Podcast: ‘Join Us in France’

If you want to travel in France and learn about French history, the Join Us in France podcast is a superb resource. The podcast, which launched in 2014, was originally co-hosted by Elyse and Annie. They live in France and know it well. Annie was born in France but has lived in the United States. Although Elyse grew up in New York, she knows the language, the culture and the country’s history inside and out. Elyse, the native American, often seems more French than Annie who was born in France. Go figure. Due to time constraints, Elyse is no longer a co-host but still comes on the show as her time permits.

The podcast does a great job of explaining France and its culture to Americans. I especially enjoyed the episodes about driving in Francecheese and Le Marais. I also learned a great deal by listening to recent episode in which Elyse and Annie discuss the best places to see modern and contemporary art in France.

Each episode has show notes that are very helpful in planning a trip. For example, the modern art episode lists 18 museums around France to explore, including many I knew nothing about.

There are plenty of other resources to help travelers to France select hotels and restaurants. But this podcast will help you to understand France. Annie and Elyse now offer walking tours for Francophiles who want to learn about France and have some great meals with friends.

Annie and Elyse were interviewed for Amateur Traveler episode 428 about Paris. The Amateur Traveler is a great podcast but if your destination is France, Join Us in France is the podcast for you.

iTunes — Google


Photography: Podcast with Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost.

Julieanne Kost is a superb instructor of Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ve learned so much from her by taking her courses on It’s interesting to hear her in a less formal setting in this podcast.

Kost also has a blog with helpful tips.


Book Review: ‘Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light’

I stumbled across Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light while preparing to visit Paris again, a city I have loved for almost 40 years. The author, David Downie, is an American who has lived in Paris since 1986. He loves Paris deeply and knows it far better than I do.

The walk begins at France’s gigantic national library — Bibliothèque nationale de France. This is the largest library I have ever seen; it houses 15 million books and journals. It is located near the Métro station Bibliothèque François Mitterrand right along the Seine. But not much else is nearby. The location feels desolate, modern and suburban, although the library remains within Paris’s Périphérique or beltway.

However, it was unclear to me from reading the book where the walk ended so I emailed the author who cheerfully responded with the details and even suggested a nice, reasonably priced restaurant for lunch right along the walk. The restaurant is La Fregate and is at the only spot on the walk where you have to go up to the sidewalk from the river. Downie describes the restaurant as “cozy, friendly, insiderish, welcoming — and the service — efficient, discreet and unusually chummy for Paris.”

© David H. Enzel

I watched the city transform from stark, modern suburbs and eventually came upon Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower and on to its terminus at the Pont Mirabeau. I will never forget Le Pont Mirabeau after reading Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem in high school. The poem breaths life and love into the bridge. Seeing Le Pont Mirabeau at the end of this day-long walk was special. The entire walk was about 10 km or 6.2 miles. The transformations within that short distance speak volumes about Paris.

On top of the wonderful details that make Paris come to life, Downie’s prose shows a love and mastery of the English language that I appreciate. This gem of a book will teach you so much about Paris and make you want to return again and again or go to Paris and remain as Downie has.

At Downie’s suggestion, I also visited Buttes Chaumont park which is even more impressive than Mr. Downie describes. He knows Place des Vosges like the back of his hand so that chapter is exceptional.

On top of the wonderful details that make Paris come to life, Downie’s prose shows a love and mastery of the English language. This gem of a book will teach you about Paris and make you want to return again and again. It may even motivate you to go there and remain as Downie has.


Photography: Export from Lightroom to

I just installed a plugin for Adobe Lightroom that allows me to export images directly to my Media library. It seems to work well and this will be a time-saver. Instructions for using the plugin are here.

This is another good reason to use WordPress.


Music: Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian sings beautifully and speaks four languages: French, Spanish, Italian and English. She was born in Belgium to a Flemish father and an Italian mother. I especially love her French music. Fabian is best known for the dance pop song “I Will Love Again,” which was released in 2000 and peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I saw her perform in Washington, DC in 2018 at the Warner Theater and her voice knocked my socks off.

Her music is in the same genre as Laura Pausini with whom she has performed. Together they are an exceptional treat.

Lara Fabian and Laura Pausini
Lara Fabian TV Interview

Lara Fabian on iTunes


Peter Turnley Reflects on Life and Photography

Peter Turnley is one of my favorite photographers. He recently reflected on Instagram that he doesn’t take time for granted:

Every moment counts. This is in part what I love about photography – a celebration of moments. Like atoms and neurons, moments are almost infinite – we must seize them. ⁣

I have now been making photographs for 48 years. Almost a half of century of moments to share, explore, review, and reflect upon. I have no idea how many years of moments are left, but what I do know, is that one day at a time, there are moments left to live, and I intend to make sure they count. ⁣

Turnley has worked in over 90 countries. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek 43 times. You can see some of his work on his website.


A Charming About Page

What a wonderful way for a blogger to introduce herself:

Rather than letting anyone who knows me truly know me, I choose to pour my heart out to the internet.

Millennial Life Crisis

George Will: The Holocaust is the ‘dark sun’ into which this democracy should peer

George Will writing in The Washington Post on the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC:

Nothing — nothing — is unthinkable, and political institutions by themselves provide no permanent safety from barbarism, which permanently lurks beneath civilization’s thin, brittle crust.

This is why the Holocaust is the dark sun into which this democracy should peer.


Berlin: A Wonderful Capital City

I first visited Berlin in the early 1980s. Berlin was then a divided city. I stayed in the Western zone near the Kurfurstendamm, which at the time was the heart of Berlin. I took a one day bus tour to the East. We crossed through Checkpoint Charlie. The bus was thoroughly searched by East German border guards. In contrast, the American military just let us pass freely.

The West was vibrant with shops, restaurants and people everywhere. In contrast, buildings in the East still showed signs of having been bombed in the war. There were Soviet style memorials throughout East Berlin. Our East German guide was openly dispirited and seemed to be reciting a script he was told to speak, especially when he spoke of “warm relations” with the then Soviet Union. At the end of the day, I was glad to be back in the West where I felt free and comfortable.

In 2018, I went back to Berlin to see an undivided, transformed and reinvented Berlin, still under construction 73 years after the end of WWII. I stayed near the Kurfurstendamm so I could compare my experience today with the early 1980s. My hotel —Pension Peters— is a small owner-managed hotel, where I felt like a temporary resident in a nice Berlin neighborhood.

I saw the transformation of Berlin immediately. The Kurfurstendamm is no longer the center of town. The heart of Berlin today is in the former East, which was a shambles when I was last there. The Kurfurstendamm is now a nice shopping street in a lovely Berlin neighborhood called City West but isn’t the heart of the capital.

David Enzel at Former Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany

Music: Shannon LaBrie

Shannon LaBrie is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist from Lincoln, NE. She’s lived in Nashville, TN, since 2008. Her voice is glorious.