A selection of podcasts (in English) for those seeking a French culture fix while waiting out uncertain times – or anytime!
The Land of Desire
The Land of Desire is an engaging one-woman show about French history and culture hosted by San Francisco-based Francophile Diana Stegall. Whether discussing Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette; Napoleon’s “tiniest campaign”; or the Dreyfus affair, she brings her wit and contagious fascination with the subject matter to each well-researched episode.
Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882. © Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
Fashion No Filter
On Fashion No Filter, fashion influencers Camille Charrière (based in London) and Monica Ainley (based in Paris) chat with each other and assorted industry professionals about the art and business of la mode, serving up a fun but also illuminating blend of it-girl glamor and behind-the-scenes reality. For a nice chaser to the episode featuring fashion documentarian Loïc Prigent, be sure to pull up his YouTube channel.
Join Us in France
While a transatlantic trip may not yet be an option for most, planning for the day when it will be is a pleasure in its own right. Armchair travelers will find few better resources than Join Us in France, where hosts Annie and Elyse serve up a wealth of information with good humor and zero pretention. The more than 280 episodes to date include debriefs with recent visitors to regions all over the country, with tips on dealing with food allergies; having a baby or buying a house in France; going to Paris solo, with preschool-age children, or with teenagers – and the list goes on and on. Guestless episodes cover an equally broad range of topics, among them restaurant do’s and don’ts, “bizarre” French foods, Le Corbusier architecture, movie recommendations, and, yes, post-pandemic travel.
FrancoFiles & The Thing About France
Every few months, the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., presents a new episode of FrancoFiles, a podcast exploring the world of diplomacy, be it through a discussion of multilateralism with then-ambassador Gérard Araud or a profile of the ambassadorial residence, the backdrop of many a glittering soirée. Cross-cultural topics such as the Michelin Guide’s influence on the American restaurant scene and the impact of African-Americans on post-World War I Paris round out the mix. Also well worth checking out is the back catalog of The Thing About France, a series of conversations between former Cultural Counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur and such well-known American guests as humorist David Sedaris, novelist Rick Moody, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem about the relationship between their two countries. A new season is in the works.
© National Archives
The New Paris
A native Philadelphian and longtime Paris resident, journalist Lindsey Tramuta launched her podcast, The New Paris, as a “side dish” to her eponymous 2017 book, whose follow-up, The New Parisienne, comes out this July. Anyone seeking insight into the many ways in which the French capital is evolving will enjoy her discussions with guest experts on topics running the gamut from coffee and craft beer to state security and immigration.
© Joann Pai
Article published in the June 2020 issue of France-Amérique. Subscribe to the magazine.