My visit to Paris & three podcasts I recommend

From Saturday till Tuesday I went to Paris with my boyfriend. It was a short visit, but we had a great time! I wanted to mention this visit in my monthly wrap-up, but I decided it deserves its own post.

One of my favourite things about the trip was visiting Shakespeare and Company. You may have heard of this bookshop, because it’s quite famous. It can be found in a beautiful old building close to the Notre Dame. The shop isn’t that big, but packed with all kinds of books. To my surprise the bookshop also has its own cat! As souvenir I bought a book: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.

Of course we also went to a couple of other famous buildings. I saw the Notre Dame in renovation. We climbed up the stairs to the Sacré-Cœur. From the hill you have a beautiful view over Paris. Obviously we saw the Eiffel Tower. We stayed until it was dark, so we could see it get illuminated. And during a bus tour something peculiar caught my attention. All over Paris I saw small mosaic tiles with pixel art. If you’re intrigued, visit this website for more pictures.

Podcast recommendations about Paris and France

Before my visit, I wanted to know more about Paris. So in preparation I listened to some podcasts about Paris specifically and France in general. My French isn’t very good, so all of these podcasts are in English.

The Earful Tower
I think this podcasts is mainly interesting if you want to visit Paris or are a Francophile. Even when you don’t fall in one of these categories, there may still be some episodes for you. If you’re a bookworm like me, you will definitively love the episode Behind the Curtains of Shakespeare and Company about the bookshop I visited.

The Land of Desire
This podcast is about the history of France. The host is an amazing story-teller. I haven’t listened to a lot of episodes yet, but I really enjoyed the three episodes about the Notre Dame. In the first one we hear about the period the Notre Dame was built. In the other two episodes our host skips around history and highlights some interesting points in the history of Paris.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
This is one of my favourite history podcasts, so I had to mention it. There are hundreds of episodes covering all kinds of fascinating things you didn’t even know you wanted to learn about. Some episodes about France are:

Three podcasts to listen on Earth Day

On April 22 it’s Earth Day. Today we celebrate our planet! It’s an international event to make people aware of ecological problems and to do something about it. You can even do small things to help! For example eating less meat and trying to use less plastic. Read more on this website.

I write a blog post about Earth Day every year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020). Every time I choose a different topic. This year I decided to share some podcast episodes that focus on nature.

BBC Earth Podcast
This podcast has the most beautiful stories about nature. Some of my favourite episodes feature singing wolves (When wolves sing), animals in suburban London (Big hairy neighbours) and a flying rhino (The rhino that flew 10,000 miles).

This is Love
In this podcast you come across all forms of love. There are episodes about romantic love and friendships, and especially interesting on Earth Day: some episodes express a great love for our planet. Three episodes I love in this category are a beautiful encounter with something wild (Episode 2: Something Large and Wild), a love story between two wolves (Episode 19: The Wolves) and an explorer who went into a huge iceberg (Episode 23: Into the Ice).

Solarpunk the Future on Imaginary Worlds
Imaginary Worlds is actually a podcast about science fiction and fantasy. But I’d like to mention one specific episode about solarpunk. This is a subgenre of science fiction. Rather than the past, it takes a hopeful future as inspiration. In solarpunk do it yourself environmental sustainability plays a major role. It’s an interesting subgenre if you’re interested in solutions for the current evironmental problems. I haven’t really explored solarpunk yet, but this podcast episode piqued my interest.

Four Sci-Fi short stories and novellas I love

I like big books, but novellas have their own advantages. There is no space for info-dumping and you can read them in one sitting. Next to reading, I also like to listen to short stories. I cycle to my work every day and on the way I love to listen to podcasts. Recently I discovered Levar Burton Reads. He is a talented reader and also uses sound effects to make the stories come alive. So far I heard a couple of amazing stories in various genres. A podcast that exclusively features science fiction and fantasy stories is Clarkesworld Magazine. For SciFiMonth I made a list with some of my favourite short stories I heard or read.

Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0,5) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read)
The prequel to The Illuminae Files, one of my favourite science ficion series. I personally thought this novella wasn’t as great as the trilogy. I still loved to be back in the Illuminae world! I also really enjoyed reading more about AIDEN, the AI-system from the books.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (read)
This beautifully written story is about two time travelling agents on different sides of a war. It did took a couple of chapters to get used to, but I came to love the writing style as well as the characters! You can find my thoughts about the book here.

The Simplest Equation by Nicky Drayden (heard on Levar Burton Reads)
This story is about a Math student who gets a new classmate from another planet. I actually don’t like math, but this story made me understand a little why some people do love math.

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (heard on Clarkesworld Magazine)
I love cats, so this title immediately caught my attention. It’s about a self-conscious AI that adores cat pictures. It’s a funny story that really made me laugh, but has a kind of deeper layer too.

Top five favourite podcasts

When I am not reading, I love listening to podcasts. They are ideal when doing household tasks or making a walk. Just like books, there are a huge amount of podcasts to choose from. If you don’t know where to start, try one of my favourites!

This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday. A weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of this week is ‘Audio Freebie’.

1. The Bright Sessions

The Bright Sessions

This podcast reminds me of an audiobook. The main character is Dr. Bright. She is a therapist for the ‘strange and unusual’. All her patients have some kind of supernatural ability. In most episodes we listen to a therapy session with one them. The characters are amazing! It’s so interesting to hear how they struggle with their ability. Later in the podcast, we also learn more about Dr. Bright herself. The cast is diverse with, among others, an asexual character, a bisexual character and one who is discovering his sexual orientation along the way.

I highly recommend this podcast! Start at the beginning if you’re interested. The original story is finished, so you don’t have to wait for new episodes.

2. Stuff You Missed in History Class

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Each time I listen to this podcast, I learn something new. In every episode a lesser known person or event is discussed. The podcast is still running. My favourite episodes include Nefertiti and the Heretic Pharaoh and Roses Through Time.

3. This is Love

This is Love

Every episode of this podcast is a real life love story. It’s about love in its most broad definition: romantic love, love for family and even love between animals. The stories are beautiful and alway cheer me up. I haven’t listened to all of them, but my favourite episode so far is Something Large and Wild.

4. Tea & Jeopardy

Tea and Jeopardy

This podcast is great for book worms! Every episode Emma Newman talks with a writer or an illustrator in her secret tea lair. She asks original questions and the conversations are really funny. I loved to listen to the interview with Seanan McGuire.

5. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

In this podcast Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft give tips to become happier. They cover lots of topics, so there is something interesting for everyone. I like how honest the two sisters are in their podcast. They talk about their own life and what advice did or didn’t work for them. One of my favourites is episode 151: Keep a Running List of Your Favourite Things.

What is your favourite podcast? Tell me in the comments!

More podcasts I like

A year ago I did a post about my favourite podcasts. I still really enjoy listening to them. In the meantime I discovered three new podcasts.

The Bright Sessions (link)

The Bright Sessions

This is my favourite podcast at the moment! Every episode is a session in which Dr. Bright talks with one of her patients. The patients all have some kind of supernatural ability. The characters are amazing! It is very interesting to hear about those abilities and how the characters struggle with them sometimes. The podcast also has some LGBTQIA characters: one is asexual and another is still questioning his sexual orientation. By now I listened to almost all episodes, but every two weeks a new episode is released. All the episodes together form a story. So, if you are interested, start at the beginning.

Slow German (link)

Slow German mit Annik Rubens

In a month I am going on vacation to Berlin! As preparation I practice German. I did learn German in high school, but since I never use the language, I forgot a lot. I like Slow German, because the podcast teaches me both the language and interesting facts about the country. In every episode a subject regarding Germany is discussed in slow German. The topics vary from historical persons like Sissi and King Ludwig II to holidays in Germany.  The episodes are short, only 5 to 10 minutes. You can also find the scripts, so you can read along or look up words.

Myths and Legends (link)

Myths and Legends

The host introduces this podcast as “original tales behind legendary stories.” It turns out that the original is often better than the popular tales you know! The podcasts tells the story behind fairy tales, the Knights of the Round Table and other legends. I only listened to a few episodes, but my favourite at the moment is 4-Mulan: A Likely Hero. Mulan was actually not insecure at all! She was trained by her father and so good nobody even questioned her gender.

What are your favourite podcasts? Tell me in the comments!

My top 3 favourite podcasts

A few months ago I discovered the existence of podcasts. Just like books, podcasts can have lots of different subjects. But contrary to books, podcasts can be listened while doing something else. (Technically that is also possible with books, but not always a success…) Podcasts make doing the laundry or other household chores far more amusing! Just install an app (I use Podcast Addict) on your phone or listen via Google Play or iTunes.

For a while I wanted to write a post about podcasts. The Broke and The Bookish happened to do an audio freebie for this Top Ten Tuesday. So the ideal moment to write about my favourite podcasts!

1. Podcastle (link)


Every week PodCastle publishes two amazing fantasy stories written by a variety of writers and read by various narrators. I like the fact that lots of different themes and characters are included, main characters can be black or queer and are sometimes even animals. My favourite is Podcastle 413: This is Not a Wardrobe Door. A story inspired by Narnia, written by A. Merc Rustad and read by the full cast.

If you rather listen to science fiction, Escape pod may be more your thing. This is a sister podcast of PodCastle.

2. Clarkesworld (link)


Actually Clarkesworld is a magazine, but a lot of their science fiction and fantasy stories can also be found in audio form. They have longer stories, some are more than two hours, but most take around half an hour.

The archive is huge, and I have only listened to a few podcasts, but I adored Cat Pictures Please. This is a short story about artificial intelligence with a personality, written by Naomi Kritzer.

3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin (link)

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

In this podcast Gretchen Rubin (she wrote The Happiness Project) and Elizabeth Craft talk about how to be happier. Every week the two sisters discuss a topic that is often identifiable. I like how honest they are in the podcast by showing that they are just humans who make mistakes too. My favourite episode was Podcast 70: What’s the Best Advice You Ever Got?

Next to this longer episodes, Gretchen Rubin starts every week with a small advice. For example I May Not Be the Best, But I’m Probably Not The Worst.