Time has been moving way to fast, we’ve been counting down to our last days in France, and suddenly there are only days left. We’re finally making the big move back over the pond and I have to admit that my absence from the blog has been on the one hand because there has been so much to do to finalize things here, and on the other hand because I’ve felt like by avoiding the topic it would somehow stall time.
But, the days keep moving and we’ve had a last weekend to Paris, a last picnic on Lac Kir, the last wine tasting, the last nuit des musees, the last tea at Comptoir des Colonies, the last jog to the park, the last morning at the market. Every experience has been priceless, gorgeous time filled with incredible people and places; Dijon, Burgundy, and France will always hold a special place in my heart. Fingers crossed I’m back sooner than later. Merci, Dijon!
And, while I’m sad to think that Paris won’t be just a 3 hour drive away, that a bottle of Burgundy wine won’t be quite in the budget, Eric Fevre baguettes (the best in Dijon) and Pierre Hubert pastries (the best in the city!) will be a plane ride away, I am also so eager to go back to family and friends who’ve been too far away for too long, and back to enjoying all the things that have come to mean so much more to me since I’ve left. Nerves, tears, joy, sadness, excitement, suitcases…this beautiful journey continues.
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!
Autun was recommended to us by our friends here in Dijon. A quiet town in the hills, it’s got a totally different feel than other towns in Burgundy we’ve visited with the winding streets connecting the high and low parts of the town. It’s claim to fame is the Roman theater and Roman ramparts found around the city. Back in the day the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, decided to call this city in Gaul, Augustodunum. From then on it was a powerful city, where the first Duke of Burgundy came from and where the Bonapart brothers studied many years later. Today, you can see a bit of the history of France in Autun, from Roman, Romanesque, Medieval Fairy Tale (found: Belle’s house from Beauty and the Beast-see pic below), and 19th century art and architecture.
Today the remains of the great Roman past can be seen at the Roman theater. Said to have held nearly 20,000 people it sits on a green hill patiently offering a seat to the generations-who now can watch a soccer game in the field below. Training next to Roman ruins, pas mal.
After the Roman ruins, Autun is known for its cathedral. A heavy structure with typically Burgundian colored rooftops, it seemed to have fallen into the only space left in the high part of the city-the next door buildings were seriously encroaching. Inside it is dark and under restoration, one thousand years of use begs for some care. But despite it’s seeming lack of grace and space at first view, the sculptures of the last judgement on the entrance portico seem to have been carved out of air just yesterday.
Visiting on a Sunday there wasn’t much more to see, so after a quick stroll around the cathedral we ended our visit with a café créme
watching the locals head to the town hall to place their votes in the first round of the French presidential election (way back in 2012!). One last reason to remember Autun for all you design folk: Autun is home to these fab Tolix chairs