Program 354: The Love of French Cheese; Marrying Into France; West African Homecoming

Release Date: 02-08-2014

On Air Description

One of the things you'll discover about the French is how much they love a good cheese. On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we learn about a few of the many traditional cheeses that go with the seasons in France. 

Two authors tell us about the culture shock that comes with marrying a Frenchman and living in Paris. 

And an American clothing designer tells us how he awakened a part of himself, by returning to West Africa, where his parents were born. 

Find out how a trip abroad can change your life, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves. 


  • Kathe Lison, author of "The Whole Fromage:  Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese" (Random House)
  • Sarah Turnbull, author of "Almost French" and "All Good Things" (Gotham Books)
  • Nina Sovich, author of the blog "These Stolen Days" about her life in Paris
  • Emeka Alams, proprietor of Gold Coast Trading Company

Related Links


  • "In every country we have visited in Europe there is always some special food we eat a lot of.  In France it is cheese.  Whenever we come home we really stock up: My wife likes Roquefort and I like Banon, but the simple cheeses like camembert and Saint Andre are good as well." (e-mail from Patrick in Indiantown, Florida)
  • "As an African-American and descendant of West African slaves, I am interested in visiting West Africa with my husband, who is a native French speaker.  Suggest a country that would be a  good jumping-off point for exploring the culture, history, and natural wonders of this region." (Dionne in Cranston, Rhode Island)

Incidental Music

  • Gotan Project, "Diferente," Lunático / XL Recordings
  • Jean Sablon, "Sur le pont d'Avignon,"  (arranged by Wal-Berg),  Paris By Night (collection) / EMI 
  • Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, "Porte en Arrière,"  The McGarrigle Hour / Hannibal
  • * Ingrid Filter, "Waltz No. 7 in C-sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (Chopin)," Essential Chopin, disc 1 (collection) / EMI Classics
  • Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Colonne (Georges Tzipine, cond.), "'L'allée des Ha! Ha!'  from the Jean Françaix film 'Si Versaille m'était conté'," Le Film Français:  Honegger, Françaix, Sauguet, Thiriet / EMI Classics
  • Rose Rouge, "C'est Presque Ça," Paris Lounge 2  (collection) / Wagram
  • Colin Tilney, "Rondeau-La Puce," Fanfarinette:  Music for the French Harpsichord / CBC Records
  • Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ernet Bour, cond., "Boléro, ballet for orchestra (Ravel),"  The Kiss:  Music for Love and Passion (collection) / Interchord
  • Michel Legrand-Claudine Meunier, "La Terrase du Cafe," from the soundtrack to "Les Parapluis de Cherbourg" ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") / Sony Music Entertainment (France)
  • * Raft, "Femmes du Congo," Madagascar / Universal (France)
  • Intuit, "Wewa," Impala Lounge Paris II:  Selected by Fra and Denis Dantas (collection) / Wagram
  • Femi Kuti, "Live For Today," Africa Fête 3 (collection) / Mango Records
  • Mandinka Musicians, "Kumbusora" (traditional, Gambia), Africa:  Never Stand Still, vol. 1 (collection) / Ellipsis Arts
  • Ras, "Do You Dance (Dixless Main CD mix)," Impala Lounge Paris II:  Selected by Fra and Denis Dantas (collection) / Wagram

Dated References

  • At 15:34, Kathe Lison notes that it is illegal to bring a raw milk cheese into the United States that has been aged for less than 60 days. 
  • At 41:53, Emeka Alams mentions the "civil unrest" in the Ivory Coast as a reason he had to leave the country.  At 46:06 he adds the road conditions in the Ivory Coast are often very marginal, and cautions against stopping at "unofficial" road checkpoints at 46:26.
  • At 50:40, Emeka states there is a movement of African-Americans, and native-born Africans, moving back to Africa. 
  • Emeka describes how many West Africans view Nigerians as "flashy" at 52:27.  He then mentions how he observed Nigerian e-mail scammers at work in internet cafes. 

Program Extras

More with Emeka Alams - Emeka Alams designs contemporary clothing, based on his travels in West Africa. He shares more of his experiences, such as being shot at during a civil conflict in the Ivory Coast, and a favorite private beach he enjoyed, an hour from the capital. (runs 3:23)