Better late than never.
Back in October M and I had a bit of break from classes, so we decided to do some exploring around our own country. We had a week and 3 major cities on our list, starting with the bustling city of Lyon.
Few assume Paris is the center for all things French in France. However, Paris is the center for all things Parisian. While the city of Lyon is really what makes France a leading cuisine capital. We had our stretchy pants packed and ready to go.
We started the drive down to Lyon once the last of our classes let out, arriving at our Lyon hotel fairly late. With few restaurants on site, we crossed the street to a fast food type joint and got some burgers. After some fine burgers, we hopped into a movie theater for ice cream. Not exactly the meal we were expecting but fine for a night.
We woke up early and headed to the main square of the city. Huge, but not very pretty or much to look at.
We went down a random street in search for some petite dejeuner. A croissant, pastry, and some coffee energized us for the rest of the day.
A short walk and we found ourselves by the river, Saone. It was lined with farmers markets selling strange mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and every part of an animal you could imagine. Charming, but we were there for the famous Lyon chefs.
After strolling the streets and avoiding eye contact with the creperies, we walked to the base of a lift that would take us up to a cathedral sitting on top on a hill overlooking the city of Lyon.
We went up the lift and enjoyed the chapel, cathedral, and crypt. Not particularly unique but there was an awesome view.
After enjoying the sites of the cathedral on the hill we returned to old town for some lunch. There were lots of interesting options to choose from, but we decided on restaurant Chez Grand Mere. A bit timid at first since the main floor appeared to be completely empty. But we were guided downstairs to a nearly filled restaurant. We got two cozy seats near a fireplace and reviewed the menu.
…followed by some sort of Lobster dish for M. And a chicken in a lovely sauce with pureed carrots and rice…
That afternoon feeling hit us hard so we had a bit of a nap before heading back out for dinner. Which turned out to be pretty difficult. Lyon is known for its food and it seems all of France decided to stop by to eat. Every restaurant was packed.
We eventually found an open restaurant called Les Chandelles. Unfortunately, we did not read the reviews before sitting down. Our dinner started with a Lyon salad and Lyonnaise dish we had seen everywhere. The salad was topped with a poached egg and bacon. While the Lyoannise dish was a poached egg, croutons, and bacon in a red wine sauce. And that was just the appetizer!
For our main, we enjoyed beef bourguignon and steak with veggies.
Today was destined to be an adventure! We woke up early and headed for the alps! Picking up some coffee along the way we drove through the mountains looking at the amazing foliage (this was mid – October, perfect timing!).
The gondola ride up is pretty incredible. You hover pretty high up over the ground, passing massive boulders, and the very tops of tall evergreens. There was a small layover that required another gondola ride.
This time we would be surrounded by clouds unable to see anything around us.
Once we safely arrived at the top we went to their cafeteria for lunch. A couple sandwiches, fries, and drinks to fill our bellies at the highest point in Europe.
We walked outside onto the icy terrace and froze our little buns off. It was so incredibly cold, windy, and foggy we could barely see much in front of us. A bit disappointing since we were hoping to get a great view of Mont Blanc.
We continued to explore the base taking photos and climbing stairs. Which took forever since the air was so thin.
We eventually got back on the gondolas and returned to Chamonix. Picked up some cafe to go and returned to our hotel in Lyon. It was a full day trip, but fortunately, we got back in time to watch the Seahawks game and enjoy some Deliveroo burgers.
We woke up late, packed our things, and took our rental car to the return. Turns out there was a massive scratch on the car we had no idea was there. Hertz had no record of the scratch and we could not think of any time during the rental in which it could have occurred. We completed the process there and went to grab some lunch before our train.
Our train dropped us off in Marseilles, so after making our way through the subway we arrived at our hotel.
I got a few things done for work and we hit the streets of Marseilles. M had been a few times when he had studied abroad in France a few years ago, but this was my first visit.
A quick walk around the cove, looking at the little shops, boats, and restaurants. We found a restaurant with a pretty great deal, but it was still a bit early so we grabbed a few drinks and hung out in a large city square.
My drink was honestly the worst wine I have ever had in my entire life. It was straight vinegar. I decided to hold out for Bordeaux. We downed our drinks and hoped for a better dinner.
Fortunately, it was much better. We enjoyed fresh salmon on toast, seafood, and steak with fries. Ending it with a bit of lemon tart and cafe gourmand.
We wandered back to our hotel and were in for the night.