Things I learned from visiting France

très grand chat domestique

Here are some things I learned from visiting France in May 2023. You world travelers likely already know some of these things.

Let me lay out the four places we stayed. We spent two nights at (#1) the Hotel Paris – Andre Latin Hotel, then two more at (#2) the Hotel Kyriad Auray (2), one night at (#3) Les Chtis Bretons, near Le Temple in Trédion (3), and the final night at (#4) Millennium CDG in Roissy en France. These were very different experiences.


When we got into room #1, I couldn’t get the lights to work. I asked the person at the front desk, and they asked if I had put the key card in the slot; of course, that’s how we got in.

No, the slot INSIDE the room. When the key is in that slot, the lights work. It’s a measure to keep people from wasting electricity. We also had to give the key to the front desk when we went out, then get it back upon our return.

It was good that we had three adapter plugs for European sockets.  Ours were called Travel Smart by Conair. We used all three. One was to charge my laptop, and another was for the white noise machine; we didn’t use it the first night, and we slept poorly even though I’d been up over 36 hours.

The third plug was to charge our phones and my watch. On May 9, days before our May 14 departure, I bought a SooPii 60W 6-Port Charging Station for Multiple Devices. It was advantageous.

I changed my phone carrier from Boost Mobile to TMobile nine days before departure. My phone worked everywhere we went in France except place #3, only five kilometers from the chateau, where we DID have connectivity.

I also got a Glocal Me hotspot and a 5G SIM card. This was not successful. So my wife could only use her phone when we were on Amtrak, the planes, three hotels, and the TGV TRAIN. Fortunately, our Wordle streaks remained intact.


I briefly checked out the television at hotels #1 and #2. Hotel #1 in Paris had a variety of channels, some in English, primarily BBC 4 and its spinoffs. There were also channels from Tunisia and, I believe, Iran.

The TV at Hotel #2 in Auray was all in French. The only English I heard was from Cannes. Michael Douglas was accepting an award, which was translated. But some offerings were American programs dubbed into English, including Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, and The A-Team. 

Radio was quite eclectic throughout the country. On the tour bus in Paris, between descriptions of the sites, the music ranged from Middle Eastern to the Parisian dance halls to hip hop lite. 


Food was abundant at Hotels #1, #2, and #4. They all served croissants and had machines dispensing coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Mainly #2 and #4 seemed heated toward their perception of the American palate. Carrot cake and brownies for breakfast? I LOVE carrot cake but wasn’t ready for it at 8:30 a.m.

In the lobby of Hotel #2 was perhaps the largest domesticated cat I’ve ever seen. It would wander among the diners, walking under the chairs. When it was petted, it would linger for a time. 


Driving in the countryside, from Auray to Erdeven to  Trédion, wasn’t too demanding for my wife. However, there were a LOT of traffic circles, and the signage was not sufficiently large to know which way to go.

We were dependent on the GPS. I would navigate because it was hard for my wife to drive and figure out where to go. “In 500 meters, take the 12 o’clock, ” I’d say. (Or “nine o’clock” or “three o’clock.”) 

In particular, when we went from Erdeven, where the wedding took place, to  Trédion, where the reception was 45 minutes away, was held, we would have never found the place. We were directed to caravan with other vehicles, but by the third circle, we’d lost the car we were supposed to follow.

Conversely, driving in Paris appeared to be insane, with bicycles and motorcycles cutting in between lanes. The fact that we never saw an accident was remarkable. The motorcycles rode on the lines between lanes. My wife was happy not to be behind the wheel there.

J is for Jentacular

My favorite thing to drink for breakfast is half orange juice, half cranberry juice.

breakfastDan, you said this was a breakfast blog. THIS will REALLY be a breakfast post!

I had read somewhere in a list of weird words that jentacular was an adjective meaning “pertaining to breakfast.” But as I looked at other sources, it appears to mean, “Of or pertaining to a breakfast taken early in the morning, or immediately on getting up.” There’s even the word “antejentacular” meaning to eat breakfast BEFORE getting out of bed. Breakfast in bed, I imagine.

The majority of dictionaries do not include the extended definition, so I shan’t either, except to note that I usually get up before I’m hungry. I wake up when the CATS are hungry, which is around 4:30. I feed them, work on the e-mail, blog for an hour or so, and sometimes go back to bed when The Wife’s alarm goes off, usually around 5:30 during the school year.

Breakfast is often cold cereal. I have written EXTENSIVELY about cereal, so I need not get into that, except to note that the great thing about cereals, and the weird thing, is that one brand or other is often on sale, and usually have lots of coupons in the newspaper, so I seldom pay full price.

In the winter, and even in the colder days of autumn and spring, we often have oatmeal. Not only is it warming, the oats, but I also gather, are good cholesterol fighters.

The first thing I ever made on our gas stove when I was eight, give or take, was scrambled eggs, using a cast-iron skillet. Teflon non-stick pans did exist then, but we never used them. For one thing, in the early days, they were far too expensive.

On weekends, we usually have either pancakes or waffles, with whatever fruit we have available. One of our indulgences is that we like real maple syrup and use it far more often than the store-bought concoction. (I’ve expressed my mixed emotions over Log Cabin syrup.)

As I’ve mentioned a few times, my favorite thing to drink for breakfast is half orange juice, half cranberry juice. When it’s cold, I drink tea, but, and I know it’s a mortal sin, I’ve ever gotten into drinking coffee.

What do YOU like for breakfast?
Coffee and the brain. Plus What does caffeine do for us?


ABC Wednesday, Round 15

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