Please Don’t Tell Me Where To Go!

Trust me. I’m not talking about that place. It’s hot enough up here; and the humidity makes it worse.


Hey. Satan and I are pretty friendly, in fact I’ve interviewed him, but it’s too hot to visit him!

No. I’m referring to those who tell me that I should go somewhere else rather than France.

I suppose my France is a bit different than the France of others-and I don’t mean to put that in a snotty way nor do I mean to word that in an entitled way.  It’s just that when your better half happens to be a Frenchman who grew up in Paris, has family there and in the South, you go there to visit.

It’s what you do.

Part of my current job in Retail Purgatory Hell is engaging and conversing with customers and potential customers. I happen to like that. In fact, it’s my favorite part of the job. And now that we are closer to vacation season, many women come into the store to purchase bags and totes to bring along on their trips and excursions.

We talk.  They tell me where they are going. I swear to god, the majority are going to Italy this summer. Italy is going to be super crowded! I hope there is enough Pasta to feed the masses!  We make small talk and they ask me if I’m going away and where am I going and blah, blah, blah.

Theoule. En Route to Italy. Italia sign.

Oh yeah. Well I’ve been here too. Only passin’ by though!

And then I tell them.  “Oh. I’m going to France!”

And the shit hits the high ceiling but at least the florescent lighting gets covered and therefore a bit filtered by it.  And I look somewhat better in the filtered lighting!

Me with bee

Yeah. Uh-oh is right! I would rather be stung by a bee than have to listen to others telling me where not to go–and I’m allergic to bees!

Then I get the lecture. The one telling me that I should go somewhere else. Anywhere else but France.  Especially Paris.

They also assume because I’m a lowly sales assistant, that I will be  traveling outside of the USA for the first time. And visiting France is a huge mistake! I’m glad to see that people truly care for my well-being.  The conversations go something like this:

I’ll set up the scenario.  Nice customer has just finished telling me where she is going on vacation (to Italy). I’m genuinely happy to hear about it and tell her to have a great time.  She, in turn, asks me (in a semi-condescending tone) if I am going anywhere. (As though I don’t have a life). …

Nice Lady:  “Tell me dear. Are YOU going anywhere this summer?”

Me (all excited): “YEAH! I’m goin’ a France!”

Nice Lady (suddenly all concerned about me): “You know, France isn’t the best place to travel to these days. It’s incredibly DANGEROUS.”  “Look at all the bombings and strikes”.  “Perhaps you should just rent a house at the Jersey Shore”.

Me (all “ignorance is blissful” looking): “Oh. My better half grew up in France. He spent his summers in St. Tropez and lived in Paris”. “I’ve been there at least 14 times—it’s really safe……”

Then there is the awkward pause. And Nice Lady continues.

Nice Lady (probably thinking I’m a filthy liar): “Well. I was in Paris twenty years ago. And I’ll never go back because of all the violence and now the flooding”…

And so it goes on and on. People who don’t know me or anything about me pontificating as to why I should not travel to France especially Paris!!!

Granted. Some really bad shit has gone down in Paris over the past two years.

We were in France last year during the infamous taxi strike.  The strike became violent.

A Paris cab parks during a blockade by taxi drivers in Paris, Thursday, June 25, 2015 in Paris. French taxis are on strike around the country, snarling traffic in major cities and slowing access to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport after weeks of rising and sometimes violent tensions over Uber. (AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu)

(AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu)

Luckily for us, the strike ended before we left the Cote d’Azur for the return to Paris. Who says the French don’t speak English??? See the sign???

Two years ago we had to deal with striking airline workers. We had to wait for bus transportation from our plane that had just landed on the tarmac at CDG. It took a half hour to wait for the bus that would bring us to the terminal. And when it showed up, it wasn’t air conditioned!!! A whole trente minutes! Wow! Did that ever ruin our vacation!

Are these same people who tell me how dangerous France is the same people who live here in the States?  Do they read a newspaper or watch the news on TV?

Do they not hear about all of the mass shootings in this country?  Um. I used to work in the World Trade Center.  Remember what happened there—in New York??

Road rage is a popular sport here and is increasing with participants by the day!

Road rage

PMS Road Rage is even worse!

We may not be big on strikes, but we have violent protests and political rallies!


I’m not voting for Trump, but rather than having to get all violent about it, I’ll make my voice heard by VOTING for someone else.  

Our lax gun laws allow any person who suffers from anger issues or any other behavioral issue to acquire a piece and shoot innocent people in malls, movie theatres, schools, parks and basically anyplace they choose.  And laws never change to stop this naughty behavior.

Look—I’m not getting into writing what’s wrong v. what’s right with our country or any other country.

I would just like to set the record straight.  France isn’t that bad. In fact, France is a pretty cool place. And I want to show you.

So come along and look at some pics I’ve taken over the years and I’ll mention what I really love about my France…

I loved looking at the tip of the Eiffel Tower from Daniele’s apartment. I miss her so much but we had some great memories at her place…

eiffel sticking out of the rooftops

Bonjour little Eiffel Tower. Hmmm. I have no idea why this black border is on my photo. What did I screw up this time?

Tour Eiffel and Liberty

I also love this view while driving along the Seine. Lady Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. It never becomes tired!

I love the streets of Paris early in the morning. All is calm and quiet and gives you a better feel of how beautiful she has aged and continues to age.

Rue Seguier

Shhhh! Rue Seguier early in the AM!

I love the street signs.  You always know where you are and which arrondissement you are in.

Rue-des-Grands-Augustins-Picasso Signs

Paris. Rue du Rennes sign.

Paris. Place Saint-Germain des Pres sign

Can you tell that I’m very happy in the 6th arr??

Paris. Blvd. Raspail sign.

Wow. I guess I really DO stick close to the neighborhood!

metro sign

and another favorite Parisian sign!

I love being greeted upon entering a boulangerie or boucherie or any boutique. The shop staff may not be all fake smiles, but they are polite and helpful and never fail to tell you to have a good day either!



Some take photos of the sights. I capture the meat…

Degranges baguette

...and the bread. Oops! I mean baguette that I ate after taking this photo!

I love Paris in the fall. On an overcast day. The lighting of the sky gives a beautiful color to the buildings.

Paris. Day view of Siene. Nice and overcast!

Fall is my favorite time of year to visit Paris!

I love Place Dauphine.  Anytime.

Paris. Day. Place Dauphine. Lonely Bench

Place Dauphine in the Fall…

..and as Bonaparte explains–in the evening!

I love driving around Paris with Bonaparte. In my delusional world, he is my chauffer….

Ok. Well, this time the cab driver is our chauffer..

Now I see where Bonaparte’s cousin, Hugo Gelin, gets his cinematic talent!

I love a spur-of-the-moment day trip outside of Paris.

Gardens at Giverny

Monet’s gardens at Giverny. The place where I was brutally attacked by the flora known as “Asian Selfie Stick”. I still have scars!


…I really loved Napoleon’s place at Fontainbleu. There’s no money like OLD money. So understated!


At what about that little Chateau at Chambord?  The French are so discreet. I could live here!

The most moving, overwhelming and somber day trip we’ve taken from Paris was to the beach, the memorial and the cemeteries at Normandy.  Every American visiting France needs to visit…

I love City Pharma and stopping there for my goodies every time I’m in Paris.

You can have Channel and Louie V. I’ll have more fun in girly beauty and skincare heaven at my favorite discount haunt. CityPharma!!

I love the drive to the South.


countryside view from Vezelay

Driving from Paris to the South during low season is a pleasure. Look at this vista I snapped in Vezelay!

Road Trip to the South. Somewhere in Burgundy

..and where else but Burgundy can an oncoming rain storm in the distance appear to be so beautiful?


We can drive through little towns….

Ruins at Nimes

..and get a bit of ancient history–like the Arena at Nimes!

McDo's on the road

..and you can see familiar sights should you become homesick!

I love the apartment we’ve rented in Theoule for the past six years.  It feels like home.

View from the terrace

View from the terrace of the Theoule apartment. It is one of my happiest happy places! 

Theoule. Number 10. Our Apartment Door!

The entrance to blissful living in France!

Theoule. My feetsies enjoying the pool!

I love relaxing at the pool or…

Cannes. Beach water empty so relaxing.

…the beaches at Cannes early in the morning..

You never know who you'll meet on the beachYou never know who will become your friend!  This guy almost attacked Bonaparte because he became so attached and protective of me!

I love a nice lunch al fresco!

St. Tropez. Resto La Ramade. La Table!

A relaxed lunch in St. Tropez!

St. Tropez. The Great Rondini Store! Outside sign.

…and my annual trip to Rondini for sandals makes my feet happy!

As a good Catholic girl, I love going to Church in France!

St. Hilarion. Chappelle View Interior 2

I’m always stopping by to give the saints a big hello..(and a prayer that I win the lottery)

Cabris. Saint Rita Chapel. Better view of Altar

Chapel in Cabris…Abbaye du ThoronetThe Abbaye du Thoronet–a very spiritual visit indeed.

Ain’t nothing wrong with idol worship either..


The French Saint-Alain Delon. I think I made Bonaparte drive past this in Cannes millions of times.  I bow to you oh Saint of Handsome Frenchmen!

I love grocery shopping in France.

Theoule. Geant. Mojito sampling at the hyper marche!

One Friday evening at Geant Hypermarche in Mandelieu had this lovely lady giving me much more than one sampling of Havana club–and I wasn’t carded!

Theoule. Geant. The wine just goes on and on and on.

Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus. His name is Papa Noel and he gave the grocery stores in France permission to sell lots of beverages for grown ups!

Theoule. Geant. 2euro Cheese = 10.00 in the USA!

One can never have enough cheese–and the cheap stuff is better than the expensive stuff here in the States!

Oh..and the outdoor markets are just as fun..

Me many years ago in a Parisian market during the winter. Then Bonaparte got upset with me because I stopped to have fun with the Olive man. Bonaparte did not film those goings on…

I’m glad I was able to upload my old videos. Who knew they would end up on my blog someday!

Poisson du jour…

….et plus du fromage. French is coming back to me!  This is an oldie and I look like crap but it’s the only video I have of me and Daniele together. See? She’s next to me!

Now. Do you think France is a horrible place to visit? I sure don’t!  Thanks for looking at the pics and even more thanks for watching my horrific videos. This is the first time I’m posting my home made vids. Should I do more videos in the future?


Today I’m giving you “Les Copains d’Abord” by Georges Brassens. He’s one of my faves and his songs are like poems. But moreso, this was the song that was played as we left the church after Daniele’s funeral. It’s special…

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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52 Responses to Please Don’t Tell Me Where To Go!

  1. Nice post 🙂

  2. Your pictures and the description makes me want to go to Paris! Actually, Paris has been on my list for a while and now my 8 year old boy’s list too! Hopefully someday we will make a trip that side! 😀

    • Catherine says:

      And you will make it there and you will love it! I have to be honest. I’m sad that we aren’t stopping in Paris before going to Theoule but Bonaparte is just not ready to be there yet. The loss of Daniele is still very much strong!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. Bun Karyudo says:

    I know what you mean about the annoying paranoia there is about traveling to France. Now let me honest, the only part of the country I’ve ever been to is Charles De Gaulle Airport, but I would love to visit Paris and it’s not fear of terrorism that’s keeping me away. (It’s fear of my bank manager, as it happens.) The way some people talk about the city, you’d think every Parisian spends their morning in hand-to-hand combat on their way to the office.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bun. Oh. I know. The paranoia is ridiculous. Did you watch CNN or MSNBC last night? The big news was the violence at the Trump rally. And that pissed me off because all those moronic mellennials who were protesting in a violent fashion–should save their energies for standing on line at the voting polls in November. Ugh. Idiots. I suffer more terrorist behavior on Route 422 in PA. XOXOXO!!!

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        I can understand people’s frustration with Donald Trump, but I agree the most important action any one of those protestors can take is to turn out to vote in November (ideally driving a school bus they’ve borrowed from somewhere to carry all their friends and relatives too).

      • Catherine says:

        Bun. Right?? Right?? I see these infantile protesters–and there is nothing wrong with a CIVILIZED protest. I think that is a good thing–but to turn to violence is just so wrong on many levels. I really would love to see the ratio of violent protesters to actual voters. I protest with a vote!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Yep, violence is just plain wrong of course because somebody could get hurt, but it’s also completely counterproductive. It really helps nobody but Donald Trump.

      • Yes, Catherine, isn’t 422 just ridiculous?! For that matter, so is the Schuylkill Expressway and 476 South…when you have local roads like that, people should leave my beloved France alone!

      • Catherine says:

        Maribeth. Ugh. Don’t even get me started on 422. Roadwork. Road work. Roadwork. I refuse to even get on the Schuylkill unless it is an emergency. I’ll take Montgomery Avenue! XOXOXO!!!

  4. Sharon Dsly says:

    Oh, Catherine, such a lovely post! So many fabulous memories of trips to Paris, Champagne, Burgandy, and the Loire Valley. Chateau Chambord and the others are fabulous, but my fave is Blois, more ancient, intimate, with the first Francois Premier staircase.

    BTW, for that smug customer, the Italian anti-terror minister just announced that Italy is now a target of ISIS et al.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sharon! Glad you enjoyed the post and some memories! Hey. That Francois Premier–what a I right???? Everyplace is now a target. It’s so sad that as we’ve progressed our society as a kind people has regressed. We truly are our own worst enemies! XOXOXO!!!

  5. hipchick66 says:

    Beautiful pictures and great memories. I love seeing France through you! Someday, I’d like to get there myself and it will be even better because of what you have shared. As for those people…well people in general have to many annoying opinions and ‘advice’ on what others should do. Just keep giving them the fake smile, and ‘do you’!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori! Thanks. I’m so glad that you are enjoying. Yeah. People love to give their two cents worth and make assumptions..LOL!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  6. Judy says:

    Catherine, you ought to be employed by the French Tourist Board, you’re a natural! Such a wonderful piece which truly captured the “feel” of that lovely country, thank you.
    The threat of terrorism and violence is everywhere these days, no place is truly safe, and while I would never knowingly put myself or anyone else in a place where there is known to be active and present danger, I will not let my life be dictated to by what “might happen”. Have a lovely time, raise your glass to the memory of a lady in a million and say “bah humbug” to anyone who doesn’t understand.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy! Ohhh. I’m so flattered that you feel I should be employed by the French Tourist Board. I think it would befitting for me too! I kind of like my version of France. It isn’t the smoke and mirrors, pastel macaron kind! It’s real!
      I’m going to have many glasses raised to the memory of a fine lady. I think her spirit actually guided us away from Paris this time because she knew of the flooding……

  7. junedesilva says:

    Salut Catherine! Having just returned from a month in France & writing a blog dedicated to France, you know what my feelings are about the country!!! I don’t want to point the finger either but I feel the gun crime issues in the USA are just as frightening as terrorism… Have a wonderful trip & keep writing such great posts! June x

    • Catherine says:

      Hi June! Oh. I know your feelings about France!! Don’t get me started on our gun laws–or lack thereof. When a school full of children are randomly shot and the government does NOTHING to change laws–you know the people of the country are sitting ducks for any dumb cluck. There is no safe place! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. spearfruit says:

    Wonderful post Catherine – I enjoyed every video – Yes – do more videos. France sounds lovely – maybe one day I will plan a trip there. And if I do, you and Bonaparte can be my guide. Have a great weekend my dear! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terry. Bonaparte was mortified to hear his voice and his incredible description of Place Dauphine. LOL. But he was touched by seeing Daniele. I need to look for more of his vids! And we would be happy to be your tour guides! XOXOXOXO!!!

  9. Trudy says:

    Hi Catherine! I got a lot of that attitude when I worked in the Duty Free at JFK. It’s insufferable! Assuming that you know nothing about anything outside the States and nothing about world events… Arrgh.! That was daily, I can totally relate to everything you pointed at.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Trudy. Wow! Working at JFK’s Duty Free. You MUST’VE had to deal with attitudes that were far and above what I deal with. Amazing what small minds some big travelers have. Right??????? Misery loves company. Come sit next to me and we’ll share a cup of cawfee! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Trudy says:

        Yes it is amazing. I love when I get from rich white people, “Wow! You’re so articulate!” when staring into my black face or, “You speak another language? Oh you’re aware of politics and world events?” … Dealt with it all, Catherine. Condescending as fuck. Definitely worth a cup of coffee.

  10. Bernadette says:

    Catherine, I have been to Paris 10 times. It is probably my favorite place in the world. My second favorite place is St. Maarten on the French side. Enjoy every bit of your trip. Drink Rose and eat the cheese and be careful because unfortunately no place in the world is safe.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bernadette! Yeah. I’m starting to feel a bit sad that we aren’t going to stop in Paris this time–I’m hoping in the fall Bonaparte will want to spend a few days there. Fall is my favorite time there because it’s pretty much emptied out from the tourists!
      I’m going to drink a lot of Breton Cidre. I can’t find it here and I love the appley taste!!! The cheese. I’ll just gorge!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  11. mareymercy says:

    Try an experiment, next time that conversation starts, tell them you’re going somewhere other than France (or Italy). Then watch them give you the same exact lecture because they never really cared where you were going in the first place and just wanted to feel superior to you. Or perhaps, when they ask where you are going for the summer, you could just say, “Well, to your house, as soon as you leave! I’ll just get your address off the check.”

  12. calensariel says:

    Thank you for the LOVELY little mini-vacation! Beautiful pictures and narration. My favorite pix? The view of the rooftops from Daniele’s apartment. I found it mesmerizing.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Catherine. You know what? I have a TON of pictures of rooftops taken from various windows of Daniele’s apartment. My faves are the ones that showcase the Eiffel tower and my others are from her kitchen. I’ll have to weed through them and do a post in the future. I loved waking up and going to the window to see the roofs and different lighting made for great pics. I’m so happy you feel the same way. That makes my day! Thank you! XOXOXOXO!!!

  13. Denise says:

    I went to Paris this year for the first time – a direct response to the atrocities of last year. We happened to be there when Brussels happened…I think Paris is a most amazing place and the French are lovely. When I can tear myself away from Madrid, I will visit again and again.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Denise. It’s true. The French are lovely And people confuse their polite reserve with rudeness and aloofness. It’s sad when some people think being polite and reserved borders on rude.XOXOXOXO!!!

  14. suzyjbarker says:

    You just have to do it your way. Always. Never mind the rest. Great photos

  15. JulietC says:

    I loved this post (I love all of them) and the one time I went to Paris I was entranced. Bad things can happen anywhere – anywhere, if you let the crazies put you off travelling then they’ve succeeded. The worst thing people can do is NOT travel and then live in fear and ignorance of others. By the way I loved the video clips and rather hope you and Bonaparte will film some more! My 88 year old mother rang me about the recent events in Bruges – I live near Glasgow, that would be Scotland, but she is convinced despite being a smart fully clued up old lady that they are just a short distance apart as she has never been far from home in New Zealand. I had to remind her that the granddaughter of a former neighbour was murdered in Christchurch last week less than 4 miles from where she lives.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! First of all, thank you for enjoying my posts! Secondly, I agree one hundred percent with you on your views of travel! It’s true though, anything can happen anywhere–especially close to the confines of home. I’m glad you liked those less-than-stellar vids!!! XOXOXO!!!

  16. Ca fair trop longtemps depuis notre dernier vacance a Paris. Nous avons une tante qui habite Champs Sur Marne, un frere et sa famille a Meaux, family a Bordeaux, et aussi au sud, a Toulon. Mon mari est ne a Arras et ses parents habite Argeles sur Mer. Nos vacances sont toujours en France aussi. Pendant que j’ai lu votre blog, je me suis demande pourquoi je n’ai pas penser de faire ca avant…Brava. Bien fait. Bien dit.
    .FYI, try Stella Cidre en pression. We can find it at 2 local places here in Montgomery County. Sweeter than traditional French cidre, but still dry…

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Maribeth! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post!!! We actually got lost in Toulon a few years back!! Ohhhhh.. I tried the Stella Cidre. It wasn’t sweet enough for me. I have a jones for that Breton Cidre–Total Wine used to sell it but no more!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  17. nathalie says:

    you are the best tour operator for France !!! thank you for not believing bad things and wrong news from bad journalists who only want to create sensationalism !!!! spend very very good moments here , amitiés !

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nathalie! Oh boy–I am very much flattered by your statement. And you’re right–the press lives for sensationalism. I’ll never forget last summer during the taxi strike, the US press made it seem like the whole of France was at a standstill. I can’t stand that!! XOXOXO!!!

  18. Bodie says:

    I find exactly the same thing, having worked in fashion retail all my life, and now owning my own boutique. People always assume that because you’re on the other side of the counter, you have never travelled, and “talk down” to you. I never tell them of the many countries I have visited,I just let them have their moment of oneupmanship!

  19. Anne Nickol says:

    Where do you stay when you visit Theoule? Considering a trip with my husband to France, and your view looked lovely!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  20. Leah says:

    I am so happy you were going to France so I can live vicariously through you. I haven’t been there in about five years, my best friend lives in Montpellier and I miss that area so much. If I recall correctly, you don’t post while you are on vacation, so I will anxiously await your updates when you return!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Leah! Yes!! You are 100% correct. I won’t be posting while away. I don’t have access to a computer and I can’t do a post from my phone. But–it’s a good time to step away and concentrating on writing about what we’re going so I can share when we return. I worry that people will forget me though and I don’t want that to happen! LOL. I’m incredibly grateful to you for awaiting my updates! XOXOXOXO!!!

  21. Well done, Catherine. You’ve showed the ugly side of North America that we may be too blind to see. Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. Lovely photos!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for your supportive thoughts. People don’t see what is oftentimes right in front of their faces, yet they seek out the bad in others. It’s amazing. Paris and New York City are my two favorite cities ever. And trust me, I feel far safer in Paris than I do in the suburban area where I live! Between road rage and every day shootings and robberies in Philly, I have to question those who have a false sense of security! XOXOXOXO!!!

  22. Andi says:

    Hi Catherine! We were just in France the end of April. Refused to cancel because that would be letting the batards win! Normandy was humbling. But we loved Bordeaux the best of all. Beautiful countryside, good food and wonderful wine! Your lovely words make us want to go to the South next time! Thanks for writing.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Andi! Right??? Wasn’t Normandy completely humbling? It was really intense. Oh you definitely should visit the South. It’s so relaxing and peaceful and, well–it’s so chill. It’s the best (next to Paris!) XOXOXOXO!!!

  23. tvonzalez says:

    I would LOVE to go to France~! I haven’t been there in over 30 years. I eventually will be taking French to complete my bachelor’s degree so when I do my European tour, I will be able to speak some semblance of the language.
    Can’t remember how I found you, got you on my Feedly now.
    Pop by for a visit some time –

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Tvon! Well, I’m glad you found me–was it from Bloglovin’ or maybe Penny of Frugal Fashion Shopper? I’m just happy you are part of the neighborhood! It’s funny, I don’t speak much French, but I understand and can read much of it. I get a bit flustered when I speak it. But–I know enough to get around. I’m checking out your blog now! XOXOXO!!!

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