Any Francophile worth their salt should know about Radio Nova, the 27 year-old French station that broadcasts throughout much of the country. There are a lot of reasons to love it, not the least of which is if you find yourself driving a tiny car equipped with only a cassette deck to Le Lude, a renaissance castle in the Loire Valley — as Seth and I did recently.
The renowned station can be streamed from the Internet as well, offering a mellow mix of music that spans decades and genres in an egalitarian way that strikes us as quintessentially French. The eclectic mix is difficult to summarize but, like the name implies, it has the laid-back effect of Bossa Nova without any Northern Hemisphere melancholy. Where else can you hear "Bonita Applebum" alongside Boston's Westbound Train sampling "Love and Happiness" these days? Even if you don't like all the music (it can be a little heavy on electronic picks for my taste and doesn't venture much beyond that, world music and hip hop), the relaxed mood is difficult to resist.