at one point I had to switch our tickets and it was super easy to switch the tickets on the app also. So we made sure to get there by 9:00 am so that we could go to the bike rental place, which is right across from the train station and ride the bikes to Monet’s Gardens.

[00:30:05] We ended up not getting to Monet’s Gardens till 10:00 am even though we don’t really, it just took us longer than we thought.

[00:30:13] I don’t think it mattered that much. I would say the train experience is a little bit confusing, like nobody ever collected our tickets, or even asked us, so that was kind of curious.

[00:30:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. They don’t do it systematically, if there’s somebody on staff to do it, they will do it.

[00:30:30] Dvora Citron: And of course, you know, you have to go to the station and look up at the boards and figure out what platform your train’s going to be at, and then go there, and so, it’s a little, it’s a little nerve wracking when, you know, if you’re not used to that.

[00:30:43] Annie Sargent: Yes, it’s different, it’s different for you, yes.

[00:30:46] Dvora Citron: Yeah, so we went there, the train there was really nice, it was an express, and it was really pretty to see the scenery and everything. And then, the person from the bike rental place, I had been emailing him, he was really nice, and I said, what time do you think we should go back. Because it turns out there was only express train back either at 2pm or 5pm. So that’s quite a big difference. And I felt like the 2pm, we would really be cutting it close, so we ended up choosing the 5pm. So anyways…

[00:31:17] Annie Sargent: It’s too long.

[00:31:18] Dvora Citron: It was too long. 2 pm would have been kind of rushing.

[00:31:22] It probably would have worked out okay if we entered the gardens by 9:30, but we didn’t. What we ended up doing, we loved Monet Gardens, I love the gift shop, and then we went to the museum, the Impressionist Museum, and we ate lunch at the café there, which was really nice. We really liked that.

[00:31:43] Annie Sargent: They had vegan options?

[00:31:44] Dvora Citron: They did, they had a really nice vegan plate with falafel and hummus and a beautiful salad.

[00:31:50] Annie Sargent: Very nice.

[00:31:51] Dvora Citron: And it was hot that day and they had, we ate out in the garden under the umbrellas.

[00:31:56] It was really beautiful. It was a beautiful setting. And then we went into the museum and that was a really great exhibit. It was Children and Impressionism. And we had a discount there because one of the things we did was we bought the pass for the museums. Oh, I wrote it down. I can’t remember the name of it.

[00:32:13] Do you know what I’m talking about?

[00:32:14] Annie Sargent: Is it like the past that lets you go see other museums as well?

[00:32:18] Dvora Citron: You can see d’Orsay, or the Monet Pass. It’s so worth getting because you get immediate entrance, but for that museum you get a discount. So that was nice.

[00:32:29] So we enjoyed that museum and then we rode the bikes up to the church and his grave, Monet’s grave. And that was really beautiful. To see that you got a really nice feeling about that town of Giverny and what it was like there.

[00:32:47] And then the ride back along the path, it’s a beautiful, like very bucolic setting. It was a really lovely ride back. We stopped off and looked at this, like Castle Lake Tower on the way back, and then we rode back over the bridge that crosses over the Seine there.

[00:33:04] So then we were thinking, okay, we’ll hang out here and find a place until our train, but we just didn’t find anything.

[00:33:11] Annie Sargent: There’s not much there, is there?

[00:33:12] Dvora Citron: No, and so then we decided we’d hop on one of the local, which it got us back sooner than our 5pm would have, but it took a lot longer. And the train itself wasn’t as nice. And then I was sitting on the train and I put my feet up on the seat in front of me.

[00:33:32] Annie Sargent: Oh, oh!

[00:33:33] Dvora Citron: Don’t do that. Then I had like four armed policemen come by and tell me to put my feet down.

[00:33:41] Yeah, no one asked for a ticket.

[00:33:43] Annie Sargent: They gave you a ticket?

[00:33:44] Dvora Citron: No, they didn’t ask for my train ticket. They just told me to put my feet down.

[00:33:48] Annie Sargent: But did they give you a fine for having your feet? Because some people get a fine.

[00:33:53] Dvora Citron: No, so, yeah, I was like…

[00:33:55] Annie Sargent: So this is really important. Don’t put your feet on the seats on the metro, on the train, because they are on the lookout for that. And they do issue fines for some of them anyway. So just, yeah, don’t, don’t. It’s very strange.

[00:34:12] They care, they seem to care more about feet on the seats than about a lot of other things that they should care about. So, that’s just how they are, you know?

[00:34:22] Dvora Citron: So again, nobody collected our tickets and I can’t, we did go at the station, we did say, can we get on that local, and she was like, yeah, and I think she switched our tickets, but then we couldn’t get out of the station with our mobile tickets.

[00:34:38] And so…

[00:34:39] Annie Sargent: Ah, because it was the wrong…

[00:34:41] Dvora Citron: So we ended up like, I guess, going over illegally, which felt very uncomfortable, but there was nobody there to ask for help, it was just kind of mad rush at commute hour.

[00:34:52] Annie Sargent: Right, this happened because you hadn’t used the ticket that, for the train you intended, I mean, you didn’t get on the train you intended to take, you had a ticket for the wrong train, so it didn’t recognize it when you were exiting.

[00:35:03] Dvora Citron: Even though I think we paid more, but…

[00:35:06] Annie Sargent: Yes, you did, you did. The express is more expensive. But this could have been avoided if you hadn’t purchased your return ticket, you know what I mean? Because there’s so many trains, you’re going to get on a train.

[00:35:20] So stuff like that I like to leave it kind of, you know, when you don’t know how long it’s going to take, just don’t, you know, don’t get the ticket, and then you buy the ticket when you get to the station for the next train.

[00:35:32] Dvora Citron: I think like, because I wanted to get there on time, it was worth getting the ticket there in advance so that we knew when to be there and everything. But in retrospect, you know, the gardens were packed, you know, right when we got there, like, whoa, when did these people get here? So I was wondering, if you take one of those guided tours, do those tours get early entry? Because if they do, I would consider maybe doing one of them because that would have been nice.

[00:36:06] I also wish that either I was on a guided tour or I had done a little bit more research in advance so that I could know more about the plants and flowers I was looking at.

[00:36:17] I think I would have liked that. So next time I’m going to look into that because I’m going to go back there. I’m going back there for sure.

[00:36:24] That was a gorgeous place.

[00:36:26] Annie Sargent: The time of year you were there was June, right?

[00:36:28] Dvora Citron: Mm hmm.

[00:36:29] Annie Sargent: Yes, that’s when it’s really, really busy. If you went back, I don’t know, perhaps, you know, in October, because it closes middle of October. But if you go early October, like we’re recording this early October, I’m sure it’s a lot less busy.

[00:36:46] Dvora Citron: Right.

[00:36:47] Annie Sargent: But then you don’t have the same flowers, you don’t have the same plants. It’s gorgeous anyway. I mean, they have a dozen gardeners that keep this place absolutely gorgeous the whole time. Like if a plant is not thriving, they replace it with a different one.

[00:37:01] Dvora Citron: And, you know, the whole week we were in Paris, the weather was just perfect.

[00:37:06] It was absolutely beautiful. Yeah, we were very lucky.

[00:37:09] I probably wouldn’t go back to the place we went for dinner that night.

[00:37:14] Annie Sargent: Which was?

[00:37:15] Dvora Citron: It was called La Table de Colette.

[00:37:19] Annie Sargent: La Table de Colette. Okay.

[00:37:21] Dvora Citron: It was a, it was either a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, multi course.

[00:37:27] I just didn’t love the food.

[00:37:29] Annie Sargent: Okay. Well…

[00:37:30] Dvora Citron: So, it wasn’t cheap, but it’s okay. I’m willing to try places. I’m not going to like everything.

[00:37:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. This is not one I had heard about.

[00:37:38] Dvora Citron: No, the service was nice. Okay.

[00:37:41] So, I guess I made a mistake here. The next day was the day we went to the Pantheon, and that was because we were doing the St. Germain tour and we ended up at the Pantheon at 10 am.

[00:37:53] Annie Sargent: I see.

[00:37:53] Dvora Citron: So I guess that two days before was the day we went to the mosque along the Latin Corridor tour.

Quick Stop at a Yarn Shop

[00:38:00] Dvora Citron: But those routes are right next to each other, right? Yeah. So we went to, did the, started the Saint Germain tour early, and did the Pantheon at 10 am. Then after the Pantheon, we came back and did more of that tour and one of the things I liked about that morning and that early afternoon was that, we stopped off at a yarn store. I like to knit, and one of the things I like to do when I go on vacation is buy some local yarn. So, I was able to buy some local yarn at a nice knitting store there.

[00:38:32] Annie Sargent: That’s great.

Art class, Watercolor along the Seine.

[00:38:33] Dvora Citron: Then, we had a just kind of a lunch in a quick cafe that was nice, and we went back early to our room because I had signed up for an art class. I like to do watercolor painting just as a hobby, and I had researched this woman that does watercolor classes, art classes, and so I signed up for her class.

[00:38:57] It was Watercolor Along the Seine. And so there were just two of us. And we met her, and we did watercolor and black ink sketching. It was probably one of my favorite things I did that week.

[00:39:13] Annie Sargent: That’s great.

[00:39:14] Dvora Citron: So it was really, really nice. And I don’t know if I put some photos of my paintings in my photos that I gave you. I may have.

[00:39:24] Annie Sargent: You might have. Let’s see. I haven’t, I mean, I looked at them when you first shared them, but then I forgot, you know what I mean?

[00:39:31] Dvora Citron: So this woman, Pauline, she teaches locals too, in series, but then she has these, you know, one time classes, or workshops. And I feel like, oh, if I lived there, I would take her classes. I really enjoyed her a lot.

[00:39:47] Then my husband, I told my husband to meet me there, we had a little snafu with our communication, because I told you I got the Orange SIM card, so I always had connectivity. But we arranged it so that he could tether off of mine, but we weren’t together, so I told him where I was going to be, but I unfortunately gave him the wrong location.

[00:40:12] Annie Sargent: Ah.

[00:40:12] Dvora Citron: So then we had to try to figure out how to meet each other, and ultimately we did.

[00:40:17] Annie Sargent: Yeah, without a phone, that’s hard, isn’t it?

Phillippe Excoffier Restaurant

[00:40:20] Dvora Citron: He could have turned on his phone and just paid for the day, but anyways, it worked out. So that night we went to dinner at this restaurant called Philippe Excoffier. We had gone there on our first trip four years before, and that was like our last night celebration dinner, and we had so much fun there that we decided to go back there.

[00:40:39] And I had written Philippe and told him in advance, Okay, I’m vegan now, can you make me food and he said, of course I can. So again, this was another one of those meals that was just fantastic. I don’t really know what I had, but it was delicious and it was vegan, and it was all this, you know, local seasonal produce.

[00:41:03] So, I really, really appreciated it. They had a great sommelier there. We really enjoyed the wine. It’s a cute area, it’s near the Eiffel Tower, so afterwards we walked to the Eiffel Tower and walked back that way. So, that was super fun. We really liked that.

[00:41:21] Annie Sargent: Yeah, Excoffier, doesn’t he have a star, or two, perhaps?

[00:41:25] Dvora Citron: He used to cook for, like, the US Government, I think, or he…

[00:41:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah, the name sounds familiar.

[00:41:35] Dvora Citron: So, that was great, really loved it.

The Dior Gallery

[00:41:38] Dvora Citron: The next day, we had tickets to the Dior Gallery.

[00:41:42] So we rode our bikes.

[00:41:43] Annie Sargent: I haven’t been to that one.

[00:41:45] Dvora Citron: Okay, so my friend recommended that, and it’s in a very, so we rode our bikes there, that was the day where we had trouble finding, slots to park our bikes.

[00:41:56] So, I found one, then my husband had to go off and find another one a few blocks away. So, you have timed tickets, you get in line, I had read, no matter when you get your tickets, you’re going to be waiting in line for half an hour, so that’s fine, we’re waiting in line. I hope this is okay to say, but I got a bloody nose in line, okay? That was a problem, because I had to get out of line, and it’s a really, really high end neighborhood. And so, I told my husband, go get some napkins for me, but no restaurants had paper napkins. They were all cloth napkins.

[00:42:33] Annie Sargent: Of course, yes.

[00:42:34] Dvora Citron: So anyways, there’s a lot of nice stores around there.

[00:42:37] Someone came out and helped me and this woman stopped and helped me and she had some supplies.

[00:42:42] Annie Sargent: I can’t believe people around you didn’t offer Kleenexes.

[00:42:45] Dvora Citron: People were just kind of staring at me. And you know, I’m a school nurse, so I help people with these kind of issues all the time. But it was the very first time it happened to me. Anyways, this one woman helped me.

[00:42:55] Then we get back in line and we end up being in line right next to her and her family. So we felt like we were already connected. That was nice.

[00:43:02] Anyways, we went into that exhibit and it’s just gorgeous inside. It gives you a really good idea of the history of fashion and the history of Dior and it’s just beautiful inside.

[00:43:16] Annie Sargent: How long do you think you need to spend at the Dior? An hour, okay.

[00:43:21] Dvora Citron: And so we really, really, enjoyed that. After we did that, we rode back to the area we were staying in, and we ate a later lunch in this, now I’m maybe pronouncing it wrong, La Coupe d’Or.

[00:43:37] Annie Sargent: Coupe d’Or. La Coupe d’Dor.

[00:43:39] Dvora Citron: Okay, so we really like that place. We went there a couple times during our first trip because it’s really close by our hotel. And Eric got the chicken and fries, the roast chicken and fries, which were delicious. I got a gorgeous salad and, you know, fries in Paris are just so great.

[00:44:00] You can’t miss that, right?

Jean-Paul Hévin Chocolate Place

[00:44:02] Dvora Citron: So we really enjoyed that. And then we stopped off at this chocolate place, Jean-Paul Hévin? I don’t know. That was the second, at least the second time we stopped there. We really loved their chocolate. And also, Eric got some macarons for souvenir gift for his employees and they were really good.

[00:44:24] And then I ran into a coworker of mine on the street, which is so amazing when those kind of things happen. And then we went back to the hotel and I saw another person from the school I work at, at the hotel. So I was like…

[00:44:39] Annie Sargent: Incredible!

[00:44:40] Dvora Citron: Yeah, Paris is a big city, but you know, it can you, it made you feel a little bit, a little bit better.

[00:44:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Sorry, we don’t have a lot of time left. So if you want to just get to the… like if there are any tidbits that you didn’t share yet that you want to make sure you get to.

[00:44:58] Dvora Citron: That night we ate dinner at L’Ardoise, which was across the street from the hotel. We hadn’t planned to eat there. I’d absolutely go back there. Really great restaurant.

[00:45:07] Annie Sargent: Good.

[00:45:08] Dvora Citron: The last day we did your Montmartre tour in the morning, that was great to do early in the morning before the crowds get in.

[00:45:16] And then we did the walk down La Rue des Martyrs. And I read the book in advance that you had recommended in one of the podcasts, and so I just felt like, I felt like I already knew that street from reading the book.

[00:45:30] Annie Sargent: That’s right, yes.

[00:45:32] Dvora Citron: We picked up stuff along the way for a picnic at the Tuileries, and so we had a little picnic at the Tuileries. And that was a great thing to do, we ended, we bopped into l’Orangerie with our Carte Blanche Pass, that’s what it’s called.

[00:45:47] The Carte Blanche pass.

[00:45:49] Really worth it if you want to be able to get into the museums, bypass those lines with no reservation. And then we finished up our night in Paris after going to Juveniles again with the Seine boat tour. And it was the White Night that night.

[00:46:09] Annie Sargent: Yes, so everybody was wearing white.

[00:46:12] Dvora Citron: Well, it was just like a big giant like if it isn’t already huge party all night long. So really fun last night.

[00:46:21] Annie Sargent: Very good, very good. So, is there anything that you learned about Paris on this trip that you didn’t know that you want to share with other people? Or was it, you were, I mean, you sound to me like you were extremely well prepared for everything.

[00:46:37] Dvora Citron: I felt like I was very well prepared.

[00:46:40] What I enjoyed, I enjoyed like the deeper dive into Monet and the Monet experiences we had. I did a lot of reading in advance, and so, I really felt like I had a better appreciation for the city just like a second layer, you know. I think some listening to your podcasts and doing some reading really helped me appreciate the history, more about Baron Haussmann, and the architecture, and everything that you go into in the VoiceMap tours. Really, I just had a lot of appreciation for it.

Do you have a favourite VoiceMap tour?

[00:47:19] Annie Sargent: So since you walked several of the VoiceMap tours, do you have a favorite? Is there one that you would recommend over the others?

[00:47:25] Dvora Citron: I really like them all. We didn’t, we bought the whole package, we didn’t even get to do all of them.

[00:47:31] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:47:31] Dvora Citron: We didn’t do The Iron Lady. I think there was one more that we didn’t do, can you think?

[00:47:37] Île de la Cité, it sounds like you didn’t do Île de la Cité.

[00:47:39] We were going to do that the first day and we didn’t do it.

[00:47:41] Annie Sargent: Well, you were busy doing something else, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that.

[00:47:46] One of the things I wished we had time for, but I just knew we weren’t going to have time for, was that virtual tour of…

[00:47:53] Oh, the Notre Dame, Notre Dame Internelle

[00:47:56] Dvora Citron: yeah, I wished we had been able to do that, but we didn’t. And you know, we were there during the tennis tournament. So, it was also very busy there.

[00:48:07] But I feel like Oh, I’d love to go back to Paris multiple times, so I can’t wait to do all those other things.

[00:48:14] Annie Sargent: You know, it’s fantastic that you told me so many great tips for vegans because that, you know, that introduces some complications, although in Paris, they’re minor complications. You’ll find food, but you found some delicious places.

Paris is very vegan friendly

[00:48:30] Dvora Citron: I think that Paris was very, very vegan friendly, and I was really excited about how open minded the chefs were. And you know, I talked about the non-vegan chefs doing these wonderful meals. There’s also so many young chefs that are doing vegan friendly things, maybe exclusively, or in addition to what else they’re doing, and it’s so innovative. I had to really work hard to pick which places we wanted to go to, because there were so many choices.

[00:49:00] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Did you try vegan cheese by any chance? Because I’ve heard that that has come a long way.

[00:49:06] Dvora Citron: Oh, so I, what I didn’t say was, you know, the very first place we wanted to go to was this place Jay & Joy Cheese, and they, I read so much about them, and we got there, and they were shuttered. So I guess they had been shuttered for a little while, so I had some vegan cheese for sure at that raw place. I can’t remember having anything in particular, we have a brand of vegan cheese here that is very good that I have often.

[00:49:33] So I was really looking forward to having this Jay & Joy.

[00:49:37] And there’s a lot, there are a lot of other vegan cheeses that they mention if you go into, like, these higher end grocery stores or vegan grocery stores.

[00:49:47] We didn’t really do that because we’re staying in a hotel and stuff.

Precise brewing will change every thing when it comes to vegan options

[00:49:52] Annie Sargent: Yeah. You know, I think in 10 years with the progress that some of the really precise brewing that they can do now, they can kind of brew the same molecules as milk, but it’s not made of milk, it’s vegan. And I think in 10 years, most everybody is going to be buying vegan cheese because, you know, like if it tastes the same, it looks the same and it’s vegan, why wouldn’t you?

[00:50:24] Dvora Citron: Well, one of the things I wanted to say is, you’ve been one of the inspirations, I’m going to, I’m starting a blog called Slant 2 Plants. It’s a travel and healthy lifestyle blog. And so those are some of the things I’m going to talk about is like, how do we shift to make healthier choices for our own health and the planet?

[00:50:47] And so, obviously, doing something like that is a real…

[00:50:52] Annie Sargent: I’ll put a link to your blog in the show notes. That’s slant2plants.

[00:50:57] Dvora Citron: Yes. slant2plants.Com.

[00:50:58] Annie Sargent: A great name. Next thing you know, you’ll be starting a podcast.

[00:51:05] Dvora Citron: You’re a great inspiration, Annie.

[00:51:07] Annie Sargent: That’s good. Well, thank you so much for talking to me, Dvora. It’s been wonderful. And well, I don’t know when you’ll come back to France, but I hope you do because you, you’ll have many things to discover.

[00:51:19] So, that’s wonderful.

[00:51:20] Dvora Citron: I will, and I’ll be in touch.

[00:51:21] Annie Sargent: Merci beaucoup.

[00:51:23] Dvora Citron: Oh, and I love being in the Facebook group. That is super helpful.

[00:51:28] Annie Sargent: Yeah, the Facebook group is good, right? So many people that have good suggestions. It’s fantastic. I don’t spend very much time there because I have so many other things that I need to get done, but there’s wonderful people in the group and lots of people who contribute. They really know Paris quite well.

[00:51:46] Dvora Citron: I’ll just tell you this quickly, that because you can get online, you know, all the time, people made up to date posts there that could be really helpful about what’s happening at the time or if you needed some immediate information about something, so that’s really appreciated, so thanks for having that group.

[00:52:05] Annie Sargent: Thank you very much. Merci, Dvora, and have a wonderful rest of your day.

[00:52:11] Well, hopefully you’ll come back to France.

[00:52:14] Dvora Citron: Merci.

[00:52:15] Annie Sargent: Au revoir.

[00:52:16] Dvora Citron: Au revoir.


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[00:52:38] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to new patrons: Danny Thomas and Carol L. Wonderful to have you onboard in the community of francophiles who keep this podcast going.

[00:52:50] To join this community go to And to support Elyse, go to

Zoom meetings for Patrons

[00:53:07] Annie Sargent: This week, I announced new dates and times for Zoom meetings with patrons. This is my chance to hear from you where it’s an exchange, you can actually talk back. It’s fantastic.

Planning a trip to France?

[00:53:16] Annie Sargent: Now let me remind you that if you’re planning a trip to France and have questions that didn’t get answered in an episode of the podcast, you can hire me to be your itinerary consultants and you can read all about that at the boutique.

[00:53:30] But to make it simple, I have two levels of service, Bonjour service and VIP service for people who want more, you know, more in depth, more detailed guidance.

[00:53:43] There’s also my tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app, my day trips around the Southwest of France, you know, it’s a small business, it’s just me and it’s lovely to have this podcast turn into my full time job.

French News

[00:53:57] Annie Sargent: All right. Let’s talk about French news a little bit. Emmanuel Macron, our president, appointed a new Prime Minister this week, and in turn, this new prime minister and the president together chose a new cabinet. The French president has the discretion to choose and appoint the Prime Minister.

[00:54:15] That’s how our Constitution works. He must choose someone new or reappoint the same person after legislative elections. But we did not have an election this time. This time the president decided that it was time to make a change, and he can. This choice is influenced by political considerations, of course, public opinion, and the president’s political agenda.

[00:54:40] In France, just like in much of the world, populist political parties are gaining ground. Marine Le Pen did not manage to win the presidential election, but she’s been inching forward for many years. Now, she’s appointed a young guy called Jordan Bardella. He’s only 28 and he’s really popular. I think he makes me cringe, but he’s really popular.

[00:55:05] Emmanuel Macron does not want to turn the key to the kingdom to Le Pen or Bardella. And I don’t need to remind you that Barack Obama had to turn powers over to Donald Trump. So this happens.

[00:55:20] People get excited about populists who make big promises and make them feel like someone cares, even if all these people care about is power and control.

[00:55:28] But you know, promises, promises, promises. Macron can see it coming. But he can not run again himself, he had two terms, that’s it. So he went looking for a prime minister who has charisma and can gain ground over populism.

[00:55:44] Élisabeth Borne, the previous Prime Minister was fantastic, in my opinion. She managed to pass some very unpopular, but necessary changes to French law.

[00:55:57] She got the job done, but she’s not someone who can steal the show. She’s a great technician and lacks charisma. And it’s funny to see the photos of her since she’s been relieved of this appointment, the biggest smile on her face. She’s very happy to be done with this, I think.

[00:56:16] So, now let me tell you about the new guy.

[00:56:18] His name is Gabriel Attal. He is 34 years old. He started getting involved in politics at age 20. He signed up with the Socialist Party and has slowly moved to the right, along with the rest of the country, really. He was born in Clamart, which is in the Hauts-de-Seine, so not very far from Paris.

[00:56:39] He was elected at various levels of government until he was recently appointed as Minister of Education, and he’s also been the spokesperson for the president for a while, and during the pandemic in particular. So we saw him on TV quite a bit. In his short tenure at the Ministry of Education, he made some really important decisions.

[00:57:02] I get the impression that he’ll be missed because he’s very decisive. He’s both the youngest Prime Minister we’ve ever had and openly gay. His sexual orientation seems to be a bigger deal outside of France than in France, where like everybody’s like, okay, whatever. And LGBTQ associations don’t like him much because he’s too far to the right for their tastes, but whatever it is, to me, whenever I’ve heard him speak, he’s made sense.

[00:57:32] He has a knack for keeping things simple. He can take on adversarial situations with ease and he doesn’t lose his cool. He’s just really smart and you know, he can make pithy answers that are just like, Oh, I hadn’t, I didn’t see it like that before, he’s right.

[00:57:51] So, I think it’s possible that Gabriel Attal will be able to catch the ear all the people who want simple answers to complex questions.

[00:58:05] Now, I think I would agree with his decisions more often than not, because, you know, he knows how to make it sound simple, even when it’s not, and he knows it’s not. So right, let’s see, let’s see. So, here you go, we have a new Prime Minister and he’s only 34. That’s impressive.

[00:58:25] My thanks to podcast editors Anne and Christian Cotovan who produced the transcripts and the audio for this podcast.

Next week on the podcast

[00:58:32] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, a trip report with Greg Rutter, who came to France for a photography workshop but also likes to take it easy on vacation. He’d like to be called a flâneur, which is a great thing to do if you ask me.

[00:58:47] Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together.

[00:58:53] Au revoir.


[00:58:54] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2024 by AddictedToFrance. It is released under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license.


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Categories: French Food & Wine, Paris