Transcript for Episode 493: Family, Fun and France

Categories: Family Travel, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Los Angeles
  • Paris
  • south of France
  • Armenia
  • Italy
  • Turin or Torino
  • VoiceMap app
  • Paris Opera Ballet
  • Bastille Opera
  • Palais Garnier
  • World War II walking tour
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Perfumeries in Le Marais
  • 2nd arrondissement
  • Le Marais
  • Saint Germain
  • Opéra
  • Seine River Cruise
  • Saint Germain des Prés
  • Latin Quarter
  • Sorbonne
  • Louvre
  • Soccer stadium
  • Lake Como
  • Lake Garda
  • Switzerland

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 493, quatre cent quatre-vingt-treize.

Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent, and Join Us in France is the podcast where we take a conversational journey through the beauty, culture, and flavors of France.

Today on the podcast

[00:00:32] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a trip report with Talin Janjik, who shares the story of their six week vacation, the trip of a lifetime, which took them from Los Angeles to the streets of Paris and beyond.

You’ll hear how they navigated France, including a family reunion, a wedding, they went to the south of France and coped with some unexpected events, and also made the most out of every moment.

A great episode with insights on traveling with family, embracing local cultures, and the beauty of spontaneous exploration.

Stay tuned to learn how Talin’s meticulous planning, and flexible approach paved the way for memories that will last a lifetime.

Podcast supporters

[00:01:17] 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 of France in my electric car.

You can browse all of that at my boutique:

Patreon supporters get new episodes as soon as they are ready and ads free. If that sounds good to you, be like them, follow the link in the show notes.

No Magazine Segment

[00:01:51] Annie Sargent: There won’t be a magazine part of the podcast today, because I am scheduling this episode early and it’ll come out when I’m leading the Bootcamp 2024 edition.

You’ll hear all about the Bootcamp soon. Stay tuned.


Planning the Trip of a Lifetime with Talin Janjik

[00:02:15] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Talin Janjik and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:02:20] Talin Janjik: Thank you, Annie . So nice to join you in person.

[00:02:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah, lovely to talk to you. Sounds like you had a fantastic trip. So tell us when was this trip? Where did you go? Who were you with?

[00:02:32] Talin Janjik: Okay, so this was a second leg of a six leg trip we took from Los Angeles, across the Atlantic to Armenia, and then we went to France, then we moved on to Italy. This was a six week vacation. We called it a trip of a lifetime because we were all able to be together and it was me, my husband, and my three older kids who are, two of them are in college and one of them is a freshman in high school.

[00:03:01] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah. They’re growing up and that you don’t know when you’ll be able to do that again, right?

[00:03:05] Talin Janjik: Exactly. So it was very special, especially for us as a family. And then, the first trip, the Armenia trip was mainly because of a wedding in Armenia. This whole vacation was bookended with a trip to Armenia for a family reunion, and ended with my daughter doing a dance intensive.

My oldest daughter is a dancer, so she did a dance intensive in Italy, the town named Turin or Torino, where she had a fantastic time, but I kind of tried to arrange, so what do we do between Armenia and Italy? How can we manage this so that she doesn’t have to go back and forth and we can just extend the trip so that she could stay with us and make this a really nice summer vacation.

And mind you, this was the first time we all traveled together to Europe. And first time in Armenia.

[00:03:58] Annie Sargent: That’s fantastic.

[00:03:59] Talin Janjik: So France was, the reason why we stopped at France was because I have family there. My cousin has lived there for over 40 years. She has children and grandchildren, and all these years she was asking, begging us to visit her, finally managed. So this trip, basically included a lot of family reunions, my aunt who visited us from London, and she came to France to see us.

[00:04:24] Annie Sargent: So it was a complicated trip.

[00:04:26] Talin Janjik: Lot of people coming in and out with different itineraries and agendas. And I was kind of like the operator at a switchboard trying to figure out. So it was, like I said, it was a whirlwind of experience for me, but I really worked hard at making sure I took it all in.

[00:04:47] Annie Sargent: Right, that’s great. Okay.

In France with Family

[00:04:49] Annie Sargent: So while you were in France, well, first of all, how did you organize, how did you decide where you wanted to go? Well, you had the family there too, right?

[00:04:59] Talin Janjik: Yes. So Paris, of course, was where we wanted to stay mainly, but also we wanted to see south of France. And then from there on we took the train to Rome. So we tried to renounce flying for multiple reasons, and I had heard how traveling through towns in Europe was so easy with train, even though I consulted with my cousin and she kind of tried to talk me out of it.

No, you know, take the plane from Nice is just an hour and a half to Rome. I said, no, I really want to experience it. And we had a lot of luggage, as you can imagine, with uhteachers and girls and then we had multiple itineraries where we’ve had a wedding and then a dance, so all these different kinds of wardrobe and outfits, so it was hard to travel with just a carry on, the medium sized luggage, five luggages with carry ons, carrying it through trains was a little bit difficult.

But my husband especially said, I don’t want to go through the security again and the weight of the luggage, the time we have to spend showing up early, obviously,delayed the process too a little bit. So we figured, let’s just go for it, it’s an adventure.

And thankfully for having listened to your podcast, about theapps for Trainline and SNCF, that helped me so much to be able to, from the convenience of my mobile, I was able to plan this train trip from Nice to Rome, without a hitch. Like, everything went very smoothly.

Of course, I was stressing a lot, and we can talk about that later, but all the details. So that was it. Paris was mainly because obviously we wanted to see Paris and our cousins, and then from there on, we traveled down through south of France to Rome.

[00:06:51] Annie Sargent: Wow. Well, I’m glad it went, it went out. Because I would have been, kind of like your French relative, I would have, ooh that’s a, that sounds complicated. So I was like, not sure. So good for you.

[00:07:06] Talin Janjik: Great.

[00:07:07] Annie Sargent: Good for you. All right.

[00:07:09] Talin Janjik: Thank Gods we’re with us.

[00:07:11] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. That’s fantastic.

Embracing Parisian Life Beyond the Tourist Spots

[00:07:14] Annie Sargent: So tell us what are some of the things that you enjoyed most on this trip?

The French part of the trip anyway.

[00:07:21] Talin Janjik: Of course. We would have loved to see a lot of landmarks and the tourist attractions and checked off a lot of things on our bucket list, but we didn’t get to do that. Honestly, we set our agenda, and by we, it was just me and my older daughter who is a francophile. She loves French people and everything about France.

So she and I decided, you know what, we’re not going to fill up our itinerary with so much to do. Let’s just go enjoy the neighborhoods, walk around, sit at cafes, watch people and take it all in. Especially that we have family there, we wanted to just kind of walk through Paris with them and experience their daily life.

And whatever we got to see, we got to see, fantastic, and whatever we missed, not a big deal, you know? So, that kind of took a lot of pressure off of me to have everything scheduled, because as you can imagine, for six weeks I had to plan things. So Paris would be one part of it, but having family there helped.

However, I had kind of scheduled the structure of every day, like I had some blocks scheduled for certain experiences, tours, performances, because she wanted to see a few performances and we got lucky, we saw Paris Opera Ballet.

[00:08:40] Annie Sargent: Nice. Can I ask you a question about the ballet? Sorry. Did they let you look around the Opera House either before or after the performance?

[00:08:50] Talin Janjik: Okay, so this was at the Bastille Opera. Yeah. We didn’t make, the Palais Garnier was all sold out, the performance.

[00:08:58] Annie Sargent: Okay. Sorry about that.

[00:09:00] Talin Janjik: Yeah, but their performance was so awe inspiring and nothing we’ve ever seen anything like that before. So I highly recommend doing a show at either venue. Anyway, those kinds of things, like I researched things that we, I researched things that appealed to us, from my youngest one to my husband, he’s into history.

So I came across this experience for World War II, you know, a walking tour with a historian. So him and my son did the tour together and they really enjoyed it. Then I did the Eiffel Tower, you know, climb up to the top for the two of them because I knew the girls weren’t interested. They’re like, you know, we’re happy just sitting by the Eiffel Tower and watching it.

We don’t have to climb up, for example, my son and husband…

[00:09:52] Annie Sargent: And you mean literally you climbed, you walked?

[00:09:54] Talin Janjik: I think, no, they took the elevator.

[00:09:56] Annie Sargent: Elevator, okay.

[00:09:57] Talin Janjik: But my son wanted to climb and my husband said, no way. They took the elevator. Yeah, but he, he was reallyamused by the view and they enjoyed it. So I had to divide to conquer, basically, but I really checked in with them beforehand.

Like, what do you guys want to see? Tell me your agenda and I’ll figure things out. Like, my youngest one is really into perfumes, and shopping, so I found an experience on Airbnb, a tour of the perfumeries in Le Marais, for example. Wonderful shops. And smelled all these beautiful scents, and they bought a bottle and they brought it with them and it’s very special.

So I think my advice to families that are going with older kids where you can’t really just drag them everywhere, you know, you have to acknowledge their likes and dislikes, and their moods, sometimes they stop and they don’t want to get out of bed. And so what do I do? Or they’re tired, they don’t want to come to this dinner or so on and so forth.

So it worked out really well where I was very fluid with my planning. So, I mean, it’s Paris, you can’t go wrong, it’s just walk out and it’s so beautiful.

[00:11:12] Annie Sargent: And that is the right attitude because if you, if your goal is to drag the whole family with you, they’re going to resent that. I mean, especially older teenagers, they just want to do their own thing. And it’s not like it’s dangerous to leave them on their own devices for a few hours, you know, let’s split up and we’ll meet up again tonight.


[00:11:34] Talin Janjik: They’re savvy enough with their navigations to be able to walk somewhere and meet us somewhere. So it was really nice. Like, if my son didn’t want to come with us right away, he wanted to sleep in, he would meet us somewhere later on with his app, you know, it’s just very easy to do. And we were staying at the 2nd arrondisement, which wasvery safe. Relatively safe, obviously you still have to be careful because it’s busy and whatnot, but local centralized enough where just 15, 20 minute walking to distance.

[00:12:06] Annie Sargent: To a lot of places. Yeah. It’s very central. And it is a bit, I mean, it’s a mixed neighborhood, c’est Les Halles, right? This is Les Halles that you’re talking about?

[00:12:14] Talin Janjik: Yes, well, Opera.

[00:12:16] Annie Sargent: Opéra. Okay. Yeah. So it’s a bit of a mixed neighborhood, but it’s very nice. I mean, it’s just busy, lots of people.

[00:12:23] Talin Janjik: We were on a busy street, definitely loud, a lot of, you know, trucks going in and out in the morning, especially our neighbors were loud, but it worked out. It was okay.


[00:12:33] Annie Sargent: Did you rent an Airbnb or…?

[00:12:37] Talin Janjik: Again, I got very lucky, all six cities that we stayed, I did Airbnb because there was five of us and I noticed that the hotel rooms were more expensive because we had to do two rooms. It was going to be hard having them connected. We had a lot of luggage, so we needed more space. And I think I saved more going with the Airbnb route, although the Airbnb in Paris was the most expensive one.

I did splurge a little there because I wanted it to be a nice experience for the girls because they had seen all these Instagram photos of cute little balconies and I, we didn’t want to disappoint them too much, but it worked out really nice because the area was pretty centralized. It had AC, washer / dryer, really nice decor inside.

So it was worth the extra that we paid.

[00:13:29] Annie Sargent: Cool.

And you liked the neighborhood?

[00:13:31] Talin Janjik: Yes, we liked the neighborhood, but I think next time, which is actually going to be in September, we’re coming down for another wedding in Paris. I’m excited. That I prefer probably Le Marais or Saint Germain, probably those areas would be more suitable for the girls because it’s more vibrant and trendy and, a lot to do when you walk out.

[00:13:53] Annie Sargent: Fantastic. Yeah. Very nice.

Transportation Tales: Navigating Paris Amidst Riots

[00:13:55] Annie Sargent: How did you get around in Paris?

[00:13:57] Talin Janjik: Okay, so a lot of walking because we were mostly relying on Uber and Bolt, but they weren’t reliable. And I tell you why, because the first night we arrived, it was during the riots.

Which one? The retirement?

Where,the riot because of the killing of the young men.

[00:14:20] Annie Sargent: Oh, that. Yes. Yes. The kid who got into a thing with the police and they shot him. Yeah.

[00:14:27] Talin Janjik: So it was pretty violent and my cousin called me and said, are you sure you want to come? And of course we had been, you know, preoccupied with everything that was going in Armenia and I hadn’t really paid attention to the news. So I’m like, yeah, sure. I mean, riots, we get it in LA all the time. It’s not a big deal.

You know, a couple of smashing windows or whatever, but they were pretty violent. Yeah, so I think it had, I read later that about 25 percent of the tourists cancelled for that weekend. So that, when we arrived Friday night, all the shops were closing early. We had a tour on Saturday night, it was a late night tour of, you know, driving tour with the Citroën? Yeah.

Yeah. I was very excited about that, but that got canceled, and everywhere we would want to go eat, they had already closed. Most of the shops were being boarded up. I mean, there was still definitely activity, but, you know, more in the back streets and the main area actions, they had a lot of gendarmes standing.

[00:15:33] Annie Sargent: It was not a normal night.

[00:15:35] Talin Janjik: It was not a normal night. Yeah. Yeah. And because of that, obviously traffic was really bad. We couldn’t get Uber as quickly, as quickly as we wanted. So, yeah, so we basically walked around a lot, Uber, a little bit of Metro, and taxis.

[00:15:52] Annie Sargent: Did you have a MetroCard or did you just got some tickets?

[00:15:55] Talin Janjik: No, I relied on my cousins for that because they said, don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of that for you. So, once or twice, they kind of accompanied us on the metro rides and they bought the ticket right away. So I, we didn’t know what was going on. My husband and my son figured it out more because they did a couple of things on their own.

So I wish I had that chance to discover metro more, but that’s definitely going to be on our priority next time when we go, because I think, especially on those areas that we want to stay, there’s so many metro stations, so easy to get to.

[00:16:29] Annie Sargent: Yeah. The Metro is handy dandy, but during times of riots, like you were, they often close stations. And also it’s, I mean, it’s not a fun experience. Like the metro, you know, it’s smelly and busy and lots of people. And I don’t know. So I’d rather take the bus myself, because I’m never in that big of a hurry.

I can take the bus. But I understand that if you want to get somewhere quickly, the Metro is more efficient, you know.

[00:16:54] Talin Janjik: It was just very hard to get Uber to show up on time, and then tracking them down. We were late for our performance and I was just literally running on the street looking for taxis because it so, so busy. So yeah, that was not… But I have to say Bolt was more reliable than Uber in Paris.

[00:17:16] Annie Sargent: Is that right? Huh.

[00:17:18] Talin Janjik: We had more Bolt.

[00:17:19] Annie Sargent:

It was better than Uber. That’s really cool. That’s really cool.

Seine River Cruise, Eiffel Tower Sparkles

[00:17:23] Annie Sargent: All right. Let’s see. In Paris you liked your Seine River Cruise at night.

[00:17:28] Talin Janjik: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:17:30] Annie Sargent: Of course, of course.

[00:17:31] Talin Janjik: I think, again, I believe listening to your podcast really help me figure out, first of all, which company to go to with, and then what time to choose, because obviously sunset is much later in the summertime, and I wanted the kids to see the sparkles of the Eiffel Tower.

So, the way we arranged it was that I believe our tour was at 10 o’clock at night, and it went first towards Eiffel Tower, we made it there around 10:45, 11. 11 is when it actually started.

[00:18:04] Annie Sargent: The sparkle?

[00:18:05] Talin Janjik: Yes, so actually I think it was 10:30, I’m sorry, 10:30 or 10:45.

Anyway, I have to look back and I’ll write it in the notes, but the way it worked out was it’s perfect.

And it was the only time, obviously, because they do it at the hour after sunset, and up until 11, right?

[00:18:25] Annie Sargent: I think they, they do it more now, again. They used to do it till like three in the morning and then they stopped. I think it’s back to later. I’m not certain.

[00:18:36] Talin Janjik: For us, it was the only time that was going to happen, at 11 o’clock and I got lucky. We reserved those way in advance. Just looking at the kids face when we just passed by and the sparkles, they were just, really, really touched. It was super romantic and cute. And we had hot chocolate with us.

And the tour was okay. The tour guide was speaking really fast in a very thick English accent. So I, we couldn’t think of things that she was saying along the Seine, all the other landmarks, but it was okay. We would probably, we’re definitely going to have to do it one more time during the day.

[00:19:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and you go by so many things on the boat. So this was the commentary from the cruise ship, right? From the boat. Yeah. Yeah.

Then you also enjoyed your Saint Germain des Prés stroll. Nice. Because, why?

[00:19:27] Talin Janjik: Charm, you know, and the pedestrian streets, and just the little boutiques. We love all of that. For us, these kind of neighborhoods are veryattractive.

[00:19:40] Annie Sargent: No they are. What’s not to like? I mean Saint Germain-des-Prés is a lovely area. Definitely. You also went to the Latin Quarter.

Yes, we passed by Sorbonne, again the college vibe, the little cafes, the small squares, that’s basically why we came to Paris, to just enjoy all of that.

Yeah, so was it your relatives who told you where to go, or was it, did they go with you some of the time?

I didn’t get too much input from them. Mainly it was just places not to go. So I would check in with them on, what do you think about this? And they’d say, no, no, no, don’t. Avoid that or, so on and so forth.

Planning and Flexibility: Crafting the Perfect Itinerary

[00:20:21] Annie Sargent: But we kind of went along, maybe the day before I would say, okay, you guys, we have this experience scheduled in this area.

What would you like to see? Let’s see, is there a cafe or is a vintage store or so on, and so forth. So we would just focus in that one area. Or if we were meeting with my cousins, then we’d say, Oh, hey, maybe from here, we can go and check out this place. So it was just the night, the day before is how we chose the next day’s itinerary.


Accommodating Everyone: The Challenge of Group Travel

[00:20:52] Annie Sargent: So every night you’d say, okay, what are we doing tomorrow?

Right. Well, we had structure, so I had something happening, but there’s a lot of room for including their agendas as well. I could be a military itinerary where it’s like, this, this.. and so…

Yeah, troups let’s march through Paris.

No. And keep in mind I had my aunt coming from London and she’s 80 years old.

Oh, fantastic.

She kept up with us walking around the neighborhoods in the heat of summer. She would be like, maybe you can call Uber, and I’d be like, oh, but auntie, but there’s like, this is a one way street and you know, we can’t get to, it’s hard to go the other way, so we have to walk. So she kept up with us, but I really had to, you know, consider her mood and where she wanted to be.

And so, like I said, it was very dizzying for me because I had to keep everybody happy at the same time make it a fun experience. So, that flexibility in my itinerary where I didn’t have to cancel something, you know, because we didn’t make it there, that worked out really well. So that’s what I would say, for large families, especially us where everybody’s very vocal about what they like and they don’t want, it was a great success. But certainly, we came back thinking, Oh my gosh, and we didn’t see this, and I can’t believe we didn’t do that. So yeah, it’s okay, it wasn’t going to be our last time visiting Paris.

Exactly, there’s always more of Paris. No matter how much you put in, there’s always more to see, so it’s not like, you know… (Mid-roll Ads)

Cultural Immersion: Art, Baking, and Language Lessons

[00:22:30] Annie Sargent: My husband and son got to do the, they went to see the stadium, the soccer stadium in Saint Germain. And then my husband said, you know, while you guys are out shopping, I’ll take the bus, the double decker bus tour. So he was happy with that. We did the three hours in Louvre with my cousins.

So my cousin has a gallery, an art gallery in Paris, so they’re very knowledgeable about art. So I had actually reserved a private tour, or semi private tour of Louvre, but he said, Cancel it, what are you doing? You know, I’ll give you the tour myself. He has a little baby too, with his baby carrier, he came and he took us around mostly his favorite paintings, but obviously, we went and saw Mona Lisa, too, and did the with the kids, but definitely two hours, three hours was not enough. So I have to go back on my own. The kids were tired, you know, that was the first night we got to Paris.

So after a five hourplane ride, it was tiring for them. Friday’s Louvre is open till nine. So this was a late night, like 6 pm ticket, which I had purchased directly through their website. But we got lucky, there was no line, no line to get in.

Often that’s the case with late tickets, somehow.

I couldn’t believe it. And then I thought maybe it was because of the riots, but there were still people out and about. It was just, it was the perfect timing. Just a little late because of,you know…

Yeah, well, on a Friday night, you can do that.

That’s very cool.

Baking class experience on Airbnb

[00:24:06] Annie Sargent: Oh, you took a baking class.

Tell me about that.

I highly recommend the experiences on Airbnb. I know many people have mentioned this. I’ve heard, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts, but I came across that, you know, just scrolling down after I booked my Airbnb, you know, how about you check out our experiences? And that’s how I found the Perfumerie one and the World War II.

Because these are local people that are showcasing their talents or their skills. And this croissant baking and pain au chocolat was fantastic. Oh my God, the best tasting croissant we had there. And I actually took a few and gave it to my aunt for her trip back, plane ride back to London.

And she was like, Oh my God, this is so tasty. It was a three hour baking from scratch, you know, we did the dough, and a lovely instructor, wonderful people, really cute little kitchen. And that was fun. And that’s what I like to do. Honestly, when I book trips, I want to hang out with the locals and not do the typical get your guide tours or the Viator or TripAdvisor. Those kinds of things, they’re, for me, a bit commercialized, and we’ve negative… so getting down to this kind of experience where you engage with the parisians was really fantastic, not expensive either.

Yeah, because obviously they don’t have 60 people following them around. They just have you and your family or perhaps some other few people, but not too many, right?

Exactly. Five or six people. The person who runs the business is the one who’s providing the services. So obviously theycare and make sure you’re happy.

Learning French online

[00:25:53] Annie Sargent: I didn’t even ask you if you speak French.

I started taking French lessons on Lingoda after we came back, but no, I did not speak French at all. My kids took French lessons, French classes at college, but everyone was speaking so fast that they would get really intimidated to respond back in French. But a lot of people, all the vendors pretty much assumed we were French because we look more French than American, with our Armenian background, and so yeah, they would call my daughter’s name is Tara, but they kept calling her name at Starbucks, Tara, Tara, and she was like, Oh, that’s me!

That’s really cute.

That’s good.

We loved being able to blend in.

Yeah. What was the name of the app you used to learn French?

Oh, it’s an actualZoom in person, or on Zoom French lessons. It’s called Lingoda. You sign up for two months,15 lessons, for example, and then you can schedule live classes on Zoom with fellow students and a French speaking teacher.

Oh, cool.

And you can work on your accent and yeah…

Very nice. Very nice. Yeah, I’m taking in person lessons in Spain, but I’m going home tomorrow, so I’m going to have to stop the in person lessons for a while, but for Spanish, but I’ll be back. I’ll be back. But that’s the thing about taking lessons with a local is that they also tell you about local events, things going on, like, you know, Oh, there’s this, this week, or this, that tonight.

Did you hear about this or that? So it’s always nice to have a local input when you’re going to stay a while.

Another company that I really liked, and I use them a lot in Italy, was LIVTOURS. Livtours was a little bit morehigher scale, as far as the service they gave. And their two guides were very knowledgeable, especially the ones in Italy, like you said, they were local, but also they gave us a lot of other suggestions where to eat, how, you know, the local citizens and just,the extent of their knowledge was impressive.


Reflections on Travel: Adapting and Learning

[00:28:10] Annie Sargent: You know, I’m looking through your list. Is there anything that you learned about France that you, you know you would like to share with people? Or was it like, oh, was this was your third trip, right?

No, we’d never been, I’ve never been to France.

Oh, you hadn’t been to France.

We had not been to France. So it was really like, we just barely scratched the surface, Mm-Hmm.

Everything that, the stereotypical things that we heard, were so untrue, honestly. I mean, I don’t know if it was, because of the way we perceive them or, I think we didn’t come across as arrogant, or pretentious. We came in being open to learning and respecting the culture, and of course we just love everything about French people, but I think our background as an Armenian Middle Eastern, you know, having been all over the world and having lived with different kinds of people, it’s helped us to, you know, appreciate something new rather than say, Oh, I don’t like it, you know, my way is the best way. We adapted really easily to their ways and we respected their ways.

So I think that kind of energy came across and people treated us nicely. One thing that stood out to me the most was just attention to details, and going out of their way to do things that, that we don’t see here in the US. And I appreciate that about Europeans so much, for example, the first day when we were walking in,we were walking towards Lafayette, the gallery Lafayette, it started raining and obviously my girls had said, Oh, no, we don’t want to carry an umbrella while we’re shopping. And we had already, I had an umbrella in the room, but nevermind, so I stopped at a little bookstore and it was a stationery and I I started browsing and did some shopping and bought the umbrella as well, but the girl took her time. The girl at the register took her time to seal my package in like a little plastic bag, but the way she did it was so creative so that it wouldn’t get wet, you know, while I’m walking.

And I thought, Oh my gosh, and that was my first experience, first day we walked out and I said, I don’t think people in Paris are rude, actually, I think they’re just, you know, really thoughtful. They all spoke English and we did say our Bonjour and Merci, and we were very polite, but I just, I don’t, it was very, it was very impressive, I thought.

And the younger trendier neighborhoods were pretty much what we experience here in Los Angeles, like the West Hollywood and everybody’s that kind of thing, same vibe.

So, it felt good, it felt really good.

And were, was it massively different than what you experienced later when you went to Italy or?

Oh, not massively different, but Italy is just wild. You know, they’re just, their energy level is exploding everywhere you go, right? The people and, and so I think we liked the elegance of France, the classiness andthe politeness, but we also enjoy the wilder side of Italy and…

Over the top Italians.

[00:31:36] Talin Janjik: Yeah, so as I said, we just, we like to blend in and not kind of stick to our old ways. We’re leaving the US because we’re traveling and we want to gain more from our travels rather than just toot the same horn, you know.

[00:31:52] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and six weeks is a long time.

That’s really a complete change of pace, you know, when you can take that kind of break. You’re away from everything at home, it must feel very refreshing to go home afterwards like, woo, you know, had a real vacation, right?

It wasn’t enough. If you ask me, it wasn’t enough for me because I would have loved to stay another few more months. Everything about Europe and Armenia as well, it’s just, it’s vibrant, you know, there’s life outside of your own house, you connect with people, there’s good energy. People are not so stuck with their ways and they’re not, you know, they bend the rules a little bit. That’s what I love.

Whereas, you know, I feel like in the US we are always just black and white and there is no gray zone. But that gray zone is really important to give people that ability to show their uniqueness and be a little bit spontaneous, a little wild, and at the same time considerate of everyone around you, you know, so that’s basically my background because I was born in Iran.

So I’m used to that kind of communities where people do things together and they’re, you know, someone comes and knocks at your door at 10 o’clock at night, you invite them over, and you set the table, and you give them dinner. So, you know what I mean? So that kind ofconnectedness, is what I thrive on.

You like connecting with people.


And you don’t get that here because you’re always stuck in your car in the freeway and go from work to home. It’s a very different lifestyle, isn’t it? Yeah.

[00:33:32] Talin Janjik: And I loved the six weeks, and I think it inspired all of my kids to want to go back, which is fantastic. And they’ll go back on their own and I know that they’re going to be able to navigate the train stations very, very, very well because, boy, we got a lot of experience from trains in Italy, more so than France.

Took so many trains in and out of Rome, then Florence, then Milan, and then from Milan we went to Torino, from Milan we went to Venice, Lake Como, Lake Garda, we even went to Switzerland , so yeah, so they got a lot of experience, so they can manage it well.

But our train ride from Paris to Nice was very comfortable.

I got Premier Business, I believe it was it Premier, Business Premier.

Yeah. Business class. Yeah.

Yeah, so you could, we selected our seats, and I was worried about luggage space, but, you know, we had plenty on right behind our seats. It wasn’t the quietest cabin, there were families and kids crying and moving around a lot, butit was pretty comfortable. Five hours.

It’s beautiful scenery. We saw the sunflower fields at that time.

One of the questions I asked is: Is there anything you didn’t like very much and don’t recommend? It’s interesting what your response was,that you didn’t like the touristy TikTok references. What do you mean?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you know, obviously my kids had done their research on TikTok. Nowhere else. They wanted to try this place, and that place, and every time I would ask them, Where did you hear about this? And they’d be like, Oh, you know, TikTok. Oh, I would say, Oh my gosh, here we go again, long lines, and just did not live up to the hype, basically.

It would get me moody, you know, I’d be like, oh, I don’t want to wait here for 15-20 minutes when there’s another cafe next door and they’re probably going to serve the same thing, know, but oh my god, check their onion soup, or their hot chocolate.

I just have to have that one because TikTok!

Because of a TikToker!

And so, you know, luckily we only got to do one or two of those things and the rest of the time because of time constraint, or we were just tired and really hungry and didn’t want to wait in line, we avoided those. So I would say, the food was not a priority for us, as far as having a sit down dinner, because we do a lot of that here in California.

Luckily, we’re in Los Angeles. There’s plenty to try. So, that wasn’t our main, however, we wanted to try French cuisine, but we’re mostly vegetarians. So, except my husband who likes his meat, but for us, it wasn’t such a must that we had to have reservations to really like fancy places. we just went along with street food, cafes, bistros that could sit us right away because there was five, six, seven of us, for example, you know. And so, my gosh, every day I had the yummiest croissant no matter where I got it from.

Pain au Chocolat was, oh, beyond believably yummy. We did go by the,that famous, is it Cédric Grolet? Cédric Grolet the, he’s very famous, he’s an artist who creates these gorgeous croissants and pastries.

Oh, I see!

Beautiful to look at, but that was one of the places they wanted to stop and I asked the lady and she said it’s an hour wait. I said: Oh my God, I told my daughter. And it was already starting to drizzle and she was willing to standing line under the rain. And I said absolutely no. We will come back another day, and we never did. But she had her croissant.

Is really funny to me how people get excited about some place that they’ve never been to, but because they heard about it from somebody that they enjoy watching on TikTok, or YouTube, or whatever. They will do all sorts of crazy things. Because, I’m like, I’m with you, I’m like, well, there’s others, you know, if what we want is a pastry, there’s lots of pastry shops in Paris.

We don’t need this one in particular. I mean, it’d be cool if it was, if you didn’t have to wait for an hour.

More and more you hear that their service goes down, and the quality goes down because they have such a high demand.

Too many people. Yeah. And if you know you’re going to be full every day, no matter what, then you can skip a few steps, right? I’ll never see these people again.

Yeah, exactly. No, we had, when you said your favorite restaurant, I really couldn’t think of one because we just ate on the go and everything was delicious. Everything was well, amazing. So


Can’t go wrong.

Talin, we’ve been going on a long time. It’s been lovely talking to you. You’re an inspiration because for a first trip to Paris, France in general, with a group like this, teenagers who can be moody, I think you aced it, so Bravo!

Thanks to you, Annie. I honestly had maybe two, three months to research and every day I listened to you.

And it worked out!

And I keep going, until next time!

Wonderful, merci beaucoup Talin!

Merci Annie, bonsoir!

Au revoir.


[00:38:50] 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: Family Travel, Paris