France is the romantic of the European countries – the must see, must experience. Up until now, our time in France had been limited by time and desires to visit other places. But, having set up house in Spain for a few months, anywhere we wanted to go had to be via France.
We embraced this opportunity and travelled north, south, north and south, covering many kilometres and understanding the country better.
France had a habit of putting on grey days for us. Perhaps it is the problem of travelling in autumn, when the cooling rains and chilling air provide some relief from the long hot summers. Nonetheless, we gave it our best, often rugged up in super warm coats.
First stop on this trip was Lyon. It seems that all roads lead to Lyon, so we had bypassed it a number of times, but been told it was a lovely city. Sitting on the confluence of the rather grotty River Saône and the cleaned up River Rhône, this beautiful city has chucked vehicles out to make pleasant pedestrian streets full of stylish people and exquisite boutiques. There was no shortage of places to eat and be seen.
Statues, fountains and the imposing basilica sitting on Fourvière, overlooking the city, make great sightseeing. This is capped off by some interesting roman ruins in the Théâtre Gallo-romains.has a lot to offer and our two days did not do it justice. There are museums to celebrate electricity, cinema, puppetry, decorative arts, silk, printing and fire-fighting, to name a few.
Right in our path to Heidelberg was the Champagne district. We blew the budget when we chose to stay at Le Château D’Etoges, a quaint French castle with an over-the-top restaurant. We blew 170 Euros on an interesting but not overwhelming meal. Bruce was understandably disappointed with his six scallops for 28 Euros, $AUD6 each. My pigeon was much better. The maître D was out of the arc, with a strange bent gait and googly glasses that made his eyes pop out of his head, quite scary.
We toured the Champagne district. The vineyards on either side of the Vesle were alive with marvellous autumnal colour despite the dull, grey skies.