Overlooking Geneva is the majestic Mont Salève. It’s not actually in Switzerland at all; it’s firmly in France, just across the Franco-Swiss border. Its limestone cliffs are the backdrop to an already picture-perfect Swiss city, and the views from the top are breath-taking. I’d seen them before, but was only too happy to see them again.
Hugging the southern shoreline of Lac Léman (more commonly referred to as Lake Geneva), Switzerland’s second most populous city is a melting pot of cultures, global organisations and languages. Cosmopolitan Geneva is the perfect size for a weekend break – or in our case, a mid-week break – and despite Switzerland’s reputation for being an expensive place to visit, there are plenty of low-cost attractions for those travelling on a shoestring.
Just a stone’s throw from the Welsh border, and twenty miles south of Scouseland, lies my beautiful hometown. Chester is a historic walled city, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles, including timber-framed buildings, a medieval castle and many Roman remains. Foreigners and southerners alike often have no concept of where Chester is; I tend to describe it as being ‘halfway between Manchester and Liverpool, but without the Scouse accent’. That explanation doesn’t really do it justice: Chester is more than just a city that happens to be situated midway between two of the UK’s most famous football clubs. It’s a city with almost two thousand years of history; I’ve only been on this planet for 1% of that time. I may no longer live there on a permanent basis, but it will always be my home. Save for a few passing mentions, I haven’t given much attention to Chester on my blog. It’s time to remedy that, and bring you the very best of Chester. Grab the Hobnobs and a cuppa, for this one’s a bit of a long one.
Shortly after my hike in the Chartreuse, Olivier suggested a ‘randonnée cerises’ in the nearby Monts du Lyonnais. It’s fairly self-explanatory what this hike entailed, but I fancied sharing a few photos from it as I had a jolly good time. (Let’s face it, a hike that combines rolling hills and end-of-season fruit is pretty much the dream for me.)
Before I left Lyon, I was intent on returning to the Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse. Put simply, my visit to the southern edge of the park back in February had whetted my appetite for more and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see another tiny corner of this majestic mountain range. I also had my eye on a little trip over to Chambéry, and it just so happens that this quaint little town provides easy access to the natural park. (A win-win scenario, if you ask me.) The map was purchased, the packed lunch packed (no items left in the fridge this time!) and the alarm set. On y va!
Lyon is like an onion: peel back the outer skin of iconic landmarks such as Fourvière, Place des Terreaux and Cathédrale St. John, and you’ll discover there’s far more to the city than you first thought. Take the time to explore the quirks of its diverse neighbourhoods, glimpse some of the city’s famous fresques and zigzag across the city using its network of traboules, and you’ll be richly rewarded. If it takes your fancy, you can even play at being Mary from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless classic, The Secret Garden. It’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets, and is rarely mentioned in guidebooks – at least, it wasn’t in either of mine!
As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun – and I’ve certainly had fun compiling this little series about my recent trip to Paris. While it may not be the end of the road for this series, as I’m rather fond of the title, it has now reached a red traffic light, so to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting (and revisiting, as was the case for a few) some of the crowd-pleasers, but felt most at home wandering the city’s fringes, which were both peaceful and picturesque. On our last day, after an essential detour to a pâtisserie or two, we headed out to the nineteenth arrondissement and gradually worked our way back to the tenth, conveniently finishing just a short walk away from Gare du Nord, where Laurence would catch the Eurostar back to London. Until next time, Paris. / Comme dit le proverbe, le temps passe vite quand on s’amuse – et je me suis bien amusée en écrivant cette petite série sur mon voyage récent à Paris. Tandis que cela ne sera pas nécessairement la fin du voyage pour cette série, car j’aime bien le titre, elle se trouve devant un feu rouge pour l’instant, pour ainsi dire. J’ai adoré mes visites (ou bien mes deuxième visites, selon le cas) des grands monuments, mais je me suis sentie plus à l’aise en flânant dans les quartiers plus loin du centre, qui étaient à la fois tranquille et pittoresque. Le dernier jour, après avoir fait un petit détour à une ou deux pâtisseries, nous sommes allés au dix-neuvième arrondissement et petit à petit nous nous sommes dirigés vers le dixième, finissant près de la Gare du Nord, d’où Laurence prendrait le Eurostar. À la prochaine, Paris.