Program 371: French Riviera; The Discovery of France; Paris Day Trips

Release Date: 07-12-2014

On Air Description

France gets more visitors each year than any other country in the world.

On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we'll look at a few of the reasons it's such a popular destination.   French tour guides describe the Mediterranean highlights of the French Riviera, and we get recommendations for elegant day trips, an hour or so outside of Paris.

Plus, author Graham Robb tells us what his bicycle adventure across the French countryside taught him about the provincial character of France.

Explore the extravagant personality of France, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Patrick Vidal, French tour guide  
  • Virginie More, French tour guide
  • Graham Robb, author of "The Discovery of France," "Parisians," and "The Discovery of Middle Earth" (W. W. Norton)
  • Elisabeth Van Heist, tour guide based in Paris
  • Antoine Bonfils, French tour guide

Related Links


  • "One of my favorite day trips from Paris was to Vaux le Vicomte in Melun. We visited on a Saturday in June when the fountains were operating (the fountains only run two Saturdays a month during the summer). We rode the chateau’s shuttle from the train station. This is an easy day trip from Paris. The chateau and gardens were magnificent and not crowded at all. At times, it felt like we had the place to ourselves."    (Avalyn in Nashville, Tennessee)
  • "My granddaughter and I took the train to Versailles from Paris and had a wonderful day there. No guides needed!" (Joanne in West Falls, New York)
  • "What other great things are there to do in Chartes besides walk the labyrinth? What is the best place to eat lunch in Chartes?"  (e-mail from Rae in Burbank, California)
  • "What do you think about EuroDisney as a day trip? Is it worth all the euros?"  (e-mail from Rebekah in Manhattan Beach, California)

Incidental Music

  • F. Barcellini, “Mon Oncle, Adios Mario,” soundtrack from the Jacques Tati film Mon Oncle / Phillips-PolyGram (France)
  • Brigitte Bardot,  “Tu veux ou tu veux pas,” Pop a Paris (compilation) / Sunnyside Records
  • Instrumental bridge from Bobby Darin, "Beyond the Sea," Ciao Amore / WarnerBros-Starbucks
  • Gus Viseur, ”Douce Joie,” Paris Musette (collection) / Soldore (France)
  • * Etienne de Crecy, “La Fugitive,” Paris Lounge, vol. 2 (collection) / Musicrama-Koch
  • The Women's Philharmonic, Gillian Benet, harp, Jo Ann Faletta, conductor, "'Rondo' from 'Concertino for Harp and Orchestra' (Germaine Tailleferre),"  The Women's Philharmonic:  Boulanger, Tailleferre, Mendelssohn, Schumann / Koch International Classics
  • F. Barcellini, “Des Forains” (from from the Jacques Tati film “Jour de Fete”), Music from the Films of Jacques Tati / Phillips-PolyGram (France)
  • New London Consort, cond. by Philip Pickett, “Dum pater familias,” The Pilgrimage to Santiago / L’Oiseau-Lyre
  • Georges Guetary, “On m’appelle Robin des Bois,” Les Chansons de la Liberation  (collection) / Distribution Soldore  (France)
  • Dimitri from Paris, notes from “Le Marseillaise,” from the Prologue on his CD Sacrebleu / Atlantic 
  • Francois Feldman, "Corsica," Magic’ Boul’vard /  Philips (France)
  • * Coco Steel & Lovebomb, 'Yachts," Hôtel Costes, Etage 3 by Stéphane Pompougnac (collection) / F Com
  • Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Colonne (Georges Tzipine, cond.), "'Le cour de marbre' from the Jean Françaix film 'Si Versaille m'était conté,'" Le Film Français:  Honegger, Françaix, Sauguet, Thiriet / EMI Classics
  • Rembrandt Trio, "Humoresque No. 7 (Dvorak)," The Dorian Stereo Morning Sampler (collection) / Dorian
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman, cond., "Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14, II - Un Bal, Valse (Berlioz),"  Berlioz:  Symphonie Fantastique  / Telarc
  • Billy Joel, piano, "Delusion," Creating the Perfect Atmosphere (sampler)  / Sony
  • Jean Paques, "Petite Fleur," Piano Bar vol. 14:  jazz, blues et dixieland / Seniors
  • The New York Kammermusiker, Double Reed Ensemble, “Marche des Mousquetaires du Roy de France,” A Baroque Celebration / Dorian
  • F. Barcellini, “Paris Autrefois” (from from the Jacques Tati film “Play Time”), Music from the Films of Jacques Tati / Phillips-PolyGram (France)
  • Edith Piaf, "Le Metro de Paris," les amantes merveilleux / Excalibur
  • Jazzamor, "Nuit magique," Euro Groove (collection) / Putumayo
  • Ralph Rousseau, Matangi String Quartet, and Hein Van de Geyn, “Sur le ciel de Paris,” Chansons d’amour / Challenge Classics
  • Ralph Rousseau, “La montagne,” Chansons d’amour / Challenge Classics

Dated References

  • In the intro to segment A, Rick notes that France attracts the most visitors of any country in the world, and that Paris and the Côte d'Azure are the two most popular destinations in France. 
  • Virginie mentions at 9:40 that the French traditionally take their holidays in July and August, which makes the Côte d'Azur crowded.  Patrick later talks about Russian and English visitors taking winter holidays as the origins of vacationing there. 
  • At 12:35, Patrick jokes that Brigitte Bardot "is not a sight you want to see anymore" on the Côte d'Azure.

Haiku Awards

Paris, a jewel box.
A delight for the senses.
A discreet lady.
— Christopher Pecharka, Dana Point, California 


A Paris cafe
Croissant and cafe au lait
C’est magnifique, eh?
— Barbara Belknap, Juneau, Alaska 


In France long ago
Longing to return so soon
More years pass on by
— Zach Brown, Acworth, Georgia

Program Extras

More with Graham Robb - Graham Robb tells Rick where he's discovered his fellow Brits like to settle in France. (runs 3:06)