Collioure

Collioure where we are today is a stereotypically picturesque French seaside village. Even though it threatened rain most of the day we had fun walking all around the village and the surrounding hills.

We stopped for a mid afternoon snack at a cafe on the beach.

We had a tasty fish dinner.

Tonight is our last night in France. We have totally enjoyed France and the friendly French people. Easter Monday is a busy travel day so tomorrow we catch an early train (6:51 am). After three trains we will be in Madrid tomorrow night.

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 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.

Beaune to Chamonix

Today was Saturday Market day in Beaune so this morning we browsed the market alongside all the locals.

We have a rental car now so we set out heading south through the verdant Burgundy countryside. We saw canals, locks, lots of grape vines, and picturesque villages.

When we got to the south edge of Burgundy we headed east into the Alps. Tonight we are almost to Italy in Chamonix.

For dinner we had a picnic with a bottle of the wine we bought at the winery yesterday.

Beaune – 12 April 2019

It’s amazing to me that when things turn out totally different than how you planned them you can still have a great experience. We made a reservation a couple of days ago to tour a winery and do a tasting near Beaune.

We picked up a rental car today which we will have for the next few days. The weather was perfect today. We walked to the rental car place and then went driving to explore the countryside. We drove through the area north west of Beaune. It is agricultural and green with lots of picturesque villages.

When we made the winery reservation the website said they only had tours in Portuguese, French and Spanish. We picked a 5 o’clock Spanish tour with visions of being with a group of Spanish tourists. What actually happened was that we were the only ones visiting a small winery in a village near Beaune. The owner spoke about as much English as I speak French which isn’t much!! And I don’t think he spoke any Spanish. We still had quite an experience seeing his small operation, tasting his wines, and communicating surprisingly well.

It was the kind of a experience that makes a trip.

Driving is such a totally different way to see a country. After our tasting we drove back to Beaune, parked near our hotel and took a break until our 7:30 dinner reservation.

This morning before we picked up the rental car we visited Beaune’s most well known landmark L’Hôtel- Dieu Des Hospices Civils de Beaune, a hospital for the poor, it was established in 1443. It is an impressive building and the hospital has pretty much been in operation ever since. They own vineyards which make the hospital self supporting. The historic building is no longer a hospital but it has been well restored and we enjoyed the audio tour.

We had a marvelous dinner tonight in the cellar at Restaurant Le Conty.

We started with Foie gras and asparagus for Duke and a dozen snails for me. They were each excellent.

We had two different kinds of beef for the main course.

For desert we had pears poached in wine with anise ice cream and a yummy chocolate mousse concoction.