Program 637: Versailles; Reporting from West Africa; Orthodox Easter Traditions

Release Date: 05-01-2021


New York Times correspondent Dionne Searcey tells us about her work as the paper's West Africa bureau chief, where her team's reporting on the women kidnapped by Boko Haram won them a Pulitzer. Learn how the palace of Versailles was built to impress — and still does so for visitors today. And hear about the elaborate traditions of Bulgaria and Greece for Orthodox Easter.


  • Veronique Savoy and Arnaud Servignat, tour guides from Paris 
  • New York Times reporter Dionne Searcey, author of "In Pursuit of Disobedient Women" (Ballantine)
  • Anastasia Gaitanou, tour guide/history expert from Thessaloniki, Greece
  • The late Lyuba Boyanin, tour operator from Sofia, Bulgaria

Additional Info

  • The online Rick Steves guide to Versailles.
  • Veronique Savoye is offering virtual tours of Paris and French lessons on her website.
  • Arnaud Servignant provides tour guiding services in Paris, and offers Air BnB accommodations on a houseboat, moored outside of Paris at Port-Cergy.
  • Reporter Dionne Searcey was raised in a small town in Nebraska, and covers the political beat for the New York Times now from her home base in Brooklyn. She's written "In Pursuit of Disobedient Women" as a memoir of her years reporting in West Africa.
  • Dionne's reporting team won a Pulitzer for their investigative work on Boko Haram. She was also awarded the 2018 Michael Kelly Award for covering Boko Haram suicide bombers (a journalism award named for an Atlantic reporter who was killed).
  • Dionne co-authored an article about the newly-opened Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar for the New York Times.
  • Rick includes video of Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations in Napflio, in his European Easter TV special.
  • Lyuba Boyanin's tour company is now run by her son Yuri and lead guide Stefan, from their base in Sofia, Bulgaria. Lyuba Tours specializes in tours of Bulgaria, Eastern Europe, southwest Asia, India and Mongolia.
  • Anastasia Gaitanou is based in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Program Extras

More with Dionne Searcey - New York Times correspondent Dionne Searcey tells Rick the most valuable advice she got before taking her assignment in Senegal, and compares religious influences in West Africa and the United States. She also explains how her family adapted to living in Dakar, and the emerging local arts scene she found there, which she details further in her book "In Pursuit of Disobedient Women." (runs 10:30)