French-born slalom Canoeist and Olympic and World Champion Jessica Fox shares her deeplyheld love of France.
Marseille is your birthplace. Where would you recommend people visit in Marseille or Provence?
Les Calanques de Marseille, whether that’s Sormiou, Morgiou or Callelongue. There are many beautiful walks with incredible views and swimming spots. And the village of Les Goudes – have a drink by the water in a cool atmosphere. Of course you have to go to the Vieux Port.
You’ve canoed and kayaked all around the world…where is your favourite place to kayak in France?
My favourite place in France to paddle on a natural river is the beautiful Bourg St Maurice in the Alps on the river Isère. It has some of the best white water that stretches for kilometres. My favourite place to race in France is Pau in the southwest. We have a World Cup there every year and the atmosphere is always great.
(© Alban Gilbert) Le pont du XIV juillet franchissant le gave de Pau et le chateau en arriere plan
The French lifestyle is all about fabulous cuisine, art, architecture, culture and fashion. What aspects of the French lifestyle are your favourites?
The food! I miss the delicious French bread and pastries. I also love the rich culture and architecture in French cities. We do a lot of driving across France to go kayaking and there are always beautiful and interesting castles, or ruins, along the drive.
France is renowned for its cuisine. What are your favourite French foods?
There’s nothing better than a fresh baguette from your nearest boulangerie! Add some good cheese, or fresh tomatoes and olives, some olive oil…yum! Anything that comes from my Mamie’s kitchen is a favourite. Living in Marseille, she cooks mostly Mediterranean style - a lot of fresh fish. I haven’t spent many winters in France but I love a raclette with a table of friends.
Gastronomy lovers in France are spoiled for choice! What’s the best restaurant in France that you’ve experienced?
My grandma’s kitchen! We spend so much time on the road touring that I love homecooked meals when in France. But my most memorable restaurant experience would have to be with my family eating a Bouillabaisse in Sormiou, Marseille at ‘le Chateau’. A delicious typical favourite places.
Moreish macarons (photo © Paris Tourist Ofce - Photographe Amélie Dupont)
At Tokyo 2020, you became the first slalom paddler - male or female - to win a medal of each colour across canoe and kayak events. What are your aspirations for the upcoming Olympic Games, in Paris 2024?
Tokyo was an incredible experience; the most pressure and expectation I’d ever felt; the most turbulent lead-in and a very different games, the covid restrictions, and no spectators. I felt so proud to be able to win two medals and especially achieve my childhood dream of becoming Olympic Champion. For Paris, I am excited by the prospect of my family finally being able to watch me compete and I know Paris 2024 will put on a good show! My goal is to qualify for the Games in 2023, then who knows … anything else from here is a bonus!
The inspirational Jessica Fox is in search of gold (photo © Jessica Fox).
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