I know, I usually send you a video every Thursday morning but, this time, I decided to do something a little different.

I decided to share my wonderful 2 weeks in France with you! My mother and I used those productive 15 days to finalize the Tours to Lyon & Surrounding Areas we organize and guide. My friend Hildie was there too, to help us see through travelers’ eyes!

It’s going to be hard as there is so much I want to share, but I am going to try my best to illustrate each day spent in France with a few pictures and a little matching story.

Mercredi 1 juin: Arrivée

After 3 flights that magically went by fast, my friend Hildie & I arrive at Lyon airport where my mom is waiting for us with a huge smile on her face.

Then it’s another 30 minute drive to Vienne, where my mom lives and has prepared a nice dinner for us so we can forget about scary plane food ha ha! I feel like I never left…

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Jeudi 2 juin: Vieux Lyon

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And off we go to the Vieux Lyon!

It’s the oldest part of Lyon where you find yourself surrounded with a fascinating mix of Roman Civilization, Medieval churches & cathedral not to mention the pedestrian narrow streets, and Renaissance Architecture!

We learn about the silk industry, meet some amazing artists, explore the traboules – secret passages of the Vieux Lyon – get watery mouths admiring all the boulangerie windows, and finally sit down in a bouchon lyonnais.

That’s how we call typical Lyon restaurants and we’re ready to devour the ultimate Lyon specialty: la quenelle de brochet! A delicious dumpling of deliciousness that I already miss now that I am back in Seattle!

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Vendredi 3 juin: Pélussin & Malleval

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Ever heard of le Pilat? It’s a National Park with lots of forest and adorable little villages.

We decided to hit two: Pélussin, the little village where I grew up, and Malleval, a steep medieval village in the middle of the vines!

I hadn’t been in Pélussin since age 13! It was amazing! I so enjoyed the medieval architecture, the castle, the churches, the viaducts, the gorgeous stone house with bright color shutters, the tiny narrow streets, the view on the Alps… A dream!

Funny because I really didn’t like it as a little girl! All I wanted was the exciting sparkling happening city vibe! But now all this peace and quiet seriously appeals! I’m sure my dogs will agree!

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Samedi 4 juin: Vienne

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Here is the Roman town where I was born, where I spent my teenage years, and where my maman still lives!

After shopping at the huge Saturday morning market (pretty much all over the entire town) and eating our delicious purchases at my mom’s apartment, we explored all that is left of our Roman invaders (the Temple, the Circus, the Ruins, the Amphitheater), and we climbed to the top of the Mont Pipet to enjoy a wonderful panorama of Vienne with the river Rhône in the background!

Vienne is a 30,000 inhabitants super cute Roman town that also offers medieval & Renaissance architecture!

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Dimanche 5 juin: Marchés & Basilique de Fourvière

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Best way to spend your Sunday mornings in France? Les marchés of course! Along one of the two rivers in Lyon, the Saône, is where you can find every single Sunday morning two gorgeous markets.

Le marché Saint Antoine: amazing and mostly local food. Followed by Le marché de la Création, where local artists come to show and sell their art. Very talented people! I bought an engraving from a French man who loved America so much he gave me a little discount!

The markets inspired us to enjoy a fabulous lunch in another bouchon lyonnais and take the funiculaire to go up the hill and admire the Basilique de Fourvière on the top of a hill. After the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 and the invasion of the north of France by the Prussians, the people of Lyon promised the Virgin Mary to build her “une basilique” if she kept the invaders away. Guess what? The Prussians never made it to Lyon!

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Lundi 6 juin: Pérouges & Lyon City Boat

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We had so much fun at Pérouges, a typical and authentic walled medieval town!

Everything there is so pretty, and adorable, and magical. And people actually live there it’s amazing!

We started our visit at the church after going through the medieval gate and we found a group of happy, giggly, and in awe nuns in long white robes! Très romanesque!

13346370_853582798108406_1323633663037984489_oAfter Pérouges we drove back to Lyon for our boat ride on the Saône first and then the Rhône.

We didn’t get the route we were hoping for because of the floods that were hitting a lot of France (did you see those crazy pictures of flooded Paris?!) but not the Lyon area phew!

Only the water level was upset so we had to stay open and flexible as it took us somewhere totally different. The fun part was that we found an outside gym on the bank of the river after the boat ride and had the best time!

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Mardi 7 juin: Roman museum & Condrieu wine

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We crossed the river Rhône to go explore the stunning Roman Museum, situated on the other side of Vienne. This archeological site was discovered in 1967 when the city decided to build a new high school. When digging, a whole Roman neighborhood from the 1st century BC was discovered: houses, warehouses, shops, workshops, stadium, bathrooms.

Seems only natural to move on with wine! We visited the prestigious Côte-Rôtie winery: le Domaine Stéphane Ogier in Ampuis.

Bonus? My beloved childhood friend Julie who has worked there since 2011 provided the tour, wine tasting, and answered all our questions!

Good news she will be there on our Fall tours too!

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Mercredi 8 juin: Quartier & Musée Lumière

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Our next step was  out in the Lumière neighborhood of Lyon because… that’s where the Fall tours will be staying woohoo! We chose Lumière because even though central, it is not touristy, it’s a real neighborhood where Lyonnais live with a charming green central square. It has lovely little shops: boulangeries, pâtisseries, fromagerie, rôtisserie, cafés, restaurants, classy clothes, accessories, kitchen and house decorations, etc. C’est juste parfait pour notre grande aventure.

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In the afternoon we visited the Musée Lumière situated in the gorgeous art déco house where the Frères Lumière grew up. They were astonishing brothers who invented, among tons of other things, the cinema in 1895! The museum is just fascinating. Not only is the house stunning but we learned so much!

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Jeudi 9 juin: Beaujolais

Then came the turn of le Beaujolais! Charming wine region situated in the north of Lyon. Stunning landscapes, golden stone houses, medieval villages & castles, rows and rows of well tended vines… Impossible not to fall in love.

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Vous connaissez les pierres dorées? The land of the “golden stones” is situated in the southern part of the Beaujolais. Why is it called Golden Stones? Because the limestone houses turn a beautiful gold color as they catch the rays of the sun.

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We ended our Beaujolais day in the truly amazing Château de la Chaize! I’m sure you know the cemetery Le Père Lachaise in Paris, right? The Father La Chaize was not only a real person but he was the confessor of the King Louis XIV for 34 years! Le Père La Chaize helped his brother François de La Chaize build this magnificent Château by sending him people who built Versailles: the architect Mansard and the landscape architect Le Nôtre!

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If you’re in the US, I just learned today that you can buy Château de la Chaize wine there! Or you can just come visit the Château’s gardens & cave with me!

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Vendredi 10 juin: My new books

IMG_2850On Friday we chilled.

I bought a total of 14 books during my 2 weeks in France! I spent most of the day reading.

Happy happy me. I wonder when I’ll finish my pile. I get excited just looking at it.

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Samedi 11 juin: Lyon Croix Rousse

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Time to walk around around the lovely and cosy Croix Rousse, Lyon neighborhood perched on a hill that used to specialize in “la fabrication de la soie”. Today no more silk but it seems they were replaced with… pâtisseries! They were everywhere and all 100% delicious looking!

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Dimanche 12 juin: Lyon Parc de la Tête d’Or

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Can you guess where we spent our French afternoon?

Green, elegant, exotic, turtles, ducks, fabulous birds, charming little boats in the lake, reading in the grass, cactus, joy.

Une petite oasis de nature in the middle of Lyon: le Parc de la Tête d’Or.

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Lundi 13 juin: Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse & Fine Art Museum

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We started our last tour preparation day at les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse! It is a covered food market with about 60 lyon gastronomic shops: meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, wine, pâtisserie, restaurants… all top quality! Les Halles de Lyon are nicknamed “le ventre de Lyon” = “the belly of Lyon” 🙂 look at the cheese in the shape of France!

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After eating too much yummy food, off we went to the Fine Arts Museum of Lyon. The building itself, a former 17th century Benedictine convent, is stunning, let alone the huge & incredible collection inside! One probably needs about 3 days to cover it all! We had 4 hours but very much enjoyed them!

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Mardi 14 juin: Our last day…

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Et voilà! Le voyage est terminé! Nice relaxed last day full of pains au chocolat (diet starts as soon as I step out of the plane, ha!), watching my mom’s old pictures, stocking up on herbal teas I can’t find in Seattle, ending with a super wonderful French apéritif at my friends Julie & Graeme amazing new Condrieu house, in the middle of the vines! Check out their view!!!! Can’t wait to share all of this with you!

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Mercredi 15 juin: And back to Seattle

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One last pain au chocolat (OMG I ate so many…) and off we hop on our 3 planes!

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Our September and October trips will be organized a little differently and I couldn’t talk about everything on this email or if would have been “slightly” longer… Here is where you can find more info. September is sold out but October isn’t. Pass it around!

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