August 16 – 20, 2012

We continued our road trip on to Lyon, which we had heard great things about!  It is the second largest city in France, and with its proximity to the Alps, it was definitely one for consideration for the year.  The drive there was easy thanks to our new friend Garmin (our trusty GPS!)

Driving in France wasn't quite as fun as the Autobahn in Germany, especially since there is a toll (sometimes as high as 22 Euros!) every few hours. It made the driving vs. flying trade-off not as economical as we originally expected! Oh well, it was fun to see the French countryside at least.

Lyon has a great city bike rental system, which we took full advantage of in order to check out the city.

We visited Old Lyon, which much like many cities in Europe has beautiful architecture and windey cobblestone streets lined with cafes. And of course, it features a big beautiful Cathedral (Cathedral St-Jean) in the main square.

Up on the hill overlooking Lyon is the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. A quote from our tour book: "Its ornamentation is a superb example of the exaggerated enthusiasm for embellishment that dominated French ecclesiastical achitecture during the late 19th century". You can say that again (but not very easily!)

We hiked up the hill and through Fourviere park to reach the Basilique - where we were rewarded with a stunning view of Lyon. Off in the distance you could see the peak of Mont Blanc - a famous mountain we are looking forward to snowboarding later this year, as well as 1 of the 5 nuclear power plants in this region.


Lyon has some other lovely sights to see - including this random glass flower sculpture thing. Pretty!

On Saturday we made our way to the hilltop neighbourhood of Croix Rousse, where there is a bustling outdoor market. Here we picked up some fresh ingredients for a picnic in the park - including some incredible artichoke tapenade.

We enjoyed our picnic in "Parc de la Tete d'Or" - a large English-style park that includes a lake, zoo, and botanical gardens. It was a beautiful spot to enjoy the afternoon, take cover in the shade, and give our e-readers some overdue attention.

The park's botanical gardens were very impressive, and included a slightly dangerous mexican garden. See if you can spot Paul camouflaged between the cactuses...

It was so hot while we were in Lyon (over 40 degrees everyday!) so on our last day we sought refuge and refreshment at the popular Rhone Pool, so named as it is located alongside the Rhone riverbank. For some reason, they do not allow short-style swimming trunks for men, so Paul had to buy some speedo-style shorts from a vending machine before being allowed in the pool... much to Paul's discomfort, and Lauren's amusement.

Although we had a great time in beautiful Lyon, we were looking forward to escaping the heat and making our way towards the coast.  Next stop – the Mediterranean Sea!

Check out the full album of photos here!

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