SSoP Podcast Episode 57 — France: Mostly Here for the Butter

SSoP Podcast Episode 57 — France: Mostly Here for the Butter

Friday, 24 May, 2024

According to people in the know, there are two Frances: Paris and the rest of the (alluring, picturesque) country. We got all daydreamy about Paris in a previous episode. In this one, we’re celebrating the châteaux, coastlines, cathedrals, cuisine, mountains, and museums that give France its unique je ne sais quoi.

It’s hard to argue with the notion that France offers the best of everything. From scenery and snacks to iconic art, world-changing history, and culture-shaping fashion, it’s practically ground zero for the good things in life. The light is golden. The wine is luscious. The cheese is heavenly, and the scenery is so beautiful, it makes the heart yearn.

You can take a road trip or a bike ride among the purple rivers of lavender fields in Provence or the gilt-and-green vineyards in Burgundy. Loll in the sun and splash in the sea along the Riviera — or tour a château where nobles ruled and romanced 500 years ago. Wander the streets and cafés that inspired Vincent Van Gogh, then relax under a shade tree with a perfect baguette and the world’s best butter.

In this episode, we take a virtual road trip around France, explore the Bayeux Tapestry, and get curious about an obscure (and deeply romantic) French law. Then we recommend five great books that took us to France on the page, including a charming slice-of-life novel (that made Mel happy to be a human), a thrilling fictional biography, a cozy Mediterranean murder mystery, the tale of a badass lady spy in WWII, and a lyrical novel that will break your heart and put it back together.

Here are the books about France we recommend on the show:

Books, Transcript, and More

For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 57 show notes.

Pssst… That photo at the top of the page is inside Our Lady Of Reims (Notre Dame De Reims) Cathedral in Reims, France.


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So many important questions: Where to go first? The magic of Mont-Saint-Michel or the Bayeaux Tapestry or Rouen Cathedral? Walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh or tour a château? White wine or red? One baguette or two?
It's one last blast of summer with this twisty novel of a perfect French holiday gone horribly, delightfully wrong. You'll feel the relentless sunshine glint on the pages as you careen to the very satisfying ending.
Travel back in time to the South of France. To a humble, bright-colored room in a yellow house in Arles, in the company of the artist Vincent Van Gogh. His masterwork 'Bedroom in Arles' inspired this tender poem.

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