Carcassonne to Collioure

Tonight we are in a picturesque little seaside town on the Mediterranean quite close to the Spanish border. Collioure was full of people when we arrived.

We couldn’t get a dinner reservation until 9:30. When we got our place at the bar we had a fun tapas dinner at Casa Gala. It was a small place but it was packed with people all having a good time Everyone was laughing singing and enjoying themselves.

Lyon to Carcassonne

We are now transitioning to the Spanish part of our trip. Today we took the high speed train south almost to the Spanish Border. Tonight we are in Carcassonne, a hill town in south sweat We are now transitioning to the Spanish part of our trip. Today we took the high speed train south almost to the Spanish Border. Tonight we are in Carcassonne, a hill town in south west France. This is the view from our hotel window.

For the first time since Brussels we will only be staying here one night. For dinner we walked up to the old town you can see in the picture above and had a great dinner at a restaurant inside the walls.France. This is the view from our hotel window.

For the first time since Brussels we will only be staying here one night. For dinner we walked up to the old town you can see in the picture above and had a great dinner at a restaurant inside the walls.

Lyon

This morning started out with us taking a footbridge across the Saône River on our way to visit the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière. You can see the Basilica under the tower of the bridge in this picture. That’s Duke on the left wearing short sleeves for the first time on this trip.

The Basilica is the most sumptuous church I have seen on this trip.

The mosaics on the floor and walls.

Deeply colorful and detailed stained glass windows.

The ceiling is as ornate as everything else in the church.

When we came out of the Basilica there was the fire department testing their ladder truck.

Next we visited the Lugdunum Museum and the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater. Lugdunum was the Roman City that sat where Lyon is today. The Museum is well done and displays some fascinating Roman antiquities. It is built into the side of a hill overlooking the theater. Here I am looking out of one of the museum windows.

You can see that same window from the Amphitheater.

This is a view of the Amphitheater itself.

After hiking back down to the river we had coffee.

Then we took a boat ride on the Saône.

It was interesting to see the old city from the river. We also saw new parts of Lyon. We saw the Confluence Development at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône. It includes some exceptional buildings.

Last night I said our meal was one of the best of the trip and it was. But tonight was even better. We ate at La Maison Marie.

The two women who were handling everything in the front of the restaurant were efficient, happy and welcoming. We started with mackerel.

Then we shared turbot and pork belly. The presentation seemed particularly springlike and the flavors were subtle and exquisite.

For dessert we had green tea mousse and rhubarb sorbet again with subtle wonderful flavors.

Walking back to the hotel the moon was just coming up.

Annecy to Lyon

This morning we took the bus from Annecy to Lyon and then walked to our hotel. Our room wasn’t ready so we explored for a bit. It was a sunny warm day here.

We stopped for coffee and then went to the tourist office.

After checking in and resting a bit we walked to the Museum of the Resistance and toured it. Unfortunately everything was in French with no English translations.

We ate dinner at a little bistro, L’Acteur, near our hotel. It only had about eight tables. The ambiance was stereotypically French and wonderful. We started with smoked herring.

Then we shared sausage and pork.

We had an almond torte for desert. It was one of the best meals of the trip.

After dinner we sat in the square and enjoyed the beauty of Lyon and the full moon then walked back to the hotel, the Carlton.

Annecy

We spent today in Annecy. Our first order of business was laundry. We had coffee and croissants while we waited for the laundry to finish.

Given that I described my shower rating system when we were back in Colmar I feel that I should mention that our Hotel here in Annecy, the Hotel Carlton, also has a five star shower. And the shower lights are purple which is surprisingly cool.

With the help of a brochure from the tourist office we took a walking tour of Annecy.

At the top of the hill all the fire vehicles were parked outside the Chateau. It made me wonder if in light of yesterday’s Notre Dame fire they decided to review their fire preparedness or if they were concerned the fire might not have been an accident.

There was a market going on in the old town. The smells and colors were delicious.

We bought some cheese

And a baguette

To go with the wine and ham we already have. It made a great lunch.

for dinner we had fish and steak at a nearby restaurant.

Chamonix to Annecy

It takes just over an hour to drive from Chamonix to Annecy if you take the fast route on the major highways. Today is our last day with a car for a while so we decided to take the back roads to Annecy. In Chamonix breakfast wasn’t included in the hotel price so we planned to eat on the way. We headed up into the mountains and found a boulangerie for pastries and espresso.

It was a glorious bright sunny day today and the mountain towns, green pastures and snow capped mountains were shining.

We passed over the pass at Col Des Aravis.

Then dropped down to Lac d’Annecy.

We drove around the lake and into Annecy where we turned in the car. Our hotel room wasn’t ready so we walked down to the lake front park which was full of people enjoying the gorgeous day.

We ate dinner at Brasserie l’Abbaye. We had mussels and fries.

Chamonix and Aiguille-du-Midi

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a valley where the surrounding peaks are more than 12,000 ft (3,658m) above the valley floor. That is the setting for Chamonix where we are today. It is simply stunning.

This morning we took two cable cars and an elevator up to an altitude of 12,604 ft (3379 m) to the Aiguille-du-Midi lookout. The lookout is right next to Mont Blanc which has an altitude of 15,778 ft (4809 m)

The cable cars seemed to go straight up.

The elevator took us even higher.

And then we stepped out at the top. The air was very thin and Mont Blanc was right there!

The French, Swiss and Italian Alps surrounded us.

We walked through the ice tunnel to another lookout point.

We put slippers over our shoes to “Step into the Void”.

The whole experience was absolutely stunning!!

For dinner we had pizza at a lovely cozy restaurant.