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Join Us in France Travel Podcast

Annie Sargent

44
Followers
240
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Join Us in France Travel Podcast

Join Us in France Travel Podcast

Annie Sargent

44
Followers
240
Plays
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About Us

Are you getting ready for a trip to Paris? Provence? Normandy? On this podcast we have conversations about France: we share trip reports, chat with tour guides, share tips on French culture, the basics of French history, explain how to be savvy traveler in France, and share our love of French food, wine and destinations in France. By listening to this show you will learn how to make great choices for your own trip to France no matter what part of France you plan to visit. We're also a great community for Francophiles who can't get enough of France and return year after year.

Latest Episodes

Running a Trail Race in the Alps

This episode of the podcast is a trip report about running a trail race in the Alps with lots of details about how trail races go in France. We also talk about learning French as an adult and how to put together a great family vacation in France. Annie's Favs on Amazon My guest is Mollie Cummins from the beautiful alpine city of Park City, UT. She's used to running trail races at altitude, and yet the Trail du Tour des Fiz in the French Alps was definitely a challenge. Let's talk about what made it so. Hint: the weather had something to do with it! Mollie's Trail Race in the Alps Mollie would love to circumnavigate around the Mont Blanc aka Tour du Mont Blanc. But that was difficult to organize with children because it takes 5 days and the kids are too young for it. They knew they could only come to France in July, so she looked for races taking place in the Alps in July and found the Trail du Tour des Fiz that starts in a ski resort called Passy. It's in an area just north west of Chamonix. The race itself is at very high altitude. You shuttle to the start of the race from a large store and parking area (Mountain Store Decathlon). There Are Multiple Distances Offered There are multiple distances you can enter. There is a lot of vertical gain, more than what runners in the US are used to, it's very steep. But if you're not up to a long steep race, they also offer a kid's race, a 15K (9 miles) up to 84K (50 miles) which is the full tour plus other races in between. Those Races Fill Up Fast! Mollie normally runs ultra races, she intended to run one of the longer races but it was full. So, she had to go with the 15K. This is a popular event, the longer one fills up within a day or two of opening up for booking. She was on a wait list for the 8 refuge tour (39 miles or 64K), but she didn't manage to get in, possibly due to a computer problem. Balcon des Fiz 15K Race But there was still space in the Balcon des Fiz race, a 15K. Her husband decided to join her for that race as well. It's nice because it doesn't take up the whole day. It's still very steep, you run up the ski slopes and go the various chalets. It's lovely, for instance you get to see the cows with the bells around their necks. Bad Weather Bad luck, it was a muddy and rainy day. Mollie doesn't mind running in the rain and playing in the mud, but she didn't get to see the scenic landscape because it was overcast that day. Mollie and her husband Brendan were the only two Americans in the race. It is uncommon for Americans to sign up for this race so they fussed over them when they crossed the finish line, which was lovely. When you finish the race they give you a special beer for racers and there's a meal catered by a local restaurant called La Poêle Géante that was the best post-race meal she ever had. It was cheap too around 10€. Mandatory Certificat Médical for Racers In France you need medical clearance to enter a race. They take this very seriously. If you don't submit the medical paperwork you will not run. Mollie found the form here. Some of these races also have mandatory lists of gear. In this particular race they had a list of gear but they didn't get checked. But in the longer races they do get checked and if they don't have the gear that will keep them safe they are booted out of the race. Rating the Organization of the Race The race is really well organized, well-marked. There are a good number of people ready to jump in just in case runners experience difficulties. But this is a long race, anyone who stops running for any reason needs to get dry clothes and stay warm. Runners should not abdicate their own responsibility when it comes to running this trail race safely. They shouldn't rely only on markings. They need to look at maps and get familiar with the turns and terrain. They must have proper equipment. Ravitaillement: Water, Fruits, Small Cakes In the shorter race there were points where you could get water, drinks to replenish electrolytes,

61 min1 d ago
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Running a Trail Race in the Alps

Easy French Recipes You Can Make at Home

I've always loved cooking and now that we can't eat out because of the pandemic, I am definitely cooking at home at lot! Aren't you? I would guess that most of us are in the same boat and can't go out to restaurants much. So we might as well make the most of it, right? Buy Join Us at the Table As you probably know by now, I was born and raised in France. I moved to the US for college and ended up staying for 16 years. If I wanted genuine French food I had to cook it at home because the only French restaurants around me were silly fancy and not my style at all. In Salt Lake City they have this French restaurant called La Caille that has male waiters wearing silly shorts and women wearing sexy milk maid outfits. As if! These people wouldn't know a normal French restaurant if one hit them in the face. Maybe it's changed by now, I haven't been in at least 20 years. So I practiced cooking French meals using American ingredients. That's why I can tell you how it's done! I'm a regular French person and a good home cook. But French food still has this reputation of being fancy and difficult to make. Some of that is reputation is warranted. Trained chefs who compete for attention and Michelin stars go to great length in their professional kitchens. The super star of French food in America, Julia Child, trained at one of the most prestigious cooking schools in Paris. These people go to great length to make amazing food because it's their job. For the rest of us mere French mortals, we don't cook like that. We still love our classic French dishes, but we make the streamlined version at home. That's what I wanted to share with you in my new cookbook. I even put it on the cover: Easy French recipes anyone can make at home. I didn't shy away from the classics, they are achievable as well! My intention is to show you that you can do it, it's not rocket science. Have you met a French person? It's not like most of us go to cooking school! We learn at home and through practice. In the book I recommend you read the recipe you want to try in advance and make sure you have the ingredients you'll need. But that would be the same if you were cooking Chinese food or any other food. I think cooking failures come from the lack of attention. Maybe we've seen our mothers cook and they make it look easy, surely we can just wing it, right? Not really. So read the recipe all the way through once, decide when you want to make it, and jump right in! What's in Join Us at the Table? When you first open Join Us at the Table you see the gorgeous book cover. I must say thank you to my friend Brenda who was on episode 124 for pointing me towards that provider and cover. When I first saw it, it really spoke to me. And even though I went looking at other covers, I kept coming back to that one because it spoke to me. Brenda is an author herself and she has been pushing me to write a book for YEARS. Thank you, my friend. I must also thank the folks in the Secret Facebook Group who saw all the covers I was considering, voted on their favorite and told me why. I took all of that into consideration and made changes based on their comments. I decided to call the book Join Us at the Table as a tie-in to the name of this podcast and also because that’s exactly what I’d like all of you to do! Join us around a French table at least in spirit. The subtitle is Easy French recipes anyone can make at home. I chose that because that’s really the book I wanted to write. Classic French and yet easy enough for the average person to make at home. I have listeners all over the world too! Who knows where you are! But I know from listener stats that 95% of you are in the US, then Australia, Canada, France, then India, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Singapore and South Africa. But there are some listeners in most countries in the world. Imperial and Metric Measurements That’s why I included both imperial and metric measurements. Very few cookbooks do that by the way and I understand w

39 min5 d ago
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Easy French Recipes You Can Make at Home

Remembering the Spanish Flu and WW1

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. On today's episode of the podcast Annie Sargent brings you a conversation with Elyse Rivin. As we celebrate then end of WW1 it is also important to remember that the Spanish Flu killed even more people than the war that had just ended. We also talk about how the Spanish Flu changed Europe forever especially how Europeans understand the need to extend health care to everyone. I also want to do a quick review of a book about WW1 that I absolutely loved called All Blood Runs Red by Henry Scott Harris about Eugene Jacques Bullard the African American born in Georgia who enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and served with great honor in both WW1 and WW2. An extraordinary person and a well crafted book that brings WW1 and this person to life for me. I will also read you a bit of The Plague by Camus right before the end music. If you're interested in learning about virology today, Annie recommends you add This Week in Virology to your podcast line-up. Remembering the Spanish Flu Unfortunately talking about the Spanish Flu is the right way to celebrate WW1 in 2020 because we're in the middle of our own pandemic right now. It is called the Spanish Flu, but it had little to do with Spain. This flu didn't start in Spain. They had no part in spreading it any more than any other country. What happened is that since they weren't involved in WW1 Spanish newspapers were not the victim of censorship. They spoke about the pandemic freely in Spain and so they got associated with it for no reason. It is more likely that the Spanish Flu started with a farmer in the US who then went to serve on a US army base. As American soldiers were shipped out to help end WW1 they spread the virus all over the world. The first place these soldiers landed was in Bordeaux and it spread from there in France. The Spanish Flu was a very effective virus and spread quickly. Viruses affect humans with zero care for their nationality. That's why it's unfair to call it a Spanish flu or an American flu or a Chinese flu. Humans are subject to viruses and that's what matters. The first wave of Spanish flu (May 1918) was not particularly deadly, the second wave was awful (the fall of 2018) and the third a bit less virulent. But by then the flu had spread all over the world, which is the definition of the word pandemic. The Spanish flu killed about 4% of the people it infected, and it was mostly younger people who go sick with it. In the US there were pro mask cities and anti mask cities and, predictably, the cities like San Francisco where masks were seen negatively had more deaths. The Plague by Camus Every time there is a pandemic there is a great temptation from political leaders not to scare the public and brush it under the rug. Albert Camus was writing about a fictional plague but he brought that fact into his famous book. Annie reads this part of the book at the end of the episode. The local press, so lavish of news about the rats, now had nothing to say. For rats died in the street; men in their homes. And newspapers are concerned only with the street. Meanwhile, government and municipal officials were put- ting their heads together. So long as each individual doc- tor had come across only two or three cases, no one had thought of taking action. But it was merely a matter of add- ing up the figures and, once this had been done, the total was startling. In a very few days the number of cases had risen by leaps and bounds, and it became evident to all observers of this strange malady that a real epidemic had set in. This was the state of affairs when Castel, one of Rieux’s colleagues and a much older man than he, came to see him. “Naturally,” he said to Rieux, “you know what it is.” “I’m waiting for the result of the post-mortems.” “Well, 1 know. And I don’t need any post-mortems. I was in China for a good part of my c

72 min2 w ago
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Remembering the Spanish Flu and WW1

Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French

In today's episode of the podcast Annie Sargent and Elyse Rivin have fun with the French language. What are the easiest and hardest words to say in French? We asked our Facebook group and they came up with some entertaining responses! You really need to listen to this one to get the full effect! This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. More fun with expressions in French Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French Let's start with the easy ones because most French people will think that your accent is adorable. • Écureuil (French people can’t say squirrel either!) • Phoque • Aïl Pluriel ? Aulx but only when you’re talking about the condiment. If you’re talking about the plant you’re supposed to say “des ails” • Méditerranéen/méditerranéenne • Reuilly Diderot metro stop in Paris. • Reims • or Rouen • or Caen • Accueil • Feuille • Bourgueil • Roi • Montreuil • Serge • Américaine • Serrurier • Grenouille • Coeur, soeur • Chirurgien / chirurgie • Oeil, clin d’oeil • Clignancourt • Aéroport • Trottoir • Heureux • Fauteuil • Yaourt • Rue • Huitre • Rueil-Malmaison • Au revoir • Saucisse • Restaurant (difficult r) • Rennes • Bouillabaisse • Monsieur • Montorgueil • Millefeuille • Ratatouille • Voiture • Eau, Carafe d’eau • Quincaillerie • Feuille • Août • Mouillé • Pneu, Psychologue, Psychologie • Tu / Tout (make your lips work!) • Saperlipopette • Saltinbanque • Trompe l’oeil • Ours • Beurre • Oeufs • Bouilloire • Voeux • Leur / L’heure Words that Are Derivatives of English Any French word that is a derivative of an English word, because I feel like a total phony putting on a French accent to say a word in my own language ... e.g. T-shirt, hamburger. What about hors d’oeuvres or maître d, or colonel, or lieutenant, or city names like Coeur d’Alène in Idaho? If you say “hamburger” properly some French people won’t know what you’re saying. Or if they ask you if you’re on linquèdin for Linked in. A burger at McDonald’s in France was called “Southern Chicken Cajun” and I couldn’t bring myself to say that the way French people would say it. As a result, the person taking the order had no idea what I just said! You have to mispronounce English words when speaking French, but it goes both ways. Favorite Words to Say in French French also has lots of easy words and even pleasant words. Here are some of our favorites. • Pamplemousse • Parapluie • Donc • Bon ! • N’importe quoi ! • C'est n'importe quoi • Tout et n’importe quoi • Oh, la vache ! • On ne sait jamais. • C’est la vie. • Quand même, quoi • St. Nicolas de Bourgueil • Tant pis • ça suffit • Crépuscule • Faire du lêche-vitrine • À tes souhaits • Truc ou machin • Quand même ! • Quoi de neuf ? • Oui oui ! • Comme ci, comme ça. • Inoubliable. • Oh ça va, ça va... • Malgré • Ça ne fait rien • C'est quoi ça ? • Fauteuil • Pantoufles • Allons à la plage • Comment dites-vous ? • Cocoliquot actually coquelicot • On verra bien • En panne ! • Je m’en fiche ! • Comme c'est curieux, comme c'est bizarre, quelle coïncidence ! • l’horloge • Ce n’est pas possible ! • C'est la vie, c'est la guerre <-- Not something we say any more. Did we ever? • Je vous en prie • Ca vas..ca va • Je ne sais pas? • parlez vous anglais ? • Merci beaucoup ! • Quel fromage! • La plume de ma tante. • C’est chouette, j’ai la pêche! • Regarde comme elle tombe, cette belle neige... • S’il vous plaît !! • Tres bien !! • Saperlipopette • Libellule • Tu me manques beaucoup... • Au contraire ! • J’en ai ras le bol • C’est parti! • Bâtonnage (we have no idea what that word means!) • Comme ci, comme ça • Oh, que c’est beau! • Bonjour! Un autre croissant au chocolat s'il vous plaît! <-- French people would never say that because there is a name for a "croissant au chocolat" and it's called "pain au chocolat" or (even better) "chocolatine" • Je voudrais un bouteille du vin rouge • Une autre coupe de champagne s'il vous plaît !

86 min3 w ago
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Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French

Latin Quarter Highlights

The 5th arrondissement in Paris is one of Annie's favorites. It also goes by the name Latin Quarter which is its historical name. Visitors don't need to worry too much about different names used in this area because often in Paris you change neighborhood just by crossing the street! Good budget hotel at the edge of the Latin Quarter and Saint Germain des Prés: Le Petit Belloy. The rooms are tiny, but if you can get room 602 or room 603 you'll see the Eiffel Tower from your tiny balcony! Latin Quarter Highlights If you're facing the famous bookstore called Shakespeare and Company, you have Notre Dame Cathedral behind you and to your left. To explore the Latin Quarter you'll walk along the Seine river between the bookstore and all the way to the Jardin des Plantes. Along the way you'll come across many "bouquinistes" and their little green book stalls that have been around for over 100 years. The bouquinistes have morphed into souvenir stands to some degree. These are concession stands and some have been in the same hands for a long time. You walk past the Jardin des Plantes and then you take a right. Along the way you'll walk by Quai Saint Bernard along the Jardin des Plantes and there are often groups of dancers doing the tango. You'll also walk by the Institut du Monde Arabe and its marvelous panoramic terrace that you can access for free. You'll get a great view of the backside of Notre Dame from that terrace. The Jardin des Plantes Is a Must-See with Children If you're with children you MUST spend some time at the Jardin des Plantes. Not to be missed is the Galerie de l'Evolution where the building itself is stunning and it's a great place to show how animals have changed over time. The Galerie de Minéralogie is also wonderful. There's a zoo, the garden is beautiful, there are often amazing temporary exhibits. It's free for children but it's not included in the Museum Pass. It is still totally worth it! There are food trucks and lots of places to have a picnic. La Grande Mosquée de Paris This mosque was built by the city of Paris to honor the Muslim soldiers who fought with France during WW1. They are closed on Friday and close at various times during the day. The gardens are beautiful, the restaurant Aux Portes de l'Orient that serves great North African food. Marché Monge This is one of the quaintest outdoor markets in Paris. It's occupies place Monge, you can get there on the metro because it has its own stop. The market is open Wed, Fri and Sat in the morning. It's not very big, about 40 stalls. Arènes de Lutèce Right off rue Monge at number 49 you'll find the entrance to the Arènes de Lutèce. It looks like the entrance to a building, but it is your way into what's left of the old Paris Roman arena. It's a popular place for locals to hang out. You can climb all around. It's not the biggest Roman arena, but it's a fun stop. Place Maubert There is another food market on this plaza, it happens on on Tue, Thu and Sat, also in the morning. Mostly food and a cute place. There are all sorts of food shops that are permanently there. La Sorbonne On rue des Écoles you'll find an old American diner called Breakfast in America and a boulangerie called Paris and Company that won the prize for best baguette in Paris in 2019. La Sorbonne is nearby but you can't visit it unless you have an appointment. It's pretty to look around. Make sure to walk to place de la Sorbonne The Pantheon This monument is on a lot of people's list. It started out as a church but was quickly turned into a monument to the memory of great French men. And for a long time it was men only. Voltaire, Rousseau, Zola, and a lot of completely unknown generals. I don't think they would ever put a general in the Pantheon today. They are looking for people who have made other sorts of contributions to French life. Saint Etienne du Mont Church One of the most beautiful churches in Paris. The church is also very famous because the steps on its side are featured

61 minOCT 26
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Latin Quarter Highlights

Annie and Elyse Chat About Emily in Paris

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. Everybody is talking about Emily in Paris. Elyse and I watched it together and we took some notes on our reactions. I must confess that we only watched two episodes, and we already have a lot to say! This is our perspective from a French perspective. While Elyse isn't technically French, she's lived in France so long she's forgetting her English ;-) Click play, let’s see if you agree with us! Why Is Emily in Paris Getting So Much Attention? Big name newspapers and magazines are all talking about this show which is surprising because it is very new. It probably has to do with the fact that we can't travel right now and going to Paris on TV is better than not going at all. The fact that this show has become controversial is also playing in its favor. People have to see this show that everyone is talking about. Emily in Paris is definitely not a documentary. It is more like one stereotype after another and we point them out in our conversation. Emily in Paris Is Chock-Full of Stereotypes Stereotypes are helpful in fiction because they allow the writer to make points quickly. Nothing much happens in the show, but boy do they spout stereotypes! French men prefer older women. This may be a reference to President Macron, but it's a new stereotype about French people. It's nice that they use French songs in the show but these are not songs that we recognize. When she walks into her new apartment the concierge gives her the evil eye because she doesn't say "bonjour". She says "hi" which shows she assumes everyone knows English. You have to start off by making an effort to speak some French. You should not walk into a business situation in France with zero French and zero understanding of why that's not acceptable. The 5th floor / 4th floor thing comes up several times. Ground level is "rez-de-chaussé" in France, that's 0. We start counting one above ground level whereas Americans say ground level is 1. The Realtor who shows her to her "Chambre de Bonne" that looks nothing like a "Chambre de Bonne" hits on her saying it doesn't matter that she has a boyfriend in America, she needs one in France. The stereotype of French men all being overtly interested in sex. They are typically more subtle than that. Emily shows up at the office on her first day with a shirt that has an Eiffel Tower print on it. She's too flashy. Annie doesn't think the lady at the boulangerie would ever correct someone for using the wrong article, but Elyse says it's happened to her. Sylvie, the boss tells her not to bother to learn French because she'd be terrible at it. On her first day at the job French people explain to Emily how all Americans are fat while they smoke in the office. The fat/smoker thing is established early on in the show and comes back several times. There are many French people who believe that when you stop smoking you gain 5 kilograms. But even with that, French people are quitting smoking fast. Both Annie and Elyse know people who used to smoke and have quit and none who are still smoking. It's only a minority of French people who smoke today, this stereotype is dated. Sylvie says "Without pleasure what are we? Germans?" This is definitely something French people might say and something that would make us laugh. Luke asks Emily why she is shouting. It is true that in France kids are raised to keep their voice down generally and that Americans would do well to be more discreet in France. The whole city is like Ratatouille! Really? That's what she knows about France? Ratatouille and Saving Private Ryan? This is the idiot American stereotype. Everyone gets stereotyped in Emily in Paris! It is true that hall lights are all on short timers in France and that's annoying. But electricity is expensive in France! Now we have phones with flashlights so it's not such a big deal, but growing up in France A

69 minOCT 19
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Annie and Elyse Chat About Emily in Paris

Louis Vuitton Foundation

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. On today's episode of the podcast, Annie and Elyse have a conversation about the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris. The Louis Vuitton Foundation and Museum are to the West of Paris, just outside of the périphérique (that’s the Paris belt road). It is easily accessible by metro (line 1). This museum is worth it just to see the building, but the art inside occasional steals the show! And we also talk about the Jardin d'Acclimatation, an amusement park that kids would enjoy. The two are linked in a way because the city donated the land for this building and it was part of the Jardin d'Acclimatation. The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris The reason why this building is so remarkable is that it was designed by architect Frank Gehry. One of the richest men in the world, Bernard Arnault was the instigator of this project. Arnault owns a lot of modern and contemporary art and he wanted to display it in a beautiful place. Gehry buildings are always innovative in both form and material and this one completely lives up to the hype! Gehry is a creator of public buildings such as museums. For instance he also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain which is also extraordinary. Gehry has not designed a lot of homes other than his own in Santa Monica. Frank Gehry found some of his inspiration for the Vuitton Foundation in the landscape of the Jardin d'Acclimatation and from the Grand Palais in Paris. Surprising Things About the Louis Vuitton Foundation The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris has a lot of levels, nook and crannies, and yet it works as a museum space. This is surprising because so many oddly shaped museums are simply confusing. This museum is the property of the Vuitton Foundation, but it will become the property of the city of Paris starting in 2062. The Jardin d'Acclimatation Today The Jardin d'Acclimatation has a complicated and very unethical history. We explain why in the episode. We don't recommend you go back in time to visit the original Jardin d'Acclimatation. But today it's a great day out with your kids! It's a fairly small theme park with rides, refreshments, gardens, farm animals, birds, but no more large zoo animals. It has come a long way! The Bois de Boulogne is nearby and also a great visit. If you're interested in parks in general, you should listen to episode 290 to decide which ones to put first on your list. More episodes about Museums in Paris Email | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter Did you get my VoiceMap Paris tours yet? They are designed for people who want to see the best of Paris neighborhoods and put what they are looking at into historical context. There are so many great stories in Paris. Don't walk right past them without having a clue what happened there! You can buy them directly from the VoiceMap app or click here to order activation codes at the podcast listener discount price. Discussed in this Episode Vuitton Foundation Jardin d'Acclimatation Support the Show Tip Your GuideExtrasPatreonAudio ToursMerchandise Categories: Family Travel, French Châteaux, Museums in Paris, Paris

49 minOCT 12
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Louis Vuitton Foundation

French Kings and the Catholic Church

In today's episode Annie Sargent talks to Jason Sager about the difficult relationship between French Kings and the Catholic church. And we couldn't get through this topic without talking about the French Wars of Religion. And it’s not just Kings, all of France has a complicated relationship with the Catholic church, even today! Just this morning I was talking to one of my neighbors and she brought up the fact that she goes to church regularly but she’s not a grenouille de bénitier. I bet you’ve never heard that expression. A grenouille de bénitier is a person who goes to church so much that she’s compared to a frog who lives in the font where they keep the holy water at the entrance of a Catholic church. You don’t have an expression like that in English, do you? That’s because as far as I know there is no English-speaking country where being a "churchy" person makes you stand out as an odd duck. You’ll get a heavy dose of French history and French culture in today’s episode. French People and the Catholic Church To set the stage, in the early 1500s world-wide you have Columbus sailing off from Spain. A lot of Chateaux were being built on the Loire Valley. François I wanted to be Emperor (but didn't manage). Leonardo da Vinci moved to France. But this is also the time when the wars of religion were happening in France. The Reformation Martin Luther's reformation also happened at that time. 1517-1522 is when he was excommunicated from the Catholic church. This began as a German reformation movement but it moved into France rapidly with John Calvin particularly who started his own reformed church in France. French Protestants are known as Huguenots in France. Huguenots This is something French Kings didn't like to see because they saw themselves as the protectors of the Catholic faith and they didn't want to see a different religion thrive in France. And the Huguenots religion spread very quickly in France, which made it an even bigger perceived threat. By 1560 about 10% of France was already Protestant. Members of the nobility also converted to the new religion. A lot of Bourbons were Protestants. The King of Navarre became a Protestant. Henri II before he died in an accident established a "chambre ardente" with the goal to eliminate the Huguenots from France. He died too soon to see if it worked. By 1560 there were already a lot of Protestants in France. France was supposed to be "la fille ainée de l'Eglise" or the eldest daughter of the church. François I wanted to be called "the most Christian King" to reinforce his relationship with the Catholic church. Henry XVIII in England wanted the title "defneder of the faith" from the Pope to establish himself as an equal to the French King. A Dangerous Situation By 1560 there are a lot of tensions between the Catholics and the rising Protestant minority in France. When Henri II died an untimely death it rattled the structure of power in France. He had 3 sons, but they were too young, so his wife, Catherine de Medici, became the regent. She was terribly unpopular because she was Italian and also a woman. The king, François II was the official king, but he was always in poor health and died of tuberculosis 18 months into his reign. His brother Charles IX succeeded him, but he was also too young to reign by himself. The situation was volatile and uncertain, especially when you take into account the high level of religious strife. Catherine de Medici always tried to find compromises between the Catholics and the Huguenots because she didn't think eliminating the Protestants would work. On the other hand, the Guise family who were ultra Catholic really believed in eliminating the Protestants. Duc de Guise at Vassy The Duc de Guise went through the town of Vassy where Protestants were allowed so long as they didn't worship within the walls of the city. He realized that they were breaking the law and worshiping inside the city. He sent his men to stop them from doing so and a fir

57 minOCT 5
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French Kings and the Catholic Church

A Slice of Life in the Hilltop Village of Sancerre

Returning to the same place over and over again is not something most visitors do, but my guest today, Carl Carlson, has been to Sancerre many times. He and his wife Christine are from Hawaii, but have been going back to Sancerre for at least a couple of weeks almost every year since 2004. We've talked about Sancerre before on the podcast because that's where the language school Coeur de France is situated. It turns out that Carl knows Gérard and Marianne who own the school. They've been introduced to many other people in the village and it's almost a second home to them, even if they rent a different accommodation each time. Sancerre is world famous because of the wine they produce there. It is one on my favorites! It's easy to get to by car, but also by train. The nearest train station are in Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, Nevers or Bourges. Carl likes to rent a car at Porte-Maillot so he avoids driving inside of Paris. That's a good idea for most people actually. What Makes Sancerre Special Carl and his wife like the fact that few people in the village speak English, therefore forcing them to practice their French. It's not touristy per se. There are visitors that come for the wine business and for the language school, but it's not a destination that so many people flock to. What Do You Do for 3 Weeks in Sancerre? Carl's idea is not to have much of a schedule. He enjoys settling in to the rhythm of the village and not rush anywhere. They like to go to the local café to the Auberge Joseph Mellot for dinner the day they arrive. The next day they go to the village café for breakfast. There's a nice open-air market in Cosne on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. You'll find the list of all the establishments they like to visit in the Guest Notes. There's also a dairy truck that comes by and they sell wonderful yogurt and butter. Café Librairie is a favorite too. It's about getting to know people and getting to know their schedule. You need to have the mindset that you will go with the flow. If you're too uptight, you won't get along. The village is picturesque, there is a central square with boutiques, wine establishments (aka "caves"), cafés, a one star restaurant. There are a lot of wine tasting and wine buying opportunities. The vintners in the area do well. Sancerre wines sell for a minimum of 12€ at French grocery stores. Most are around 20€ per bottle, which is expensive for France. Why Not Every French Wine Is Sold in the US It's difficult for small wine producers to get into the US market because there are a lot of mandatory steps, paperwork and taxes to pay along the way. They must go through specific brokers in France, then importers and licensed agents get involved on the US side. And then it goes to the many retailers. Many hands touch that bottle of wine and the price increases every time. It may only be worth it if a producer can ship wine by the container-full. Local Wines Carl enjoys the wines of Jean Reverdy et Fils in Verdigny. It's only a 15 minute drive from Sancerre. They've become friends. Those wines are now availble in Hawaii where the Sauvignon Blanc sells for around $20 a bottle. They also make a rosé with their Pinot Noir. Chavignol is another wine producing village near Sancerre. André Bourgeois is a large producer there and they export a lot to Hawaii and the US in general. There's a nice little restaurant there called Au Ptit Gouter. This is also where they produce the cheese called Crotins de Chavignol. Great Places to Visit Around Sancerre Carl recommends the pottery village of La Borne. Guédelon aka Château de Guédelon is an amazing experiment. They are constructing a medieval castle and village with the tools and methods they had in the Middle Ages. They do everything themselves, including cutting the stone, growing and cutting the timber, etc. The work is done by hand, the workers wear period costumes. It's been going on for over 25 years and it's really interesting to visit. It's like a science

56 minSEP 28
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A Slice of Life in the Hilltop Village of Sancerre

The Auvergne Cheese Route

Today, Annie Sargent brings you a conversation with Elyse Rivin about the Route des Fromages AOP d’Auvergne. The word Auvergne designates an old French province around its capital Clermont-Ferrand. Today it is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and it is just a little west of Lyon and the Alps. This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. The Auvergne region produces a lot of wonderful cheeses and they are going to be the stars of the show: Bleu d’Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d’Ambert, Saint-Nectaire, and Salers. Elyse tells us about the small towns that produce those cheeses and what you might see there when you visit. Another excellent show that takes us off the beaten track in France! The 4 departments that we'll be talking about are the Cantal (15), the Puy-de-Dôme (63), Haute-Loire (43), Allier (03). The Auvergne Cheese Route There are many cheeses produced in the Auvergne area, but these are the 5 that have an AOP designation. This stands for Appellation d'Origine Protégée and it's a European label that certifies that this particular product is produced in a specific geographical area. When you drive around the Auvergne you will see road signs that indicate the Route des Fromages. Here are the Auvergne cheese route AOP cheeses we discuss in this episode, and they are all made of cow milk: Cantal Cheese Cantal cheese is one of the oldest cheeses in France. It's somewhat similar to a cheddar. It is made in huge wheels that weight 40 kilograms. You can buy it young (1-2 months) or entre-deux (3-5 months) and vieux (6 months or more). Louis XIV loves Cantal cheese and had it brought to Versailles in great quantities, which contributed to its popularity and fame. Cantal cheese is produced in large quantities and there are production sites all over the Cantal. If you're in France at Christmas time, look for Cantal de Noël, it's a treat! Salers Cheese Unlike the Cantal cheese, Salers cheese is a more exclusive cheese produced only between April 15 and November 15 from the Salers breed of cows that are grass-fed at high elevations. The production is limited to the areas of Cantal, the Mont Doré and Cézallier. Salers cheese can only be made with raw milk, unlike all the others we'll talk about today that can be made with either raw or pasteurized milk. Salers is usually sold in specialty cheese shops and not at the supermarket because it is not sold year-round. This cheese is also only made at the farm, there are no industrial large quantities production facilities for the Salers cheese. Saint-Nectaire Cheese This cheese has a creamy texture and nutty flavor, it is Annie's favorite cheese. It's a flat wheel that's 1.7 kilograms. In France, you can buy the "fermier" kind that is made with raw milk or the pasteurized milk. It can have a fairly strong flavor if you leave it out for a couple of hours before serving it. Bleu d'Auvergne Cheese There is a lot of bleu d'Auvergne produced in France. It is similar to Roquefort, but it is milder. Bleu d'Auvergne is produced all over the Auvergne. It is creamier than Roquefort. You normally don't find bleu d'Auvergne made with raw milk. Bleu d'Auvergne comes in a small cylinder. Fourme d'Ambert Cheese This is the smoothest, creamiest and mildest blue cheese made in France. It is a cylinder. This is a good blue cheese to start with if you're not sure you can take a strong Roquefort. There Are 40 Stops on the The Auvergne Cheese Route You can't see all of them unless you plan to spend a month. But why wouldn't you? This is a great area for active recreational activities. It's also great for people who like to see scenic vistas and great medieval villages. Here are a few we think are noteworthy. Great Towns Around the Auvergne The town of Salers is beautiful. We also like the small city if Saint Flour. Riom is somewhat touristy, it even has a tourist train! Issoire is beautiful and is conn

67 minSEP 21
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The Auvergne Cheese Route

Latest Episodes

Running a Trail Race in the Alps

This episode of the podcast is a trip report about running a trail race in the Alps with lots of details about how trail races go in France. We also talk about learning French as an adult and how to put together a great family vacation in France. Annie's Favs on Amazon My guest is Mollie Cummins from the beautiful alpine city of Park City, UT. She's used to running trail races at altitude, and yet the Trail du Tour des Fiz in the French Alps was definitely a challenge. Let's talk about what made it so. Hint: the weather had something to do with it! Mollie's Trail Race in the Alps Mollie would love to circumnavigate around the Mont Blanc aka Tour du Mont Blanc. But that was difficult to organize with children because it takes 5 days and the kids are too young for it. They knew they could only come to France in July, so she looked for races taking place in the Alps in July and found the Trail du Tour des Fiz that starts in a ski resort called Passy. It's in an area just north west of Chamonix. The race itself is at very high altitude. You shuttle to the start of the race from a large store and parking area (Mountain Store Decathlon). There Are Multiple Distances Offered There are multiple distances you can enter. There is a lot of vertical gain, more than what runners in the US are used to, it's very steep. But if you're not up to a long steep race, they also offer a kid's race, a 15K (9 miles) up to 84K (50 miles) which is the full tour plus other races in between. Those Races Fill Up Fast! Mollie normally runs ultra races, she intended to run one of the longer races but it was full. So, she had to go with the 15K. This is a popular event, the longer one fills up within a day or two of opening up for booking. She was on a wait list for the 8 refuge tour (39 miles or 64K), but she didn't manage to get in, possibly due to a computer problem. Balcon des Fiz 15K Race But there was still space in the Balcon des Fiz race, a 15K. Her husband decided to join her for that race as well. It's nice because it doesn't take up the whole day. It's still very steep, you run up the ski slopes and go the various chalets. It's lovely, for instance you get to see the cows with the bells around their necks. Bad Weather Bad luck, it was a muddy and rainy day. Mollie doesn't mind running in the rain and playing in the mud, but she didn't get to see the scenic landscape because it was overcast that day. Mollie and her husband Brendan were the only two Americans in the race. It is uncommon for Americans to sign up for this race so they fussed over them when they crossed the finish line, which was lovely. When you finish the race they give you a special beer for racers and there's a meal catered by a local restaurant called La Poêle Géante that was the best post-race meal she ever had. It was cheap too around 10€. Mandatory Certificat Médical for Racers In France you need medical clearance to enter a race. They take this very seriously. If you don't submit the medical paperwork you will not run. Mollie found the form here. Some of these races also have mandatory lists of gear. In this particular race they had a list of gear but they didn't get checked. But in the longer races they do get checked and if they don't have the gear that will keep them safe they are booted out of the race. Rating the Organization of the Race The race is really well organized, well-marked. There are a good number of people ready to jump in just in case runners experience difficulties. But this is a long race, anyone who stops running for any reason needs to get dry clothes and stay warm. Runners should not abdicate their own responsibility when it comes to running this trail race safely. They shouldn't rely only on markings. They need to look at maps and get familiar with the turns and terrain. They must have proper equipment. Ravitaillement: Water, Fruits, Small Cakes In the shorter race there were points where you could get water, drinks to replenish electrolytes,

61 min1 d ago
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Running a Trail Race in the Alps

Easy French Recipes You Can Make at Home

I've always loved cooking and now that we can't eat out because of the pandemic, I am definitely cooking at home at lot! Aren't you? I would guess that most of us are in the same boat and can't go out to restaurants much. So we might as well make the most of it, right? Buy Join Us at the Table As you probably know by now, I was born and raised in France. I moved to the US for college and ended up staying for 16 years. If I wanted genuine French food I had to cook it at home because the only French restaurants around me were silly fancy and not my style at all. In Salt Lake City they have this French restaurant called La Caille that has male waiters wearing silly shorts and women wearing sexy milk maid outfits. As if! These people wouldn't know a normal French restaurant if one hit them in the face. Maybe it's changed by now, I haven't been in at least 20 years. So I practiced cooking French meals using American ingredients. That's why I can tell you how it's done! I'm a regular French person and a good home cook. But French food still has this reputation of being fancy and difficult to make. Some of that is reputation is warranted. Trained chefs who compete for attention and Michelin stars go to great length in their professional kitchens. The super star of French food in America, Julia Child, trained at one of the most prestigious cooking schools in Paris. These people go to great length to make amazing food because it's their job. For the rest of us mere French mortals, we don't cook like that. We still love our classic French dishes, but we make the streamlined version at home. That's what I wanted to share with you in my new cookbook. I even put it on the cover: Easy French recipes anyone can make at home. I didn't shy away from the classics, they are achievable as well! My intention is to show you that you can do it, it's not rocket science. Have you met a French person? It's not like most of us go to cooking school! We learn at home and through practice. In the book I recommend you read the recipe you want to try in advance and make sure you have the ingredients you'll need. But that would be the same if you were cooking Chinese food or any other food. I think cooking failures come from the lack of attention. Maybe we've seen our mothers cook and they make it look easy, surely we can just wing it, right? Not really. So read the recipe all the way through once, decide when you want to make it, and jump right in! What's in Join Us at the Table? When you first open Join Us at the Table you see the gorgeous book cover. I must say thank you to my friend Brenda who was on episode 124 for pointing me towards that provider and cover. When I first saw it, it really spoke to me. And even though I went looking at other covers, I kept coming back to that one because it spoke to me. Brenda is an author herself and she has been pushing me to write a book for YEARS. Thank you, my friend. I must also thank the folks in the Secret Facebook Group who saw all the covers I was considering, voted on their favorite and told me why. I took all of that into consideration and made changes based on their comments. I decided to call the book Join Us at the Table as a tie-in to the name of this podcast and also because that’s exactly what I’d like all of you to do! Join us around a French table at least in spirit. The subtitle is Easy French recipes anyone can make at home. I chose that because that’s really the book I wanted to write. Classic French and yet easy enough for the average person to make at home. I have listeners all over the world too! Who knows where you are! But I know from listener stats that 95% of you are in the US, then Australia, Canada, France, then India, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Singapore and South Africa. But there are some listeners in most countries in the world. Imperial and Metric Measurements That’s why I included both imperial and metric measurements. Very few cookbooks do that by the way and I understand w

39 min5 d ago
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Easy French Recipes You Can Make at Home

Remembering the Spanish Flu and WW1

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. On today's episode of the podcast Annie Sargent brings you a conversation with Elyse Rivin. As we celebrate then end of WW1 it is also important to remember that the Spanish Flu killed even more people than the war that had just ended. We also talk about how the Spanish Flu changed Europe forever especially how Europeans understand the need to extend health care to everyone. I also want to do a quick review of a book about WW1 that I absolutely loved called All Blood Runs Red by Henry Scott Harris about Eugene Jacques Bullard the African American born in Georgia who enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and served with great honor in both WW1 and WW2. An extraordinary person and a well crafted book that brings WW1 and this person to life for me. I will also read you a bit of The Plague by Camus right before the end music. If you're interested in learning about virology today, Annie recommends you add This Week in Virology to your podcast line-up. Remembering the Spanish Flu Unfortunately talking about the Spanish Flu is the right way to celebrate WW1 in 2020 because we're in the middle of our own pandemic right now. It is called the Spanish Flu, but it had little to do with Spain. This flu didn't start in Spain. They had no part in spreading it any more than any other country. What happened is that since they weren't involved in WW1 Spanish newspapers were not the victim of censorship. They spoke about the pandemic freely in Spain and so they got associated with it for no reason. It is more likely that the Spanish Flu started with a farmer in the US who then went to serve on a US army base. As American soldiers were shipped out to help end WW1 they spread the virus all over the world. The first place these soldiers landed was in Bordeaux and it spread from there in France. The Spanish Flu was a very effective virus and spread quickly. Viruses affect humans with zero care for their nationality. That's why it's unfair to call it a Spanish flu or an American flu or a Chinese flu. Humans are subject to viruses and that's what matters. The first wave of Spanish flu (May 1918) was not particularly deadly, the second wave was awful (the fall of 2018) and the third a bit less virulent. But by then the flu had spread all over the world, which is the definition of the word pandemic. The Spanish flu killed about 4% of the people it infected, and it was mostly younger people who go sick with it. In the US there were pro mask cities and anti mask cities and, predictably, the cities like San Francisco where masks were seen negatively had more deaths. The Plague by Camus Every time there is a pandemic there is a great temptation from political leaders not to scare the public and brush it under the rug. Albert Camus was writing about a fictional plague but he brought that fact into his famous book. Annie reads this part of the book at the end of the episode. The local press, so lavish of news about the rats, now had nothing to say. For rats died in the street; men in their homes. And newspapers are concerned only with the street. Meanwhile, government and municipal officials were put- ting their heads together. So long as each individual doc- tor had come across only two or three cases, no one had thought of taking action. But it was merely a matter of add- ing up the figures and, once this had been done, the total was startling. In a very few days the number of cases had risen by leaps and bounds, and it became evident to all observers of this strange malady that a real epidemic had set in. This was the state of affairs when Castel, one of Rieux’s colleagues and a much older man than he, came to see him. “Naturally,” he said to Rieux, “you know what it is.” “I’m waiting for the result of the post-mortems.” “Well, 1 know. And I don’t need any post-mortems. I was in China for a good part of my c

72 min2 w ago
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Remembering the Spanish Flu and WW1

Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French

In today's episode of the podcast Annie Sargent and Elyse Rivin have fun with the French language. What are the easiest and hardest words to say in French? We asked our Facebook group and they came up with some entertaining responses! You really need to listen to this one to get the full effect! This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. More fun with expressions in French Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French Let's start with the easy ones because most French people will think that your accent is adorable. • Écureuil (French people can’t say squirrel either!) • Phoque • Aïl Pluriel ? Aulx but only when you’re talking about the condiment. If you’re talking about the plant you’re supposed to say “des ails” • Méditerranéen/méditerranéenne • Reuilly Diderot metro stop in Paris. • Reims • or Rouen • or Caen • Accueil • Feuille • Bourgueil • Roi • Montreuil • Serge • Américaine • Serrurier • Grenouille • Coeur, soeur • Chirurgien / chirurgie • Oeil, clin d’oeil • Clignancourt • Aéroport • Trottoir • Heureux • Fauteuil • Yaourt • Rue • Huitre • Rueil-Malmaison • Au revoir • Saucisse • Restaurant (difficult r) • Rennes • Bouillabaisse • Monsieur • Montorgueil • Millefeuille • Ratatouille • Voiture • Eau, Carafe d’eau • Quincaillerie • Feuille • Août • Mouillé • Pneu, Psychologue, Psychologie • Tu / Tout (make your lips work!) • Saperlipopette • Saltinbanque • Trompe l’oeil • Ours • Beurre • Oeufs • Bouilloire • Voeux • Leur / L’heure Words that Are Derivatives of English Any French word that is a derivative of an English word, because I feel like a total phony putting on a French accent to say a word in my own language ... e.g. T-shirt, hamburger. What about hors d’oeuvres or maître d, or colonel, or lieutenant, or city names like Coeur d’Alène in Idaho? If you say “hamburger” properly some French people won’t know what you’re saying. Or if they ask you if you’re on linquèdin for Linked in. A burger at McDonald’s in France was called “Southern Chicken Cajun” and I couldn’t bring myself to say that the way French people would say it. As a result, the person taking the order had no idea what I just said! You have to mispronounce English words when speaking French, but it goes both ways. Favorite Words to Say in French French also has lots of easy words and even pleasant words. Here are some of our favorites. • Pamplemousse • Parapluie • Donc • Bon ! • N’importe quoi ! • C'est n'importe quoi • Tout et n’importe quoi • Oh, la vache ! • On ne sait jamais. • C’est la vie. • Quand même, quoi • St. Nicolas de Bourgueil • Tant pis • ça suffit • Crépuscule • Faire du lêche-vitrine • À tes souhaits • Truc ou machin • Quand même ! • Quoi de neuf ? • Oui oui ! • Comme ci, comme ça. • Inoubliable. • Oh ça va, ça va... • Malgré • Ça ne fait rien • C'est quoi ça ? • Fauteuil • Pantoufles • Allons à la plage • Comment dites-vous ? • Cocoliquot actually coquelicot • On verra bien • En panne ! • Je m’en fiche ! • Comme c'est curieux, comme c'est bizarre, quelle coïncidence ! • l’horloge • Ce n’est pas possible ! • C'est la vie, c'est la guerre <-- Not something we say any more. Did we ever? • Je vous en prie • Ca vas..ca va • Je ne sais pas? • parlez vous anglais ? • Merci beaucoup ! • Quel fromage! • La plume de ma tante. • C’est chouette, j’ai la pêche! • Regarde comme elle tombe, cette belle neige... • S’il vous plaît !! • Tres bien !! • Saperlipopette • Libellule • Tu me manques beaucoup... • Au contraire ! • J’en ai ras le bol • C’est parti! • Bâtonnage (we have no idea what that word means!) • Comme ci, comme ça • Oh, que c’est beau! • Bonjour! Un autre croissant au chocolat s'il vous plaît! <-- French people would never say that because there is a name for a "croissant au chocolat" and it's called "pain au chocolat" or (even better) "chocolatine" • Je voudrais un bouteille du vin rouge • Une autre coupe de champagne s'il vous plaît !

86 min3 w ago
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Easiest and Hardest Words to Say in French

Latin Quarter Highlights

The 5th arrondissement in Paris is one of Annie's favorites. It also goes by the name Latin Quarter which is its historical name. Visitors don't need to worry too much about different names used in this area because often in Paris you change neighborhood just by crossing the street! Good budget hotel at the edge of the Latin Quarter and Saint Germain des Prés: Le Petit Belloy. The rooms are tiny, but if you can get room 602 or room 603 you'll see the Eiffel Tower from your tiny balcony! Latin Quarter Highlights If you're facing the famous bookstore called Shakespeare and Company, you have Notre Dame Cathedral behind you and to your left. To explore the Latin Quarter you'll walk along the Seine river between the bookstore and all the way to the Jardin des Plantes. Along the way you'll come across many "bouquinistes" and their little green book stalls that have been around for over 100 years. The bouquinistes have morphed into souvenir stands to some degree. These are concession stands and some have been in the same hands for a long time. You walk past the Jardin des Plantes and then you take a right. Along the way you'll walk by Quai Saint Bernard along the Jardin des Plantes and there are often groups of dancers doing the tango. You'll also walk by the Institut du Monde Arabe and its marvelous panoramic terrace that you can access for free. You'll get a great view of the backside of Notre Dame from that terrace. The Jardin des Plantes Is a Must-See with Children If you're with children you MUST spend some time at the Jardin des Plantes. Not to be missed is the Galerie de l'Evolution where the building itself is stunning and it's a great place to show how animals have changed over time. The Galerie de Minéralogie is also wonderful. There's a zoo, the garden is beautiful, there are often amazing temporary exhibits. It's free for children but it's not included in the Museum Pass. It is still totally worth it! There are food trucks and lots of places to have a picnic. La Grande Mosquée de Paris This mosque was built by the city of Paris to honor the Muslim soldiers who fought with France during WW1. They are closed on Friday and close at various times during the day. The gardens are beautiful, the restaurant Aux Portes de l'Orient that serves great North African food. Marché Monge This is one of the quaintest outdoor markets in Paris. It's occupies place Monge, you can get there on the metro because it has its own stop. The market is open Wed, Fri and Sat in the morning. It's not very big, about 40 stalls. Arènes de Lutèce Right off rue Monge at number 49 you'll find the entrance to the Arènes de Lutèce. It looks like the entrance to a building, but it is your way into what's left of the old Paris Roman arena. It's a popular place for locals to hang out. You can climb all around. It's not the biggest Roman arena, but it's a fun stop. Place Maubert There is another food market on this plaza, it happens on on Tue, Thu and Sat, also in the morning. Mostly food and a cute place. There are all sorts of food shops that are permanently there. La Sorbonne On rue des Écoles you'll find an old American diner called Breakfast in America and a boulangerie called Paris and Company that won the prize for best baguette in Paris in 2019. La Sorbonne is nearby but you can't visit it unless you have an appointment. It's pretty to look around. Make sure to walk to place de la Sorbonne The Pantheon This monument is on a lot of people's list. It started out as a church but was quickly turned into a monument to the memory of great French men. And for a long time it was men only. Voltaire, Rousseau, Zola, and a lot of completely unknown generals. I don't think they would ever put a general in the Pantheon today. They are looking for people who have made other sorts of contributions to French life. Saint Etienne du Mont Church One of the most beautiful churches in Paris. The church is also very famous because the steps on its side are featured

61 minOCT 26
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Latin Quarter Highlights

Annie and Elyse Chat About Emily in Paris

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. Everybody is talking about Emily in Paris. Elyse and I watched it together and we took some notes on our reactions. I must confess that we only watched two episodes, and we already have a lot to say! This is our perspective from a French perspective. While Elyse isn't technically French, she's lived in France so long she's forgetting her English ;-) Click play, let’s see if you agree with us! Why Is Emily in Paris Getting So Much Attention? Big name newspapers and magazines are all talking about this show which is surprising because it is very new. It probably has to do with the fact that we can't travel right now and going to Paris on TV is better than not going at all. The fact that this show has become controversial is also playing in its favor. People have to see this show that everyone is talking about. Emily in Paris is definitely not a documentary. It is more like one stereotype after another and we point them out in our conversation. Emily in Paris Is Chock-Full of Stereotypes Stereotypes are helpful in fiction because they allow the writer to make points quickly. Nothing much happens in the show, but boy do they spout stereotypes! French men prefer older women. This may be a reference to President Macron, but it's a new stereotype about French people. It's nice that they use French songs in the show but these are not songs that we recognize. When she walks into her new apartment the concierge gives her the evil eye because she doesn't say "bonjour". She says "hi" which shows she assumes everyone knows English. You have to start off by making an effort to speak some French. You should not walk into a business situation in France with zero French and zero understanding of why that's not acceptable. The 5th floor / 4th floor thing comes up several times. Ground level is "rez-de-chaussé" in France, that's 0. We start counting one above ground level whereas Americans say ground level is 1. The Realtor who shows her to her "Chambre de Bonne" that looks nothing like a "Chambre de Bonne" hits on her saying it doesn't matter that she has a boyfriend in America, she needs one in France. The stereotype of French men all being overtly interested in sex. They are typically more subtle than that. Emily shows up at the office on her first day with a shirt that has an Eiffel Tower print on it. She's too flashy. Annie doesn't think the lady at the boulangerie would ever correct someone for using the wrong article, but Elyse says it's happened to her. Sylvie, the boss tells her not to bother to learn French because she'd be terrible at it. On her first day at the job French people explain to Emily how all Americans are fat while they smoke in the office. The fat/smoker thing is established early on in the show and comes back several times. There are many French people who believe that when you stop smoking you gain 5 kilograms. But even with that, French people are quitting smoking fast. Both Annie and Elyse know people who used to smoke and have quit and none who are still smoking. It's only a minority of French people who smoke today, this stereotype is dated. Sylvie says "Without pleasure what are we? Germans?" This is definitely something French people might say and something that would make us laugh. Luke asks Emily why she is shouting. It is true that in France kids are raised to keep their voice down generally and that Americans would do well to be more discreet in France. The whole city is like Ratatouille! Really? That's what she knows about France? Ratatouille and Saving Private Ryan? This is the idiot American stereotype. Everyone gets stereotyped in Emily in Paris! It is true that hall lights are all on short timers in France and that's annoying. But electricity is expensive in France! Now we have phones with flashlights so it's not such a big deal, but growing up in France A

69 minOCT 19
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Annie and Elyse Chat About Emily in Paris

Louis Vuitton Foundation

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. On today's episode of the podcast, Annie and Elyse have a conversation about the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris. The Louis Vuitton Foundation and Museum are to the West of Paris, just outside of the périphérique (that’s the Paris belt road). It is easily accessible by metro (line 1). This museum is worth it just to see the building, but the art inside occasional steals the show! And we also talk about the Jardin d'Acclimatation, an amusement park that kids would enjoy. The two are linked in a way because the city donated the land for this building and it was part of the Jardin d'Acclimatation. The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris The reason why this building is so remarkable is that it was designed by architect Frank Gehry. One of the richest men in the world, Bernard Arnault was the instigator of this project. Arnault owns a lot of modern and contemporary art and he wanted to display it in a beautiful place. Gehry buildings are always innovative in both form and material and this one completely lives up to the hype! Gehry is a creator of public buildings such as museums. For instance he also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain which is also extraordinary. Gehry has not designed a lot of homes other than his own in Santa Monica. Frank Gehry found some of his inspiration for the Vuitton Foundation in the landscape of the Jardin d'Acclimatation and from the Grand Palais in Paris. Surprising Things About the Louis Vuitton Foundation The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris has a lot of levels, nook and crannies, and yet it works as a museum space. This is surprising because so many oddly shaped museums are simply confusing. This museum is the property of the Vuitton Foundation, but it will become the property of the city of Paris starting in 2062. The Jardin d'Acclimatation Today The Jardin d'Acclimatation has a complicated and very unethical history. We explain why in the episode. We don't recommend you go back in time to visit the original Jardin d'Acclimatation. But today it's a great day out with your kids! It's a fairly small theme park with rides, refreshments, gardens, farm animals, birds, but no more large zoo animals. It has come a long way! The Bois de Boulogne is nearby and also a great visit. If you're interested in parks in general, you should listen to episode 290 to decide which ones to put first on your list. More episodes about Museums in Paris Email | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter Did you get my VoiceMap Paris tours yet? They are designed for people who want to see the best of Paris neighborhoods and put what they are looking at into historical context. There are so many great stories in Paris. Don't walk right past them without having a clue what happened there! You can buy them directly from the VoiceMap app or click here to order activation codes at the podcast listener discount price. Discussed in this Episode Vuitton Foundation Jardin d'Acclimatation Support the Show Tip Your GuideExtrasPatreonAudio ToursMerchandise Categories: Family Travel, French Châteaux, Museums in Paris, Paris

49 minOCT 12
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Louis Vuitton Foundation

French Kings and the Catholic Church

In today's episode Annie Sargent talks to Jason Sager about the difficult relationship between French Kings and the Catholic church. And we couldn't get through this topic without talking about the French Wars of Religion. And it’s not just Kings, all of France has a complicated relationship with the Catholic church, even today! Just this morning I was talking to one of my neighbors and she brought up the fact that she goes to church regularly but she’s not a grenouille de bénitier. I bet you’ve never heard that expression. A grenouille de bénitier is a person who goes to church so much that she’s compared to a frog who lives in the font where they keep the holy water at the entrance of a Catholic church. You don’t have an expression like that in English, do you? That’s because as far as I know there is no English-speaking country where being a "churchy" person makes you stand out as an odd duck. You’ll get a heavy dose of French history and French culture in today’s episode. French People and the Catholic Church To set the stage, in the early 1500s world-wide you have Columbus sailing off from Spain. A lot of Chateaux were being built on the Loire Valley. François I wanted to be Emperor (but didn't manage). Leonardo da Vinci moved to France. But this is also the time when the wars of religion were happening in France. The Reformation Martin Luther's reformation also happened at that time. 1517-1522 is when he was excommunicated from the Catholic church. This began as a German reformation movement but it moved into France rapidly with John Calvin particularly who started his own reformed church in France. French Protestants are known as Huguenots in France. Huguenots This is something French Kings didn't like to see because they saw themselves as the protectors of the Catholic faith and they didn't want to see a different religion thrive in France. And the Huguenots religion spread very quickly in France, which made it an even bigger perceived threat. By 1560 about 10% of France was already Protestant. Members of the nobility also converted to the new religion. A lot of Bourbons were Protestants. The King of Navarre became a Protestant. Henri II before he died in an accident established a "chambre ardente" with the goal to eliminate the Huguenots from France. He died too soon to see if it worked. By 1560 there were already a lot of Protestants in France. France was supposed to be "la fille ainée de l'Eglise" or the eldest daughter of the church. François I wanted to be called "the most Christian King" to reinforce his relationship with the Catholic church. Henry XVIII in England wanted the title "defneder of the faith" from the Pope to establish himself as an equal to the French King. A Dangerous Situation By 1560 there are a lot of tensions between the Catholics and the rising Protestant minority in France. When Henri II died an untimely death it rattled the structure of power in France. He had 3 sons, but they were too young, so his wife, Catherine de Medici, became the regent. She was terribly unpopular because she was Italian and also a woman. The king, François II was the official king, but he was always in poor health and died of tuberculosis 18 months into his reign. His brother Charles IX succeeded him, but he was also too young to reign by himself. The situation was volatile and uncertain, especially when you take into account the high level of religious strife. Catherine de Medici always tried to find compromises between the Catholics and the Huguenots because she didn't think eliminating the Protestants would work. On the other hand, the Guise family who were ultra Catholic really believed in eliminating the Protestants. Duc de Guise at Vassy The Duc de Guise went through the town of Vassy where Protestants were allowed so long as they didn't worship within the walls of the city. He realized that they were breaking the law and worshiping inside the city. He sent his men to stop them from doing so and a fir

57 minOCT 5
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French Kings and the Catholic Church

A Slice of Life in the Hilltop Village of Sancerre

Returning to the same place over and over again is not something most visitors do, but my guest today, Carl Carlson, has been to Sancerre many times. He and his wife Christine are from Hawaii, but have been going back to Sancerre for at least a couple of weeks almost every year since 2004. We've talked about Sancerre before on the podcast because that's where the language school Coeur de France is situated. It turns out that Carl knows Gérard and Marianne who own the school. They've been introduced to many other people in the village and it's almost a second home to them, even if they rent a different accommodation each time. Sancerre is world famous because of the wine they produce there. It is one on my favorites! It's easy to get to by car, but also by train. The nearest train station are in Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, Nevers or Bourges. Carl likes to rent a car at Porte-Maillot so he avoids driving inside of Paris. That's a good idea for most people actually. What Makes Sancerre Special Carl and his wife like the fact that few people in the village speak English, therefore forcing them to practice their French. It's not touristy per se. There are visitors that come for the wine business and for the language school, but it's not a destination that so many people flock to. What Do You Do for 3 Weeks in Sancerre? Carl's idea is not to have much of a schedule. He enjoys settling in to the rhythm of the village and not rush anywhere. They like to go to the local café to the Auberge Joseph Mellot for dinner the day they arrive. The next day they go to the village café for breakfast. There's a nice open-air market in Cosne on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. You'll find the list of all the establishments they like to visit in the Guest Notes. There's also a dairy truck that comes by and they sell wonderful yogurt and butter. Café Librairie is a favorite too. It's about getting to know people and getting to know their schedule. You need to have the mindset that you will go with the flow. If you're too uptight, you won't get along. The village is picturesque, there is a central square with boutiques, wine establishments (aka "caves"), cafés, a one star restaurant. There are a lot of wine tasting and wine buying opportunities. The vintners in the area do well. Sancerre wines sell for a minimum of 12€ at French grocery stores. Most are around 20€ per bottle, which is expensive for France. Why Not Every French Wine Is Sold in the US It's difficult for small wine producers to get into the US market because there are a lot of mandatory steps, paperwork and taxes to pay along the way. They must go through specific brokers in France, then importers and licensed agents get involved on the US side. And then it goes to the many retailers. Many hands touch that bottle of wine and the price increases every time. It may only be worth it if a producer can ship wine by the container-full. Local Wines Carl enjoys the wines of Jean Reverdy et Fils in Verdigny. It's only a 15 minute drive from Sancerre. They've become friends. Those wines are now availble in Hawaii where the Sauvignon Blanc sells for around $20 a bottle. They also make a rosé with their Pinot Noir. Chavignol is another wine producing village near Sancerre. André Bourgeois is a large producer there and they export a lot to Hawaii and the US in general. There's a nice little restaurant there called Au Ptit Gouter. This is also where they produce the cheese called Crotins de Chavignol. Great Places to Visit Around Sancerre Carl recommends the pottery village of La Borne. Guédelon aka Château de Guédelon is an amazing experiment. They are constructing a medieval castle and village with the tools and methods they had in the Middle Ages. They do everything themselves, including cutting the stone, growing and cutting the timber, etc. The work is done by hand, the workers wear period costumes. It's been going on for over 25 years and it's really interesting to visit. It's like a science

56 minSEP 28
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A Slice of Life in the Hilltop Village of Sancerre

The Auvergne Cheese Route

Today, Annie Sargent brings you a conversation with Elyse Rivin about the Route des Fromages AOP d’Auvergne. The word Auvergne designates an old French province around its capital Clermont-Ferrand. Today it is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and it is just a little west of Lyon and the Alps. This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon. The Auvergne region produces a lot of wonderful cheeses and they are going to be the stars of the show: Bleu d’Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d’Ambert, Saint-Nectaire, and Salers. Elyse tells us about the small towns that produce those cheeses and what you might see there when you visit. Another excellent show that takes us off the beaten track in France! The 4 departments that we'll be talking about are the Cantal (15), the Puy-de-Dôme (63), Haute-Loire (43), Allier (03). The Auvergne Cheese Route There are many cheeses produced in the Auvergne area, but these are the 5 that have an AOP designation. This stands for Appellation d'Origine Protégée and it's a European label that certifies that this particular product is produced in a specific geographical area. When you drive around the Auvergne you will see road signs that indicate the Route des Fromages. Here are the Auvergne cheese route AOP cheeses we discuss in this episode, and they are all made of cow milk: Cantal Cheese Cantal cheese is one of the oldest cheeses in France. It's somewhat similar to a cheddar. It is made in huge wheels that weight 40 kilograms. You can buy it young (1-2 months) or entre-deux (3-5 months) and vieux (6 months or more). Louis XIV loves Cantal cheese and had it brought to Versailles in great quantities, which contributed to its popularity and fame. Cantal cheese is produced in large quantities and there are production sites all over the Cantal. If you're in France at Christmas time, look for Cantal de Noël, it's a treat! Salers Cheese Unlike the Cantal cheese, Salers cheese is a more exclusive cheese produced only between April 15 and November 15 from the Salers breed of cows that are grass-fed at high elevations. The production is limited to the areas of Cantal, the Mont Doré and Cézallier. Salers cheese can only be made with raw milk, unlike all the others we'll talk about today that can be made with either raw or pasteurized milk. Salers is usually sold in specialty cheese shops and not at the supermarket because it is not sold year-round. This cheese is also only made at the farm, there are no industrial large quantities production facilities for the Salers cheese. Saint-Nectaire Cheese This cheese has a creamy texture and nutty flavor, it is Annie's favorite cheese. It's a flat wheel that's 1.7 kilograms. In France, you can buy the "fermier" kind that is made with raw milk or the pasteurized milk. It can have a fairly strong flavor if you leave it out for a couple of hours before serving it. Bleu d'Auvergne Cheese There is a lot of bleu d'Auvergne produced in France. It is similar to Roquefort, but it is milder. Bleu d'Auvergne is produced all over the Auvergne. It is creamier than Roquefort. You normally don't find bleu d'Auvergne made with raw milk. Bleu d'Auvergne comes in a small cylinder. Fourme d'Ambert Cheese This is the smoothest, creamiest and mildest blue cheese made in France. It is a cylinder. This is a good blue cheese to start with if you're not sure you can take a strong Roquefort. There Are 40 Stops on the The Auvergne Cheese Route You can't see all of them unless you plan to spend a month. But why wouldn't you? This is a great area for active recreational activities. It's also great for people who like to see scenic vistas and great medieval villages. Here are a few we think are noteworthy. Great Towns Around the Auvergne The town of Salers is beautiful. We also like the small city if Saint Flour. Riom is somewhat touristy, it even has a tourist train! Issoire is beautiful and is conn

67 minSEP 21
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The Auvergne Cheese Route
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