Thursday, September 20, 2018

France 2018: Day 1 - Sightseeing in Lyon

Our adventures so far…

Yesterday… (click to view)


It’s going to be a day of exploring in the oldest part of the City - a little further west than our walk last night.

A local commented last night that the temperature here is a full 10 degrees above the average for this time of year - and there’s another scorcher in store for us today. In celebration, as well as the Sun, my kneecaps are out of trousers, but the censorship here prohibits me from showing them off on this Blog!
Surprised smile

9.00am: First try of the Hotel’s breakfast-offer this morning at the rather lazy hour of 9am! It was ‘OK’ rather than ‘Good’ but it had all the essentials!

10.00am: Off to the Station (all of a 90 seconds walk from our Hotel) to grab a Cab. There were quite a few and we didn’t have to wait long (Red light on the top means they’re taken; green light means they’re for hire). We could have walked it, but the old part is a fair distance and our first stop - The Basilica of Notre Dame de_Fourvière is about as high as you can go in Lyon - so we didn’t fancy altitude sickness!

It was as impressive inside as it was outside… Well worth the taxi-ride of around €15, with grateful feet praising our decision!

This has to be the most ornate church we have been to in France - covered in mosaic walled designs, with gold glistening in the light from the windows. Extremely impressive!

…and the panoramic view from the top was just as jaw dropping!

Next stop, just a five-minute walk away was the Lugdunum Museum. A weird name but Lugdunum was the Roman name for Lyon 2000 years ago, when this was the capital of Roman-occupied Gaul.

…next to the unearthed Roman Theatre

Both were unusual as they had built the museum virtually on top of the best archaeological finds, so here is some information about each:-

11.00am - The Museum: It opens at 11am and the first thing you notice is that you enter at floor 5 and go down in the lift to all the exhibits. The exhibits are all from the local Roman find and feature the largest (and best preserved) mosaics we’ve ever seen.

The colours and details in the floors were absolutely stunning

In the picture above, you’ll see the windows of the Museum itself!

If Mosaics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other Roman finds to impress…

The sheer quantity of the exhibits is breath-taking, but so is the condition of them. Well worth a visit and at around €4 each to get in, it’s a steal!

11.30am - The Roman Theatre: The condition here demonstrates that the Romans built it to last. Much of the hard work in renovating/rebuilding the site was done at the beginning of the 20th century - and they’ve done a great job. The place is so ‘solid’ that there are permanent lighting and camera rigs here, so it’s obviously used to this day for a range of outdoor shows and productions.

Actually there are two ‘Theatres’ next to each other (the other, smaller version is called the ‘Odeon’). In total, they’re designed to hold some 8000 spectators (5000 and 300 respectively)…

Note that my knobbly knees are conveniently out of shot…

…but natural beauty still shines through! Red heart

…although (on a historical note) some of the toilet facilities in France haven’t improved much since I first started coming here in the 80s! #TakeThePiss

11.50am: After all that culture, it was time to make our descent and head in the direction of the Old Town. By now, the temperature was up into the late-20s and it was getting very humid. If going UP was a challenge, then coming DOWN was equally so! It’s at least a 14% decline (a bit like my memory!) and you’ll need ‘grippy shoes’ even though there are proper pavements.

We were about halfway down when we saw this…

..a man-made waterfall! We certainly weren’t expecting that! There’s not even much on the Internet about it - it’s simply known as ‘Waterfall on Fourviere Hill’.

Once down at the normal level of the Town, we briefly dropped-in to St Jean Cathedral. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see here as it’s undergoing restoration.

12.15pm: After all that culture, it was time for a traditional local Lunch. As expected, there was plenty to choose from in the Old Town. You could probably eat at a different place every day - and still not eat at them all. In the end, we settled for A La Traboule.

It was deserted when we arrived at 12.15, but packed by 12.30. We’d obviously chosen wisely (although later, back at the Hotel, when we read the online reviews, we may not have done!)
Sad smile
It was slightly off the ‘main drag’, so that meant that we didn’t experience other tourists gawping at us whilst we troughed. It was in the shade too!, which was a major bonus as the temperature was now in the 30s. And, although the service was somewhat ‘relaxed’, the food itself was excellent. We had a Starter, Mains, Dessert, a bottle of sparkling water, a beer and a glass of Red wine and it came to €59 Euros - a veritable feast actually and just goes to show you can’t believe all the Reviews you read!

1.45pm: It was now REALLY humid and we took a last look round the Old Town taking in the sights…

Some old…

…some traditional…

…and some potentially fattening!
(Err, no, we didn’t succumb!)

3.00pm: It was now even hotter! and spotting a Metro Station, we bought a single ticket each and took the 15 minute journey back to the Hotel.

Wow! what a day!! The Roman remains were impressive, but the weather could have done with being a tad cooler!

That’s it for today Reader! Tomorrow, we off to nearby Vienne by Train (around €29 Euros return) to look at some more Roman ruins.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

France 2018: Day 0 - Arrival

Birthday Trip to France 2018
Bonjour loyal Readers!
Our next travel adventure means we’re off to France as part of my Birthday celebrations! What makes this a tad unique is that after flying to Lyon, we’re doing the rest of it using the French train network!
8.45am: So, first of all, it’s off to Brum Airport…

…and then we’re flying to Lyon (courtesy of FlyBe) - just a one-hour-20-minute flight…

…then checking into the IBIS Styles – Gare Part Dieu for a few days. It’s close to the old part of Lyon and has all the essentials: free Brekky, unlimited free wi-fi - and it’s also next to the ‘key essential’ for this break - the Railway Station!
4.25pm local time: We’ve arrived after a short Tram journey (The Rhone Express) from the Airport - and this is our home - Room 416 - for the next three nights. It’s truly ‘compact’ and a good job we’re not “Les Swingers avec le Chat!”

Still, it’ll do us proud whilst we explore the local area.
We quickly unpacked, plugged in everything that needed plugging in (from toothbrushes to laptops via two phones, a tablet and a camera battery!) and after a slight flicker of all the lights in Reception, we were all set up for green lights all round.
With the tech sorted, we turned out attention to the local weather. Cor! What a scorcher! It’s 5pm and it’s still roastingly hot!!! A quick look at the BBC weather app confirmed what my armpits were already telling me…
Sleepy smile

31 degrees at 5pm! I wasn’t expecting that!!! A glance later into the night made us feel that we were pleased that our shoebox had air-conditioning.
5.30pm: Time to explore the local area. A quick look at the map and we were off! Heading west for views of the River (Rhône) that took longer than expected to get there. Unofficially, we took the ‘scenic route’, Officially, we mis-read the map! But thankfully, my old Boy Scout training kicked-in and I worked out where we were based on the setting Sun.

It was worth it though. The views across the River were stunning…

…especially this view (below)!

Then it was back to the walking and a slightly shorter, more direct, route back…

…that took in the well-known (apparently) indoor market, Les Halles, opposite a massive mural of the famous French Chef: Paul Bocuse
8.00pm: Back at the hotel, we realised we might have only walked just under 3.5 miles, but in the heat, it felt more like 300! Still, the views were worth it…
I feel a carpet picnic coming on, in the comfort of our air-conditioned room!
Tomorrow it’s a wander round the old part of the town here and then on Friday, it’s a day trip by train to Vienne.
Thinking further ahead, as part of our adventure by Train, Nimes (known for its Roman Monuments) and Marseille (the famous Port) will follow - so expect loads of photos during our stay.
The weather forecast looks good for the next few days here too! Time to break out the shorts and t-shirts!
Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun