I fell in love with Lyon last weekend. Maybe it was spring. Maybe it was having time to getting lost. Maybe it was the amazing food. Whatever it was, I saw the city like never before.An endless line up of top-notch produits regionelle make Lyon an indulgent escape. It’s the gastronomic capital of France, so stop by the seriously mouthwatering Les Halles de Lyon where, hungry or not, you’ll want to have a gourmet lunch of quenelles or oysters or some local cheese and a Rosette de Lyon sausage for a picnic. After, stop at any shop for the sweet, bright red almond praline that you’ll see in every window. The croquant de amandes is delicious and the brioche sells like hot cakes.
Despite being probably the most touristy place in the city, you can’t go to Lyon without a stop at a bouchon in Vieux Lyon. Rue Saint Jean is the place to be. You’ll find the same “Lyonnaise Menu” for about 15 euros at just about every restaurant, so take a stroll until you find the place you like best. We stopped at Les Paves de Saint Jean,where the magret de canard with honey and citrus sauce was amazing. Don’t be alarmed of you are seated at a table with another couple or the decor is absolutely hideous…that’s the bouchon’s charm. And, save room for a crepe made by the sweetest monsieur on the street.
For a relaxing retreat head to the Roman Theatre. Tucked in the hills about the city, the funicular drops you off just in front. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or a moment of peace. When you’re finished the Basilica is just up the street. Despite being overwhelmed with tourists it’s still a must see with the neo-baroque byzantine interior and the breathtaking views of the city.
There is something about getting lost in a city, so go to Lyon to discover the corners and details instead of rushing from one sight to another. Take advantage of Lyon’s easy public transport (subway, tram, and busses) and find your own Lyon. If you’re out for the evening the Liberte Soiree Pass is a deal offering unlimited travel after 7pm for 2.80 euros, and for a day in the city the day pass can’t be beat at 5.20 euros. Add Lyon to your list!
Sometimes the budget calls for a day trip rather than a weekend away and if that day trip involves outlet shopping, even better, right? In October, we took an afternoon drive to Troyes, a city most famous for outlet shopping than culture or history, for some shopping, eating, and a little fresh air.
We made our way to the outlets first, and I have to admit that except for the Le Creuset outlet, where I should have indulged in some cocottes and a Dutch oven, we didn’t find much. After a quick spin around the shops with no luck we headed downtown to find lunch.
If you want to take a day trip in France, it is best to go on Saturday when the locals are out, and as hoped for we found the city bustling, terraces and restaurants packed, the carousel singing and a really nice feel in the main square. We made out way into the old narrow streets filled with leaning timber houses giving a really authentic medieval feel to the city. We found a great Crêperie for lunch, and choose a table on the old terrace sheltered by old timber details. Crêperies are a great budget option for travellers in France. Order a Crêpe salée or a Galette (buckwheat crêpe) for a filling lunch that will cost less than 10 euros a plate and finish off with a sweet crepe for dessert. A typical and budget meal, a Crêperie will give you a real taste of France.
Walking back to the car we took a little detour to the Cathedral of Troyes, where Joan of Arc stopped to say a prayer before heading off to battles, and strolled down the river and into the newer part of town. A simple but typically French town, a quick stop in Troyes can be more than just shopping.
Just a short drive from Madrid, Segovia is a perfect day trip escape from the city. Tucked in the rolling plains of Castilla Leon it’s a city as timeless as it’s stunning Roman Aqueduct.
At the Roman aqueduct, feel the warm sun as you weave in and out of its huge arches imagining the history that has passed through its arches.
Into the the city get lost on the tiny streets discovering hues of yellow, pink, and orange of buildings covered in molded designs and textures. Stop for a coffee or chocolate to warm up from the cold winds that blow in from the plains, or try the famous cochinillo at Meson de Candido
Smile at the yellow polka dot spires at the cathedral reaching toward the sky, then put on your hat because the wind from the plains is starting to blow cold when you reach the end of the hill where a fantasy castle sits at the edge overlooking the endless Castillian plains.
A beautiful city filled with history and elegance, Segovia is a must see in Spain.