During our stay at Les Serraz, our Friends Kit and Mike, wanted to show us as much of their beautiful area as possible. One day we drove to Annecy, a medieval, alpine town, about a 1 1/2 hour journey from the farm. The old city is built around a 14th Century Chateau and is broken up by small canals and streams that run out of Lac Anncey. The Lac's waters are clear, fresh, a beautiful azure colour and overlooked by wooded and often snow capped mountains. The old town is charming with its cobbled streets, archways, pastel coloured buildings, winding canals and arched bridges.
Pont des Amours - River Thiou [shortest river in Europe - 3.5 kms]
Walking along the Pont, this is the beautiful view one is greeted by - Palais de I'lle. It had been a very dry summer, so the water level was quite low.
Giant Sequoia tree in the park beside the Pont.
It was decided to spend a night in Lyon to give us more time to explore this wonderful UNESCO, World Heritage listed city.
A detour was made midway into the journey to Lyon, to explore the tiny, medieval walled town of Perouges. It is perched on a small hill, overlooking the vast plain of the Ain River. Its lovely cobbled streets and stone houses were astounding. Looking for a carpark, Mike accidentally drove through the main archway into the village, so we had a marvellous, but bumpy introduction to the village.
Where we drove.
The restaurant L'Hostellerie de Perouges in the central square of Perouges, is a beautifully kept building with old exposed beams, ancient, wide floorboards and waitresses attired in black dresses with lace mob caps and frilly white aprons. The hot chocolate served was just what we needed to warm us up on this chilly day. There were photographs of Bill and Hilary Clinton dining here.
The stone buildings were amazing and I couldn't stop taking photographs of the doorways and chimneys.
Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France. There was no feeling of this however, as we wandered through the old city. It was founded by the Romans, so it has many preserved historical areas. The Roman amphitheater was impressive and the architecture of so many of the buildings was fascinating. Again there were narrow, winding cobbled streets to explore and endless cafes and restaurants to tempt us. Interestingly it is the birthplace of cinema.
Our accommodation was in the tiniest hotel room I have ever been in, but right in the heart of the old city, on the Rue Victor Hugo. It took great patience to navigate our way to it, from the carpark under the Place Bellecour, a vast unimpressive central square. Louis the XVI is mounted on a horse surveying the square.
The squares one redeeming feature was the views to Fourviere Hill, also known as 'the hill that prays' because of its numerous churches.
The Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere was built following a cholera epidemic in Lyon, in the 1870's, as a tribute to the Holy Virgin and to thank her for saving the people of Lyon.
Crossing the Saone, we took the funicular up to the Basilica. On such a cloudy day, the views were limited, but the vast sprawl of the city was obvious.
Croix-Rousse Hill [nicknamed - the hill that works] was the centre of the silk weaving trade in the early 19th C. As a result 'traboules' or covered passageways were built to move the silk fabrics between buildings without them getting wet. We didn't have time to walk in this area, but Kit was a super sleuth in finding examples near where we stayed.
Roman amphitheatre - a short distance from the Basilica.
The decision was made to descend from Fourviere, via Parc des Hauteurs [translated - Hill Park] and Rue de la Bombarde, to the Palasis de Justice footbridge crossing the Saone.
By this time it was time for a beer. Mike introduced Frank to the Belgian Kwak beer. The beer is poured into the glass resting at an angle, being careful not to make too much froth. The glass then changes position in the framework, leaving a wooden handle to lift the drink with. Great care had to be taken when reaching the dregs in the base.
A pleasant walk across the Rhone then followed to a Thai restaurant, that Mike had found using an app on his phone. On arrival the restaurant was empty of patrons, making us a little tentative re entering. It had had excellent reviews and by the time we were halfway through our meal, we were ready to add to them.
The lights of Fourviere, seen as we crossed Place Bellecour on our return journey, were twinkling brightly.
After croissants and coffee the following morning, our day was spent walking and exploring.
The confluence of the Rhone and Saone was our first destination, via the shoreline of both rivers.
The Musee des Confluences - a science and anthropology museum opened in 2014.
We took a bus back to Place Bellecour and visited a market on the banks of the Saone, before crossing it to find the 'traboules'.
I was astounded by the variety of mushrooms. Kit bought a selection and on our return to Les Serraz cooked them for us. Such amazing flavour.
Sculpture - The Weight of Oneself.
"Not celebrating a hero, nor pursing a goal, or trying to achieve something. It's the story of someone trying to save himself."
This French puppet show was created sometime after 1769. Its creator was a dentist. Pulling teeth was free, but the medicines to ease the pain were his means to make a living. To attract patients he set up this puppet show in front of his dental chair.
Gnafron - a wine loving cobbler. Guignol - a silk worker
We didn't have time to visit the theatre, but Kit was chuffed to find two of the puppet characters depicted in a shop window.
Autumn - how beautiful are they?
Its been so difficult to cull my selection. Each town had its own charm, history and architecture and
had me captivated. If only there had been more time!
I do hope you get to enjoy these places sometime in the future. I would love to read your comment.