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.


Read the full transcript of France: Mostly Here for the Butter.

Clara Reads Proust

buy | read review

Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc

buy | read review

Murder on the Île Sordou

buy | read review

A Woman of No Importance

buy | read review

Fresh Water for Flowers

buy | read review

other books we mentioned


other cool stuff we talked about

Here’s our Paris episode if you’d like to start in the capital city.

Perhaps you’d like to listen to some French cafe while you dig into these links.

And some photos to set the scene…

pastel colored houses on a hill with a sign that says cannes in big white letters
Cannes, France. Photo courtesy of Jannis Lucas/Unsplash.
vast field of purple lavender plants under a blue sky
Lavender field in Valensole, France. Photo courtesy of Antony BEC/Unsplash.
a sliced french baguette on a gray surface with slices of salami and cheese and a pat of butter
The perfect sandwich. Photo courtesy of Jez Timms/Unsplash.
a white french chateau surrounded by mist and trees
Château Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, France. Photo courtesy of Joao Tzanno/Unsplash.
brown multi-story houses sitting in the edge of the ocean
Saint-Malo, France. Photo courtesy of Clovis Wood Photography/Unsplash.
an island surrounded by calm water with a gothic church sitting on top of a hill
Mont-Saint-Michel, France. Photo courtesy of Rita Burza/Unsplash.

france 101

photos of cary grant, grace kelly, and prince rainier in monaco
A prince, a princes, and a movie star in Monaco.
vaulted sandstone hallway of the abbey
The Abbey of Fontenay, Montbard, France. Photo courtesy of Peter Herrmann/Unsplash.

two truths and a lie


Clara Reads Proust by Stéphane Carlier

Joan by Katherine J. Chen

the actress zendaya in a gray chain mail dress on the steps of the met gala

Murder on the Île Sordou by M.L. Longworth

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

Looking for some great French music?

Snips of these artists are heard throughout the show, but please take in their full beauty at the links below.

And a special thanks to:

Parts of the Strong Sense of Place podcast are produced in udio! Some effects are provided by soundly.


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