Favorite France Blogs and Podcasts
Perhaps you’ve read enough posts around here to figure out that I (Melissa) love France. And France blogs and books. What’s not to love? The language is poetic, the French approach to food is almost reverent (creating meals that make you swoon), and the topography and history are rich and varied with much to discover.
The France blogs and podcasts listed below are ones that I have on my blog feed, and reference time and again. Whether I’m looking for cultural insights, travel tips, or food recommendations, these sites always deliver delightful and useful information! Usually I’m sighing over the pictures, or reading for fun, but they are also where I usually begin research when a trip is on the horizon. Worth noting is that these blogs are all written by American expats (with the exception of Annie at Join Us in France, who is French, but she has lived for many years in the US). I think that’s part of why I find their cultural articles helpful; as Americans or those who understand American culture, they spot where French culture is different from American culture and help explain how to navigate those differences. Allons-y! Let’s go!
I’m leading with the good stuff, y’all. A one-stop resource for recipes, culture, restaurants, boulangeries, and more, American pastry chef David Lebovitz chronicles his life in Paris (and around France) on his eponymous blog. His writing on the vagaries of life in France is always humorous and entertaining in a droll, dry sort of way. Since food is his livelihood, delectable recipes make regular appearances. But he also has comprehensive (and invaluable!) pages listing restaurant recommendations and pastry shops. (Once upon a time this pastry shop list existed on an app where you could see them all on a map, plus listed by arrondissment. I ADORED it. And gleefully put it into overdrive on my first trip to Paris. But the app is, alas, no longer available, and iCloud removed my copy from my phone and it’s not yet something I can contemplate without grieving, even if it wasn’t totally up to date. Me, bitter? Never. . . I am indebted to it –rather, to David! — for the majority of my most memorable food memories in Paris.) For now, I suggest reading his food recommendation pages all the way through to what piques your appetite, and also using the search function on your browser to find them by arrondissment. I’ve got a new (to me) chocolat chaud spot to try that I found on his chocolat chaud page!
Join Us in France Podcast
I’ve previously referenced this marvelous travel resource when I talked about driving in France. The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is hosted by jolly Frenchwoman Annie, and she (along with her guests) conversationally cover vast expanses of France with all sorts of practical information. From what to see where and how to see it, and what to do or not to do, put these episodes on play and get informed and inspired!
The podcasts are listed both by topic and by region, making it easy to find the subjects that are most interesting and helpful to you.
Secrets of Paris
This is a new find for me, but a find indeed! Secrets of Paris is a blog written only by people who live at least part-time in Paris, creating what does indeed feel like a peek into a secret (local) side of Paris. They cover everything from when to visit (jackpot! I’m going then!), to where to find the best pistachio ice cream (bookmarked), and if you’ve wondered how gauche it is to wear shorts in Paris (I sure have), they have given the best answer I’ve ever read on the subject! They also cover local Parisian subjects such as disposing of Christmas trees after the season, so there is nothing touristy about it. Personally, I like feeling like a non-touristy tourist, so sign me up. My only complaint is that I could not find any sort of search function on the site, so it may take a while to find a specific topic you’re interested in. But you’ll certainly have fun looking.
Expat Lauren is based in London, and somehow reading her blog makes you feel like she’s a friend. (I mean, we share a passion for grocery shopping in France, not to mention a love for travel with adorable kiddos.) Much of her blog centers around London, but part of her job is planning and conducting international college trips, and she’s collected lots of tips along the way, including travel with small children. (I recommend her tips for pacing meals with small ones all. the. time.) You can find her Paris posts here, and her tips for the rest of France here (making notes for Provence!!).
Coffee Break French
So, this is neither food nor culture, per se, but if you’re looking for a convenient and practical introduction to the French language, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Coffee Break French series. Even if you’d just like to pick up a few phrases to get by on a trip it’s helpful, but they have more advanced lessons as well. I have linked to the beginning season, but their intermediate series have been enriching and informative. Heads up: it’s hosted by a Scotsman, but as he’s lived and worked in France, his accent will not lead you astray. 😉 They have also put out series for Spanish, German, Chinese, and Italian, so you’re not limited to French, either.
I should also mention Dorie Greenspan, who releases recipes and musings at doriegreenspan.com. She doesn’t write prolifically on France, but she releases little gems like this ode to the cafe in France that worth keeping an eye out for. She also periodically releases a Paris newsletter if you subscribe. (You should.)
I’ve been having a grand time researching and dreaming over all these pages! Anticipation makes a trip that much more exciting. What France blogs and podcasts are your favorites? I’d love to hear about what other resources you love!
All pictures are from our visit to Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. Just because they make me happy. Oh, and I used Join Us in France to help select which chateaux to visit, so that’s relevant, right?